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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  February 3, 2015 3:00pm-4:00pm PST

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captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: in a new show of cruelty, a jordanian pilot is brutally murdered by islamic state militants. good evening, i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. also ahead this tuesday, paying for the mortgage crisis. standard and poor's agrees to a $1.4 billion settlement for its role in promoting toxic securities. then, the challenges for schools that try to break through cycles of poverty in rural west virginia. >> when a kid comes to school and the main thing they think about is the instability they have at home, they come to school to eat, they come to school to feel safe, but learning arithmetic is not a big
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priority for them. >> ifill: more than fifty years after writing "to kill a mockingbird," the reclusive author harper lee agrees to publish a once-lost novel. this time, scout's all grown up. >> woodruff: plus: >> this is america's only living barrier coral reef here in the florida keys. >> woodruff: reversing the decline of decimated reefs. scientists transplant coral from the lab into the environment to confront an underwater crisis. >> a big coral boulder is essentially just a rock, its the material that the living tissues have deposited over dozens or a hundred years, but the only thing that's alive is that little veneer of tissue on the outside, which is essentially what we are bringing back. >> woodruff: those are some of the stories we're covering on tonight's "pbs newshour." >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> it doesn't matter what kind of weather. it doesn't matter what time of day or night.
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when mother nature's done her worst, the only thing that matters to us, is keeping the lights on for you. we're the men and women of the international brotherhood of electrical workers. keeping the power on in communities like yours, all across the country. because when bad weather strikes, we'll be there for you. the i.b.e.w. the power professionals. >> at bae systems, our pride and dedication show in everything we do; from electronics systems to intelligence analysis and cyber- operations; from combat vehicles and weapons to the maintenance and modernization of ships, aircraft, and critical infrastructure. knowing our work makes a difference inspires us everyday. that's bae systems. that's inspired work.
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>> lincoln financial-- committed to helping you take charge of your life and become you're own chief life officer. >> and the william and flora hewlett foundation, helping people build immeasurably better lives. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> ifill: the brutal tactics of "islamic state" radicals reached a grisly new extreme today. the group put out a video showing a captured jordanian pilot being burned alive. in washington, the visiting king of jordan rearranged his schedule to meet with president obama. >> ifill: the pilot's father was attending a tribal meeting with
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other relatives in jordan's capital when the video surfaced. he checked his cell phone, hung his head, and left. then, a government spokesman confirmed the news publicly. >> ( translated ): we are deeply saddened and we pay our deepest respects to jordan's martyr, muath al-kaseasbeh. we now all know in jordan, beyond any doubt, how barbaric the islamic state group is. >> ifill: the 26-year-old lieutenant fell into "islamic state" hands in december, after his plane crashed in syria on a bombing mission. last week the militants threatened to kill him, unless jordan released sajida al- rishawi, an iraqi woman convicted in a 2005 bombing plot. the jordanians demanded proof the pilot was still alive, which they never got. state t.v. in amman reported today that he was actually killed a month ago. the news came as king abdullah was in washington, and officials
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said he was cutting the visit short. before he left, he sent a message home. >> ( translated ): in these difficult moment, it is the duty of all jordanian citizens to stand united, to show the strength of this people in fighting this group. this will only give us more strength and resistance. >> ifill: for his part, president obama condemned the brutal killing, and the "islamic state" killers. >> it's just one more indication of the viciousness and barbarity of this organization and it i think, will re-double the vigilance and determination on the part of a global coalition to make sure that they are degraded and ultimately defeated. >> ifill: the hostage drama has sparked protests against jordan's support for the coalition. but the jordanian military vowed today to seek revenge.
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>> ifill: part of that revenge may also include the execution of the woman the islamic state wanted released. citing unnamed officials reuters and afp have reported that sajida al-rishawi will be executed before dawn on wednesday. we take a closer look at the killing of the jordnian pilot and reaction with rod nordland of the new york times who is on the ground in amman, and former jordanian foreign minister marwan muasher. he's now vice president for studies at the carnegie endowment for international peace. welcome to you both. rod norland, we are now learning that, in fact we're hearing that this jordanian pilot was killed a month ago even though negotiations were under way just until we're told this week. is there some sense now that this was nothing that was ever going to be fixed or that this was futile? >> well, i think it's clear that jordan's position, they had to
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show proof of life, was informed by their belief that he was already dead and they weren't going to release this terrorist, sajida al-rishawi, from prison if they thought that he really was dead. that now appears to have been the case. >> ifill: was his family still hopeful that he was alive? >> they were really hopeful. they were hopeful up until a few seconds before word came that this video was out showing his death in this really horrible manner, burned to death in a cage. as it happens, my colleague was sitting with the mother and the wife of the pilot when the word came, and it was kind of an unfortunate insight into just how devastating this kind of news is to families and the loved ones of somebody this happens to. they were just completely hysterical, pulling their hair out, screaming and it just really brought it home.
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i was on the phone with rania when this all happened and when we saw the video, it's about as despicable a thing as you can imagine. >> ifill: marwan mausher does this tit-for-tat diplomacy, we're hearing the woman will be executed, does that replace diplomacy? >> first of all, these are unconfirmed reports, but there is no question in my mind that there is a state of anger and shock today among all jordanians and there will probably be a public demand to execute this woman and three others also that are in jordanian prisons, but let me point out that these are people who have already been condemned and sentenced to death, so they were awaiting execution for many, many years. and whether because -- whether they retaliate this way remains to be seen but i think it will fall under pressure to do so.
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>> ifill: is jordan between a rock and hard place? it's part of the coalition and taking in so many refugees, and at the same time so many recruits for isil are coming from jordan. >> well jordan has been in a tough position. the king has made it clear that he regards this war not just as a military war against isis but also a cultural war, a war of values, if you want, to determine who speaks on behalf of islam. and i think that there are some people in jordan who did not take that message and really you know it is estimated that maybe between 2,000 to 5,000 people are idealogically attached to isis. i think this message will resonate more particularly after the horrible, horrible way in which the pilot was killed. >> ifill: it is horrible, and rod norland, i wonder whether this nervousness, this
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unhappiness that sajida al-rishawi is resonating now on the streets in amman where you are tonight. >> a week ago people were saying, and we were reporting actually that a lot of jordanians thought this shouldn't be their war, they shouldn't be a part of it. there's been a huge change in attitude, even before this awful video of his murder came out. even before that jordanians were really rallying around the flag and turning against isis and its tactics. i think if they thought this video was going to turn jordanians away from joining in the coalition, i think they badly misjudged the mood. i think we'll see even more support for jordan's role. >> ifill: do you agree with marwan mausher then that the mood has been misjudged because of the cultural war that's under way and the ideological one rather than anything having to do with islam? >> yeah, i think that's probably true.
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at the same time, though, there has been, you know, a kind of underground here of supporters for isis, especially young men system of them fairly vocal. i think you'll be hard-pressed tomorrow to find anybody speaking out on behalf of isis, the islamic state anymore here, and there will be a real kind of reckoning to come. >> ifill: marwan mausher, why the increase in bar -- barbarity, to use president obama's words? we weren't immune to beheadings but this seems to be a step beyond, several steps beyond. >> i see it as a sign of weakness. when you kill someone in such a violent manner it proves you're not able to get results by other means. whatever the case, this is clearly a group that does not belong to humanity with which no compromise is possible. >> how do you stop them from doing this?
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>> you stop them first militarily, but also culturally. i think we need a cultural war of values to address the very grievances that, you know, a lot of people have and are frustrated enough to move them to join such barbaric groups. and it is a war that, you know the region has to take for itself. they need to be fought militarily, but the underlying causes of frustration and marginalization have also to be addressed. i hope that is going to be the case. the king, as i said, made it very clear that this is a cultural war that the region needs to make it clear that islam, you know, has no place in it for such groups. >> ifill: and would you say, rod norland, that tonight jordan is a nation in mourning? >> yes i think that's safe to say. schools will be closed tomorrow, probably businesses and government, as well. and i think we'll see a huge
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reaction here to what's happened tonight:. >> ifill: rod norland of "the new york times" in amman for us tonight and marwan mausher the former foreign minister for jordan, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: there was major news on the financial front, as well. standard and poors settled federal allegations that it deliberately hyped risky mortgage securities before the 2008 meltdown. the credit rating agency agreed to pay almost $1.4 billion, and admitted it knew many of the investments were likely to collapse. we'll detail the implications of this deal, after the news summary. >> ifill: wall street tops the day's other news. energy stocks led the market sharply higher, as oil prices surged back above $53 a barrel. the dow jones industrial average gained 305 points, to close well over 17,600. the nasdaq rose 41 on the day and the standard and poors index added 29. >> woodruff: the president's health care law was back before
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the house of representatives today, and the result was the same. by 239 to 186, republicans pushed through a measure to strike the statute from the books. >> woodruff: the vote on "h.r. 596" represented the 56th time that house republicans have tried to repeal the affordable care act. republican steve king of iowa said it's about making clear where everyone stands. >> every republican up until this point has voted to repeal obamacare. every member of the house with the exception of those that were sworn in for the first time for this congress has had that chance. now we give everyone that chance. >> woodruff: michigan republican john moolenaar is one of those newly sworn-in members. >> it's time to permanently repeal the excessive spending, the economic pain and the continuing uncertainty caused by this law and replace it with patient centered alternatives with lower premiums that allow individuals to choose the coverage they want.
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>> woodruff: but democrats said the exercise is pointless since the president has vowed a veto. house minority leader nancy pelosi. >> they're baying at the moon. something that is not going to work and instead of proposing any which we would be welcome to hear good suggestions they may have to improve the affordable care act, they're baying at the moon 56 times. >> woodruff: at the white house, the president dismissed the house vote, as he met with americans who say they've benefited from the law. >> in every respect working not just as intended but better than intended and so the notion we'll play politics with lives of folks who are working hard every single day trying to make ends meet, trying to look after their families makes absolutely no sense. >> woodruff: the bill goes to the senate now, but republicans
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won't have the votes it would take to override a veto. a group of republican committee chairmen now say they're working on their own plan to replace the affordable care act. they expect to release it on thursday. >> ifill: new england bundled up today as frigid cold moved in, on the heels of the latest winter storm. in some places, wind chills hit 20-below, prompting "flash freeze" warnings. in the boston area, crews braved the cold to move another 18 inches of snow, after more than two feet fell last week. mayor marty walsh said together the two storms made history. >> we've set a record in the seven day period in the city of boston. we received over 40.1 inches of snow. we've broken the old record and we're looking at a possible another six inches of snow on thursday. >> ifill: the snow forced the city to put off its super bowl victory parade for the new england patriots, until tomorrow. >> woodruff: new research out today portrays an ever-growing
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college gap between the haves and have-nots. two advocacy groups for higher education reported that in 2013, some 77% of students from wealthier families received bachelor degrees. that's compared to only 9% of those from the lowest income bracket. the difference is more than double what it was in 1970. >> ifill: fidel castro has been seen for the first time in five months. cuban state media released nearly two dozen new photos today. they show the former president now 88 years old, meeting with a student leader. the student says it happened january 23rd, and they discussed everything from castro's exercise routines to international politics. the ailing castro stepped down as president in 2006. >> woodruff: and britain moved today to become the first country to allow so-called "three-parent babies." the cutting-edge fertility method uses genetic material from three people. it's designed to prevent inherited diseases caused by
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defective mitochondria, the energy-producing bodies in cells. rachel younger of independent television news, reports. >> reporter: jessica is just 13 months old, but for her today's vote comes too late. science can't keep her alive, but it might just mean her parents now get to introduce their daughter to a little brother or sister who won't have to suffer like she has. >> she struggles with swallowing. she struggle with her muscle tone, as well. so as you can see, she's very floppy. she can't hold her head up. she doesn't have the energy up to do that. >> reporter: scientists in newcastle haven't managed to cure mitochondrial disease like jessica's, but they have worked out a way to prevent it before an embryo is even formed. it involves a healthy egg being taken from a donor. doctors will then remove the nucleus containing her d.n.a. and replace it with the mother's but without the 40 mitochondria genes.
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the newly repaired egg is then fertilized and implanted into the mother's womb, but it's unchartered territory that has to be approved first by m.p.s in the commons. >> once we amove this procedure, where does it lead? the answer has to be that we stop here. this answer has to be that we say this is a red line in our country as in every other country in the world that we will not cross. >> we can't guarantee that it will work but the people most involved think that it will work, and all the scientific advisory bodies in this country think that it will work. we should take note of what they say. >> reporter: in the end, most of them did. >> the ayes to the right, 382. the noes to the left, 128. >> reporter: that means up in newcastle the work goes on, toward a world first that could change the lives of thousands. >> ifill: the proposal still needs approval in the house of lords. >> woodruff: the proposal still
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needs approval in the house of lords. >> woodruff: still to come on the newshour: standard and poor's pays for its role in the mortgage crisis; herbal supplements: what's real and what's fake? using education to break cycles of poverty in rural west virginia; harper lee announces a follow up to "to kill a mockingbird," 50 years later; and protecting the ocean's fragile coral reefs. >> woodruff: more than six years after the financial crisis hit the economy with full force, the government finally closed one of its major cases against a key player. the justice department's settlement with standard & poor's centered on credit ratings the company awarded during the lead-up to the housing bust. some observers and experts have long argued that rosy ratings of troubled mortgage securities helped inflate the market. for its part, s&p did not admit to criminal wrongdoing in the settlement.
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but at a press conference attorney general eric holder laid out part of what the company conceded. >> on more than one occasion the company's leadership ignored senior analysts who warned that the company had given top ratings to financial products that were failing to perform as advertised. as s&p admits under this settlement, company executives complained that the company declined to downgrade underperforming assets because it was worried that doing so would hurt the company's business. now, while the strategy may have helped s&p avoid disappointing its clients, it did major harm, major harm to the larger economy, contributing to the worst financial crisis since the great >> woodruff: the settlement included attorneys general from 19 states and the district of columbia. jim hood, the attorney general of mississippi, was there today. he joins me now, along with lynn stout; she is a professor of corporate and business law at cornell law school.
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we welcome you both. attorney general hood, what are some examples of what standard & poor's did that they should not have done? >> well, they made misrepresentations. they portrayed themselves as if they were pure as the driven snow and they were making independent evaluations of these mortgage-backed securities that the banks were running through. they were making three the four times as much for these evaluations, and they get, you know repeating over and over that they were independent in their evaluations. and they weren't. what we found out that that was a violation of the state's unfair and deceptive trade practices. consumer protection laws came into play. so connecticut initially filed first. richard blumenthal, who iszg4ew- senator now was the attorney general then called me and encouraged me to file. we filed second. we had a long, dragged-out battle. but when the federal government and other states joined in, we moved quickly toward settlement.
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>> >> woodruff: lynn stout, how much were these companies getting out of this, not just standard & poor's, but the companies producing these mortgage-backed securities? >> well, it was, in fact a relatively new line of business for the ratings agencies. rating these mortgage-backed securities. it wasn't necessarily the majority of their business but it was a very profitable sector. obviously they were trying to grow it. >> woodruff: but money was being made is the point. >> oh, yeah. no they were definitely making money, especially in the short term. in the long term it look like it's going to cost them far more. the settlement, depending on how you calculate it is going to amount to either one or twice the annual profits of mcgraw hill financial, which is the parent company of s&p. >> woodruff: i want to ask you both about that in a moment but at the time jim hood what was the connection between what s&p did to the financial collapse?
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>> well they made it easy for the banks to package these bogus instruments. warren buffett said he doesn't understand these instruments. and if he didn't, many didn't. they didn't have the capability to properly analyze these instrument, yet they were being paid three to four times as much. in fact, standard & poor's i think was making 40% of what they were making at a rate of about $1 billion a year, 40% of that was coming from these evaluations. the state of mississippi and connecticut sued moody's as well. they were even higher. they were making about 50% of their income from these evaluations. >> woodruff: lynn stout, we know that standard & poor's came back and said, no, this is not true, we are not guilty. the dependent of justice took... first brought this case two years ago. why has it taken so long? >> these big cases against financial institutions always take a long time. the reality is these big banks and financial institutions, including ratings agencies,
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they're very big they're very profitable, they can afford to spend a lot of money on lawyers. as a rule government authorities are generally pretty outgunned or at least outlawed in these cases. so it's very easy to drag them out to, send up a lot of smoke to make it figure out what is going on, and they do tend to fight them tooth and nail in the hopes they can tire the government out. >> woodruff: and originally what s&p was saying is that the department of justice was coming after them the government was coming after them because s&p had downgraded u.s. government debt back in 2011. what happened to that argument? >> they had to detract that. that was very important to most attorneys general and the federal government. it made it government look petty to take that type of action. the state of mississippi filed in 2011 against standard & poor's on the theory of consumer protection. initially we sued the banks on security and the credit rating
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agencies. they were dismissed on first amendment grounds. they said, we can puff. we can just say things. but when we began to shift to this theory of violation of consumer protection act unfair and deceptive trade statement then that theory, they couldn't get that one dismissed. that's when they paid $1.375 billion. >> woodruff: and lynn stout, you said for standard & poor's, that's a significant penalty? >> i think it is. this is going to really hurt them. a couple years' profits is a big loss. and that's actually i think in the long run the only effective way to try and prevent these sorts of fraudulent cases in the future. you have to hit the institution in its pocketbook. that's what really is the area where it can feel the pain. so even though there was no agreement of criminal activity, i think this is going to be a pretty effective penalty. >> woodruff: quickly jim hood, what about the people
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originally harmed by this? >> those people that lost their home as a result of this they don't gabe anything from this. this will go back to our states to help pay for some of the programs that we've implemented to keep people in their homes. but, you know, this is just to send a message. this was a penalty. and it hurt bad enough that it will affect hopefully in the future deter this type of conduct. now under regulations passed in august, the sec has a duty to regulate and not let this occur in the future. >> woodruff: attorney general lynn hood from mississippi and lynn stout at cornell we thank you both. >> ifill: health officials have long worried about the safety and quality of herbal supplements, a multi-billion dollar business. at least one major retailer pulled products from the shelves today after new york state attorney general eric schneiderman said gnc, target, wal-mart and walgreen's sell
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store-brand supplements that do not contain the ingredients they advertise. the investigation found that four out of every five products tested did not include the ingredients mentioned on the label. the attorney general joins me now. mr. schneiderman, tell us about how you reached these conclusions about this investigation, something called d.n.a. coding? >> d.n.a. barcoding. yes, we have been aware for some time and there have been other studies about this that there were issues with herbal supplements. unfortunately the state of law and regulations is that the f.d.a. can't require the herbal supplement industry to register when they manufacture or sell their products. this is essentially an honor system, so we decided to test the store brands of some major chains that sell in cities and towns all over our state and all over the country and we were surprised to see that only 21% of the products had any trace at
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all of what they were supposed to be selling. so we tested things like echinacea, ginseng, things that are popular herbal supplements. in the overwhelming majority of case, there was no trace of the product purportedly being sold. so we have written cease and desist letters to these four chains, some of them are pulling the products just the lot numbers we tested off the shelves. they'll explain their system for quality control. and i think a lot of stores are going to follow this example and do the right thing. but there really are no standards for manufacturing in this area and a lot of people consume this stuff. >> ifill: this raises so many questions. some experts don't trust this d.n.a. barcoding very much, and it's hard for those of us who have jars of this stuff in our medicine cabinets to believe there's actually nothing on the label involved or contained in these jars of supplements. >> well d.n.a. barcoding is a widely respected technique to find specifically what a plant
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species is. it uses small ja -- genetic markers specific to identifying species. most complaints are not that the technique doesn't work. some people say well, if something is overprocessed you can hide the d.n.a. the view of most scientists is you can't tell that there's any d.n.a. at all it's probably been denatured and the benefit you're looking for may not be. there but we'll give these companies a chance to show what their tests are. we've demanded they provide us with their own explanation for how they do quality control. the key thing is this: it's illegal in new york and in most places to sell something that is not what the label says it is. you just can't do it. in addition to finding -- we also found there were a lot of fillers and other products and other plant species that are identified by the barcode that weren't on the label. so it's a combination of not selling what you're supposed to be selling and selling people things that are fillers or other plant species that could cause public health issues.
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>> ifill: that's what i was going to ask you, what was in it? powdered rice is something i saw mentioned. my question is what averse health impacts might there be if you were to take these supplements which were not as advertised? >> there have been some instances where very serious outbreaks of disease were caused by contaminated probiotics or other herbal supplements but it's really something that we're challenging these store chains to deal with. they are not the manufacturers. but we're trying to impose control through our own consumer protection laws because that's what i have access to as the new york state attorney general to, put the burden on them to say you have to have quality control. manufacturers may not have to register with the f.d.a., but you're not allowed to sell this stuff and label it in ways that are improper. >> ifill: this is a question i think everybody would have: doesn't the food and drug administration have some oversight over this sort of thing? >> no, unfortunately, a law was
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passed in 1994 that severely restricts what the food and drug administration is able to do. there's an effort to amend it in 2012, and that was beaten back. it's been noted that senator orrin hatch is a leading proponent of deregulating the industry and others support that. i think consumer safety does have to come first. this is not a situation that it was in 1994, we're talking about more than $60 billion a year of these products in the economy. it is time to impose some tighter standards of safety. in the meantime in new york state, i'm going to use my consumer protection powers to make sure that nothing is sold to consumers that's not what it says on the label. >> so if you are a consumer tonight and you're walking into your neighborhood health food store, what kind of precautions should you be taking to make sure you're getting what you're buying. >> well, what we're examined are the store brands. we're not saying this is true of all of the supplement industry.
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we think this is going to begin a process of these stores coming forward and the sellers of the product really do have a responsibility under consumer protection and labeling laws and we're really holding them accountable to go back and make sure that they have quality control and the manufacturers, they choose to buy from people producing good product. >> ifill: new york state attorney general eric schneiderman, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: next, we head out to the country for a look at the challenges facing rural schools which educate about a fifth of all american students. special correspondent for education john tulenko, of learning matters, has the first of two reports from west virginia. >> reporter: the coal trains that rumble through west
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back then the county seat of welch was called "little new york." today most of those jobs and most of those people are gone. mcdowell county is the poorest in the state with the highest rate of heart disease, suicide and drug overdose in all of west virginia. for public schools here, finding a way to keep the for public schools here, finding a way to keep the county's roughly 3,500 students from becoming any one of those statistics is the number 1 priority. flo mcguire is principal at southside elementary. >> i grew up here. obviously it's a very rural area. so i really understand what it's like to be a kid bored out of your mind because there is nothing to do here. >> reporter: having "nothing to do" has affected children and teenagers in many ways. >> we are the highest ranking in terms of type two diabetes weight, i mean we are the poster-child for bad health. >> reporter: for mcguire, the
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solution is for schools to fill the void. >> statistics tell us and research tells us that we have students that are involved in activities, they're less likely to get involved in drugs, and less likely to get involved in those negative personal habits. >> reporter: while schools do offer team sports, participation is limited. the after-school program offers just homework help. and weekends are void of any organized activities. all that could change through a new effort called "reconnecting mcdowell," a partnership among state agencies, non-profits and others that aims to improve opportunities in schools. >> our vision is to be the hub of the community. i want to offer dance class, tae kwon do, music, art, anything that we can get in here to enrich their educational
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experience, i guess, we want to. >> reporter: one early accomplishment, a state funded effort to revamp phys-ed classes across the district. and schools are encouraging more parents to exercise, through county wide celebrations like this one. >> again, if you look at our area, there is nowhere to go to begin those habits. those habits will begin with the kids we have here. >> and if we get the exercise equipment, if we get the community center, chances are life gets better for everyone. >> reporter: greg cruey heads the local teachers' union, part of the larger american federation of teachers. it spear-headed the partnership here and wants it to also provide social services, like a school-based health clinic and counseling for students. >> when a kid comes to school and the main thing they think about is the instability they have at home, they come to school to eat, they come to
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school to feel safe but learning arithmetic is not a big priority for them. >> reporter: academic performance that's at the bottom of west virginia is another major challenge the partnership faces. and another likely cause, is a and another likely cause is a shortage of qualified teachers. two months into the school year mt. view high school still had eight vacancies to fill. debra hall is the principal. >> and they're not just in fine arts or p.e. they're in math, they're in science, english, and it's every year. >> reporter: to fill the gaps, the district relies on long term substitutes like elvis blankenship, whose offer to teach eigth grade, honors biology came the night before school started in september. >> reporter: are you qualified to teach science? >> i do not have my science part of my qualification. but i've worked in hospital settings. my wife is a nurse, so what i don't understand i just ask her.
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>> reporter: we were in your class and i noticed that the students were spending a lot of time with the textbook. how much do you rely on the textbook? >> actually, i get my outline from the textbook. i'm always afraid i'll be saying something wrong. i don't want to be, get them, so messed up than what they could be. >> you know, these long term subs we have, they're dedicated they know that students need them, they work really hard, but i think that our students deserve qualified, certified, content area teachers. >> reporter: but getting them to come here, won't be easy. >> it's a county wide concern. part of the problem is the roads, the housing. i drive on route 52. it's curvy, it's dangerous. you ride on it with big coal trucks. >> reporter: and nearly everyone commutes, because here there are few good places to live. solutions to deep-seated
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problems like this one are hard to come by, but the reconnecting mcdowell partnership is trying. it recently purchased this abandoned building, which it plans to turn into badly needed, high quality, housing for teachers. another example of its strategy to improve schools from the outside in. >> and unless we can change the environment so that teachers want to stay, unless we can change the environment so parents have a higher level of education and can help their kids, unless we can change it so that kids are more ready and able to learn, no amount of good pedagogy is going to ,by itself, fix our problem with test scores. >> reporter: the challenge is immense, but vital to face. education is the best route students have to escape the dismal statistics here. in mcdowell county, west virginia, i'm john tulenko reporting for the newshour. >> woodruff: we'll have john's second report tomorrow night.
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>> ifill: now to a hugely surprising story from the world of popular fiction and literature. the reclusive author harper lee, whose novel "to kill a mockingbird" riveted readers 50 years ago and later moviegoers will publish another novel. jeffrey brown tells the story. >> brown: word of harper lee's plans generated buzz throughout the literary world. the new book, "go set a watchman," is actually an old one. lee wrote it in the 1950s, but at an editor's advice, set it aside and turned to writing "to kill a mockingbird." published in 1960, that treasured classic about race and coming-of-age in alabama in the 1930's won a pulitzer prize. and would go on to sell some 40 million copies. >> you never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.
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>> brown: it became an oscar- winning film in 1962, starring gregory peck as atticus finch. the earlier manuscript was largely forgotten until, according to a statement released today, lee's lawyer discovered it last fall. set in the 1950's, it features "scout," a girl in "mockingbird," but now a grown woman, returning home to alabama to visit atticus. in today's statement, lee, now 88, said of the new book: "i thought it a pretty decent effort, i am humbled and amazed that this will now be published after all these years." the famously reclusive author did attend a white house ceremony in 2007 to receive the presidential medal of freedom. but her publisher says she is unlikely to do any publicity for her second novel, when it's released in july. >> brown: some reaction now to this news. wally lamb is the author of four best-selling novels, including "she's come undone." his latest is "we are water." and mary murphy is an
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independent director whose documentary about harper lee and "to kill a mockingbird" was featured on pbs' american masters. she's also the author of an accompanying book, "scout atticus and boo." wally, let me start with you. the interest in this must start with the phenomenon of "to kill a mockingbird," right? what explains that? why has it endured? >> well, i think first of all it's the voice of the character. scout finch, the adorably feisty child and also the fact that it evokes emotions from us, not only laughter some of scout's hijinks, but also anger at injustice. i think the combination of what is sweet and funny and what is really socially relevant is the, you know, that's the cocktail mix that makes people love this book. >> mary murphy, you looked at harper lee's life. how much of a surprise is this announcement? >> well it's fantastic. and it's a little surprising,
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although when you look at how the novel came to be, there is discussion of an earlier submission and this is clearly what this is is the first submission, and then harper lee and her editor went on to work for several years together on what would become "to kill a mockingbird." >> brown: there are some questions about why now. you talked so some people around her when she was making her film. her sister who she was very close to has now passed away. what do we know about the circumstances of why now? >> well, what i know from talking to her sister miss alice, who was frequently called atticus in a skirt around town in monroeville, alabama, is that the original manuscript of "to kill a mockingbird" was kept in miss alice's safe-deposit box and that's where it was. and what i suspect is that when miss alice died several months ago at 103, her papers and
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getting them in order, someone went to the deposit box and found, astonishingly attached or appended or beneath the original manuscript this original submission that i've been told that miss alice may not have known she was in possession of. >> brown: wally lamb, there has long been this mystery around harper lee about the one book and that was it before this. as a writer yourself, did you always think there was more? what did you make of this? >> well, i had a fantasy that apparently now joylyously seems to be a reality. i noticed this afternoon social media buzzing we a lot of speculation about the validity of this book. but, you know, i hold my scepticism in reserve and i choose to celebrate and savor and i can't wait to study this new novel to see if it is a
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hybrid of "to kill a mockingbird," if it a first draft, whatever it is, i think that's really reason to celebrate. >> >> brown: wally lamb, what kind of influence did "mockingbird" have for you? >> i started out as a high school english teacher, had no plans to become a writing but it was teaching "to kill a mockingbird" year after year that i began the really get interested in her gift for the voice and also in the architecture of the novel. and so little by little that novel probably more than any other, sort of lured me into the forest of fiction writing myself. >> mary murphy what did you conclude about why she never wrote another novel after "mockingbird"? >> well without being able to ask her directly, i took what her sister miss alice said to me, which is she said that she
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couldn't top what she had already done, and miss alice said harper lee went on to live her life, but not to put herself under the burden that she did when she was writing "to kill a mockingbird." so without talking to harper lee myself, i take what miss alice said about that. i just think it's so fantastic that we get to see, i mean, it's fantastic for a scholar, a reader a writer that we get to see what proceeded this. >> brown: go ahead wally. >> i also think it's unfair if people are gearing up to judge it against "to kill a mockingbird" because, you know, i think that's inappropriate. i would... i have several drafts of my work, too, and, you know, it might be interesting for people to see what the final product is as opposed to, you know, an earlier effort. but, you know, i just think this
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is such valuable material that we have waiting for us. >> brown: and i saw the publisher is planning a big run of a couple million copies so there is a big audience waiting. >> yeah, i think so. and i want to echo what wally said, too. i just think in any form we get to see... we get to see the parallels between atticus and scout in a different way and all of that is great news, so whether it's two million or four million people who read it come july, it's all cause for celebration. >> brown: mary murphy and wally lamb on "go set a watchman" by harper lee. thanks so much. >> thank you. >> thanks for having me. >> woodruff: finally tonight new hope for how to restore dying coral reefs. it involves what could be a new
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and groundbreaking kind of undersea transplant. hari sreenivasan has our story. >> reporter: half a mile off the florida keys, a small boat of scientists is confronting a vast underwater crisis. biologists david vaughan, christopher page, and rudiger bieler are attempting life- saving transplants for florida's coral reefs which are dying at alarming rates. >> this is america's only living barrier coral reef here in the florida keys, and it is in a perilous state at this point in time. >> reporter: billy causey, the south east regional director of marine sanctuaries for the national oceanic and atmospheric administration, says the problem is even bigger than florida, one quarter of the world's corals have died in recent decades, a consequence of pollution, over- fishing and climate change. >> there's a global crisis right now occurring with coral reefs and their decline. our corals are on the very edge of existence.
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>> reporter: trying to reverse that decline, the scuba-diving scientists are grafting new corals onto decimated reefs. dave vaughan leads the transplant team at mote tropical research lab in summerland key florida. so what are we looking at here in all these tanks? >> well these tanks are growing corals, which are part animal part plant, part mineral they're basically a little understood organism. even though they're less than 1% >> reporter: while other biologists have tried transplanting new corals to dead reefs in recent years, the mote team's experiment is seen as groundbreaking. that's because the hard coral species grown in dave vaughan's tanks form the reef's critical structure, that until recently, took centuries to grow. >> most of these corals, the size of a good boulder, the size of a small car, would be five hundred to a thousand years old.
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but now since we've lost 25-40% of the world's corals, we can't wait 100 years. >> reporter: in fact, vaughan and his team aren't waiting. they discovered that when cut into small strips, the slow growing living corals quickly try to heal themselves. biologist christopher page compares it to human skin, which will heal quickly after an injury. >> by cutting it, you're actually stimulating it to grow. >> reporter: now, these reef building corals will grow at a rate 25 times faster. how long did these tiny ones that look like little mini cupcakes, how long did those take? >> we can grow that size in about four months, in four months we can get what would have taken two years. >> reporter: and what about these, these are bigger? >> this is a brain coral. and this would have taken ten to fifteen years to grow. >> reporter: and it took how long in the lab? >> about one year.
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will grow a coral this year, which would have taken 25 to 50 years in the wild. >> what he's getting with this microfragmentation is growth spurts unlike anything we've ever seen. >> reporter: once the corals are successfully grown in the nursery, the team searches for a transplant match, dead corals of the same species. >> a big coral boulder is essentially just a rock, it's the material that the living tissues have deposited over dozens or a hundred years, but the only thing that's alive is that little veneer of tissue on the outside, which is essentially what we are bringing back. >> reporter: but before the transplant, the corals are left in a cage for 30 days. >> there are so little new corals out there that if we put these bright little nuggets out there, things like parrot fish and other predators haven't seen that in such a long time, they say, boy, that looks like a chocolate covered strawberry. >> reporter: when the corals
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lose some of their color, and attraction to fish, vaughan and bieler punch holes in the dead structures and epoxy the new corals hoping they will eventually fuse together. rudiger bieler likens the process to human hair plugs. bieler is a curator from the field museum of natural history in chicago, one of the partners in the project. and he is documenting the marine life the project may attract. >> to see what lives in that area before we do the restoration, what happens during the restoration, and what kind of species are coming in afterwards. >> reporter: but the question remains, will these new corals subject to same ocean stressors as their predecessors, survive in the wild? for that, the team is recreating current ocean conditions. >> we actually change the temperature and we change the ph in each tank and we look to see which ones are going to tolerate those conditions. >> reporter: so essentially, kind of creating the future environment? >> that's right. seeing which ones will be the winners and which ones will be
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the losers so we're always using the winners. >> reporter: so you're assuming ocean acidification continues at this rate, this is what the ocean will be like? >> so if you can, figure out which ones survive and put those in the ocean? >> absolutely, you are right on target, that's what we're doing. >> reporter: while it may not be the solution to saving the world's coral reefs, noaa director billy causey says it is buying time. >> in giving us time for our reefs to hang on as long as they can, just by having stock that we can eventually put back out there, it's going to take our global leaders to address climate change, and we have to have the time for those actions to take place. >> reporter: in the florida keys, i'm hari sreenivasan for the pbs newshour. >> ifill: again, the major developments of the day. "islamic state" radicals put out a grisly video of a captured jordanian pilot being burned alive. in washington, the visiting king of jordan met with president
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obama this evening, before heading home. and standard and poor's agreed to pay nearly $1.4 billion to settle charges that it inflated ratings on mortgage investments before the 2008 meltdown. >> woodruff: on the newshour online, san francisco's lenora lee dance company explores difficult topics using mixed- media like video projection and text. their latest performance sheds light on young women who were brought to the u.s. and forced into servitude. learn more about how the modern dance company adapts harrowing narratives for the stage, on our homepage. all that and more is on our web site, pbs.org/newshour. >> ifill: and that's the newshour for tonight. on wednesday, we'll look at the economics of making music and how streaming services like spotify are challenging how artists earn a living. i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. we'll see you on-line and again
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here tomorrow evening. for all of us here at the pbs newshour, thank you and good night >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. i.b.e.w. the power professionals in your neighborhood. >> lincoln financial-- committed to helping you take charge of your life and become you're own chief life officer.
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>> carnegie corporation of new york. supporting innovations in education, democratic engagement, and the advancement of international peace and security. at carnegie.org. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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