Skip to main content

tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  April 22, 2015 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT

6:00 pm
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: war planes strike again in yemen. a halt in saudi bombings lasts only hours. the violent fight for power clouds calls for peace and aid. good evening, i'm judy woodruff. gwen ifill is away. also ahead this wednesday: shaky ground. how a boom in energy production is likely linked to a rise in earthquakes. plus, upholding the law in the city of brotherly love. a history of excessive force, intimidation and secrecy deepens mistrust between police and residents of philadelphia. >> we have created a system where the police officers are above the law. >> woodruff: and... >> it is by far the largest earthmoving project ever
6:01 pm
attempted in the world. >> woodruff: ...a new canal to connect the hemispheres. china invests billions to build a shipping waterway through nicaragua. an economic expansion that threatens to uproot thousands of farmers. 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.
6:02 pm
at lincoln financial, we believe that you are the boss of your life. the chief life officer. in charge of providing for loved ones. growing your nest egg. and protecting what matters the most. lincoln financial is committed to helping you take charge of your future. life income, retirement, group benefits, and advice. lincoln financial. you're in charge. >> supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information at >> 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.
6:03 pm
>> woodruff: a federal judge in philadelphia today approved the national football league's settlement of thousands of concussion lawsuits. it could cost $1 billion over 65 years, but the n.f.l. has dropped an earlier cap on total damages. an estimated 6,000 former players who develop alzheimer's or moderate dementia will get an average of $190,000 dollars each. the u.s. senate has passed legislation to help victims of sex trafficking, 99 to nothing. today's vote followed a lengthy dispute over abortion funding. the end to the impasse clears the way for a vote tomorrow on loretta lynch to be attorney general. italian naval vessels saved yet another group of migrants today in the mediterranean. nearly 450 people, including 59 children, were brought to the sicilian port of augusta. they'd been rescued off italy's southern coast. in rome, the italian prime
6:04 pm
minister appealed for the european union to stop smugglers, and recognize the migrants are desperate. >> ( translated ): the central point is that when a person is ready to risk his own life, when he's ready to put his life at risk because he needs to get out from a situation where he could be beheaded, you cannot discourage the departures with a simple statement. you do it by taking action. >> woodruff: e.u. leaders are set to hold an emergency summit tomorrow, days after some 800 migrants drowned off libya. more than 100,000 people marched in ethiopia's capital today. they protested the killing, in libya, of 30 ethiopian christians who'd been trying to reach europe. a video released sunday showed islamic state militants shooting and beheading the victims. today's protesters vowed to fight terror. they also condemned ethiopia's chronic poverty, and some fought with police, who fired tear gas to disperse them.
6:05 pm
the european union accused russia's state-owned energy giant today of price-gouging and monopoly practices. it was the latest sign of rising tensions between the e.u. and moscow. the e.u.'s competition commissioner charged gazprom is using its dominant position to strong-arm countries in eastern and central europe. >> gazprom has been able to charge higher prices in some countries without fearing that gas would flow in from other countries, from resellers or where the prices were lower. what we have seen then in our data is that gazprom has been charging what we think of as unfairly high prices. >> woodruff: gazprom dismissed the accusations as "unfounded." back in this country, the supreme court is making it easier to sue the government for negligence. by five to four today, the
6:06 pm
justices ruled deadlines for filing such lawsuits may be extended in some cases. it's seen as a victory for military veterans whose medical malpractice claims are delayed by red tape. a federal appeals court threw out barry bonds' conviction for obstructing justice in a steroid probe. the court, in san francisco also ruled he will not be tried again. it said an answer he gave to a grand jury in 2003 had no bearing on the main investigation. bonds was convicted in 2011, but remained free while he appealed. this was the 45th annual "earth day," and new york city marked the occasion with a plan to reduce its trash by 90% by 2030. meanwhile, president obama toured florida's everglades national park. he said a warming climate threatens the region, and he warned, "action can no longer be delayed." it's gotten more expensive to rent a home or apartment in the last year, and in some places, much more expensive.
6:07 pm
real estate data firm zillow reports prices climbed an average of 3.7% nationwide, but in san francisco, they jumped almost 15%, to average more than $3,000 a month. rents also spiked in denver and kansas city, but fell in chicago and minneapolis. and on wall street, the dow jones industrial average gained 88 points to close above 18,000 again. the nasdaq rose 21 and the s&p 500 added 10. still to come on the newshour: the fight for power in yemen from the air and on the ground. stopping police brutality in the city of brotherly love. scientific links between oil and gas drilling and earthquakes in oklahoma. china invests billions to construct a new shipping canal through nicaragua. the female american soldiers who assisted special op teams in afghanistan. student whistleblowers speak up to prevent violent acts at
6:08 pm
school. and, how kentucky authorities busted the ringleaders of a great bourbon heist. >> woodruff: now to yemen, where hopes of a ceasefire seem further away, as violence continues. >> woodruff: for a month, air strikes by saudi arabia and its sunni allies pounded shiite houthi rebels across yemen. then, late tuesday, the saudi military announced the end of the u.s.-backed air campaign,but with this caveat: >> ( translated ): the coalition will continue in preventing the houthi militias from moving or undertaking any operations inside yemen. >> woodruff: and indeed, within hours, the coalition struck targets in taiz, after e houthis captured an army base there. at least a dozen other air strikes hit areas across
6:09 pm
southern yemen. this afternoon, in washington, the saudi ambassador to the united states defended the renewed bombing... >> when the houthis or their allies make aggressive moves, there will be a response. the decision to calm matters now rests entirely with them. >> woodruff: back in sanaa, yemen's capital, thousands of houthi supporters turned out to declare their defiance. >> woodruff: the houthis did release yemen's defense minister, who joined exiled president abed rabbo mansour hadi in saudi arabia. rebel leaders also called for peace talks. and the state department said the obama administration has told the saudis it supports negotiations as well.
6:10 pm
>> the saudis make their own decisions certainly in conjunction with their coalition partners, but we have been having a conversations the saudis understand that the path forward here needs to be dialogue. >> woodruff: meanwhile, in shiite iran, the parliament speaker challenged the saudis to defend killing hundreds of people in yemen. >> ( translated ): what has happened in yemen over the last 27 days? the saudi government should be asked: what have you achieved, after all this fuss, when you said in your statement that you have achieved your goals? >> woodruff: iran supports the houthi rebels, but has denied supplying them with weapons. we take a closer look at iran's role in yemen, and its nuclear negotiations with the u.s. joining me is thomas erdbrink, the "new york times'" tehran bureau chief, some of whose video reports we've aired on the newshour. he's in new york this week. thomas erdbrink thank you for joining us. we have heard the iranians deny their supplying the houthis with weapons but we know the u.s. says that they are doing that they have been doing that.
6:11 pm
we know the u.s. warships in the area are watching iran ships to make sure they don't continue that. why doesn't iran just acknowledge what it's doing? >> well i think the iranians, throughout the past decade, they go about the way of supporting groups in either afghanistan or iraq and they apply the same policy in yemen. i also think we should not exaggerate the level of this military assistance. on the one hand you have saudis leading a coalition of ten countries attacking yemen with warplanes, and the iranians are potentially sending weapons, but i don't think we should think the weapons are of the highest standards or quality. but the iranians, as you said yourself, it's hard for them to physically bring the weapons to
6:12 pm
yemen. i have been in yes, ma'amen once. it is a country awash with weapons so i also don't know how many weapons the iranians would need to send. >> woodruff: how do the iranians view the war in yemen and do they see this as a much bigger conflict between themselves than saudi arabia? >> well, the iranians have been in competition with the saudis in the region for a very long time, basically from the time of the shah. but recently, you know, following the withdrawal to have the united states -- the withdrawal of the united states from the region out of afghanistan, iran has been filling up this vacuum and this, of course, has been scaring the saudis who first started with an engineering a drop in oil prices, something that also hits the u.s. economy but at the same time hits the iranian economy which is already under sanctions. now, the iranians feel that
6:13 pm
their support for the houthis is legitimate. i mean, you can doubt it, but they are saying houthis are fighting for freedom, they are fighting with leaders of a country that is basically collapsing over the past years. so their fight is a legitimate fight and again they are pointing at what they call the double standards. they're saying, look, the saudis are attacking this country with airplanes causing a loss of civilian victims our support is not that bad. >> woodruff: let me turn you, now, to the nuclear issue. we know the talks resume today in vienna between iran and other world powers over what's going to happen with iran's nuclear program. we've heard an iranian official say -- repeating what the ayatollah said the other day is they expect economic sanctions to be lifted when this agreement is completed the u.s. says, no
6:14 pm
it will happen in stages. what do the iranians expect in that regard and what are the iranian public looking for? >> well, to start with the last group, the iranian public ordinary people, they are waiting for the sanctions to be lifted yesterday, of course, so they want the sanctions to be lifted. if you look at iran's leaders, iran's supreme leader ayatollah khamenei who calls the shots in iran, he has been arguing since the signing of the agreement all sanctions should be lifted. the foreign ministers and other people at the negotiating table are taking a different approach and saying the sanctions must be lifted on the day this agreement is implemented. now, there might be months, possibly a year between the signing of the agreement and the implementation of the agreement. so that gives, in my sense, enough wiggle space for all parties to come up with a
6:15 pm
reasonable compromise. >> woodruff: very quick question about "the washington post" reporter jason who has been in jail for nine months we've heard the iranians say they have imposed four charges against him including espionage. what is expected will happen with this case? >> let me first state that jason rizion first and foremost is a friend of mine and my successor at "the washington post" before i went to the "new york times." these charges that have been leveled against him must be proven in a court of law and according to iranian law the charges had to come way sooner than this. the court case needs to come soon. i spoke to jason's brother the other day. he also is expecting a court case. this has taken very long, if the iranians are so convinced jason
6:16 pm
is a spy, something i've never seen from him, okay, let them prove it in a court of law. >> woodruff: there is so much to keep an eye on and thomas erdbrink we thank you for talking to us while you're in new york. we appreciate it. >> thanks for having me. >> woodruff: the death of a 25- year-old black man, freddie gray, in baltimore is the most recent in a string of stories spotlighting use of force by police. many cities across the country are trying to improve relations between police and the citizens they protect. take philadelphia-- a recent justice department report found nearly once a week over the past eight years philadelphia police opened fire on suspects who are almost always african american. hari sreenivasan has more. >> on december 15, 2014, i was going to work. i got to work a little late.
6:17 pm
i got there, i want to say 6:26. and i was getting ready to cut my car off, and i heard a black male, on the radio, a black male, 26 years old, gunned down by police at the 6600 block of frankfort avenue, driving a white dodge charger. so when i heard that unfortunately i knew that it was my son. >> sreenivasan: last december tanya brown's son brandon tate- brown had been killed, shot by philadelphia police after being pulled over for driving with his headlights off. >> to know that my son suffered like that and that i was not there to protect him or lay my body on him, and then probably kill me too. it breaks my heart. i'm his mother. and i couldn't do nothing to help him. >> sreenivasan: brown is not alone in her pain. there have been 394 shootings involving the philadelphia
6:18 pm
police since 2007. in many years, the department saw more police shootings than new york city, a city five times its size. charles ramsey is the philadelphia police commissioner: >> there are changes that need to be made. and we need to make them. and we can't ignore them and pretend that everything's ok. because it's not. >> sreenivasan: two years ago ramsey recognized the crisis, and commissioned the u.s. department of justice to review philadelphia's police shootings. the report, released this month, documents the harsh reality that has plagued this city and included 91 recommended changes. >> you know we've done a good job at lowering crime in this country. but what we weren't very good at was understanding the consequences of some of the police actions, and the collateral damage. you may have reduced or suppressed crime, but have you alienated the larger community? and if the answer to that is "yes," then you need to reevaluate your tactics and your strategies.
6:19 pm
>> sreenivasan: the new guidelines involve a series of changes in training, oversight and transparency. commissioner ramsey has pledged to rebuild the trust and uproot the tense culture between police and the poor communities where they serve. >> that's success, is when we don't have the kind of conversations that we are having today that are really centered around mistrust. and it's not just mistrust of police, it's mistrust of the entire system. and that's got to change. >> sreenivasan: but these changes are far from a reality and the death of tanya brown's son, is a prime example. while the department says it is working on transparency, it refuses to publicly name the officers involved, or to release the full video of the shooting. last month, it was announced that the two officers in brown's
6:20 pm
shooting would not face charges. that same evening, commissioner ramsey the district attorney and other officials attended a community event in north philadelphia. protesters upset by the brown shooting rallied. >> we were very fired up. we were there to ask those questions: "who killed brandon tate-brown?" and to demand for the tapes to be released. >> sreenivasan: the incident now symbolizes the divide between the police and its citizens. t. j. ghose teaches at the university of pennsylvania. >> you saw what happened when chief ramsey went out into the community and tried to have a conversation. right? there's anger. and there's justifiable anger. so it has to be not the police talking at the community, or the community shouting back. right? it has to be across the table where people feel like their voices are being heard. and that they are actually implementing policy right there at the table.
6:21 pm
>> sreenivasan: the tension is not new, 30 years ago the philadelphia police bombed the house of a radical activist group. for some philadelphians, that was the beginning of a pattern of intimidation, by police. incidents of excessive force like what happened on this very street corner in 2010, only continue to deepen the mistrust that the citizens of philadelphia have with their police. this video captured askia sabur, a north philadelphia resident, being beaten by police in 2010. >> he split the back of my head. i had six staples. you know, messed my back up to the point where i can't walk straight. sometimes my-- the alignment in my spine gets crooked. so he really did a number on me. >> sreenivasan: after 18 months in jail, sabur was acquitted of all charges and won an $850,000 settlement against the philly
6:22 pm
police. >> for far too long, police departments around the country have been, sort of, you know you can't touch them. we need the police. and we have created a system where the police officers are above the law. and we can no longer allow them to do that. they have to operate within the law, just as much as we expect every other citizen to operate within the law. >> sreenivasan: a lifelong philadelphian, and regular here at the temple rainbow diner, bishop royster was not surprised when he read the justice department report. >> as a black man in philadelphia i'm like, "yea sure this is it, absolutely." and was frightened and concerned about what we were reading about the internalized operations of the philadelphia police department. it always appeared that our best choice was always lethal force instead of trying to find other ways to you know work with those in the community who are committing crimes. >> sreenivasan: the commissioner cites the violence during the community meeting as a reason not to release officer names. >> it was all caught on tape by media.
6:23 pm
and chairs being thrown and so forth. and i'm gonna turn around and give you the names of two police officers and think that there's not gonna be any negative consequences? nah. i'm not saying it's perfect. and i'm sure i get a lot of criticism around that and that's fine. but i have to also do what i think is, in this case, is in everyone's best interest, at least as far as from my perspective. >> sreenivasan: but from tanya brown's perspective, she's been left with nothing but questions. >> you couldn't tase him and handcuff him? was it necessary to shoot him not in the leg or arm? you felt it necessary. you're trained. you know how to shoot. it had to be in his head? right here, above his ear? it had to be? no. i don't think my son should be dead right now. >> sreenivasan: a belief that binds a mother, the police and community.
6:24 pm
i'm hari sreenivasan for the pbs newshour in philadelphia. >> woodruff: for several years now, there's been a sharp increase in the number of earthquakes in oklahoma. and many observers have said the rise in oil and gas drilling is responsible for much of it. throughout the energy boom, oklahoma's state government has not bought into that answer-- until now. gwen looks at what's known, and what's changing, in the state. >> ifill: these are frequently smaller earthquakes, registering with a magnitude of three or higher. but on youtube, you can see their impact, as residents capture the moments when the quakes hit, at a warehouse in prague, oklahoma, or a college campus bar in norman, even at home watching television. this new map shows just how frequently they hit in oklahoma 585 last year, compared with 109 in 2013. before 2008, there were just two a year. yesterday, state officials
6:25 pm
acknowledged the quakes are likely caused by disposal of wastewater that's a byproduct from oil drilling, and sometimes fracking. nationwide, more than 100,000 such wells are in operation. joe wertz, has been reporting on this for "state impact oklahoma," a project of npr member stations. joe, the government of oklahoma and in particular the oklahoma geological service, they have not always admitted that there's a connection between these wells and these earthquakes. >> yeah, that's right. so, you know why federal and university seismologists and scientists have been more definitive on the link to oil and gas activities in these earthquakes, the state agencies, state officials have been less decisive and have, you know up until pretty recently spoken a lot more about natural earthquakes and talked about natural causes for these earthquakes. >> ifill: this is not limited to oklahoma. other states are affected by
6:26 pm
this, right? >> that's right. lots of states are getting these so-called induced earthquakes. oklahoma, texas colorado ohio. a lot of states have had the impaction linked to oil and gas activity. oklahoma the most. the researchers have focused on finding out what's going on in oklahoma and applying that the other states. >> ifill: despite the scale of the earthquakes, when we think of earthquakes back east here we think of a lot of wide-scale destruction and collapse. is that what we're seeing here? >> no. it's important to note most of these quakes are relatively small, most you don't even feel. so you're talking about magnitude 3.0 earthquakes earlier in the -- coming up to. this and that's the threshold to which most people can feel it. prior to 2013, we averaged less than two a year.
6:27 pm
in 2013, two a week. now we're averaging about two every single day. so the relatively small but people can feel them. in 2011, we did get a 5.6, 5.7 that some scientists have linked to oil and gas activity and that did cause damage. that injured two people damaged a lot of homes and businesses, toppled a tower at a nearby university. so while there's not the sort of widespread destruction you might see in a plate, you know, tectonic style like they would see in california, people are noticing cracks in their homes and walls and foundations and had experienced some damage. >> has there been a lot more of this type drilling that caused this? is that what we're seeing now that this has been a new technology which brought on this damage? >> some disposal wells have been around a long time and they're really integral to the oil and gas production process.
6:28 pm
in oklahoma you get a lot of water when you drill for oil and gas. it just comes up with the oil and gas. if y?u're an oil and gas company, you want the oil and gas, not the water. you have the do something with the water. you inject it deep underground in the wells to keep it out of the drinking water. you don't want it getting near the surface. the safest place to put it, historically, has been deep underground in these wells. so the technology for disposal well is nothing new. now there's been a big boom drilling boom in oklahoma in recent years, lots of oil and gas activity, so you see a big speak in water production along with the oil and gas production. >> ifill: let's be clear, this isn't necessarily caused -- in fact, mostly caused by hydraulic fracturing which is the fracking debate we have been having. >> that's right the fracking combined with horizontal drilling is certainly something that's been relatively new to the oil and gas industry at least in wide-spread use but,
6:29 pm
no scientists say the big surge of earthquakes in oklahoma is really tied to waste water injection. while you do get waste water when you frack and use water and fluid in a fracking process it's still a relatively small portion of the total waste water that has to be disposed of in oklahoma. it's pretty small. it's a part of the equation but a relatively small one. >> ifill: so what we've agreed on what the cause is does anybody agree on what the solution is? can you just cap the wells? >> no. nobody agrees on what the solution should be. you can't really just cap the wells -- i mean, you could cap the wessments technologically, that's not difficult to do. a couple of questions. one, the oil and gas industries doesn't want a moratorium on these disposal wells. they're really key to producing
6:30 pm
oil and gas. seems unlikely regulators or lawmakers here would impose a widespread ban on disposalle wells. the question is are there a certain type of well, a certain area that might be riskier? that's what regulators are trying to hone in on and they're hoping scientists will give him some more details on that. that's where they hope the science will head is to give them more direction on maybe there are certain wells that are riskier and they could focus regulatory efforts on a small number of wells. >> ifill: joe wertz, "state impact oklahoma." thank you so much. >> thank you so much. >> woodruff: next, to nicaragua and a massive project to connect the hemispheres with another canal that's stirring up controversy. special correspondent fred de sam lazaro reports. >> reporter: they came by the
6:31 pm
busload. they piled into cattle trucks. they came by horse and mule from miles around for a rally that likely tripled the population of the dusty little town of los chiles. >> nicaragua libre! >> reporter: at stake was nicaragua's sovereignty, they chanted, sold to the chinese the object of their protest is a shipping canal to be built by a chinese company. as described in this video dubbed into spanish for nicaraguans, it would stretch 170 miles across the country to connect its pacific coast to the caribbean and thus the atlantic. it's not a new idea. the americans considered it-- this map from 1870 shows the proposed route for a shipping short cut between the earth's hemispheres. in the end the u.s. congress opted to build in panama
6:32 pm
nicaragua's waterway will dwarf the panama canal, three times as long and twice as deep. cost estimates range from $50 to $100 billion. >> it is by far the largest earthmoving project ever attempted in the world. >> reporter: the project's chief engineer is bill wild, an australian veteran of many big builds, but nothing approaching this one. >> there will be two large port facilities, one at either end of the project, hydro electric schemes, and a number of other parts of the project, so overall it's an incredibly exciting and large and challenging engineering project. >> reporter: protesters have a very different view. they fear the canal will confiscate land and livelihoods here. a new law gives the project eminent domain over land and waterways anywhere in nicaragua. yader sequeira farms this small
6:33 pm
plot of land with his grandfather. >> ( translated ): i've always lived here, i've grown up here and when that happens you feel like you belong to that place. >> reporter: protesters like danilo lorio says they've been harassed-or worse-by police at other rallies. >> ( translated ): we have been censored, threatened, not only our human rights and political rights violated; many of us have been jailed and have legal hassles. >> reporter: human rights groups have also alleged violence and intimidation. and environmental groups have sounded the alarm. they say the canal would imperil wetlands, wildlife and critically, lake nicaragua-the region's largest source of fresh water. victor campos is with the humboldt center. >> ( translated ): the sedimentation that is going to result from it is going to change the chemistry of the water, which will have a major impact. you have 500 million cubic meters of material extracted.
6:34 pm
>> ( translated ): we cannot stay in the minority. we have to become a majority, to fight daniel ortega every day with non violent means. >> reporter: although protests and opposition have grown in recent months, surveys still show a majority of nicaraguans support the canal, which has been championed by the country's president daniel ortega. he sees it as this country's ticket out of poverty. nicaragua's 6 million people are about the poorest in the hemisphere; only haitians are worse off. and telemaco talavera, who heads the canal project for the government, says that will soon change, with tens of thousands of construction and permanent jobs. >> ( translated ): it's going to generate direct and indirect employment and its going to double the gross national product. it's going to attract other kinds of foreign investment in agro industries, animal husbandry and artisanal products, all contributing to an integral concept of national
6:35 pm
development. >> reporter: as for environmental issues, he insists the canal will actually slow global warming by allowing more efficient shipping. and locally, he says, remove poverty and you remove much of the real threat: deforestation by poor people, mostly for cooking fuel. >> ( translated ): so the net environmental impact of this project will be an improvement. >> i have no doubt that you can manage the loss of water and quantify the loss of water through your lock system. >> reporter: and salinity? >> the salinity, there are a number of methods, methodologies for managing salinity. >> reporter: proven? >> proven, yeah. >> reporter: as for people being displaced, he says the company will go beyond just relocating them to new land and homes. >> we are committed to providing
6:36 pm
equivalent or better livelihood for everyone we displace and that's an absolute commitment. >> ( translated ): i don't believe much of that, don't believe it. >> reporter: farmer andreas sequeira says he was displaced during the civil war in the '80s. the land he was given back was a fraction of what he had, he says. >> ( translated ): they promised to give us our land back but they never did. >> reporter: critics allege the deal-- a no bid contract-- was rammed through a rubber stamp parliament and courts by president ortega, the one-time communist rebel, now firmly allied with big business, they allege. and critics say that foreign investors keep much of the profits for several decades, and the developers aren't liable for environmental damages-or even if the canal is never built, which some say is likely. professor maria lopez vigil
6:37 pm
calls the whole thing a ploy to create real estate speculation. >> ( translated ): so far there has not been feasibility studies done, in terms of the environment, financing or actual profits. they are going to expropriate thousands of properties from camposenos under the banner of tourism. >> chairman wang has put together a very strong team.i mean we have mckinsey doing the feasibility technical feasibility, one of the leading erm is doing the environmental assessment, the esha, arguably the number one environmental consultant firm in the world. >> reporter: bill white insists these studies by reputable consultants have shown the canal is feasible, though his company has yet to fully disclose the details of its environmental reports. and despite a groundbreaking ceremony shown last december on nicaraguan tv, in which chairman wang jing appeared alonside the president's son, wang has not revealed where he'll get the
6:38 pm
private capital needed to build the canal. he has said it will be built by 2019. there may or may not be a deficit in funding, but few argue that there is one-of trust. i'm fred de sam lazaro for the pbs newshour in los chiles, nicaragua. >> woodruff: fred's reporting is a partnership with the under- told stories project at st. mary's university of minnesota. >> woodruff: next, the newest addition to the "newshour bookshelf," women in war. they were an elite band of sister soldiers deployed on insurgent-targeting night raids with one of the toughest special operations units in afghanistan the army rangers. their story is recounted in "ashley's war," a new book by gayle tzemach lemmon.
6:39 pm
margaret warner recently talked with lemmon at busboys and poets, a bookstore in the washington area. >> reporter: gayle gayle lemmon welcome. explain the theory behind creating the all-female teams that went out on some of the riskiest missions in the afghan war. >> they were the cultural support teams created to fail security breach which is that american soldiers could not go into quarters that were handled by women. so to have a sense of what was happening in the women's rooms and among women and children you needed female soldiers. so in 2010, the admiral head of special operations command had this idea. admiral mccraven of special command said we need the female out there and the other special operations team and in 2011
6:40 pm
female recruiter said females be part of history on the battlefield. >> reporter: the women knew a lot if anyone would talk to them. >> that's right. basically half of the population was out of reach and you needed female soldiers to have access to that half of the population. general mcchrystal and others would talk about not wanting to cause offense by having their forces talk to women and they knew that if you were going to get information from the afghan women, it had to be through american women on the ground getting it. that's why the teams were formed. >> reporter: this is still at a time when defense department regulation barred women from serving in what they called combat units. how did that it get around that? >> it's perfectly legal to attach women to special operations units even if they couldn't officially belong to them. they were enablers attached to special operations teams. >> reporter: what kind of women were attracted to this? >> it's so fascinating.
6:41 pm
they're so different. we had a west point track star a former f.b.i. interrogator who served in because nia another west pointer who played football all four years of high school. you had the whole variety of people and what they had in common was intense athleticism, b a hidden intensity about them and third this real desire to serve something larger than themselves and to be as close to the heart of what was happening in the afghan war where they could make a difference as they possibly could. >> reporter: the title, you called this "ashley's war" for ashley white a first lieutenant first woman team member can killed in action. how does she epitomize the qualities you're saying a lot of these women shared? >> she was the best of us, as people told me in an interview. that's how they would describe her and why she meant so much to them. she was this quiet soldier who
6:42 pm
would not talk to you about anything she was capable of but would climb the rope and come back down once or twice and look down on the ground and shuffle away and apologize for only having used her arms because she hadn't done it the way they explained. she made people want to be better because they feel selfless, kind quiet and fierce. i don't think we see that kind of hero among us very often. >> the physical demands, making the cut was not easy, just physically. >> they called the awe assessment -- they called the assessment selection 100 hours of hell. it was a physical and mental test. can you get through this and remain a part of a team because they were all in a tent together and part of a team. so i think for them, you know, it was something they had always wanted to do. so many of these soldiers hungered to be part of a team like that and never had the opportunity before which made it even more important than really
6:43 pm
probably the best thing they had ever done in their careers and for some in their lives. >> reporter: it struck me when they got in the field and they were broken up to unit a and b that there was a social isolation for them. they weren't really part of the special ops teams so after hours what was it like? >> some teams embraced them but most of the time they were with one or another in the gym watching tv or working out. those were the only options, or you go to war. the officers would work hard to keep them together. they would have weekly e-mails video conferences and share what they were learning because it's true, there were maybe two of them at any one base. there weren't 25 or 30 they would share stories , with absolutely. >> how well were they accepted by male counterparts and commanders? >> i would say, first of all
6:44 pm
this is one of america's longest wars. by the time they arrived people had never been ready to see women go out on missions but they had other kind of capabilities come. so a lot of them said listen, we may not want women to be rangers but if you can come out and prove yourself every night, we will be glad to have you. what they had to do was prove they could deliver every single night. i think every single one of them felt the pressure to perform and at the top of their capabilities. >> reporter: so they got information incredibly valuable to save lives. >> absolutely. one time a soldier had a woman say you're actually looking for the guy who is over there and it was accurate. another soldier had a daughter of one of the people involved in the situation tell her that there are. >> woodruff: e.d.s not too far from where they're standing. all of this does make a difference.
6:45 pm
>> reporter: they didn't want to leave their cst unit or the excitement of what they were doing. >> you know, when i first began this project, you could see what an adjustment it was. they had gone from a job they loved. i mean they would have done that job day in, day out, year in, year out, for as long as they could have because they loved the men they were work, with they had immense respect for what they did every night. hard charging ground pounding elite fighters ranger regiments and other special operations teams. they appreciated the fact the guys had given them a shot and felt the mission mattered that they could save lives and help afghan women and children stay away from everything happening in a very difficult moment. they could be the softer side of the harder side of war. >> reporter: a really interesting book, gayle lemmon. thank you so much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: this month we've been bringing you stories from high school students around the country reporting on how the concept of school safety is evolving.
6:46 pm
tonight we travel to the town of lebanon, pennsylvania, where a potential attack by students was foiled one year ago. as part of our on-going student reporting labs series called "the new safe," student television network correspondent nick weiss investigates what inspired a handful of brave students to take action. >> you know, the first thing i do when i wake up every morning is think about the safety and security of all students here, it's actually even before education, just because of school safety, how it's been in the media and unfortunately, you know, things that have happened over the last number of years. i was actually out of the building the day that this occurred and i received a text message from miss may who's an assistant principal here. she asked me to call asap, she had something very important to discuss with me. >> reporter: what miss may was calling about was a threat made by two students in march of 2014, to walk through these halls, gunning down students. >> i have to thank and applaud the students who came forward and shared that information with
6:47 pm
miss may because if it wasn't for them, who knows what would've happened. >> i mean, i knew it was a threat, and i knew that, if i didn't do something and if like my fellow students didn't do something, it could've been a pretty big tragedy. i sat at the one kid's lunch table. at first it was kind of like, he would kind of like bring it up every now and again, but like it wasn't a recurring thing, then it escalated pretty quickly and things were said and items were shown, that just, i knew it was a serious threat. a couple weeks later, he started bringing this like school shooting thing up and he would joke about it a little bit, and i was like "oh whatever, i mean, i'll just let him go." and then, like a month or two it kind of like disappeared and like it didn't come up. then, he came with a map and was like, "yo guys, look at this, this is what i'm going to do." and i was like, "dude, that's-- that's too far." >> a lot of, students looked at that as just a joke. the weekend prior to us receiving this information, there was an incident that happened outside of school, that prompted some students to put two and two together, and made
6:48 pm
them think that this might really happen. that incident made it real for a lot of individuals that yes it could happen here. >> reporter: after matt and a few other students reported the threat to miss may, an investigation took place that led to the arrest of the two potential shooters, it was after this incident that the seriousness of the situation was revealed to the public, causing the spread of various rumors. >> i heard everything from like, they had guns already in the school, to he actually shot somebody and just some really wacky ones. >> reporter: the students and parents of cedar crest put the responsibility of safety on district police officers kristen hauck and justin schlottman, but as matt has shown a gun and a badge aren't always the first lines of defense. >> i feel they did the right thing. they took some concern for the lives of their fellow students. there's no perfect scenario. if nothing was said what, you know you can sit there and go through your mind what could've happened, what would've happened. we reacted accordingly and made sure all the students were safe.
6:49 pm
you do your best to prepare for it. having a proactive approach rather than a reactive approach is more beneficial. it's almost like, the school's your community, and i'm only one person i only have one set of eyes and we can't be everywhere all the time, but you, the students they're all over the place, those are extra sets of eyes those are extra people in your community that are able to see what's happening. you know, some people might be afraid to say stuff and it happens out on the street. it's not a bother, i'd rather investigate something and find out it's, false rather than it be, you know, somebody not say something, something terrible happen here, and that person has the guild of, "oh i could've said something, but i chose not to." it's a form of community policing and it's not snitching it's, doing the right thing. >> everyone needs to pitch in to keep everyone else safe. it just goes to show that like one comment can just ruin your life and i feel like it wasn't blown out of proportion because, a lot of people make threats you got to address them because sometimes they'll actually turn out to be a real incident and then, you're the one that just
6:50 pm
shrugged off a threat, and let it happen, and you have to live with that, then, for the rest of your life. >> woodruff: due to matt stepping forward and blowing the whistle, the students that planned the attack were later tried and convicted of criminal attempt and conspiracy to commit aggravated assault and terroristic threats. for more reports like this, please visit >> woodruff: for some time now bourbon has been back with a boom. domestic whiskey sales are up 40% in the past five years. some high-end brands, like one called pappy van winkle, can fetch big money up to $1,000 or $2000 a bottle or more, depending on its age. and as prices rose, there was also a bourbon heist in kentucky that authorities have been trying to solve and that
6:51 pm
attracted national attention. yesterday, a big crack in the case. jeffrey brown explains. >> brown: call it the case of the missing cases. it goes back to 2013 when 200 bottles of pappy van winkle's were stolen from a locked and secure distillery in frankfort, kentucky. by some estimates, the bottles were probably worth about $25,000 in retail. yesterday, authorities said they found a bourbon crime ring and inside job connected with the heist. nine people were indicted for taking more than $100,000 of whiskey, including 18 barrels overall. franklin county sheriff pat melton has been pursuing this case and joins me now from lousiville. sheriff pat melton, an inside job, how do you steal so much bourbon for so long? >> of course, toby was a singular employee of buffalo trace distillery and the other suspect a senior employee of
6:52 pm
wild turkey distillery, both having access to where the bourbon is stored and both worked on loading docks and transporting moving the bourbon. so it was actually -- you know, you trust your employees and they had the opportunity to do it and i think it was a continued pattern of behavior. that's why we invited them to work with the commonwealth attorneys office in cleveland, we invited them for engaging organized crime. >> brown: this is high-end bourbon. explain for the non-bourbon connoisseurs, what makes it so valuable? >> ion pappy has -- you know pappy has instilled the hearts and minds of america and it's a high-end bourbon. people go crazy about it. this week they have been releasing some of the pappy van winkle bourbon. some stores may have one to five bottles and you may have 200 or
6:53 pm
300 people waiting to get one bottle of it. it's pappy van winkle a family recipe and highly sought after. >> brown: you had no idea yourself. >> no, i would love to have a bottle myself. it captured this story about two years ago. i would have never dreamt in a million years it would have been as big as it is and gain the national attention it's gotten. >> brown: do we know what the thieves did wit, who they sold it to and how much in the end were you able to recover? >> well, we recovered approximately $100,000 worth of bourbon either from either wild turkey and/or buffalo trace. we've actually got 25 bottles in the evidence room right now of pappy van winkle bourbon and then we've also got 18 barrels of bourbon as well. one of those an $11,000 barrel
6:54 pm
of 17-year-old bourbon. we have the contents from another barrel of 17-year-old eagle air bourbon and then we've got 16 other barrels. we're still looking for selves several barrels and still 9 barrels of the eagle air missing. >> brown: and this was described as an organized syndicate involved not only bourbon but i read anabolic steroids. i gathered there was a connection to a softball league some of these people were connected that allowed you to break the case? >> that's how the enterprise went. toby coatsinger was the ring leader and we had the steroid side and a bourbon side. by working with those and with this case, we started -- when this case first started we recovered five barrels of bourbon, which is a lot. it's 48 gallons each barrel and there are about $3,600 to $6,000
6:55 pm
each on the value of those. we wound up with over 18 barrels, contents of a 19th 19th one and we're still recovering barrels. as a result of the release yesterday and today, we've got calls today and we anticipate recovering even more stolen bourbon. >> brown: sheriff pat melton outfranklin county, kentucky, thank you so much. >> thank you very much, appreciate it. >> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonight. 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:
6:56 pm
>> 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
6:57 pm
6:58 pm
6:59 pm
7:00 pm
. this is "nighlty business re" with tyler mathisen and sue herera. >> signs of optimism mcdonald's and coke two ike onic brands have a tough time around but big tusharns might be making progress. >> house party. house sales surge for the biggest in 18 months but not everything is in bloom. >> the grapes of wrath, why a raisin farmer is getting his day in court. the supreme court. all of that and more tonight on "nighlty business re" for wednesday, april 22nd. good evening and welcome i'm sue herera. >> and i'm bill griffeth in tonight for tyler mathisen. we start with mcdonald's and coke two of the world's most recognizable brands and two companies that have been mired in a


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on