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tv   Politics and Public Policy Today  CSPAN  May 6, 2016 11:19am-1:20pm EDT

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on american history tv on cspan 3. >> we're here to review the major findings of our full investigation of fbi domestic technology including the cointel program and other programs aimed at domestic targets. fbi surveillance of law abiding citizens and groups, political abuses of fbi intelligence and several specific cases of unjustified intelligence operation. >> the 1975 church committee hearings convened to investigate the surveillance of the government. staff assistant to president nixon, on a plant he presented to president nixon to collect information about radical groups using burglary electronic surveillance and opening of mail. >> the bureau had over taken for a number of years up until 1966.
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it had been successful and valuable in matters involving espionage. and that they felt that this again was given the revolutionary climate they not they needed to have the authority to do. >> and just before 7:00 p.m. eastern. >> and she said you were chosen. she was from czechoslovakia. she was there for four years in the concentration camp. she spoke. and they asked her what's happening? where are our parents? and she said you see that smoke? there are your parents. >> holocaust survivor anna gross recalls her family's experiences in the ghettos in nazi occupied hungary in poland and forced hard labor. this event was part of the united states holocaust memorial
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museum's first person series. then at 8:00 on lectures in history. >> anarchists named alexander burkeman broke into the office in nearby pittsburgh. shot him twice and repeatedly stabbed him. burkeman, however is one of the great failures in assassination history. not only did he fail to kill him, he also undermined the strikers for whom he was professing sympathy. because in many ways public opinion saw this outburst of radical violence as a discredit to the union movement. >> the university of maryland's robert chielz. sunday morning at 10:00 on road to the white house. the 1968 presidential campaign of george wallace. for the complete american history tv weekend schedule go to
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now to london for prime minister's questions with prime minister david cameron. he answered about the syrian refugee crisis and the coming referendum about whether the uk should stay or leave. this is about 40 minutes. >> order. questions to the prime minister. >> sir martin day. >> number one, mr. speaker. >> prime minister. >> thank you mr. speaker. i know the whole house will wish to join me in congratulating leicester city on winning the premier league title by 5,000 to one outsiders at the start of the season they've shown ability resilience and great team ethic. mr. speaker this morning i had meetings with colleagues and others and in addition to my duties in this house, i shall have further such meetings later
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today. martin day. >> thank you, mr. speaker may i start by associating myself with comments regarding leicester city. the secretary said on monday there is a need for a new initiative and a dialogue to keep it alive. would the prime minister withdraw the strikes which have done nothing to bring about peace and redouble his efforts in securing resolution to war by a new dialogue as recommended by the foreign secretary. >> i think we should do both things which is to continue to hit diesh thaierrorists because they threaten our country but do everything to support. we'll continue to take both those steps. >> paul mccartney. >> thank you, speaker. my honorable friend are standing
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along with our speaker. and labor will lose some seats. we and lincoln are aware of the need for tolerance and stamping out racism and anti-semitism. so would my right honorable friend join me and all our colleagues on this side of the house in condemning the action and propaganda of hezbollah and hamas. >> honorable friend, if you want to have well run services at a good cost and keep taxes down, it's right to vote conservative, right across the country. but the point he makes about hamas is important we should be clear about who they are. they are a terrorist group who believes in killing jews. and that's why whatever the right honorable gentleman says about combatting anti-semitism will mean nothing until he withdraws the remarks they are
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his friends. he needs to do it and he should do it today. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i join the prime minister in i can't telling -- congratulating leicester city. i hope it's not an indication he's going to support another football team or stick with the two he's got already. later today, mr. speaker, commemorations begin for holocaust memorial day in israel. i hope there is agreement right across all parts of this house in sending our best wishes to those commemorating the occasion. and sending a very clear statement that anti-semitism has no place in our society whatsoever. we all have a duty to oppose it. tomorrow, mr. speaker, people will go to the polls in england.
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nine of the ten most deprived counsels are set to be cuts higher than the national average. with eight facing cuts more than three times the national average meaning less money for social care and those in the greatest need. the prime minister used to say we're all in it together. what happened to that? >> let me join the right gentleman saying we should always support holocaust memorial day whether it is here in the united kingdom where we have a number of commemoration or in israel. i'm going to press him on this point. he did say this. he said it will be my pleasure and my honor to host an event in parliament where our friends from hezbollah will be speaking. i've also invited friends from hamas to come and speak as well. hamas and hezbollah believe in killing jews. not just in israel, but around the world. when he takes this opportunity -- if he wants to
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clear up the problem of anti-semitism in the labor party now is a good time to start. withdraw that they're your friends. >> mr. speaker. i've made it very clear, labor is anti-racist party and there is no place for anti-semitism within it. we suspended any members that have undertaken any anti-semitic activities or statements and establishing inquiry. it is the point -- the points he was making earlier relate to a discussion i was hosting in order to try to promote a peace process and it was not an approval of those organizations. i absolutely do not approve of those organizations. mr. speaker. the reality of the -- the reality is that vulnerable
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people are being abandoned in this country. the prime minister said social care and support for the elderly is a priority for him. so if that's the case, why has he cut $4.5 billion since 2010 from the adult social care budget leaving 300,000 older people without care and support they need to live in dignity? >> first of all we're putting more money into social care and allowing cancels to raise the tax to put it in. i'm afraid he's going to have to do it one more time. he referred to hamas and hezbollah as his friends. he needs to withdraw that remark. let me give him another chance. are they your friends or are they not? those organizations in their constitutions believe in persecuting and killing jews. they are anti-semitic and racist organizations. he must stand up and say they are not his friends.
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>> mr. speaker, obviously, anyone commits racist acts or anti-semitic is not a friend of mine. it's very clear about that. very clear about that. i would also invite him to think for a moment about the conduct of his party and his candidate in the london mayor elections. the way in which the systematically smearing my friend who is our candidate for mayor. i wish him well. and i invite the prime minister to undertake to insure that the conservative party in london desisted from the activities it's undertaking at the present time in smearing my friend. last week, mr. speaker, the joseph roundry foundations destitution report found that 1.25 million people in britain were unable to afford the essentials needed to eat, stay warm, clean, and dry.
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the number of people using food banks has risen last year. the prime minister usually lectures us about a stronger economy. when will the stronger economy mean that fewer people need to use food banks? >> what the stronger economy means is there are over 2 million more people in work than when i became prime minister. you can earn 11,000 pounds before you pay tax as i'm prime minister. we have now introduced a national living wage, something never done in 13 years of a labor government. i completely reject what he says about labor's candidate for the london mayoralty. we are not responsible for everything someone says when they share a platform with us. we can't control everyone who appears in a picture. but there is a pattern of behavior with the haunterable member. he shared a flat form with the man who trained the ring leader
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of the 7/7 attacks and accused the united states of bringing 9/11 on themselves. he called for jews to be drowned in the ocean. when this was put to the honorable member this is what heedhe said. he described it as flowery language. if he wants to know why he has a problem with anti-semitism is because his candidates share platforms with anti-semites and excuse their words. say you withdraw the remark about hamas and hezbollah being your friend. >> mr. speaker. last week, the prime minister tried as he often does to smear my friend. by his association with garny. it turns out garny is an active
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conservative supporter who has shared platforms with the honorable member from richmond. he should reflect on the words said by lord landsly some years ago that racism was endemic within his party. we have set up a commission of inquiry, i suggest he might think about doing the same thing. mr. speaker, the former housing chief has said the housing bill removes the security that people need. it's fundamentally wrong. homelessininess up by a third se he became prime minister and rising again this year. malcolm wrote to me this week and said he and his family will lose his home if the housing bill go through. why can't the prime minister follow the welsh labor government in replacing a -- in
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placing a legal duty, a legal responsibility on councils to help people during a housing crisis. why can't he do that. >> this government has not done in wales, but here we've built twice as much council hearing as labor did in the previous 13. i'm not going to let this rest. he raised the issue. this is a man who says it's wrong to stop people to go and fight -- look. as long as it takes. do you want to know? do you want to be the views of the person that you're leader has just quoted. he described women as -- right. the honorable member might be interested in this. he described women as subservient to women.
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home sexuali alt is an unnatura act. he stood on platform with people who wanted an islamic state. it is ultimately condemned to failure because he won't condemn people who sit on platforms with people like that. >> mr. speaker, i did point out to the prime minister. i was trying to help him. but the genuine concern is a conservative. maybe he would care to think about that. he might also consider that arwan, a former conservative parliamentary candidate said this of the tory campaign. i'll be voting labor. a life long tory voter and excandidate i'm ashamed of the campaign of hate. so, mr. speaker, in fact, homelessness has been reduced by
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67% in wales. since the new regulations came in. why can't you do the same in this country? inequality is getting worse. education ought to be a route out of poverty. new figures show that innumbther people participating on a level two adult education course in the first half of the year fell by a fifth compared to last year. how can we tackle inequality when the prime minister's government are taking away the opportunities for people to find a pathway out of poverty. >> he talks about inequality. inequality has gone down under this government. there are 764,000 fewer workless house holds. there are 449,000 fewer children living in workers households. we have a growing economy. living wage. people paying less taxes. that is what's happening under the government. once again i say to him. we are investing in the schools
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to give people opportunity. we're investing schemes to allow people to own homes to give them opportunities. he opposes all those things. because the truth is this, he may be a friend of the terrorist group hamas but he's an enemy of aspiration. >> mr. speaker. politics is about choices. the prime minister can't -- >> order. order. order. >> let me very gently say to the over enthusiastic government that his role is to be seen and not heard. no further noise from the honorable gentleman today or his sidekick to his right. he will not shout people down in this chamber. be quiet or leave.
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very simple. jeremy corbyn. the government has cut income tax to the richest, cut corporation tax again and again. at every turn they make the wrong choicesi. tomorrow people can make their own choices about the crisis of social care. housing crisis in this country. unprecedented cuts to local councils in areas of greatest need. the cuts to further education. taking opportunities away from young people. the choices are being made, they cut taxes for the rich. we want to insure there is proper taxation to insure there are decent services for the rest. >> he's right tomorrow is about choices. you can choose a party that's on the side of security for hard working people.
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that wants to make there are more jobs, better pay, lower taxes good schools for your children. a seven day nhs there for you when you need it. or the other choice, you can back a party that puts extremists over working people. and that is utterly incabpable f providing the security your local council or our country needs. >> thank you, mr. speaker. my right honorable friend agree with me in order to create a power house that can produce innovation and prosperity, investment is needed to those in cities. of particular concern to my constituents is a junction of the a 34 and the a 560. will the prime minister and his ministers meet with me to discuss how we can keep traffic moving into and out of the great city of manchester and alleviate congestion in my constituency in
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cheatham. >> that's why we establish transport for the north to look at schemes like the one she proposed so that we can speak with one voice. it's our investing $13 billion in transport across the north over this parliament. planning for the next road strategy after 2020 is underway. it's the right time to make the point that she does. >> angus robertson. >> last week the prime minister took issue when i raised the issue of unaccompanied syrian refugee children in europe and the kinder transports of the 1930's. he's been written to by sir eric rice the chairman of the kinder transport association of jewish refugees he wrote the echoes of the past haunt many of my feller kinder and i whose fate rested with members of the british parliament. i feel it is incumbent on us to once again demonstrate our compassion and human kindness to provide sanctuary to those in
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need. why has it taken so long and the threat of a parliamentary defeat for the prime minister to begin changing his mind? >> prime minister? >> first of all, let me pay tribute to the gentleman that the honorable member raises. and also let's beclear no country done more than britain to help when it comes to syria refugees, no country has raised more money and only the united states has spent more money. i want us to proceed with as much support across the house as we can. i think it's right to stick to the principle we shouldn't be encouraging people to make this dangerous journey. i think it's right to stick to the idea we keep investing in the refugee camps and the neighboring countries. i also think it's right not to take part in the eu relocation and resettlement schemes which have been a failure. we're already taking child migrants in europe with a direct family connection to the uk. we'll speed that up. and also talking to save the
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children to see what we can do more. particularly with children who came here before the eu turkey deal was signed. because as i say again, what i don't want us to do is to take steps that will encourage people to make this dangerous journey, because otherwise our actions, however well-meaning they will be could result in more people dying rather than more people getting a good life. >> robertson. >> thank you mr. speaker. last week i accused the prime minister walking by on the other side when he stoutly defended his then policy opposing further help for unaccompanied refugee children in europe. if this is the beginning of a u turn i very much welcome it as i'm sure all members of the house do. i encourage him to think of what more can be done given the kinder transport helped 10,000 children from europe. when i ask the prime minister to take the opportunity to thank
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lord dubs and all campaigners who have worked hard to make the uk to live up to the spirit of the kinder transport. >> i certainly think that all those people deserve recognition for the work they've done to put the issue so squarely on the agenda. let me say again, i do reject the comparison with the kinder transport. for this reason. i would argue that what we are doing, primarily which is taking children from the region taking vulnerable people from the camps, going to the neighboring countries, and taking people into our country, housing them, clothing them, feeding them, making sure they have a good life here, that to me is like the kinder transport. to say that the kinder transport is taking today children from france or germany or italy safe countries that are democracies, i think that is an insult to those countries. but as i've said, because of the steps that we're taking it won't be necessary to send the amendment back to the other place.
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the amendment doesn't mention a number of people. we're going to go around, the local authorities and see what more we can do. let's stick to the principle that we should not be taking new arrivals to europe. >> nigel evan. >> thank you, mr. speaker. the department of health are looking to introduce a dna test for pregnant women. in order to reduce the number of miscarriages. this will have an unintended consequence of increasing the number of abortions for those with down's syndrome. i know nobody in this house who cares more about those with special needs for protection and for the safety of those with special needs, so will the prime minister meet with me and representatives of the east lancaster down syndrome support group so we can look at protecting those with down's syndrome and they will not be simply screened out. >> my honorable friend races an important issue.
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a local group of down's syndrome parents came to my constituency on friday and made all the arguments to me. i'm taking this up with the department of health to make sure that all the right processes are followed. there are moral and ethical issues that need to be considered in the cases. we have to respect the view that women want to have screening and testing about the health of the children. and we should be in favor of maximum transparency on the basis it is optional rather than mandatory. but it is part of routine care. so the health secretary will have to find a way through this, but above all we make sure we go about it in the right way. >> alex cunningham. >> uk manufacturing components for cars. i'm sure the prime minister knows of the need for us all to get behind our manufacturing industry. but does he agree with the managing director mike matthews
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who said it would be business suicide for the uk to leave the eu? >> prime minister. >> we should listen to the business voices, so many of whom say we're better off in a reformed european union. we get an enormous amount of investment, particularly from japanese motor industries, i'll be welcoming the japanese prime minister here to the uk tomorrow. i'm sure this will be on the agenda. >> closed question dr. julian lewis. >> prime minister. >> nato is the corner stone of britain's defense our place in the eu in my view is a vital part in protecting our national security. i argue it helps in two ways, by insuring the issues settled by dialogue and helping to provide assistance in particular circumstances. >> dr. julian lewis. >> i agree with the prime minister's remarks about nato does he accept whilst
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detaterships attack democracies. they seldom go to war with each other. we're constantly told to prevent argument between its members. is it not heading in the wrong direction by trying to create an unelected super national government of europe which is accountab accountable to nobody? >> my honorable friend has long-standing and passionate views on this issue. i would make a couple of points in response. i don't think we should forget that some of the countries now in the european union until very recently weren't democracies but were indeed forms of detak dictatorship. they have had to put together other norms to help them on their way. the final point i'd make we have had an unparalleled period of
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peace in europe. whether you want to attribute that to the nato or the eu why would you want to put it at risk? >> mr. speaker, the findings of the nhs england record into the southern closure of departmental health hospital in york has concerns the relationship and authorities between all the nhs bodies as defined on the health and social care act are dysfunctional and failed patient safety. health watch report shows harm occurr occurred lives have been lost. will you accept the health act has to change. >> my understanding is that she called for action on an out dated and dangerous facility back in july last year. that is exactly what happened. i'm pleased that action was taken. it wasn't fit for purpose.
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the cqc identified serious and life threatening issues on patient safety. they weren't put right and so as a result there was a decision to close and reopen the facility after changes. so, of course, you're going to have incidents of poor practice, what matters is do we intervene fast enough and put them right? in this case, i'll look again at what she said it does look as if action was taken. >> sir edward lee. >> the christian zuzeyazidi chin are suffering. may i urge the prime minister to indeed do more to replicate the kinder transport of the 1930's? that is what we are doing in taking children directly from the camps. if we were to take 16 year-olds from a safe environment in europe we would simply be
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causing more misery and encouraging the people trafficking. >> two questions there. one is if there is more we can do to label what has happened as genocide. this has been something that is done under a legal definition. i believe very much that it is clearly heading, you know, there's a very strong case for saying it is genocide. i hope it will be portrayed and spoken as such. on the issue of the kinder transport. i would agree with him. we've got an enormous amount we could be proud of. the money we put into the camps, the fact we raised more in london on one day than any humanitarian conference has ever raised in the history of the world. and we got a very strong record. now as i'm saying we are going to do more for children who were already registered in europe after -- before the eu turkey deal. the principle we should try to cling to is that we shouldn't do anything that encourages people to make the perilous journey.
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that's been the corner stone of our policy. >> thank you very much mr. speaker. for the benefit of the house and for ten and 11 year-olds up and down the country will the prime minister explain benefit of thed for 10 and 11-year-oldings up and down the country, would you explain subordinating conjunctive and set out his edition of a mobile verb. >> the whole point of these changes is to make sure our children are better educated than we are. that's why delighted they are going to be. >> martin vickers. >> thank you, mr. speaker. three years ago -- order. i want to hear mr. vickers'
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inquiry. >> thank you, mr. speaker. three years ago five members of the coburn family were killed in tragic accident on aa 18. at the recently concluded inquest, the coroner said no confidence in the work by the highway authority to remedy the situation. the council obviously wants to do all they can. if committed to carry out the work in full, however, resource are limited. serious consideration to an application from the council for additional resources to avoid a future tragedy. >> i will certainly have a look at the aa 18, the importance for his constituency and look at what the highway made available and whether there's real evidence more can be done to make it safe. >> thank you, mr. speaker. described as north korea of africa at the recent inaugural meeting. the meeting had reports of
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government enforced construction and advises against travel to areas within 25 kilometers of the ethiopian border. they urge guidance to transport asylum seekers back. >> we know it's a deeply undemocratic and autocratic country that's done appalling things to their people. that's one of the reason why so many people crossing the mediterranean from the route came to the country, the eritrean i did. >> i asked on behalf of my mother maude if the eu referendum vote could be brought forward because of her age. she was then 100. she now wishes to know if she needs to set a world record for longevity before the chillcot
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report is published. >> i think i can reassure maude that this summer she'll have, i think, a double opportunity to deal with these things, referendum on the 23rd. i'm sure the report will come not too much longer after that. >> i imagine she'll want to debate on the matter. >> mr. speaker, the steel company wishes to complete sale of assets by june and preferred bidder in place by the end of the month. does the prime minister really think that that's a realistic timeframe where there will be a credible process of due diligence and what steps is the prime minister taking to ensure the they will be a responsible
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seller. >> the deadline yesterday was met by a number of serious inquiries into buying all of tata, get the list to those really seriously intending to bid for the business. you're right. it's a short timetable. asked what we're doing. we're talking intensely with tata to make sure they are doing everything we can to make sure this is a serious sales process. >> prime minister made important announcement with regard to refugee children. time is of the essence because of the peculiar vulnerability of children without the guidance and protection of their families. could the prime minister give an indication to the house how quickly he expects to have those arrangements in place? >> minister. >> i'm very grateful to my friend who spoke very passionately about the issue. i don't see any reason why there needs to be a long delay.
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we need local councils, already under pressure because of the number of child refugees who have come. so we need to carry out those conversations, then hopefully we can make process this year. >> mr. speaker, documents leaked earlier this week appear to confirm what most feared that the transatlantic trade investment partnership makes unacceptable concessions to public health and safety regulations opening the doors for u.s. investors to sue for loss of profits. will the prime minister recognize the concern raised by the french president until the government seeking for national health service and public services. >> this is the reddest of red herrings, i have to say. the health service is completely protected under this agreement as it is under other agreements. there are all sorts of reasons people might be against free trade and wanting to see an expansion of trade and investment in jobs. i think we should be honest
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about it and say they don't want to see things happen rather than finding total red herrings, getting in the way of what could add tens of billions of pounds to the economy and bring investments to our country. >> calm yourself, mr. campbell. you're supposed to be a senior statesman in the house. calm down. take up yeager i've told you before. cheryl murray. >> new life found in my constituency celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. will my friend join me in congratulating and thanking not only the new lifeboat men but all the lifeboat men who keep us safe at sea. >> i'm very happy to do that in conjunction with my honorable friend and incredibly brave people having met some of them particular lew during flood episodes we've had in recent years. immense proffism and dedication they bring to the task and put
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their lives at risk all the time to save others. they really are the bravest of the brave. >> number 13, mr. speaker. >> what matters is what works and allows the government to make long-term decisions in the long-term interest of the country. in my view five-term fixed year parliament are an important part of that. >> the prime minister ensured that the government's performance also includes the long overdue creation of a center for sexual abuse of children, something i first raised with margaret thatcher in 1989. we can deal with the awful consequences of child sex abuse on victims and perpetrators but we must also use early intervention expertise to stop it from happening in the first place. will the prime minister back the excellent work of ministers and members from all parties and get this much needed what works center up and running without delay within the five-year term
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of this government. >> i'm glad the honorable gentleman rescued his own question with his own words. we're grateful to him constitutionally at least. [ laughter ] >> i'm sorry to say can a question in 1989 can take so long to get an answer. i can tell you setting up center of? expertise on sexual abuse is exactly what the home office will do, play a significant role sharing high-quality evidence to determine what works to prevent sexual exploitation. along with this the existing center will ensure social workers are able to learn from the best examples. it is a good example of government reform which i support. >> the prime minister and we on these benches can be produced in recent years we've reduced poverty and income inequality. we are a one-nation party or we are nothing. so does he agree with lord rose, the leader of the remain
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campaign that if we were to leave the eu and exercise greater control over immigration for the sake of public services, then wages would rise even faster. >> i think what would happen if we were to leave the eu, we'd see an impact on our economy this would be largely negative. that's not just my view but the view of the bank of england, imf, oecd and growing number of international bodies. i would say to anybody who wants to make this choice, obviously it's a choice for the british, a choice to make. but i think we have to be clear about the economic consequences. >> thank you, mr. speaker. in 1972, age just 19, nine months married and six months pregnant with their first child my constituent susan lee received a knock on the door to find her husband private james lee had been killed in action in northern ireland. when susan married and found love again, she lost all compensation for her and her daughter, donna marie and still has no compensation for having made that huge sacrifice.
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that is a disgraceful way to treat those who have lost loved ones serving our country. will the prime minister meet with me and mrs. recommender to discuss this case and the injustice that face several hundred widows in this country. >> i'll make sure susan rimmer gets the meeting and attention she deserves. i know defense personnel met to put forward the case. of course it was this government that did make the historic change war widows who married in 2015 would retain war widows pension. that was a change long asked for and only delivered under this government. we'll continue to look at this issue. at the moment we're of the view of the long-standing policy of successive governments we shouldn't make these changes and apply them retrospectively. >> thank you, mr. speaker. yesterday the select committee started our inquiry on russian relations. this afternoon i have westminster hall debate on
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russian relations. despite all of the tensions that exist between our two countries. will the prime minister give his assurance he will redouble efforts to try to lower tensions with this permanent member of the security council. >> of course we want to keep tensions low and of course we want to have good relations but we cannot ignore the fact russian backed and separatist have effectively tried to redraw the boundaries of europe. when we consider how dangerous exercises like that have been in the past, we have to take them extremely seriously in the present. >> i thank thee prime minister for joining the rest of the planet in congratulating leicester city football club on their brilliant and historic success in the premier league. during this amazing season the
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local leicester hero thought it was onso farfetched said if they did win, he would present match for the day in his underwear. as a supporter and my commiserations to the prime minister on their season, does he agree that in politics, as well as in football, when you make a promise, you should keep it. >> prime minister. >> i absolutely agree. i've been watching everything gary said not quite answering the question, nothing you get away with in this house, i hope it's the start of him joining the blue team. >> order.
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>> live now at johns hopkins university washington, d.c., for a discussion about russia's economy, we'll be hearing from an economist with the world bank here at the school of advanced international studies.
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>> we're live at johns hopkins school of international studies waiting to hear from an economist with the world bank. "new york times" reporting
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president vladimir putin took credit for the boom days, now there's a bust, including problems from recent low oil prices. more from the report of the world bank as soon as things start here at the school of advanced international studies. also want to let you know we'll be hearing from the chair of the rnc reince priebus what he had to say earlier today during an event held by "politico." we'll have that tonight 8:00 eastern time over on c-span and other prime time programming, includes our book tv programs on c-span 2 on c-span3 american history tv. also awaiting president obama's remarks, those are going to be live on c-span as soon as the president comes out at the white house briefing room talking about the latest jobs numbers that were released today.
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good afternoon, everybody. welcome to sise, for those not a member of the i'm senior fellow of the policy hereby -- here. hang out across the street at the distinguished speaker's home base. sort of home base. today it's my honor and pleasure to welcome back, birgit hansl, lead economist for europe and
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central asia at the world bank. birgit has been at the world bank 11 years now, but the last three she's been based in moscow. for those of you who are lucky enough to be here a year ago when she visited to present the then current or new economic report on russia of the world bank, i think folks found the report a little gloomy. apparently she tells me a lot of folks questioning why they were so gloomy. as things worked out, you're going to get presented a synopsis of the latest world bank's russia economic report. of course looking back, i'm sure birgit now gets asked why weren't you gloomier? why were you so sunny a year
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ago. i think that the title probably gives away some of the themes of presentation, the long journey to recovery. as i told birgit earlier, unfortunately the weather is appropriate for the message and for the topic. i'm sure we'll all benefit from her presentation. she has a power point, as you can guess, and will go through th that. then i'll join her on stage and have discussion and then open it to the audience. i'm sure this is going to be worthwhile but also i highly recommend you pull out -- not now but home or to your office, favorite electronic device and download your own copy of the economic report.
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it's well worth taking a look at, nearly 80 pages long, a serious bit of business. behooves a lookthrough if you're interested but luckily we'll hear the high points right now. birgit, thanks for coming back. >> thank you for having me again. yes, why is our report called the long journey to recovery. john already alluded to it, one is related to what happened about a year ago when we presented our report in april 2015 when there was a lot of hope that oil prices would quickly rebound and the contraction would not be as bad as we projected. and that was 3.8% a year ago.
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unfortunately as you know, things turned quite difficult in august when we saw another oil price shock and quite sizable oil price shock that in the end dashed hopes of early recovery. we had minus 3.7% growth last year. this is a bit about the backward looking part of the report. i will demonstrate how the economy adjusted to the report but also economic sanctions. also forward-looking we really try to see what our new movements in the economy, in the structure of the economy where we could see new opportunities for growth and how could these new opportunities come along. this is also part of the story, looks like this kind of recovery
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that is based on renewal in the economy and structure in the economy might change a bit longer and perhaps expect. when we look back at what happened last year in terms of how deep the recession was and how long it is already lasting, you can see it here very nicely in the blue line, which is quarter on quarter seasonal adjusted growth. shores shows if an economy is in recession and we talk about recession, if we have two consecutive quarters, negative. you can see for russia, this is turning into quite long recession of six consecutive quarters. if we take the entire gdp contraction over the period since quarter three of 2014, we
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see that it is already five% cumulative. so 3.7 last year was only part of the story anyway. we can't see, which is perhaps the good news, the lowest point was reached and second quarter of last year and we since then have at least a slightly less contraction. if we think about how did the adjustment of the economy happen to this double shock that hit the russian economy in terms of the oil price shock but also the sanctions shock, we can see that it was mainly leading to gross domestic income drop driven by terms of trade losses. and you can see what happened in
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terms of adjustments of domestic on the household side that households really reduced consumption quite dramatically because the rubble devaluation led to double digit inflation and wages and incomes unfortunately did not adjust in line with inflation and that led to this reaction of households. so private consumption dropped by over 10% last year. the same if we have an economy where we have weak domestic demand in terms of consumption, it is very likely investors see little incentives to increase capacity through investments. add to that the sanction's impact that is restricting access to international finance but also overall capital flows,
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less flexible with the sanction environment. we see the rubble evaluation interest key party rate was decreased dramatically by central bank and to support the ruble. since inflation pressure stayed high through the last year the monetary cycle especially since august was discontinued and we still have key policy rates of 11%. so these factors all together but mainly driven by this weak consumption led to also this very negative growth in invest me ment. the bright side is the one that relates to the policy response, which i will go a little later on the next slide is the one i had a free float that signaled
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immediately to households that their purchasing power differently because the ruble in line with the oil prices and that meant households could not anymore purchase imports like they did before. hence, you have a positive contribution of imports because imports adjusted dramatically and dropped significantly. and another good sign is this light blue part in the last quarter where we see for the first time a significant increase in export volumes, which could point to the fact that some russian firms now take advantage of the weaker ruble and perhaps become exporters. these were the main questions, too. we try to explore further in the report, is there now a new opportunity for russian firms to
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produce for the domestic market and substitute these imports and is there now an opportunity for them to become exporters. not what could hold them back. here is slight illustrate beauty of free float and how it helps in russia to really bring imports down. nicely you see here the oil price and relative effective exchange rate nicely with it but ultimately with imports adjusting. this is a great result for resource exporting country to have the essence at the end still a positive current account balance, even though you have major external shock hitting the
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economy. that's thanks to adherence to central bank and free float last year. what is often underestimated, it's often free float didn't help external balances to adjust nicely in russia but also helped to preserve very precious foreign exchange reserves and physical buffers for russia. overall on the macroeconomic response site you see a very nice management. we could even call it textbook macroeconomic management off a cris crisis. i want to illustrate how well russia fared with free float. the free floating compared to neighboring question, azerbaijanan, kazakhstan that still clung to the fixed
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exchange rate. russia flee floated 3rd of november 2014 and other two kazakhstan and azerbaijanan still tried to keep the fixed exchange rate. >> in the end how did it affect foreign exchange and fiscal reserves for russia. we can see russia's foreign exchange reserves at the end of last year 14 months of imports, really nice reserve in foreign exchange, while we saw the ones from azerbaijanan dropping from eight to four months of imports. at four months we macroeconomists get a bit nervous. you can see azerbaijanan did float their exchange rate in november last year, two. if you look at the difference in terms of fiscal impact we had a
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sizable deficit of 2.4% last year. for instance if we compare it to kazakhstan, they had one nearly 7%. these are really very different numbers and they tell you how well russia fared with the free float. most of all i think this is a macroeconomist where is it connecting to different sectors, opportunities for russian firms to take advantage of a weaker rub ruble. this is an interesting story for russia. we spend most of the report digging into this kind of data and trying to find out what is happeni happening. is the structure of the economy changing on their new firms in the tradeable sector that should have a relative price advantage, emerging more than before, are
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more firms becoming exporters. when we look at it in terms is the tradeable sector taking advantage and producing more. usually you have to produce before you can export. you see every on the left increasing, positive still but did see overall manufacturing contracted strongly. this is counter-intuitive at first that it takes time for firms to adjust to this new reality. first move from new growth sectors to the ones that are growth sectors anymore. first look at data, for
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instance, investment growth or employment growth, they could tell you which sectors are now able to pull more of these facto factors. when we look at sectors, there are a few on the right that have sizable investment growth. these could be new growth sectors for russia, chemical production, mining, rubber, plastic products. and if you look at the picture you see the balloon held up by birds. new birds, see the economy from the oil sector. it's interesting overall manufacturing investment is still negative.
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perhaps more surprising. when we see increased production of 3%, agriculture investment and food processing investment is deeply negative. if i don't tell you that agriculture exports increase last year, we can see that all this production increase was purely for the domestic market. it was not a sector that is at the moment an export sector and of course related to import restrictions that were imposed on. future growth sectors, perhaps, this is also indicating every culture at this point is not looking like a sector that can become future competitive sector because it doesn't get new
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resources, investments, capital to change products, make them more competitive on the international market. and then it was interesting for us to look into the broader export, not just the production side but what happens actually with the export profile in russia. and what we saw when we looked at the latest data we have and the previous years on the composition of exports and the december faces of especially nonfuel exports because what we want to see at this point is a change in nonfuel. there's little change most of the products, commodities, metals, some goods like
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chemicals, at the same time most of russia's exports go mainly into the cis countries but not a huge expansion of markets yet visible. it's a question why is this the case. what we see is the traditional exporters that russia had. these are commodity, even nonoil commodity exporters fared pretty well. they are the ones at the moment lead to larger increase in export volumes. what we can see here is they were able to take advantage of this relative price adjustments and to simply increase the production of the same goods they produced before. pushed more out into the same markets because they are now
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have the goods at much cheaper prices. what we don't see yet is to a large extent new firms on new exporters emerge. this is then, of course, a question of why is investment not happening in other manufacturing sectors. what is holding back a change in the structure of the products on the left or as you can see by country here into new markets. this is, of course, related to the issue that no firm is born an exporter. you have to really -- if you produce something domestically it's a difficult competition than you produce for export markets. you have to adjust your production. you have different quality and standard requirements for your product. you need a different logistic
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marketing, packaging approach and usually needs some changes in how you produced then compared to before for domestic market and that needs investment. it seems like at the moment we have, of course, not many investors in production and exporting firms coming forward to do so. this might be related to many of the support structure constraints in the economy which did not change, so we have a change in the relative prices but we don't have a change in the reality of production for firms in russia. if i don't see a major effort instruct you're of reforms and structure of the economy it's unhikely i will see new growth potential emerging and russia's growth in the medium term being
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higher than the 1 or 2% growth potential that we see at the moment. this is reflected in the outlook we have for russia. at the moment we see in our report oil prices in our baseline of $37 per barrel, which lead to -- which would lead to a contraction of 1.9% this year and next year at $48 per barrel on average. we would get to positive growth of 1.1%. i can tem you already that our oil price was revised last week, so i have already a new forecast. with our new corporate world bank forecast of $41 per barrel for this year, the contraction is slightly smaller. but still over 1%.
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but perhaps it's not so interesting what is happening here, given the oil price volatility, we, again, have lower oil price and upper bound oil price, lower assuming an average $30 this year and upper one over $40. it is just to -- given oil price vol tifft to give the spectrum of forecast where we are very confident that growth will turn out and even our revised forecast is obviously within this band of forecast. but i think what is more important for russia is, of course, what happens in the next year beyond. so what is the growth path for russia embarking on. a very important assumption in the forecast is the sanction.
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sanction. this is something we ask a lot in the past how is sanction environment impacting the russian economic growth path. what we did this time, when we looked backwards, it was very difficult to distinguish the impact of the sanctions of the oil price shock because they both really hit the same channels of enforcement and consumption and exports. for that reason it's rather difficult to disentangle these two effects and one can do it very roughly. but we decided now forward-looking, it's a good opportunity to use the same baseline assumption in fiscal policy and oil prices and have an alternative baseline that assumes for projection purposes only the sanctions would be removed in 2017. to illustrate then what the
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impact would be, we compare on the left sanction environment baseline with the alternative baseline where we assume no sanctions for 2017. you can see the main impact we would assume to be seen is in the investment growth. we would assume due to removal of sanctions capital flows would increase again, external boring as possible and scenements all improved and for that reason we could see higher growth in 2017 in enforcement but sentiment and second round on investment growth on consumption. overall perhaps the impact is rather limited between 1.1 and 2%. and if we especially look at 2018 short, overall we are not
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just as the world bank looks at growth trends, we always want to see also how does it impact the welfare households, poverty trends, share prosperity which is how it impacts the income worlds of the bottom 40% of the population. when we do our forecast and at the same time do our poverty forecast, we can see that we still expect further increase in the poverty rate for 2016, but the largest increase in poverty was really last year, increased from 11.2 to 13.4% and these are 3 million people more under the national subsistence level. especially again when we talked
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about shared prosperity and poverty trends, these are usually trends you want to look at over a longer period, you can see that in one year basically the poverty gains, reduction gains over the last decade were eradicated. it's going to be very interesting what kind of growth materializes over the next two years, if it could reverse this loss in poverty achievements again. finally if we think about what are forward-looking, the main policy challenges and risks, we see, of course, that they are some key challenges when we think about new opportunities, we showed in the report are
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related to lack of invest investing and still large constraints in the economy, investment conditions, structural constraints. at the moment what is really important for russia is that these structural barriers to growth in the economy of utmost importance in limiting the change, positive change and growth potential, and that's why they are really the base for any higher growth going forward. so it's not the third, the last one, it is really the most important issue that has to be in place if russia would like to change its growth path. i mentioned a few important ones like high transportation and logistic cost, which is now very important, if you can produce cheaper, but it still costs you three timesmore in china to ship a container across the border
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than this advantage is quickly disappearing. the same if there's not enough competition in markets, it is less likely that the price adjustment is passed through to the households, who then could also purchase goods at cheaper prices. we see that actually in the profit growth that happened last year in the recession year of 3.7% corporate profit increased by 50% last year on average. so this is a sign that there is high concentration in markets and not full competition. there is a roll also for what we call more the cyclical policy issues, and this is the fiscal and on the financial sector side, issues at the moment.
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and on the first fiscal challenges, we see after the adjustment of the external balance the main policy balance is shifted to the adjustment of the fiscal balances. this is going to be quite difficult task for russia because it appears with oil price forecast you see globally that oil prices remain $50. at least in our forecast and many other have a similar forecast. that means they will face a permanent reduction in their revenue base. in light of the decreasing fiscal buffers, really brings up fiscal adjustment challenges. we'll have majority of reserve fund being used this year and then there is no physical buffer to finance large fiscal deficit
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or budget expected this year. in essence the space or policy space or options for authorities to adjust the fiscal picture with different policy choices are much more limited compared to last year. and in our view would require more strategic adjustment off expenditure going forward. different from general expenditure cuts of last year. 5% terms announced this year in january by 10%. not just adjustable on the expenditure site, emergency situation usually the first adjustment that is introduced to stop spending or reduce spending at least. it really needs also thinking pout nonoil revenues if i think my revenue base, my oil revenue
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base is permanently lower. and of course the financing strategy going forward, which is, of course, also reflected if you have access to external markets or not. and last but not least, it is still about ensuring there is financial sector stability, the measures the authorities introduced last year through the anti-crisis program that had massive bank recapitalization again and also four behrens of central bank regulations really helped the financial sector to adjust last year. but there is still a lot of reliance on financing from the central bank and increasingly actually by the financial sector and also the strategy of
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continued consolidation is requiring there are enough resources in the deficit insurance fund to compensate investors or creditors. and this an issue where we can see if another global financial shock or instability happened, it would limit in instruments that the government had last year for securing financial sect or stability this year. and when we again look at all these different policy challenges, it seems like a lot of open questions are still there. we still don't know what is medium term fiscal strategy of the authorities. is it one of social policy expenditure reduction. is it one of investment
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reduction. is it one of continued low corporate and private income taxes or change in vision. these are important policy choices that economic agents and firms would like to know. the same on the financial sector stability, we have so many banks that simply will not be able to make it in this adjustment process. so what does it mean, for instance, the biggest, small and medium enterprise. a bank was delicensed last year because it was not financially viable. what does it mean in terms of credit for two different parts of the economy. of course in general what does it mean if we don't have carrot for businesses if something fundamentally changes and conditions for investment and
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doing business. this is really becoming hole package, i'm sure key binding constraint for russia and it's recovering from this recession. determine how fast and how big the rebound for the russian economy going forward will be. what you can see here we have business confidence still very deeply negative, but at least it see seems. they ask manufacturing businesses what is your key constraint out of these five weak domestic demand tax level, lack of financial resources and if we compare how often these constraints are mentioned this year in the first quarter is the orange bar compared to last year
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in the first quarter, we see the policy uncertainty is now the key constraints for businesses. that's interesting because we have weak consumer demand. as i said, household dropped by 10% last year. it is a key constraint similar to last year. but what really changed is that now businesses see uncertainties about what policy choices will be made is holding them back to think about expanding production and their businesses overall. until these policy uncertainties are not addressed, we don't think there's an opportunity for higher growth potential for russia and for higher growth in the next years. thank you.
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>> well, that was illuminating but not very encouraging. first of all, did i get it right, just back of the envelope without an envelope calculation suggests 2020 before the level of production for 2014? is that right? >> yeah. >> not going to have a lot of happy russians any time at least from that score. that's a pretty tough picture. you can see just now in the eu, just now getting back to the levels of production of 2007, which is also true.
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in any case, that seems to be a basic fact. you've -- one simple way to look at it is, big shortfall in investment. increasing, structural shifts, productivity gains will require investment and that's exactly what's not happening here. i had the honor of chairing a session at davos three years ago in russia and part of that i interviewed -- a conversation like we're having with then president medvedev. i was told before hand to please ask -- he wanted tough questions. i should give him tough questions. i asked when would russians have enough confidence in their
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future that they would start investing in russia and stop shipping money abroad. it turned out he didn't want that question. i got a very -- not a very happy response. looks like we haven't reached that response, is that correct? one of the big problems is not only are foreigners not investing in russia, russians aren't investing in russia. >> yes, that's certainly correct. it is something that started to happen before the crisis. we see that kind of pattern that investors are sitting on the fence already since 2012. we saw that the large state driven, quasi state investment started to finish off and private investment not coming in to drive investment growth. the prices, oil price shock over
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the last year, we saw, of course, these new quns investors are facing, a lot of uncertainty of what will be the domestic demand in the country, very little willingness to take what we think is really an opportunity for russian now to produce more on the market because households cannot afford imports that they could before. really to become an exporter in manufacturing goods, which they could not because partly the effect of the dutch -- oil exporting countries led to exchange rate that dominated the impact of the oil sector in terms of the structure of the
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economy. >> so the picture you've drawn -- i'm going to come back to it, about the run up to the current situation. most recently what you've laid out very clearly is that the key policy adjustment mechanism has been to allow the ruble to depreciate, as someone from the imf knows well, the depreciation of a currency is not a way to solve a problem without flanking measures of adjustment both in terms of demand management and in terms of structural reform. you didn't exactly say it this way. is it fair to interpret that there has been a lack on both sides -- unclear fiscal adjustment and lack of structural reforms, hence, the positive impacts or potential
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positive structural impacts of the significant exchange rate adjustment are not being felt quickly or clearly. >> well, i think to be fair, for an economy -- how an external shock works is waved through the economy, first hits external balances anti-exchange rate and if you allow these to adjust, this the magic wand of the flexible exchange rate, then you're in a better position to take change of good things, production or exports. it is a bit of a sequencing. first step of macroeconomic is perfectly done. central bank very disciplined, adhere to flexible exchange rate and only intervened in december
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2013. dramatically, maybe in october and then floated the exchange rate because it realized it has to prop up the the foreign exchs and decided that perhaps not wise, not knowing whether the oil price would perhaps bottom out. but so that job of central bank was done nicely. but it is done, more or less. so what happens next is then to look beyond emergency measures on the fiscal side. of course, when, again, such a shock that impacts your revenue base that is more than 40% oil revenues, so suddenly, of course, you will cut first on the expenditure side to somehow balance your budget and you run a higher deficit, so that's
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exactly the rule of the reserve fund, to manage higher fiscal deficits in times of commodity price shock. and that's the time where you should use it, to balance the budget, if you can, depends on the size of the fiscal deficit. and i think that's also done actually in a very nice, measured way, but this is the second year now. so two years of fiscal sizable fiscal deficit of 2%, 3%, will deplete the reserve fund that was around 7% of gdp. so if this is not just one or two-year shock that oil prices remain at that level, it means you have to adjust your fiscal picture. and this is really the question of the 2017 budget. it is really the first budget
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that should signal clearly what other strategic policy choices for the authorities. and the last one, but not least, is about the structural reforms. it is about, yes, my firms now have this opportunity of a relative price advantage because my central bank floated the exchange rate, but can they actually take advantage of it? because it takes more than a relative price advantage to be able to produce more and export more. therefore, you still need investment capital, labor, you have to hire more people usually to produce more or new goods. and again, you have to ship these products to the consumer so it's about transportation costs and all of these structural constraints. and it is very interesting that
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again now these become to the forefront of these policy challenges. so it is not enough, which many economists first think that if you have relative, then magically, all of the classic approach magically, all of the factors of production move to the right producer. no, there are these barriers of lack of competition and so on that prevent that. and they have to be really addressed. or it's less opportunity for firms. >> let me ask two questions then that flow from that one. i think non-experts from abroad have the impression that in the period of run-up to the crisis, the oil price shock, that there was a process of centralization going on in the russian economy, reassertion of the role of the
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state or large enterprises that were associated with the state. does that in the current context, does that turn out to have left the economy wrong-footed and needs to be reversed, or should these firms actually be able to be more decisive in moving to take advantage of opportunities? so far, it looks like they haven't been, but you tell me if that impression is a justified one, and how you see the interaction of the opportunities and these recentralization of the economy that preceded the shock. >> well, first of all, from an economist's point of view, if a company state owned or privately owned, it doesn't really matter, but the outcome matters. do i see the firm to be efficient?
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that there's not a monopoly. so these are the questions. so in general, if i see in a country that the state footprint like we call it, increases, it is not necessarily telling me if this is good or bad for the allocation of resources and productivity growth ultimately, but of course, we know that state-owned companies in many countries have different goals than profit maximizing, which usually leads to the drive to increase productivity because that's how you increase your profit margin. they have the incentives of providing employment or public go goods at the price that is centrally regulated. and these are, of course, then the issues that become a problem
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if the state economy is growing, because you have a lack of innovation, a lack of productativiproduct t ativity growth, and this is holding them back, of course. growth on aggregate. but there are different ways. you can make state-owned companies more efficient or you can privatize parts of the economy where it's not intuitive why the state should be involved in the production and not just rather doing what the main job of the state is, to regulate the market and provide equal conditions for firms so that they can compete best. >> turning to the budget, one also from abroad has the impression that there has been a turn toward heavier military
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expenditures, certainly more aggressive stance than one that's perceived here. is that important in terms of the budget or is it more show than reality in terms of spending? if it's important in terms of a reallocation of spending, does that limit their opportunities for fiscal effective fiscal adjustment in the regard we have been discussing in the next few years? >> well, i mean, if you look at the russian budget, you really have three key big budget categories, and one is social policy expenditure, social benefits. one is national defense and security. and the third is spending on the national economy, which is in large part subsidies to the economy.
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this is not such an unusual structure of the budget, but of course, if your revenue situation dramatically changes, the question is can you just cut one or two of these budget items? and that has implications, if i decide to just cut social policy spending, it might mean i need to cut pensions or change my pension system. i need to reduce what i promised to my citizens in a social contract for free health care, free education. so these are not trivial decisions that have to be taken. so that's why it is a really strategic exercise for government to think through what are my priorities for spending going forward, where can i change what is now the status quo, and what would be the impact of that.
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and i think at the moment, there is definitely a lot of internal debate in the government of what should be the priorities. is it possible to still run, for instance, this military renewal program that was started already a few years ago? which is a costly program. and what would be then the price that would need to be paid by cutting one of the other two expenditure items for instance if we were then to cut -- if russia would then cut, for instance, subsidies to the economy, would this mean that some of the state-owned companies have to be more cost efficient and lay off some people? then we have high unemployment, which we don't have yet. so this is not an easy discussion when you look at these three key budget items. and what is most important, though, in our view, is every
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country does their own decisions on the budget. and this is resonated or based on the electorate and what empowerment authorities have from its electorate. but in the end, it is about communicating clearly to its citizens what are my policy choices going forward. and this is about the policy on certainty to really help firms and households to form their expectations about interest rates, about salaries, about prices in the economy, so they can go on with their life and consume again, buy again, durable goods and cost, which we see completely disappearing nearly in the last year. or for firms to return and say, yes, i'm confident this is what i will think is the cost of my
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capital going forward. these are the conditions i see in the economy. this is what i see as consumer demand. i should go ahead and invest. so this is the importance of policy certainty so that economic agents understand what is most likely the reality looking like in a year or two and then they can adjust their decisions accordingly. >> i have two quick questions, and then we'll -- it will be your turn, so get ready out there with your own questions. it strikes me, is it fair enough, and i don't want to put words in your mouth or your institution's mouth, but this certainly wouldn't be unusual for politicians in government since the serious difficulties derived from external events, mainly the drop in oil price,
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that there is a sense of delaying decisions, hoping, i assume, that this will somehow magically go away. and that the really tough choices will be avoided. is that fair enough? >> well, i mean, this is of course the hope that most of this change externally is simply a cyclical nature, right.
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unfortunately, having some technical problems with the video coming to us from johns hopkins school of advanced international studies. we'll try to bring that back up online. you can check for the rest of this conversation. earlier today, republican national committee chair reince priebus talked about the presidential race and the gop presumptive nominee, donald trump, including yesterday's comments by house speaker paul ryan who said he can't support mr. trump at this time. here's a portion of his comments. >> i think paul is just being honest with how he feels. and i think he's going to get there. by the way, he wants to get
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there. it's just that, you know, he just wants some time to just work through it. now, politico is reporting that that meeting on capitol hill next week is expected to go ahead. do you expect speaker ryan to be there? >> yeah, i do. i talked to him multiple times yesterday. and he wants it to go forward. and look, he was being honest. he says he's not there yet, but he wants to get there. so yes, he's going to meet. >> after speaker ryan made his comment that he was not ready to jake tapper on cnn's "the lead" how quickly did donald trump call you? >> well, i had talked to him already once that day. but i had talked to donald trump and paul ryan multiple times yesterday afternoon. >> but donald trump called you within minutes? >> ah -- you're pretty good. i can't lie. no, i wouldn't lie anyway.
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>> what was his mood? >> you know, it wasn't like furious or anything. it was like, what do i need to do? i mean -- and so i said, listen, let me just -- my view is just relax and be gracious. and i'll talk to paul. and we'll try to work on this. >> just some of what rnc chair reince preebhouse to say earlier today at an event held by politico. you can watch his comments in their entirety tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern over on c-span. other primetime programs include "book tv" on c-span2 with programming from recent book festivals and c-span3, american history tv with archival coverage of past presidential races. "book tv" has 48 hours of nonfiction books and authors every weekend, and here's some programs to watch for.
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this saturday and sunday at 1:30 p.m. eastern, "book tv" is at the 13th national black writers conference in brooklyn, new york. our two-day coverage features discussions on hip-hop and literature with michael eric dyson, and race and gender with cora daniels, author of impolite conversations, as well as diversity and writing programs and black writers in the digital age. at 7:30 p.m. eastern, annette gordon reed and peter anneck explore thomas jefferson from his early influences to his political ideologies in their book, most blessed of the patriarchs. thomas jefferson and the empire of the imagination. on sunday night at 9:00, afterwords with peter marks, author of good for the money, my fight to pay back america. he discusses how former aig ceo revives the company after the
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2008 financial crisis and helped the company to become profitable again. he's interviewed by bethany maclaine. >> he was the only person who thought this was possible. essentially. i mean, the government didn't think this was going to happen. the company certainly didn't think it was going to happen. they were ready to sell it off for spare parts, and essentially, the american people had no expectation it was going to happen. the idea he was a little crazy, you have to be a little crazy to take this on. he was the right kind of crazy. >> go to for the complete weekend schedule. on american history tv on c-span3 -- >> we're here to review the major findings of our full investigation of fbi domestic intelligence. including the co-intel program and other programs aimed at domestic targets. fbi surveillance of law abiding citizens and groups, political abuses of fbi intelligence, and
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several specific cases of unjustified intelligence operations. the 1975 church committee hearings convene to investigate the intelligence activities of the cia, fbi, irs, and nsa. saturday night at 10:00 eastern. the commission questioned former associate counsel and staff assistant to thomas nixon, tom charles houston on a plan he presented to collect information about anti-war and radical groups using burglary, electronic surveillance and opening of mail. >> had undertaken the black bag jobs for a number of years up until 1966 that had been successful, and valuable, again particularly in matters involving espionage, and they felt that this again was given something the revolutionary climate, they thought they needed the authority to do. >> before 7:00 eastern -- >> and one person came and she said, you were chosen. she was from chezechoslovakia.
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she was there for four years already in the concentration camp. she spoke hungarian also. and they ask her, what's happening? where are our parents? and she says, you see that smoke? there are your parents. >> holocaust survivor anna gross recalled her family's experiences in the ghettos in nazi occupied hungry, at auschwitz concentration camp in poland, and forced hard labor. this was part of the united states holocaust memorial museum's first person series. at 8:00 on lectures in history. >> an anarchist named alexander berkman broke into frick's office in nearby pittsburgh. shot him twice and repeatedly stabbed him. berkman, however, is one of the great failures in assassination
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history. not only did he fail to kill frick. he also undermined the strikers for whom he was professing sympathy. because in many ways, public opinion saw this outburst of radical violence as a discredit to the union movement. >> the university of maryland's robert childs on the labor and social unrest at the turn of the 20th century, and then sunday morning at 10:00 on road to the white house rewind, the 1968 presidential campaign of former democratic governor of alabama george wallace. for the complete american history tv weekend schedule, go to v.a. undersecretary for health dr. david shulcon testifies before the house veteran affairs committee on his effort to improve veterans' access to health care. they raised concerns about whistleblower retaliation, wait times and lack of v.a. discipline air action. this is two hours.
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we'll come to order. i would like to welcome everyone to today's hearing entitled a continued assessment of delays in veterans' access to health care. this hearing marks two years since this committee exposed the wait time scandal that has gripped the department since 2014. i'm proud of the work that we have done in those two years, particularly digging into the actions of bureaucrats whose self-interest was put ahead of the veterans they were charged with assisting. the purpose of this hearing is to examine the efforts that v.a. has taken to improve access to care for veterans and to
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identify where serious issues still exist. based on the bipartisan work of this committee, gao has undertaken an audit of new patient primary care wait times at six facilities across the veteran health administration. gao's review found that veterans at those facilities waited between 22 and 71 days, which is significantly more than the five-day average that secretary mcdonnell has declared to this committee earlier this month. now, this discrepancy can probably be easily explained. first v.a. only tracked and monitors a portion, a portion of a veteran's actual wait time when tracking access data. instead of considering a veteran's wait time to be from the date when the veteran first contacts v.a., to request an
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appointment to when the appointment takes place, v.a. actually considered a veteran's wait time to be from the date when the veteran wants an appointment and the date when the appointment actually occurs. this is problematic because it doesn't take into account the following. it doesn't take into account the time it takes for the v.a. scheduler to contact the veteran to schedule the appointment. the fact that it is a regular practice for schedulers to negotiate a desired date with a veteran, or the fact that outright manipulation of desired dates to zero out wait times is still one of the most prevalent types of data manipulation that occurs within the department today. in effect, v.a. continues to ignore the main forms of data manipulation while it continues to come to congress, to this committee, saying there is no data manipulation. to this point, you will not find what you do not seek.
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the obvious result of v.a. reporting only a portion of a veteran's actual wait time is artificially low results. i still don't understand how a culture could persist in presenting inaccurate data to this committee. or more importantly, to the veterans of this country. a true picture of wait times or more importantly the veteran experience, the secretary speaks about quite frequently, can help us insure an adequate allocation of the resources we're asked to provide. but when this committee only hears requests for more manpower, more space, and more flexibility, it's hard to reconcile the additional resources with a reported wait time of only five days. this discrepancy between reality and v.a. claims was captured by gao in its report where v.a. data shows that wait times were
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at best underestimated by two and a half times, and at worst, 11 times the full wait time that the veteran experienced. another tactic that v.a. uses to make its wait time appear lower is to combine shorter wait times for the large pool of established patients with the longer wait times of the smaller pool of new patients. this dilutes the wait time data, making new patients' waits appear shorter since they have been commingled with data from the other cohort. for years, v.a. has blamed incorrect appointment scheduling and long wait times on training issues, largely because it was warned about those issues as far back as 2005 when the inspector general's office published a report highlighting the improper scheduling practices and poor
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training process. many oig and gao reports since that time have found that the same scheduling problems continue to exist. yet in the 11 years since v.a. continues to blame wait time manipulation on the very same cause, a control over which v.a. has complete control. secretary mcdonald has repeatedly asked we allow him to run v.a. like a business. but i can assure you that if an executive running a company used the same excuse to explain away 11 years of problems in a row, with no change to show for it, that individual would be out of a job. but not at v.a. despite years of reports of confirming systemic issues, the department has successfully fired just four people for wait time manipulation while letting the bulk of those behind its nationwide delays and care scandal off with no discipline
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or very weak slaps on the wrist. another issue regarding accountability is how v.a. continues to ignore retaliation against the whistleblowers that we have relied on for some of the information that our committee has acted on. the committee has asked v.a. for all adverse reactions where an employee was disciplined for retaliation against a whistle blower. v.a. provided our committee a list showing as of march 15th of 2016, only six individuals were disciplined for whistle blower retaliation. however, looking deeper at the report, one of the listed employees is sharon helman, who the committee has already shown was not successfully disciplined for whistle blower retaliation, was in fact successfully disciplined for failing to report accepting gifts. two of the other discipline
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employees were listed as housekeeping aid super visors, who are clearly not high level supervisors. that leaves three employees, two received repremands and one received a less than 14-day suspension. to be clear, according to v.a. provided documentation, no employee has been removed for whistle blower retaliation. this is representative of the fact that contrary to public statements by v.a. senior officials, whistle blower retaliation appears to most certainly be tolerated within the department. so now, two years after what was and is a systemic crisis in care being brought to light, it is time for v.a. to stop using misleading data to tout wait time successes that simply do not show the real wait time experienced by our veterans. i want to hear what concrete
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actions have been taken, what fundamental changes have been made, and what tangible, cultural shifts are occurring within the department. advertising artificially lowered numbers does nothing to stimulate the change that is needed to improve veterans' access to care. with that, i yield to the ranking member, mrs. brown for any opening remarks she may have. >> thank you, mr. chairman. for calling this hearing today. following the wait time scandal of phoenix, congress passed and president obama signed the veterans access choice and accountability act of 2014. in it, we mandated that there be an independent assessment of veterans health care. the assessment highlighted many of the things we hear from our veterans. we hear that v.a. provides excellent


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