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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  May 11, 2010 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT

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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> lehrer: good even i'm jim lehrer. britain has a new prime minister today, conservative party leader david cameron. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. on the newshour tonight, cameron took over after labour leader gordon brown handed the queen his resignation. we get the latest from ned temko of the british newspaper the "observer."
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>> reading the written testimony for today's hearing, reading the written testimony, i hear one message. the message is "don't blame me." well, shifting this blame does not get us very far. >> ifill: plus we look at the obama administration's plan to toughen government oversight of offshore drilling. >> lehrer: saul gonzalez has more on the child sex abuse scandal shaking the catholic church in ireland. >> i was an altar boy of the church. i was sexually abused by one of the local priests, father ivan payne for about two-and-a-half years. >> ifill: we follow up on the nomination of elena kagan to the supreme court with a look at how it's playing with karen tumulty of the "washington post" and tom goldstein of scotus blog. >> lehrer: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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the national science foundation. supporting education and research across all fields of science and engineering. 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. >> lehrer: there was a fast- moving transition of power in britain today. conservative leader david cameron became prime minister after labor party head gordon brown resigned.
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brown made a statement to the assembled media outside number 10 downing street, his home for the last three years. his resignation brings the labor party's 13 years in power to a close. >> as you know the general election left no party able to command a majority in the house of commons. i said i would do all that i could to ensure that a strong, stable, and principled government was formed, able to tackle britain's economic and political challenges effectively. my constitutional duty is to make sure a government can be formed following last thursday's general election. i've informed the queen's private secretary that it's my intention to tender my resignation to the queen in the event the queen accepts i shall advise her to invite the leader of the opposition to seek to form a government. i wish the next prime minister well as he makes the important choices for the future. only those who have held the office of prime minister can understand the full weight of its responsibilities and its great capacities for good.
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i have been privileged to learn much about the very best in human nature, and a fair amount about its frailties, including my own. above all, it was a privilege to serve, and, yes, i loved the job, not for its prestige, its titles, and its ceremony, which i do not love at all. no, i loved the job for its potential to make this country i love fairer, more tolerant, more green, more democratic, more prosperous, and more just-- truly a greater britain. my resignation as the leader of the labour party will take effect immediately. and as i leave the second most important job i could ever hold, i cherish even more the first as a husband and a father. thank you, and good-bye. >> lehrer: after the statement, brown and his family walked to a waiting car. the outgoing prime minister went to buckingham palace to formally tender his resignation with the
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queen. and an hour and a half later, the new prime minister stood in front of the same lectern and laid out his goals for the new coalition government. >> i aim to form a proper and full coalition between conservatives and liberal democrats. i believe that is the right way to provide this country with the strong, the stable, the good and decent government that i think we need so badly. nick clegg and i are both political leaders who want to put aside party differences and work hard for the common good and the national interest. i believe that is best way to get strong government we need, decisive government we need today. i came into politics because i love this country. i think its best days still lie ahead, and i believe deeply in public service. and i think the service our country needs right now is to
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face up to really big challenges to take difficult decisions, to lead people through. together we can reach better times ahead. this is going to be hard and difficult work. a coalition will throw up all sorts of challenges. but i believe together we can provide that strong and stable government that our country needs based on those values: rebuilding family, rebuilding community, above all, rebuilding responsibility in our country. those are the things i care about. those are the things that this government will now start work on doing. thank you very much. >> lehrer: then cameron and his wife entered their new home at 10 downing street. president obama was the first world leader to telephone and offer his congratulations. that nick clegg the leader of the democrats will be the
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deputy prime minister. geoffrey brown has more. >> brown: and joining me from london to take us through the dramatic transition is ned temko, a writer for the british "observer" newspaper. he's writing a book about british politics. was there a final straw that led to gordon brown's decision to resign this evening? >> the final straw was fairly simple. he just didn't have the numbers to form a government. not only that, increasingly within the labor party itself i think there was a feeling particularly among a younger generation that even if they could somehow cobble together some sort of ten uous coalition that in the end it wouldn't be credible with the country. people were beginning to term a deal as a coalition of the losers because both of the parties actually lost seats. in only one of the parties that gained seatss in this incon collusive general election a week ago was the conservative. >> brown: tell us about the new prime minister. what kind of figure has he been in british politics for the last few years?
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what's expected of him now? >> well, the first thing to say is he's very young. he's 43 years old. he'll be the young oft british prime minister in 200 years. and indeed you were referring to nick clegg the liberal democrat who is the deputy prime minister, also 43 years old. so very young team. david cameron's rise has been meteoric. i remember when i first met him was in i guess 2005 when he was an outsider for the job of leadership of the conservative party. he was visiting nursery schools in his local constituency near oxford. i was struck then and many people have been struck by the fact of his self-confidence, his unflapability. in a way he's kind of the polar opposite of gordon brown. gordon brown, one of his problems in national leadership has been that he's not a natural communicator. he has a short temper. david cameron by contrast is a
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very kind of natural politician and communicator and very self-confident. i think one of the remarkable things about this coalition government, the first coalition government for 70 years in this country, is how much david cameron has been willing to give away to liberal democrats to make this work. >> brown: let's go into that. mr. cameron, we heard him say he aimed to form a proper and full coalition. now we've heard that he's appointed mr. clegg as the deputy. five members of the liberal democrats will be in that coalition. what jumps out at you? what does that mean? what kind of coalition is it and how fragile a coalition is it? >> the first thing to say is the last time there was any talk here about a coalition involving the liberal democrats, it was politically a more natural pairing. that was between tony blair, who had just been elected labor leader, prime minister in a landslide in 1997, and the liberal democrats, even at the height of those negotiations which in the end
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failed, the maximum offer for the liberal democrats was two seats at the cabinet table. that gives you a measure of how much more to use david cameron's words "proper and full" this coalition is. that is surprising element number one. the other thing is that some of these jobs are probably going to be quite big. if you remember the liv-dems are the third party. they got less seats this time around than in the previous election o the face of it cameron didn't have to give away all this. i think what this reflects is to make sure that this isn't a fragile coalition and indeed to make sure because there's lots of speculation that it could last for a years, maybe even six months. i think the emphasis is on a fixed term parliament for four years with a hefty majority if it stays together of 70 in the house of commons which is what come ran... cameron wants and it sounds like clegg is very much on board.
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>> brown: it's early but what does it suggest to you about potential changes in policy? economically or internationally? >> well, i think economically in a way ironically this is an easy time to form a coalition gorment ... government in the sense that the deficit, the national debt, all these recession-related problems are so enormous that no matter who is in number 10 downing street it is pretty clear there are going to have to be massive and sustained cuts in public expenditure. the conservatives are already committed to an emergency budget within 50 days. and although rhetorically these two parties are not natural bedfellows on these big economic questions , both parties seem to recognize that they have to show, first of all, credibility for the international markets and they have to be able to take tough decisions. in a way the normal friction in a coalition government may
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be lessened simply by the scale of the economic problems they face. but you've already seen cameron jettisoning at least two kind of emblematic conservative campaign pledges: one to give tax breaks to families rather than single parents and another is to accept the liberal democrat proposal to basically take eventually take anybody earning less than 10 thousand pounds a year out of paying income tax altogether. there has been give and take. will they stick with it? >> brown: remind us, this is such a contrast to the american system, we watched the new prime minister go through the door at 10 downing street, transition happened so quickly, he begins governing right away? >> he does. in fact in the two statements issued by buckingham palace after the audiences that gordon brown and david cameron had with the queen, one, the
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resignation, the other asking cameron to form a government, there was a difference of 50 minutes, less than an hour. and unlike, for instance, in the states, there's no transition. as you say, cameron is now in number 10 downing street. the other main difference is there isn't a huge staff turnover. the same largely civil servants staff in number 10 and indeed in many government ministries will operate no matter whether the tories, labor or the lib-dems are in charge. >> brown: thanks so much. ned temko from the observer in london. >> ifill: still to come on the newshour, the blame game over the gulf oil spill; decades of child sexual abuse by irish priests; and the political road ahead for supreme court nominee elena kagan. but first, with the other news of the day, here's hari sreenivasan in our newsroom. >> sreenivasan: severe storms hit oklahoma and kansas overnight, killing at least five people and injuring nearly 60.
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the national weather service estimated at least ten tornadoes touched down in oklahoma alone. the twisters flattened homes and uprooted trees. today, families combed through what was left. in kansas, the most serious damage was west of wichita and there were widespread power outages. afghan president hamid karzai met with secretary of state hillary clinton, as part of his four-day trip to washington. clinton assured karzai the u.s. will remain committed to afghanistan long after u.s. troops withdraw. and karzai alluded to the tense relationship between the two countries of late, but insisted u.s. support is essential. >> we'll be having disagreements on issues from time to time but that is a sign of a mature relationship and a sign of a steady relationship. the steady and mature relationship is definitely going to give us the objectives in pursuit of which we have joined hands to bring security to afghanistan and by extension to the united states and the rest of the world.
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>> sreenivasan: in afghanistan today, a bombing in the south killed two u.s. service members. thousands of u.s., nato, and afghan forces have poured into the area in recent months to fight the taliban. across the border in pakistan, at least 24 militants were killed in suspected u.s. drone attacks. pakistani security officials said the raids targeted a major al-qaeda and taliban stronghold in north waziristan. it is the fourth strike in the region since a failed attack on new york city's times square earlier this month. u.s. officials have said the taliban in pakistan may have provided faisal shahzad, the man suspected of trying to bomb times square, with funding and training. the death toll from a pair of explosions at russia's largest coal mine climbed to 52 people today. 38 miners are still missing after saturday's blasts. today prime minister vladimir putin traveled to the mine to observe rescue operations. he also ordered an investigation into what caused the accident. the ash cloud from an erupting volcano in iceland shut down airports as far away as northern africa today. travel was disrupted in morocco,
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spain, and turkey, where airspace was restricted because of the height of the ash cloud. the volcano kept spewing lava and ash today. it has been erupting since mid- april, when air traffic in europe was suspended for five straight days. toyota posted a profit of $2.3 billion for the last fiscal year. and for the fourth quarter, from january to march, it made $1.2 billion in profit, this as the company fights to salvage its reputation after recalling more than eight million cars worldwide for faulty gas pedals, a braking software glitch and other defects. the company is facing more than 300 state and federal lawsuits in the u.s. alone. on wall street today, stocks were mixed. the dow jones industrial average lost nearly 37 points to close at 10,748. the nasdaq rose less than a point to close at 2375. those are some of the day's main stories. i'll be back at the end of the program with a preview of what you'll find tonight on the newshour's web site. but for now, back to gwen. >> ifill: as crews in the gulf continued today to search for
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new ways to plug the deep horizon oil spill, lawmakers and industry officials met in washington and louisiana to debate causes and consequences. newshour correspondent tom bearden has our report. >> may day, may day, may day. the rig is on fire. abandon ship. >> reporter: the ship captain said he heard that message over the radio the night of april 20 when the oil rig deep water horizon exploded in the gulf of mexico. at a hotel outside new orleans the coast guard and interior departments launched two days of public hearings to piece together what happened that night and to try to find a cause. captain landry was aboard a vessel near the rig the night of the blast he saw mud raining down on his ship. >> i was advised they were having trouble. momentarily after that another voice came on the radio asking me to go to standby. there was a transfer hose on board. there was a pause and a response.
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and then shortly after that the first explosion after the rig appeared. >> reporter: while eyewitnesses told their stories in louisiana today, senators in washington began questioning the top executives of the company'ss responsible for the deep water horizon. wyoming republican john gave his early impression of the witness testimony. >> reading the written testimony for today's hearing, reading the written testimony, i hear one message. the message is don't blame me. well, shifting this blame does not get us very far. >> reporter: nevertheless executives from the three companies that built, owned and ran the deep water horizon tried to do just that. >> transocean as owner and operator of the drilling rig had responsibility for the safety of drilling operations. >> reporter: bp blamed transocean which owns the rig and says a fail-safe device didn't work. transocean said it was halliburton's problem. that company was responsible for plugging the well with cement. and in turn halliburton blamed
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bp for a faulty drilling plan. bp owned the lease 50 miles off the louisiana coast. at least four million gallons of oil have spilled so far and possibly much more. despite repeated efforts, bp has so far failed to stop the leak nearly a mile below the ocean surface. a new jersey democrat noted a bitter coincidence when questioning bp-america's ceo lamar mckay. >> mr. mckay, we're siting in the very same hearing room where the hearings were held to investigate the sinking of the titanic. what i is a company not prepared to address a worst case scenario but a company that is flailing around trying whatever they think of next to try to deal with the worst case scenario that you all had the ability to do. >> we're drilling two relief wells. we're working on the sub sea on the blow-out preventors. we're fighting it aggressively off shore. we are using
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dispersement and skiming. we're protecting shorelines with booms. we are prepared to clean up. and deal with anything that gets to shore and we're prepared to deal with the economic impact. >> reporter: senator ron widen noted that the deep water horizon spill is only the latest in a series of catastrophes at bp facilities. mckay said the firm has a good record and assured the oregon democrat that a new management philosophy was in place. >> we have a tremendous track record of compliance. it's measured by the mms. what i'm telling you is i have not been aware of seen deficiencies in the gulf of mexico systems. >> i'm still not clear what changes have been made after tony hayward said there were going to be changes made. >> it gets down to the agenda and the culture of the company. >> it sure does. the culture of this company is that there's been one accident after another. >> the agenda has been clear. i believe we've progressed a long way. we're not finished. we'll never be finished. >> reporter: part of that
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obligation will be paying damages. mckay said his company would consider paying claims above the $75 million cap imposed by congress 20 years ago. mary landrieu's louisiana constituents are particularly interested in that outcome. >> will bp pay? >> we've been very clear, tony hayward our ceo has been very clear. we are going to pay all legit legitimates claims. >> define legitimate please. >> substantiated claims. i can't define the term. here's the intent. the intent is to be fair, responsive, and expeditious. and to... as to the $75 million that you mentioned, we think that we're going to exceed that obviously. that is irrelevant. >> reporter: it was the first in a series of hearings to explore the causes and effects of the giant spill that could impact off-shore drilling for years to come. but several senators said congress should seek to improve the practice, not abandon it.
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>> our nation will need a lot of oil for a long timeo come. and for the sake of our nation's economy, for the sake of our national security, and this incident notwithstanding, for the sake of the world's environment, we need to safely produce the maximum amount of that energy here at home. >> reporter: here in louisiana witnesses continue to tell the investigative panel what they saw and heard the night the deep water horizon blew up. 11 men are still missing and presumed dead. officials said the decision to call off the search for them was not made lightly. >> basically you get to that point where it seems to be from the person who is going to suspend that the search effort has been significant and there's just no reasonable assumption can be made that the individuals are still alive. >> reporter: kevin robb was on shore when the rig exploded and coordinated coast guard rescue efforts.
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investigators asked why the coast guard didn't help fight the fire. robb said the priority that night was saving lives. >> for this specific incident an off-shore commercial vessel, we're not the lead on the firefighting operation. i believe the outline specifically states that that the lead agent on that would be a certified fire marshal or fire boss, if you will. we have a finite number of personnel, resources, budgetary considerations. >> reporter: the public hearings continue tomorrow. the findings will be folded into a final investigatory report. >> ifill: the minerals management service is the main government agency in charge of regulating the offshore oil industry. but for years, it has had problems of its own. interior secretary ken salazar called for splitting the agency into two independent entities, one charged with inspections and enforcement, the other with collecting billions of dollars in royalties.
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>> we ought to then have the environmental and safety enforcement functions so that there is no conflict , real or perceived, with respect to those functions. the raising... allowing oil and gas companies to come and take of the american natural resources on the one hand because that's beneficial to the national security of the united states and to the treasury of the united states and then on the other hand making sure that as those functions take place that they're being conducted in the most safe way and in the most environmentally responsible way possible. >> ifill: but has the mineral management service been too cozy with the industry it regulates? for that we turn to steven power of the wall street journal. welcome, steven. in the wall street journal you did a big investigation about this agency. no one prior to now had ever really heard of. what is your understanding of the reasoning in splitting this agency in two?
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>> well, the reasoning is that in the view of some critics, this agency has a conflict of mission. that is, it has missions that are at odds with one another. on the one side, the agency is charged with essentially promoting off-shore drilling. the reason it has an incentive to do that is that its mission is to collect as much money from the oil companies as possible for the u.s. treasury and really maximize the return on those assets for the tax payer. but on the other side, they are also charged with regulating the safety of the off-shore oil and gas industry which often entails making tough decisions about whether or not to require a more expensive practice or a technology . and doing that can affect whether potentially whether a company, how much a company wants to invest in a particular product or project which ultimately can potentially affect how much of a return the tax payers are going to get from doing business with those companies. >> ifill: what did you find as
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evidence that perhaps there could be a conflict here? for instance, are there cases in which the mms has said to a company, you ought to do this better and the company simply hasn't done it and the mms hasn't followed snup. >> my colleague russell gold and i found a number of instances in which the agencies had flagged a particular safety problem or something that it was concerned about, a practice in the off-shore industry. but ultimately decided not to do anything about it or defer to the industry to figure out what to do about it. in some cases chose not to follow up on the recommendations of the very people that it had commissioned to study the problem. one example that we found was the case of a norwegian researcher who was commissioned by the mms about a decade ago or so to after the mms raised concerns about the effectiveness of blow-out preventers and whether or not they would work adequately and the norwegian researcher told
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us that he had recommended requiring that these blow-out preventers be equipped with essentially a second set of a sheer ram that can cut off and cap a well in the event of an emergency. he found that inasmuch as 10% of the time, the current method, the current standard for those equipment may not actually work because in certain parts of the pipe, certain parts of the pipe are just very thick. having another set of these sheer rams would at least increase the odds that you would be able to cap the well in the event of an emergency. >> ifill: but the companies don't indianapolis sarl build this back-up plan. >> but the agency chose not to go forward with that recommendation apparently because it would cost the industry more money. >> ifill: let's talk about the money. how much of these royalties and fees that the agency collects from these companies goes right to the agency? >> well, roughly half of the agency's budget comes eventually from various fees
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and rental receipts that they charge to the oil and gas industry. this agency, the mms, some years it's the second biggest governmental source of revenue, second only to the i.r.s. in terms of revenue for the federal treasury. it has a very important role even though it's obscure. >> ifill: has self-regulation been the norm for an agency such as this? it seems unusual to have a government agency regulating the industry benefiting from the industry's support or the industry doing well, i guess. >> well, one of the issues that has been raised by people who have worked at the mms is that this industry has just become much more some physician ticked, much more technical as it's gone into greater depths. depths of the ocean because of course there are restrictions increasingly on where you can drill. so as the industry has become more sophisticated, the mms
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has really chosen to deaver to to defer to the industry because that's where the expertise lies. what salazar appears to be doing is moving in the direction of the countries like the u.k. that have already taken steps to separate the royalty collection side of the minerals services they have from the safety side. in the u.k. after they did this about a decade ago after a very bad fire aboard an oil platform that killed over 100 people the safety record did improve. >> ifill: in general the u.k. being one example, does the u.s. safety record compare favorably or unfavorably with safety records in our countrys? >> we found in our examination that the u.s. record does not compare favorably. in fact, compared with european nations the rate of deaths and injuries is is significantly higher in some cases four to five times as high. >> ifill: does the... does this plan, this salazar plan
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that was announced today, does it have to be approved by anybody, by the congress? >> it's not entirely clear what aspects of it are going to have to be approved by congress or not. i mean another idea that's been floated out there by some lawmakers is to require that the head of this agency require senate confirmation. that appears not to be something that secretary salazar talked about in his announcement today. so we don't have quite all the details yet as to which efforts of this plan may require federal approval. >> ifill: thanks a lot for helping us out. >> glad to be with you. >> lehrer: next the sex abuse scandal in the catholic church. >> lehrer: next , the sex abuse scandal in the catholic church. today, pope benedict made his strongest public comment so far. he spoke en route to portugal, and blamed the church's own sins for what has happened. >> attacks against the pope
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and the church not only come from outside. but that the suffering of the church should come from internally, from the sins that exist in the church. i see this as truly terrifyinging. the greatest persecution of the church doesn't come from enemies on the outside but is born from sins within the church. the church needs to profoundly relearn penitentiary nens, accept purification and learn forgiveness but also justice. >> lehrer: the pope's remarks followed a surge in reports of abuse by priests in europe. special correspondent saul gonzalez reports on the fallout from those scandals in ireland. >> reporter: at a pub in north dublin, far from the city's tourist haunts, regulars gathered to drinks pints and talk about everything from rugby to politics. as in the rest of ireland there's also a lot of discussion about the country's clerical sex abuse scandals and what should be done with pedophile priests. >> they should all be hung.
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>> reporter: many here have their own stories of clergy abusing children while they were growing up. patrick harris's involves two childhood friends on his soccer team molested by a neighborhood priest. >> he took two boys down for a weekend. the rest of the football team was supposed to be gone away. >> reporter: he took two kids away. >> two youngsters to another place. >> reporter: and abused them. >> yeah, abused them. >> we are called to partnership with jesus christ. >> reporter: ireland which is 87% catholic has been grappling with the issue of clerical sex abuse for more than a decade. in recent months and weeks there have been new shocks and developments. reports sponsored by the government have detailed sexual and physical abuse of thousands of irish children by catholic institutions and in the dublin archdiocese. the resignation of three irish bishops accused of mishandling abuse cases and a letter from pope benedict distributed at
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all catholic parishes in ireland. personally apologizing to abuse victims. >> the people are very angry. the people have had their eyes opened. the lid is off the can of worms. >> reporter: marie collins, herself a victim of childhood rape by a priest, is an advocate for clerical sex abuse victims in ireland. >> whereas in the past people didn't want to believe that the church was behaving as they were. i think now we're at the point where the people do believe it. they're angry with the church. they're angry with the bishops. they've lost trust and respect for the catholic church. >> it's a change of attitude that's required. really i think it's a change of personnel. i don't believe the people who are there are capable of changing. >> reporter: andrew madden was the first victim of clerical sex abuse in ireland to go public with his experiences in 1995. >> i was an altar boy in our local church in the '70s. i was sexually abused by the
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local priests father ivan payne for about two-and-a-half years. when i was 17, i reported him to a school teacher. he was eventually moved from the parish. >> reporter: he had access to other children. >> of course he had. then other people came forward. he was eventually convicted of abusing ten boys over a 20-year period. >> reporter: as in other countries such transferring of pedophile priests from parish to parish was common in ireland. church leaders now say they're aware of the pain and anger they've helped cause and are engaged in institutional soul searching. what did... what have the last few years been like for rank-and-file catholic priests in this country in the wake of the scandals? >> this has most a most difficult time in our history. >> reporter: father michael drum is both a parish priest and the director of catholic education in ireland. >> you would feel totally dispirited on the one hand, ashamed on the other. and deeply perturbed about
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what happened. i suppose the biggest question of all is how could a system that was intent on serving people go so astray. that is the fundamental question. >> reporter: marie collins thinks it's because of the insular culture of catholic leadership. >> it's an all male group of people who have exactly the same training, exactly the same beliefs, and they reinforce each other. they live in this bubble. i think they have completely lost touch with the ordinary man in the street. >> reporter: the irish catholic church says it's now trying to ensure that few if any children are ever abused by clergy again. >> very simply, we have one single aim. that is to safeguard children in the catholic church in ireland. >> reporter: an expert on child welfare issues and a presbyterian has been selected by ireland's catholic church to develop child abuse safeguards and reporting standards. >> with this new system in place if you go to the back of any church in ireland, you'll
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find contact details for that parish. the telephone number for the national office. >> reporter: do you actively investigate, your office? or do you turn it over to civil authorities? >> in the first instance we communicate with the state-run child protection services. >> reporter: the guardy being the police. >> the police, exactly. we alert them in every situation. we also from a church point of view ensure that any church issues are dealt with. if the alleged person is a member of the clergy, then we speak to their bishop with regard to removing them from ministry. on a precautionary suspension basis until the investigation has been completed. >> the scandals are not happening as they happened in the past. >> reporter: conservative irish newspaper columnist david quinn is also director of the institute, a catholic think tank. he believes the irish church doesn't get enough credit for reforming itself. >> people still have the impression that the scandals
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are burning out of control and that abuse is prevalent in the church as it was in the 1970s and '80s. people generally don't know yet that the church has had, you know, good solid solid protection standards in place for at least the last 15 years and they're being improved all the time. >> reporter: however, the past remains an issue. there's growing pressure for ireland's catholic leader, cardinal sean brady, to resign. >> i'm deeply grateful to the holy father for his profound kindness and concern. >> reporter: because in 1975 he helped hide the identity of an abusive priest who went on to abuse dozens of other children. some in ireland want even more heads to roll. >> i want the entire of the head regimes to go. the top echelon should be fired. >> reporter: this singer has protested clerical child abuse and the church's response for years. >> this should be a criminal investigation of the vatican, criminal investigation of the pope. he should stand down.
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the rest should be fired and face prosecution. anyone who was an accessory by silence to the crime of child abuse and to reckless endangerment of children should be prosecuted. simple as that. why is it that they can live by their lawes and not the laws that the rest of us are expected to live by? it makes no sense. >> reporter: meanwhile, some of ireland's parishes are trying new things to raise the spirits of demoralized congregations and give the church a new image. at dublin's gardner street church, that effort is championed by a choir that belts out pop tunes not hymns at sunday mass. ♪ >> reporter: won't completely overshadow the church's good works. >> i can completely empathize with people who have had a bad experience and no that would completely turn them off to church. what i suppose my message to people would be don't let or try not to let, you know, the scandals blacken the entire
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church because there's so much good going on. >> reporter: beyond testing their faith catholic sex scandals have hit the pocketbooks of the irish people. because of its failure to investigate and punish mistreatment of children in catholic institutions, the government has paid out over a billion tax payer dollars to victims of clerical abuse. >> ifill: >> ifill: saul's segment was produced in collaboration with hd-net. >> lehrer: now, a look at the supreme court nomination of elena kagan, 24 hours later, as seen by karen tumulty, national political reporter for the "washington post," and tom goldstein, a washington lawyer and founder of aren, how would you characterize the reaction to the nomination itself up to now at least? >> well, by nominating the first nominee in almost 40 years to doesn't have a record on the bench, the president really hasn't given his opponents much by way of ammunition here. but what you're hearing from the right is largely the
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suggestion that the president is looking for somebody who would be... the phrase you heard more often than any other yesterday was "rubber stamp" for his own policies on the court. liberals have largely been pretty supportive of this nomination although there are again a few misgivings because helena kagan really doesn't have that much of a record for people to base their... put their faith in at this point. >> lehrer: what would you add to that, tom, just in terms of general reaction? >> i think it's been pretty muted so far. i think the administration is probably pretty happy about that. they were not looking for something that would jazz up either their own base or the conservative base. what they wanted was someone who had a philosophy that the president agreed with and someone that he knew, someone who had a lot of of qualifications but wouldn't create a big distraction for the summer. >> lehrer: karen, what does your reporting say at this point? i know we're only talking one day here. is is there a major effort afoot among the republicans to block this?
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>> i am not getting a sense that there is a real appetite for a huge fight here. now it is washington. it is an election year. there will be some battle. but i think at this point it's one that is primarily aimed at kind of revving up the base on both sides, maybe raising a little money on both sides. most people i've talked to do not expect, say, a philadelphia bust er in the senate. >> lehrer: let's go through some of the issues. do you agree with that, tom? >> i do. i think that's right. >> lehrer: let's go through some of the button issues here that always affect supreme court nominations. on kale an, what is known about her... on kagan, what is known about her position, say, on abortion. >> very little. she hasn't expressed a personal view either about her own views or the constitution. >> lehrer: nothing about roe v. wade. >> no. i've read everything she's written i think from talking with people in terms of even teaching her class, there is a memorandum that came out from
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her time in the domestics domestic policy shop advising the president on a compromise about late term abortion. that really reflected clinton administration's approach. one she seemed comfortable with about being kind of in the center. even that wasn't about what the constitution requires. it was a political judgment. >> lehrer: is there any doubt in anybody's mind that she's pro-choice? and she would vote to uphold roe v. wade? >> the kinds of questions-- and tom can correct me on this-- that come to the court are not generally yes or no on "roe v. wade." they're questions that are sort of at the margins of the abortion issue. things in recent years about whether minors should have parental consent. those sorts of things. the papers that were brought to light today had to do with late-term abortions. i think... i don't know... i think that people think she is essentially pro-choice, but i don't know that they know how she would rule on these kind
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of marginal questions. >> lehrer: can it be possible? >> i think it's almost impossible to believe that she would be against "roe v. wade." but because, just think of the jobs that she's had. she's gone into two democratic administrations, the things she's talked about she's done in a liberal side not extreme liberal but on that kind of things. you couldn't be more right that really decisions about minors, about waiting periods and the like that are at the margin of the abortion debate we don't know where she would be at. and the administration, like every administration before her, didn't ask her that question. >> lehrer: the people who have raised questions particularly on this judiciary committee. they all mentioned her decision when she was dean of the harvard law school having to do with military recruiters. explain what she did. >> basically she briefly barred military recruiters from a facility on the harvard campus in protest essentially of the "don't ask don't tell" policy.
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you know, this is something that... it is basically the only thing that people have found specifically, i think, in her record to talk about. >> lehrer: she was dean of a law school. she was not involved in legal proceeding, right, as a lawyer? >> well, there was in fact a legal proceeding. but again i think that at her, you know, this is not something that goes to the larger question of her judicial philosophy. this is sort of essentially one episode in her career that people are going to probably use to portray her somehow as anti-military. >> lehrer: anti-military. what about gay rights? where does that fit into this? >> this is a question about gay rights and the military. the policy that was involved applied to all employers. what had happened is is that congress pass a law that said you can't keep the military out because of "don't ask don't tell" or we'll stop all of your federal funding. that would have been $ 300 million to harvard. helena kagan said when a court of appeals had struck down that law that she applied the rule to the military.
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the military couldn't come on campus. she said in a very personal tone that she really believed in equality. she also explained that the reason she cared so much about this is she wanted gays to be able to serve in the military. it was a sign of a respect to the military. she wasn't trying to keep people out of the military. this will play out. it's an important social issue. it does reflect that she cared a lot about discrimination against homosexuals. she tried to frame it in terms of her great respect for service. >> lehrer: do you expect that, karen, to play out as a big issue when the hearings actually begin, assuming it gets there? >> i think it will be aired but i think it will play out probably pretty quickly. i think the larger issue is the context under which she is going to serve on the court. if she is confirmed, she will come to the court at a moment when it is looking at a lot of obama administration policies and court challenges to them. things like challenges to the new health care law. i think that that is really
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going to be the larger context that people will be looking at her. >> lehrer: the rubber stamp thing. >> rubber stamp question. >> lehrer: is that a reasonable expectation, tom, to expect that the former solicitor general in the obama administration and former official in the clinton administration is pretty much going to be in sync with what the obama administration is going to do on a whole list of things? >> maybe not. presidents have been disappointed in the past. they wouldn't have asked her questions about where she was at on the health care law. this is the new twist a judicial activism. conservatives have complained a lot about people striking down laws. now the concern is that she might vote to uphold laws. it's really just another way of framing opposition concern about a democratic nominee. >> lehrer: now there's been not just conservatives who have been ... the punditry as you know has been everywhere on this. in these last 24 hours. some liberals are supposedly concerned. what is their concern? >> one of their main concern s
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is what they saw from her as solicitor general. her public career has always been essentially as an advocate of some administration's policies not her personal ones. but liberals in particular are concerned about some of the cases particularly in national security where she has argued for the obama position for a really sort of expansive view of the role of the executive. but i think larger ... i think the larger concerns among liberals is this was essentially a missed opportunity, that obama took a safe choice, a relatively moderate choice when what they have really been dreaming of is a some sort of outspoken, full-throated leb ral voice on the court that would essentially be a counterbalance to scalia. >> lehrer: would you agree with those who say, tom, that barack obama, there's no way in the world he was going to appoint such a full-throated lib liberal? >> it depends on what we mean. there are people on the far
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left who are very respected who didn't get that serious consideration but the president did, for example, with diane wood a democratically appointed judge in the 7th circuit took her very, very seriously. she has ruled on things like abortion, religion cases, race cases and the like. they took a pass there. i do think that the administration decided to go with someone who has a reputation for building bridges between left and right but still they're confident. they know her. people know her going back to the clinton administration. they have a general sense that she's kind of a pragmatic progressive person who would be on the supreme court. >> lehrer: tom, karen, thank you both very much. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> ifill: finally tonight, a story about trees, climate change, carbon, and money. it comes from tonight's edition of "frontline world." in brazil, businesses are buying large chunks of the amazon area to offset their industrial emissions. they promise not to cut down the trees. that sets up conflict with local
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residents who rely on the forests for their livelihood. here's an excerpt from the documentary. the reporter is mark shapiro. before i left the amazon, i came upon one more place where the tensions in the forest were coming to a head. it was a scene that contained all the elements of this complicated story. these are illegal charcoal kilns. what this is doing is burning down the amazon to create charcoal that ultimately ends up in a steel factory. that steel factory makes automobile doors with many other items that start their journey right here. we watched as the agents cracked down on the charcoal people. and the old and new carbon economies collided.
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>> if you leave the charcoal, i will destroy the kiln. i have kids to raise. how am i going to live? i'm going to have to rob people. >> reporter: the scene likely to be repeated. people struggling for survival and a forest that needs protection. >> ifill: the report is a joint project of frontline world and the center for investigative reporting. it airs on most pbs stations tonight. their plan to encourage businesss to lower their carbon footprint. >> lehrer: again, the major developments of the day. conservative david cameron became the new british prime minister after labour leader gordon brown stepped aside. oil executives blamed each other in the explosion that led to the
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oil spill in the gulf of mexico. they testified at a congressional hearing. and severe storms and tornados killed at least five people and injured nearly 60 in oklahoma and kansas. the newshour is always online. hari sreenivasan, in our newsroom, previews what's there. hari? >> sreenivasan: on the rundown, there's more on the road ahead for supreme court nominee kagan from politico's white house editor craig gordon. find the white house report on childhood obesity released today. and on newshour extra, a chicago teen reports on the lack of healthy food options in many minority communities. plus, on paul solman's "making sense" page, a profile of a florida realtor, about to lose his fourth house to foreclosure, but still scrambling to help others. all that and more is on our web site, >> lehrer: and again, to our honor roll of american service personnel killed in the iraq and afghanistan conflicts.
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we add them as their deaths are made official and photographs become available. here, in silence, are nine more.
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>> ifill: and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm gwen ifill. >> lehrer: and i'm jim lehrer. 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:
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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. captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh
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