tv PBS News Hour PBS February 23, 2015 3:00pm-4:01pm PST
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> ifill: the lasting wounds of war. rubble and ruin remain in gaza, as efforts to rebuild falter, frustrating those who must live amid the destruction. >> ifill: good evening, i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. also ahead. the college debt dilemma. new data on why more americans who borrow for school are failing to pay back their loans on time. >> ifill: it's politics monday. amy walter and nia malika henderson are here to discuss the week ahead. >> woodruff: plus, when memories and mobility slip away, music making becomes a powerful antidote to the symptoms of alzheimer's and dementia.
>> his cognition has improved and we have something great to share! we really were losing a connection, and he was really slipping away, and i can really say that he's back again. >> ifill: those are some of the stories we're covering on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us.
>> 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. >> woodruff: winter's latest icy blast took aim at the south today, disrupting travel again. by this afternoon, more than 1,900 flights had been canceled. the ice storm hit texas and neighboring states in force causing hundreds of accidents and leaving cars abandoned on highways in dallas and elsewhere.
meanwhile, a new arctic chill spread from the midwest to new england, with wind chills diving to minus-40 around parts of the great lakes. >> ifill: congress opened a crucial week today, facing a friday deadline to approve a budget for the department of homeland security. republicans say they will only agree to pass a funding bill if president obama's immigration plan is rolled back. senate democrats have resisted, insisting that domestic security concerns come first. secretary jeh johnson appealed today for an end to the stalemate. >> a shutdown of homeland security would have serious consequences and amount to a serious disruption in our ability to protect the homeland. i am urging in the four or so working days they have this week to figure out a way to break the impasse so that we get a fully- funded budget for homeland security. >> ifill: late this afternoon republicans tried and failed again to bring up their bill in the senate.
wyoming senator john barrasso charged democrats must bear the blame if the impasse continues. >> why are democrats being obstructive in the way that they are? why are the democrats so eager to cut off funding for the department of homeland security? well the answer is this is a disagreement not about funding homeland security. it's about our nation's immigration policy and the president's executive amnesty an action which i believe is illegal. >> ifill: a short-term funding extension may yet be possible. but if the department does run out of money, about 30,000 workers would be furloughed. another 200,000 are considered essential, and would keep working, without pay. >> woodruff: a federal jury in new york today found the palestinian authority and the palestine liberation organization liable in a series of terror attacks in israel. the jury awarded $218 million in damages to relatives of ten americans killed or wounded in the attacks. they took place between 2002 and
2004. palestinian officials said they will appeal. >> ifill: the center for responsive politics reports that last year's elections were the most expensive mid-terms ever. altogether, republicans and democrats, and their allied groups, spent almost $3.8 billion. but that record-setting sum came from a smaller pool of donors. that had not happened since 1990. >> woodruff: president obama called today for tougher rules on financial brokers who manage retirement accounts. the proposal would make advisors disclose all fees received for recommending investments. the president told an a.a.r.p. gathering the goal is to make sure clients' interests come first. >> a lot of fine financial advisors out there but there are a lot of financial advisors that receive backdoor payments or hidden fees for steering people into bad retirement investments that have high fees and low returns.
>> woodruff: the financial services industry opposes the draft rule. it argues brokers are already well regulated by the securities and exchange commission. >> ifill: sales of homes across the country fell nearly 5% in january. that's the slowest pace in nine months. the national association of realtors said winter weather was partly to blame. that news, plus a drop in oil prices, sent wall street mostly lower. the dow jones industrial average lost 23 points to close near 18,100. the nasdaq rose 5 points. the s&p 500 lost less than a point. >> woodruff: and, hollywood handed out new hardware last night, but the oscars show fell flat with viewers. the audience was down 16% from a year ago. the dark comedy "birdman" won four awards, including best picture and best director. britain's eddie redmayne won best actor as afflicted scientist stephen hawking in "the theory of everything." and julianne moore won best actress as a woman with alzheimer's in "still alice." >> woodruff: still to come on the newshour: the lasting wounds of war in gaza.
why more graduates are failing to pay back college debt on time. the week ahead in politics with amy walter and nia malika- henderson. when oscar buzz turns to activism. using music to connect to those with alheimer's. and, shedding light on china's tiger trade. >> ifill: now we turn to a story about life after war. six months ago, israel and hamas agreed to a truce to stop the fighting which dominated much of last summer's headlines. the fighting stopped, the spotlight dimmed, and palestinians in gaza have spent the time since struggling to rebuild their lives. special correspondent martin seemungal traveled to gaza, and found reconstruction efforts have barely begun. >> reporter: in parts of gaza what were once whole towns are
now piles of rubble. it looks like an enormous earthquake ripped through here a. but this is all the result of the ferocious summer war between israel and hamas. seven brutal weeks, hamas militants launching thousands of rockets at israel, israeli jets and drones retaliating with bombs and missiles in some place israel sent in its tanks. months later and it still looks like the day after. this is shazias in gaza. the israeli border just two kilometers from here. this area was hit very hard during the war estimated hundreds were killed. thousands of families are still homeless. uma lives in a at the present time in the ruins of the home that have been in her family for generations. "we came back just after the fighting stopped," she says "there is still no electricity
nothing to have a normal life." in southern gaza, this man's house is a crater full of wreckage. no electricity here either. his family of eight lives in this makeshift shelter. it is cold at night and he says one of his sons is very sick. "i can't make much money," he says. i need to rebuild but i need medicine for my son. this man works for a relief organization trying to ease the suffering. an expatriate from oman he arrived, determined to help. >> i hear too much about this. when we visited this area, actually, i am getting bad dreams every night about these places that no words can explain
deflection. >> reporter: for the people living like this for so many months, the situation sin tolerable and they are -- is intolerable and they are getting angry. i blame the government, she says. i asked one to have the government members to come stay with us and see how we live. when people talk about the government, they mean national unity between hamas gaza and the palestinian authority in the west bank, an interim arrangement agreed to in june of last year. as shane is the minister of public works and does not belong to hamas or the palestinian authority. he has a daunting task supervising the rebuilding of gaza. he is frustrated and surprisingly candid about it. >> for this government, we're going to feel as a government. >> reporter: how does it make you feel when you hear your own people of gaza blame the
government? >> very ashamed about that. as a minister, i was, you know, wishing -- >> everyone knows that this unit of government unfortunately is sort of a make believe government, it doesn't have any authority. >> reporter: robert is a u.s. peace envoy to the middle east and says hamas remains the real power in gaza but isn't blaming hamas for the slow pace of reconstruction. several weeks after the fighting stopped, the world's donor nations gathered in cairo to talk about rebuilding gaza. there were big promises in cry rough, pledges worth $5.4 billion but just a fraction of that showed up in gaza. it's estimated that only between $150 million and $200 million has actually reached gaza so far and it's been over six months. >> one of the reasons we see so little movement is that donors have actually not been
translating these pledges into projects, into really putting the money where it is most needed in gaza. >> reporter: elena also blames the palestinian government and is furious with the areas that have made promises but failed to deliver. there is some reconstruction but mostly minor road repair. israel is partially opened the tightly controlled border crossings. food and fuel supplies have been flowing in for many weeks. a significant turnaround since the days before the war. the biggest supermarket in gaza city gets regular shipments. the owner says things are much better than four months ago. >> i brought it back from israel and the west bank. >> reporter: this man is a
major with the israeli defense force, stationed a as a border post outside gaza and part of the i.d.f.t. monitoring crossings into gaza. you just got a message. what did the message say. >> i got a message from my office ofoffice. we're going to be inside gaza tomorrow. we have 582 trucks planned for tomorrow including construction material and other things going to gaza. >> reporter: he is a harsh critic in israel but says there are encouraging signs. >> i have seen a change in the israeli attitude. i think the war made at least some in israel realize that continuing a blockade, continuing to squeeze gaza is leading from bad to worse. >> there is a big difference between civilians and the gaza
strip. we want to have as normal as possible a life in gaza strip. >> the you understand -- the u.n. and others press to lift the blockade permanently to let civilians travel outside israel and egypt. it is seen by many as an attempt to weaken hamas. those restrictions and the slow pace of reconstruction are raising serious concerns. this man is with the u.n. based in gaza. >> we have noticed the anger is rising and we are afraid that a new round of violence is coming. >> the cease fire is fragile with hamas shooting daily rockets not into israel but now
into the sea as proof that hamas is also rearming itself. all of these things are not helping. >> so you would really like to see hamas guarantee some kind of short-term, long-term stability? >> i'm calling on hamas to make a choice in the interest of the people. commit yourself to a very stable cease fire. >> reporter: three years and that's if work starts tomorrow no sign that's happening. for now, they can only do their best to make life amid the rubble a little more bearable. martin seemungal for the "newshour" in gaza. >> woodruff: even as the economy is picking up steam, there's new research finding student loan debt is growing, and its burden lingers even longer than we realized.
data from the new york federal reserve shows student loan balances climbed to almost $1.2 trillion at the end of last year. in fact, delinquencies are rising on student loans even as they fall for most other types of debt, including mortgages and credit cards. new research also finds it is borrowers with the lowest balances, of $5,000 dollars or less, who are most likely to default. two experts join me now. megan mcclean is director of public policy and advocacy at the national association of student financial aid administrators. and william elliot is an associate professor at the university of kansas where he studies asset building and education. welcome to you both. >> thank you. >> woodruff: megan mcclean first of all why is this happening? >> thanks so much for having us this evening.
generally speaking, with the default situation, we're see the aftermath of the 2008 economic downturn. we see more students going back to school during an economic downturn so the borrower pool to begin with is broader and then you're seeing folks still struggling in a job market which can also contribute to defaults, a very troubling problem. >> woodruff: william elliot, give us a profile of the individual with this debt burden. >> well, it's not really that surprising now judy. it's black students minority students tend to be more likely to default. i think the most interesting things which you brought up earlier is even amounts of $5,000 or less, students still end up in delinquency or default and that's the most revealing part of the study is small amounts of debt can lead to financial hardship in the long run. >> woodruff: why do you believe that is? >> well, i think because really it's the whole idea or premise
of debt in the first place is if we finance education using student debt and limit amount of money students have as they graduate and enter the job market it's not surprising they would have less money and fall behind on their debt. they have car loans house loans, student debt it's an extra burden and kind of a failed system in the beginning thinking we can finance college with debt. >> woodruff: megan mcclean, what would you add to that because it's counterintuesday tiewtive that the people with the smallest balances would be the most in default. >> it is most people have tens of thousands of loans, but most is $10,000 or less. in a lot of cases, default is probably the students who go to school, drop out and either aren't aware they had a loan that the loan needs to be repaid
or aren't aware of the options available to them because there are several safeguards that are available to them to keep from going into delinquency and default so i think it is an educational issue as well. >> woodruff: what are some of the safeguards. >> the federal government offers income-driven repayment plains meaning students eligible can enter into the plans and be sure they won't pay more than a certain percentage of their discretionary income ensuring their loan payment won't be a burden and they can pay rent save money, things william was talking about. >> woodruff: wrnlings what would you had to this question of why is it that students with the lowest amount of debt seem to be having the biggest problem here? >> i want to go back to the income-based repayment plan. one of the minds the study is that in the long run these students are buying homes less often and everything else and if we understand the income-based
repayment plan that just extends the time period the students are paying on the loans. if we do that, we understand even small amounts -f money can produce problems and hurt their accumulating assets in the long run. even though this is a temporary solution, are we setting ourselves up for bigger problems not allowing the children to accumulate assets in the long run. long amounts of debt can cause negative effects. >> woodruff: he brings up the long-term implications megan. it's not just that the young people have debt while they're young, but this goes on years and decades into their lives. >> i think there are very serious long-term consequences and we've heard a lot about student borrowers delaying ownership starting families, because of having serious debt
burden. i don't disagree with william in that there are long-term consequences but i think the income-based programs are good options for students that can allow them to have a reasonable payment and we need to work on making sure more students get into the programs and more students who are delinquent go into those programs instead of getting into dire financial hardship. >> you're not concerned about the point he made about it takes such a long time for them to pay the loans back? >> i think that is a concern for some students, but the income-based repayment praments programs assume some borrowers starting out don't have jobs but they are income-based, and as you continue to work and mack more, you can make higher payments and you can always pay more as well. >> woodruff: william elliot what else needs to be done to reform the system? >> i think we have to think about what are the income-based plans doing, yes, they
temporarily stop defaults and delinquencies, but if we don't understand fully how much debt can be harmful, if smaller than thought, there's serious concerns for the long-term consequences for these kids. i think we need to turn to asset-building programs early on, try to help children build assets. think about pell grants differently so they can accumulate and don't end up in as much debt. we have to find solutions to stop kids from getting in debt in the first place. >> woodruff: are these the kinds of things, megan, you think will bring some relief to young people with these debts? >> yes. looking at ways we can encourage students and families to save earlier and often is a big piece of the puzzle and we need to call on better partnerships for who is responsible for funding
higher education. we need to understand yes students and families have a role, so do institutions and states and the federal government and taking a better partnership approach to making sure college say affordable. >> woodruff: we thank you both. >> thank you. judy. >> ifill: the week to come is already chock full of politics, with the promise of a presidential veto, new tests for presidential candidates, and a standoff over the department of homeland security. president obama weighed into that last fight today, as he met with governors at the white house. unless congress acts, one week from now, more than 100,000b.h.s. employees, border patrol port insherkts, t.s.a. agents will show up to work without getting paid. they all work in your states. these are folks who, if they don't have a paycheck, are not
going to be able to spend that money in your states. it will have a direct impact on your economy and it will have a direct impact on america's national security because their hard work helps to keep us safe. >> ifill: but the politics did not stop at the potorching's edge as we see in our weekly chat with nia-malika henderson and amy walter. nia, let's start with the standoff the president was talking about. we've seen this before. >> yes, we have. >> ifill: over the department of homeland security. the white house and the department seems to be pushing back. >> yeah, they're pushing back, president obama is pushing back. democrats are very much united we saw now for the fourth time they have fill besterred the bill because -- filibustered the bill because they don't want to see the funding stripped out, in the senate, that just happened. and republicans are already starting to break ranks and saying maybe this isn't such a
good idea, this is the way we stand up and speak out about the immigration. thatthis is about obama's immigration reform and is this the right way to send a protest or do we wait to see what happens with the supreme court and the texas immigration order as well. >> ifill: amy? once again it's the split in the republican party in terms of the house and senate and not just ideology in. the senate, they're looking at 2016 where the map is very different than the map looks like for the house. in the senate there are a lot of blue-state republicans up, rob port someone from ohio, marco rubio, a lot of places where they will have a fight, they don't want to give opponent ammunition they were part of a government shutdown. house reps are in safer
districts and don't think about what happens in november. >> ifill: the white house is writing on the wall as broadly as they can that the president plans to veto the bill that the congress and both houses have passed, trying to force him to move ahead open the keystone pipeline. is that part of the second-term new aggressiveness as well? >> absolutely. i think you could open up a veto era of this president. what you've seen from this president, i think, over the last many months is this very aggressive president, and you've seen his poll numbers go up as a result in some ways and democrats like this fighting version of obama. the thing is, he's got the numbers on his side with this keystone pipeline. it doesn't look like the senate can override a voteo. they'd need five others. >> ifill: aren't there some democrats who want the keystone
pipeline. >> a lot of democrats were defeated who wanted to see the keystone pipeline, including mary landrieu from louisiana. democrats know it doesn't do much good to side up with the president on this issue. for a lot of voters already seeing lower gas prices, there's not an immediate benefit. >> ifill: let's go to the other side of the aisle, the 2016 candidates. this week the republicans are going to meet, two different cattle calls groups the conservative political action committee and try to make their case. what'swhat are you watching for? >> jeb bush. this is the first time he'll talk to voters. you can do a speak or a q&a and he decided to do a q&a.
all of the issues are his achilles heels -- common core immigration reform, even in some ways his foreign policy -- this will be up for debate and we haven't heard how he'll handle that in terms of this. this is a crowd that liked mitt romney in the straw poll. it's not a bush crowd at all. >> ifill: it's a different group. who are the people in either group? representatives of mig? >> representative two branches of the republican party both on the republican end. for c pack these are more social and club forrowth are more conservative. club for growth were taking out establishment who weren't strong enough on public issues or maybe
voted for tax cuts. but they also supported people like marco rubio earlier on. >> ifill: she's watching for jeb bush. who are you watching? >> jeb bush and rand paul, too. c pack is where all the people attend to vote to see who they like as president. they love the libertarian outside the box candidate and that's supposed to be rand paul's strength is his ability to organize. >> ifill: in general in 2016 aren't we watching to see who's lightest on their feet no matter what questions are thrown at them? >> scott walker, right? that comes to mind because he's had a difficult week and we'll see what he does.
he will be at the club for growth. he's not quite wanting to answer questions about the president's phase, about the president's patriotism, so it is a test to see how you do. >> ifill: he was at the white house today. >> bobby jindal came out really strong against the president. he said the president discalled hiflself from manager commander-in-chief. these are folks who have tough rhetoric against this president and trying to make their identity around that. last>> ifill: last night, there were a lot of politics. we've seen it before when marlon brando came out and sasha didn't accept the award eons ago. it was not the first time but it was very interesting the issues that came up, pay eke thety came up, civil rights and
immigrant rights came up. why did we see this last night? was it because of the nature of the films or hollywood? >> maybe a little bit of both but i felt like at times i was sitting not necessarily just watching an award show but watching the democratic national convention. i mean, this was like, going through every one of their planks. it did fulfill a stereotype about hollywood which is they fall on the liberal end of the spectrum on all issues. it's also interesting to interesting to note as the "wall street journal" put on facebook, when people were clicking on stories they were following on movies, red counties american sniper and blue counties bird man. this was done on meet the press the other day. just goes to show in our movies we're polerrized.
a lot of people in red states were upset american sniper didn't win and bird man did. if you were hillary clinton you had to be glad you saw meryl streep cheering on patricia arquette, preamp sister preach was kind of a home like that. and i do think hollywood and sort of culture in general often operates as a kind of cheering section and a sixth man in a campaign. you saw that very much in the democratic primary where obama had culture and cultural figures on his side where hillary didn't. >> were they cheering on snowden where they were giving citizen four -- >> yes, he criticizes the obama administration and the bush administration. that movie is being celebrated. >> coming at a time when you had
hacking of sony, right, and a lot of issues about pay equity even in hollywood -- >> and diversity, that's the other thing, bun one of the widest offers we've seen. >> ifill: the song glory won and very strong statements made by the songwriters. so this apparently got record low viewing but was interesting politically. >> we watched. >> ifill: that's what counts. nia-malika henderson, amy walter, see you next monday. >> woodruff: the academy awards often serve as a spotlight for a variety of political and social issues. that was certainly true again last night. and one of the tributes made during the ceremony, to code- breaker alan turing and his legacy for modern times, spurred more calls to correct a historical injustice today. jeffrey brown has the story.
>> brown: "the imitation game" tells how british mathematician alan turing built an early computer to crack the german code and helped allied forces win world war two. >> well the judge gave me a choice. >> brown: it also shows how turing, played by benedict cumberbatch, suffered under britain's anti-homosexual laws in the 1950s, and was forced to take hormone therapy as punishment. >> yes, chemical castration, to cure me of my homosexual predilections. >> brown: alan turing died at age 41, an apparent suicide. in november, cumberbatch told me how turing's story had moved him. >> the reality of then what happened to him in the 50s hits you and, you're winded with emotion of this injustice this man who was served by the very government and democracy it saved from fascism with estrogen injections to cure his homosexuality, which was punishable by either that or
imprisonment. and i was really upset and then angry. >> graham moore, the imitation game! >> brown: last night graham moore, the film's screenwriter, won the oscar for best adapted screenplay. moore, who later said he himself is not gay, spoke of his own sense of alienation as a teen and even a suicide attempt. >> because i felt weird, and i felt different, and i felt like i did not belong. and now i'm standing here and so i would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she's weird, or she's different, or she doesn't fit in anywhere, yes you do. i promise you do. you do. stay weird, stay different. >> brown: alan turing received a posthumous pardon from queen elizabeth in 2013, and the film has brought new awareness to this side of british history. today brought a new step, as
alan turing's family presented the british government with a petition to pardon 49,000 others convicted under the same anti-sodomy laws. one of the activists behind that effort, peter tatchell, joins us now from london. briefly, if you would, the turning case took place in the 1950s, but the law he was convicted under and others have a longer history? >> absolutely. anti-gay laws in britain go back centuries and they were not finally repealed untilo three. there was a partial decriminalization in 1967 but very limited. most aspects of gay life remain criminalized. from the 19thsoncally when records pop up again until 2003, it's estimated between 50,000 and 100,000 men in britain were convicting for consenting adult same-sex relations. what we're saying is not only should alan turning rightly have
been pardoned but all these other men should also be pardoned and the government should issue an apology for the suffering they endured. >> brown: how much effort went into the pardoning of alan turning, what did that take? >> it was a long campaign. we had gotten an apology from the government initially for his persecution and that was with the royal pardon. we're now saying that should be extended to others who were convicted under the same law or one of the other anti-gay laws that also existed. at the moment the government is holding out against an extended apology and pardon. we don't believe that's right. we support and support applaud the government for apologizing and giving a pardon to alan turning but if his conviction was unjust, so was the convictions
of all the other men. not only did they suffer a convictions, many were jailed, nearly all of them suffered other consequences like being sacked from their jobs being evicted from their homes, a breakup of their marriages, jordan vigilante attacks and even in some cases suicide. so it was a very, very heavy price, and we believe justice must be done for all these men, not just alan turning. >> brown: what is the government response so far? i mean i assume this would require going through case by case into the many thousands, right? >> well, that's right. what we have proposed is under a royal pardon procedure, any man convicted, all their partners, families, loved ones or even a third party should have a right to apply for a royal pardon and each case would be assessed on its individual merits but we
are very confident the vast majority of these tens of thousands of men were unjustly convicted under laws that did not apply to heterosexual men and women and some of them didn't inn even involve sex. they merely involved two men meeting in the street, exchanging names and phone numbers, that was a criminal offense until 2003 punishable by up to two years imprisonment. so there are many other cases beyond sex that also need to be overturned. >> brown: very briefly, if you would, do you think that the movie, the more awareness from the turning story will make a difference? >> there's no doubt the movie has made a difference. after the movie within about a month, we've collected over half a million signatures, one of the biggest petitions ever presented to the british government on any
issues. so there is a public groundswell that this is a grave injustice and it must be rectified, that all these men, not just alan turning all these men deserve a pardon and we are hopeful that eventually the british government will see sense and recognize that that is the right thing to do. >> all right, peter tatchell from london, thank you so much. >> thank you. >> ifill: last night's oscars also cast a light on the devastating impact of alzheimer's. julianne moore won best actress for her portrayal of a linguistics professor dealing with its early onset in "still alice," and country singer glenn campbell was honored with a performance by tim mcgraw of his song, "i'm not gonna miss you." his battle with the disease is the focus of one of the nominated documentaries. special correspondent judy mueller has been exploring how music can provide help for people suffering from several forms of dementia. here's her report.
♪ >> reporter: paul has been playing the piano since he was four years old. now in his '70s, he can still remember all his favorite tunes like fly me to the moon. >> it's a place where memory doesn't have any effect on me. the music just flows. if i want to play what i want to play. ♪ >> reporter: but aside from the music, his memory is failing him. paul, a retired attorney learned several years ago he has alzheimer's. >> nobody wants to be diagnosed with alzheimer's. it's something not new to me because my father suffered from it as well. >> reporter: paul already has trouble remembering simple things like the day of the week so every day his wife goes over the schedule. >> today is monday, today at
1:30, we go to brentwood presbyterian. >> reporter: they have found new ways to communicate and his music is a big part of that. >> it has always been a part of paul's life but i think it became a language for him and i think he could express himself emotionally with his music in ways that was satisfying to the deepest parts of himself. and for those who have ears to hear, they hear what he's saying. >> reporter: so they looked around for others who had ears to hear. >> the unstated part of it is you need to be around people, and going into isolation because you're ashamed or worried you're going to be made a fool of is not only not fruitful but it's silly. >> reporter: when maureen heard about an unusual group of
musicians who get together to jam twice a week she convinced paul to give it a try. they call themselves the fifth dementia a humorous reference that they all suffering in varying degrees from dementia, alzheimer's or parkinson's disease. gene sterling on the drums is the band's leader, has an uncontrollable tremor until he picks up the drumsticks. >> the whole thing is to stay in motion. with the tremor issue in one's life, it exacerbates itself most distinctly when you're at rest. >> woodruff: so a drummer is not at rest. >> that's right. >> reporter: the harmonica player is a retired history
professor. his dementia robbed him of the ability to speak clearly. so when asked to describe in a word what the band means to him, he got help from gene. >> i would say one word would be freedom. >> reporter: freedom, do you agree? >> you're damn right. >> reporter: ira plays keyboard where his dementia and parkinson's no longer defines him. >> i have a purpose. i'm not sure what it is, except having something to do that is valuable is important. >> reporter: the band was started by ira and his wife carol who also founded its parent organization music mends minds.org. the music has provided an antidote to her husbandas suffering. >> i think he's much more alert. he's much more interesting. his cognition improved and we have something great to share. we really were losing a
connection and he was really slipping away and i can really say that he's back again. >> reporter: the families of these men say the music has made a difference, lowering depression and raising energy, and there's science to support that. u.c.l.a. neurobiologist marco says playing an instrument involves muscle memory in the brain which is not impacted by dementia. >> retrieving all these memories, you may forget what you have eaten at lunch but yet have not forgotten what you've done for many years and for many hours every week using an instrument to create music. you can't forget that. >> reporter: even more important, he says, is the emotional power of music. >> the most sensory component of
music, it's our every day life experience because it involves so many more different channels of communication and binds together information in the brain and makes it really powerful and probably more resilient to damage. >> reporter: even so, he cautions we still have a lot to learn about the brain so there's no way to predict how long these men or the band will be able to play music. but when they do play no one seems worried about the future. all they care about is the joy of making music and not just with each other. once a week, they're joined by three teenage jazz musicians from the windward school in west l.a. >> i was blown away when i first came in and heard them playing. they sound like these professional musicians. i've heard so much from gene and everyone else, playing with them. >> when you get down to it, we're all the same in this way, in this music this thing that binds us and, you know, most
people who are our age aren't into that type of music, and we really love it. >> it may not be the preferred music of the young but when they played a concert at the school all the students loved the rendition of the band's "all of me." carol rosenstein says music programs around the city are showing interests in starting their own bands with people suffering from dementia. >> it's something rather magical going on and the bottom line is we're having fun. >> reporter: paul echos the sentiment. >> i describe music as magic. from a dementia perspective, my experience is that it creates life. >> reporter: but then his life
with maureen has been with music. he compose the music for their wedding day. the music of "scent of orchids" hangs on the wall still. when you play that and she still responds to it, is there still emotion attached to that? >> yeah. >> reporter: for both of them, music reaches past memory to replace deeper than memory. >> it's like another language, and it's one that communicates in the present, and that's pretty much where we live right now. >> reporter: i'm judy mueller for the "newshour" in los angeles. >> woodruff: finally tonight, the worldwide multi-billion dollar illegal trade in wildlife, especially big cats in china.
jeff is back with a book conversation he recorded recently. >> tiger farms in china where tigers are bred and raised. a new book argues these farms play into and exacerbate an illegal trade of animals such as tigers prized in some parts of the world used in traditional medicines wine, clothing, taxidermy and more. at stake the very future of the tilingers with some 5,000 or 6,000 on the farms and 4,000 in the wild. "blood of the tiger" is the book, by j.a. mills, a consultant of the mcarthur foundation, form y with the whistled fund and conservation. welcome to you felt what is tiger farming? what does that mean? what does that mean when you see it up close? >> a tiger farm is basically a feed lot for tigers. basically where tigers are bred
like hens for the manufacture of luxury box including tiger bone and tiger skins. some farms have tiger bone wineries on the property. >> brown: this comes from where? >> in 1993, china banned tiger bone and since that time chinese medicine has not been using tiger bone, in fact the traditional chinese medicine no longer needs or wants to use tiger bone and is interesting to note polls repeatedly show most sheas people don't want to use tiger products and don't want tiger farms. >> brown: then why are the tigers being farmed? >> the problem with tiger farming is it increases the demand for tiger product and that increases poaching because
the products from wild tigers are considered superior more prestigious and exponentially more valuable. there are even people now who are buying tiger products from the wild as a new asset class, much as they would buy rare art or antique jewelry. >> brown: so the connection between the farms and the wild is farms create the demand but then people go out into the wild to kill the tigers? >> there are very wealthy investors who are poised to launch a multi-billion-dollar a year luxury goods market selling tiger bone wines and tiger skins, they hope, to the general public, so the farms are creating a mass demand, but only the tiniest fraction of china's $1.4 billion people decided they want wild tigers, we could lose the last 3,000 remaining tigers
in the wild almost overnight. >> brown: what do chinese officials say to you about in? are they against the farming or the illegal trade in tigers or do they seem to be just allowing it? >> chinese think first the administration is promoting tiger farming. they actually had invested money in tiger bone wineries. they are actively promoting this as a tiger conservation tool ignoring the fact reigniting the demand for tiger products will also reignite poaching of wild tigers that will be unsustainable. >> so what you should be done? one of the reasons i wrote the book is i hoped readers and other members of the public would speak out. i think it's in our hands now. i think people need to talk about it with their friends, tweet about it facebook about it, people can express solidarity with people in cheen
who do not want tiger farming and the tiger trade. >> brown: "blood to have to >> ifill: again, the major developments of the day. winter's latest icy blast took aim at the south causing scores of accidents, and disrupting flight schedules, even as a new arctic chill spread into the northeast and new england. congress opened a crucial week, facing a friday deadline to approve funding for the department of homeland security. and a federal jury in new york ordered palestinian officials to pay $218 million to american victims of terror attacks in israel. the palestinians said they will appeal. >> woodruff: on the newshour online right now, the most frequently asked question posed to actresses on the red carpet is "who are you wearing?" but a new media campaign suggests that women deserve more interesting interview questions. read about the push to "ask her more" ahead of last night's oscars ceremony.
all that and more is on our web site, pbs.org/newshour. >> ifill: and that's the newshour for tonight. on tuesday, we'll explore what's driving the latest standoff between the white house and congress over budget and policy. i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. we'll see you on-line, and again 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:
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