tv PBS News Hour Weekend PBS December 27, 2014 5:30pm-6:01pm PST
captioning sponsored by wnet >> sreenivasan: on this edition for saturday december 27: thousands attend the funeral of one of two new york city policemen murdered while on duty last weekend. the vice president pays tribute to the officer and the n.y.p.d. >> police officers and police families are a different breed. thank god for them. thank god for them. >> sreenivasan: north korea ridicules president obama and accuses the united states of causing internet shortages in that country. we'll hear how the administration is trying to protect against future cyber attacks. and in our signature segment a family of sharecroppers flee poverty and racism.
an unlikely success story revealed during a chance encounter on an airplane. >> my grandparents, my dad, my cousins, my uncles, all walked on this land. >> sreenivasan: next on pbs newshour weekend. >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: corporate funding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we are your retirement company. additional support is provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. from the tisch wnet studios in lincoln center in new york, hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: good evening.
thanks for joining us. it's been a week now since two new york city police officers were murdered by a man who apparently was seeking revenge for the killings of michael brown and eric garner by white police officers, deaths for which the police were not charged. and today, there was a funeral for one of the officers shot dead in his patrol car last saturday in brooklyn. the newshour's hannah yi has our report. >> reporter: thousands flooded the streets near a queens church this morning for the funeral of officer rafael ramos, a 40-year- old father of two teenaged boys who had been studying to become a chaplain. he and another patrolman wenjian liu, were shot dead without warning as they sat in their police car. a wall of blue uniformed officers stood in solidarity, quietly paying their respects alongside other new yorkers. inside the packed church, vice president biden eulogized ramos and the other murdered policeman. biden said the sacrifices police
officers and their families make are rarely fully appreciated. >> it's only when a tragedy like this occurs that all their friends, neighbors and people who didn't even know them become aware of and reminded of the sacrifices they make every single, solitary day to make our lives better. >> reporter: new york city mayor bill de blasio also paid tribute to ramos. >> he was a peacemaker in every sense. throughout his life, he was a man of peace, a man of love. and he was a peacemaker for the city of new york. police officers are called peace officers because that's what they do-- they keep the peace. they help make a place that otherwise would be torn with strife, a place of peace. officer ramos put his life on the line every day so other new yorkers could live in peace, so
they could live in safety. >> reporter: earlier this week, officers ramos and liu posthumously were promoted to detective an act that will increase the benefits their families will receive. and at today's funeral service, new york city police commissioner william bratton made an announcement. >> i'm privileged to be able to tell you that today, i am appointing him an honorary department chaplain of the 84th precinct. ( applause ) >> reporter: the murder of the two police officers led to accusations by former new york city mayor rudolph guiliani that president obama and mayor de blasio had contributed to an anti-police environment. guiliani said nationwide protests over the killings of brown and garner had spread the message that "everybody should hate the police." and the head of a new york city police union said de blasio had blood on his hands. last weekend, when de blasio visited the hospital where the officers were taken, the police,
in a symbolic act, turned their backs on him. and a number of them did today, as well, when the mayor spoke. after today's service, the late officer's wife was handed an american flag, and ramos' flag- draped coffin was carried from the church. >> sreenivasan: overseas today in iraq and syria, the u.s.-led coalition carried out 12 air strikes against the islamic state. the combined joint task force said six of the attacks occurred near the syrian town of kobani near the turkish border. isis positions near mosul and fallujah were among the isis targets hit in iraq. the coalition carried out another 39 air strikes yesterday and the day before. from syria today, a possible peace overture from president assad's regime. state television quoted a foreign ministry official as saying the syrian government would be willing to participate in preliminary consultations in moscow, possibly starting late next month. peace talks in geneva last february between the government and rebel groups collapsed. an estimated 200,000 syrians have been killed and millions more uprooted since an uprising
against assad's regime began several years ago. a leading syrian opposition leader downplayed today's development, saying there is no clear initiative to end the hostilities. iran is conducting military drills near the strait of hormuz, where about 20% of the world's oil passes, and today it unveiled a new kind of drone that a top commander described as a mobile bomb. state media in that country said the weapon is designed to strike air, ground and naval targets. iran says another of its drones can carry up to eight bombs or missiles and has a range of 1,050 miles. that would mean it could hit targets throughout the middle east, including israel. from somalia, reports that a top leader of the muslim extremist group al-shabaab has surrendered to authorities. zakariya ismail ahmed hersi had a 3 million dollar bounty on his head. one intelligence officer quoted by the associated press, said hersi may have given himself up because of a falling out with followers of al-shabaab's top leader who was killed in a u.s. air-strike earlier this year. in egypt today, an appeals court
upheld the convictions of eight men who appeared in a video showing a same-sex wedding, but the judge cut their sentences from three years to one year. while egyptian law does not specifically outlaw homosexuality, the eight men were tried for "inciting debauchery," a charge in egypt that is normally reserved for prostitution. gay rights activists say that at least 150 men in egypt have been arrested in connection to alleged homosexual behavior in the past 18 months. in another sign of a clash of cultures between egypt and the west, 20th century fox says egypt has banned its film" exodus: gods and kings." egypt's culture minister said the film "gives a zionist view of history and contains historical inaccuracies." the film, which opened two weeks ago, has grossed $109 million worldwide, about $30 million less than it reportedly cost to produce. in california a court victory for immigrant rights activists. an appeals court has upheld a policy which makes it less
likely that police will impound the cars of unlicensed drivers who are stopped for traffic infractions. the los angeles police department hailed the decision, saying it helps maintain community trust. the policy, which went into effect in 2012, had been challenged by the police union. a new survey shows that a higher percentage of coloradans are regularly using marijuana, now that recreational use is legal there. the study by the national survey on drug use and health says about one in eight people there over the age of 12 report using marijuana in the past month. that's up 22% from the last time the survey was taken. only rhode island has a higher rate of regular marijuana use, according to the federal data. and a survey of more than 1,000 people conducted by the associated press shows that americans rate the rise of the islamic state in syria and iraq as the most important news story of the year. almost as important to survey respondents was the racial unrest in the aftermath of the killings of michael brown and eric garner, and the ebola outbreak.
>> sreenivasan: north korea today blamed president obama for sony's decision to release the controversial film "the interview" which tells the story of a fictional plot to kill north korean leader, kim jong- un. the recent hacking of sony, which was widely blamed on north korea, has caused the obama administration to consider new steps to protect against cyber attacks. carol lee of the "wall street journal" is in hawaii, where the president is vacationing, and joins us now from honolulu. so, sony was the first kind of big, red flag. what does the white house think is the consequence of that for other companies around the u.s.? do they think that this is the cyb-- the cyber threats could increase? >> they do. and their main concern is that what happened with this sony attack is, as one administration
official put it, marks a crossing of a threshold into this kind of new wave of cyberthaeks are essentially cyber extortion, where a nation state or another organization or group hacks into a company-- or perhaps the government-- and uses that as leverage to try to get the company or the government to meet certain demands. in the instance with sony, it was that they pull this movie "the interview," and initially what was concerning to the white house was that sony agreed to do that which basically, you know rewarded this action and, you know, despite the reversal on that, the white house feels like this still marks a crossing of the threshold and, you know, the possibility of seeing dcialg attacks like this is real because it essentially worked. so the white house is exploring some new ways to try to get the government and the private sector on the same page in this and to try to combat this so that these sorts of things are
minimized in the future. >> sreenivasan: so what are some of the initiatives that the white house is takings? >> well, this whole thing is new. this is a new area in cyber security. and the government and the private sector are not necessarily entirely in sync in some of these things and that was-- that was exposed in the very public disagreement between president obama and sony executives over whether or not to release the film. so first, you know, obviously the president said that he wished sony had talked to them. so i think you'll probably see some additional communication at very high levels at the white house. and cyber-security legislation the president called on congress again to pass something stricter. the hope of the administration is companies now have an incentive to try to get some sort of regulations or standards? place because what's happened until now is they've resisted that. there's different-- the chamber of commerce and other group-- business lobbying groups have
said setting certain minimal standards for groups like banking or energy would be burdensome and could lead to litigation if somehow they had those standards and an attacker was able to still penetrate. >> sreenivasan: some companies have been bush bushing back because they don't want to give of the government too much access to their content or user information. >> that's right. it's a really strange relationship between the government and the private sector because typically you have a government that acts as a regulator and companies that are regulated. and in this instance it's not like that. and when you throw in these added national security concerns, it creates an entirely different relationship, and a new dynamic that sort of both sides are trying to feel their way through. and it's very uncertain right now, and the whole process is sort of piece meal. but the hope is at least from the administration's side is that this will lead to some sort
of way in which that they can get closer together and more on board as they try to navigate this strange relationship where businesses need the government to be involved in things like this because the government is the one who can come in and actually figure out who did it and do criminal investigations and prosecutions. >> sreenivasan: all right, carol lee of the "wall street journal" joining us from honolulu. thanks so much. >> thank you. thanks for having me. >> sreenivasan: and now to our signature segment. according to a.a.a, a record 99 million americans are on the move this holiday season, travel that comes with the usual frustrations including traffic jams and flight delays and cancellations. tonight, newshour special correspondent john larson offers us a different take on air travel. his series, "flying coach," details the stories of people he encounters while traveling to
report other stories. tonight's story actually began with an upgrade. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ i'm going to take the trip in the good old ship ♪ >> reporter: we begin on the road, on a rural highway with the story of a journey. ♪ and before its over, i hope you see why we traveled hundreds of miles across arkansas, louisiana and texas to tell you about a woman who sat next to me on an airplane. ♪ when you've flown more than two million miles in coach, you sometimes get a chance to sit in first class. you wait for your name to work its way up a list, and if that happens... >> mr. john larson. >> reporter: ... it feels like you won the lottery. >> thank you so much. been. bb.
>> reporter: so, i was feeling good when i boarded american airlines flight 1015. dallas to san diego. i was in seat 5b. next to me in 5a was donna hann. she wore expensive jewelry-- a woman of privilege, i thought. but as we flew across texas, i learned i couldn't have been more wrong. ♪ >> my grandparents lived in a little home that had a tin roof on it. they were sharecropping. >> reporter: donna's family, her parents and grandparents, were like other poor sharecroppers from arkansas, picking cotton on other people's land. they were the kind of poor that can take generations to overcome. >> hey, stranger. >> reporter: so when she invited me to her family's reunion, i accepted. >> i bet you didn't think i'd show up here. >> i think you're a brave soul. >> reporter: the reunion was like other's i'd been to... >> this is brother and sister right here. >> reporter: ...at least until donna and her sister... >> there she is. >> reporter: ...began to sing.
>> ♪ just a closer walk with thee. ♪ >> reporter: it turns out their parents were run off their cotton fields. >> ♪ granted jesus is my plea. ♪ >> there was just some unrest. civil unrest. ♪ >> reporter: unrest? to learn more, we joined donna and her sister, bonnie, on a trip back to arkansas. >> wow, look how big that church is! >> mercy sakes. >> when you come back some place as an adult, the perspective is so different. >> ♪ what a day that will be. >> reporter: they hadn't been back since they were little girls and the family had no addresses, they knew only that their parents had sharecropped with a black family, and, the two families had been friends, working and living side by side in two small houses outside the little town of dumas, arkansas. which is where we found two
abandoned homes, at the edge of a cotton field. so, could this be it? >> could be. i mean i don't if this is the exact cotton field or the place where my parents lived. >> reporter: what they did know was what happened one night in 1957. >> we had all gone to bed, and all of a sudden there was just so much noise and everything outside. it must have been maybe 15 men and they were on horses, and they had the white sheets on and they were riding around and around our house. and they were carrying lighted torches. >> reporter: the ku klux klan was still a powerful local force here in the '50s. but would it have threatened a white family for being too close to a black family? >> i had crosses burn in my yard. >> reporter: we asked the mayor of the next town over, and she said "absolutely." does that story surprise you? >> not at all. >> reporter: not at all? >> no, it doesn't. >> it probably only lasted about ten minutes at the most, and then they just rode off.
>> reporter: but it was enough. donna's family packed the next morning, and left their home in the cotton field. they moved to louisiana, where their lives-- believe it or not- - got even harder. ♪ donna's father was working in this gas station in the small town of monroe, louisiana, when a car crushed him against the back wall. >> because he jumped up, it just caught him on the legs and just crushed him from the legs down. ♪ ♪ ♪ >> reporter: in arkansas we came across this abandoned church. back in its day, it was what whites called a "colored church." donna's father had once preached in a such a church back in his sharecropping days, but then he backslid, he lost his faith. but now that he was paralyzed he began preaching in small churches and tent show revivals, which meant donna was constantly moving.
>> all the way from nebraska all the way down to the tip of texas and louisiana and arkansas. i sang from the time i was five years old until i left in high school. ♪ i would have to literally climb up on a chair so people could see over the pulpit and sing. ♪ >> reporter: donna got married in high school, raised two daughters, but she was increasing suffering from a genetic bone condition, her knees would dislocate, her bones would break, requiring surgery after surgery. >> he will take you on a trip that you cannot imagine. >> reporter: donna's pastor would visit after each procedure. how many time do you think you've gone to the hospital? >> in excess, over the years, 30 times. ♪ >> reporter: it was while she
was recuperating from another surgery that her husband told her their 26-year marriage was over. >> i remember thinking to myself, i have been totally rejected. and i remember thinking, i am really alone. >> reporter: as we flew our last leg into san diego, donna told me, despite her lifetime of upheavals, her faith that had kept her going. donna went on to college and graduate school. the reason she was in first class? she's now a international consultant, and you'll never guess her specialty is. >> a discipline called change management. >> reporter: change management. >> change management. >> reporter: so, your... essentially your field of expertise is change? >> absolutely. >> reporter: change. that thing that happens to all of us, donna says, when we're not looking. ♪ ♪ ♪
♪ as i walk, let me walk close thee ♪ >> reporter: donna did eventually find the land her grandparents sharecropped. their house had been torn down, their garden was gone. >> this would have been exactly where the house was sitting. >> wow! >> reporter: but the son of the farmer who owned the land remembered her family well. >> they were as poor, no doubt about it, they were as poor as it gets, they didn't have any money but you know, what they didn't have in money they make up in other ways. >> my grandparents, my dad, my cousins, my uncles, all walked on this land. >> reporter: so, in the end, we wound up back where her family's story began, back before the klan, the revivals and broken bones. >> and you come from such humble beginnings it makes you really grateful for what you have.
hats off to you, grandma and grandpa. i appreciate you. >> reporter: on our way back to the airport, i felt i was seeing things through donna's eyes, i saw changes all around us, and how hard and beautiful the whole thing is. that's another thing about flying coach-- sometimes its more than just my seat that gets an upgrade. that will teach you to talk to somebody on an airplane. >> i'm telling you! trying to mind your own business? you end up in cotton field in arkansas. ( laughter ) >> sreenivasan: watch the first installment of our "flying coach" series. visit newshour.pbs.org.
>> this is newshour weekend, saturday. >> sreenivasan: an estimated million and a half americans suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, a painful and often debilitating disease that afflicts women nearly three times as often as men. now, an experimental treatment in the netherlands, an electronic implant, offers rheumatoid arthritis sufferers the prospect of a better life. lewis vaughan jones of britain's itn has the story. >> hey. >> hi. >> reporter: marie is part of a trial in the netherlands, and the results have changed her life. she has rheumatoid arthritis, caused by a fault with her immune system. now, an electronic implant has been placed under her skin. when activated it distorts her voice but also seems to cure her. >> i can do lots of more things. i can go on the bike. i'm skating again. >> reporter: a pacemaker-like
implant is attached to the vagus nerve in the patient's neck. it fires electrical intulses for just three minutes each day. this interrupts the immune system, and the spleen produces fewer of the chemicals that cause swelling and pain around the joints. >> some patients who could come off medication completely and who are now in a state of remission-- in other words, they don't have any sign or symptom of the disease anymore. >> on a good day i can go five minutes walking with my crutches. on a bad day, it's it's with the scooter. >> reporter: katherine manning is 33. rheumatoid arthritis means almost constant pain. on good days, she can help with her three children. news of a potential new treatment brings hope. >> to not have to take medication, to have mylife back, to be a mum and a wife would be absolutely amazing. >> reporter: the number of people tested in this research is very low, and it's still years from being rolled out. if it works, it could change thousands of lives.
>> sreenivasan: some more news before we leave you tonight. republican lawmakers are said to be drawing up immigration reform legislation. it intends not only to beef up security along the border with mexico but also to pave the way for more high-tech specialists and farm workers to enter the country, all this according to the "wall street journal." and at the have the today the turkish man who in 1981 shot pope john paul ii laid flowers on the late pontiff's tomb. he served 19 years for the assassination attempt. while in jail, pope john paul ii visited him there and forgave him. that's all for tonight. i'm bill bill i'm hari sreenivasan. we'll see you here tomorrow.
captioning sponsored by wnet captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: corporate funding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we are your retirement company. additional support is provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
next on "great performances" -- twenty years ago some of the biggest names in music gathered at madison square garden to celebrate the 30th anniversary of bob dylan's legendary recording career. ♪ i was so much older then ♪ ♪ i'm younger than that now ♪ relive the original worldwide broadcast, as george harrison eric clapton, stevie wonder, eddie vedder, neil young and many more pay tribute to dylan's songwriting genius. ♪ knock knock knockin' on heaven's door ♪ ♪ knock knock knockin' on heaven's door ♪ join us for... hope you're having fun tonight, bob; we love ya.