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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  May 21, 2015 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT

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captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> ifill: islamic state fighters seize the ancient city of palmyra, and now control half of syria. good evening, i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. also ahead this thursday: >> all our wild spawning salmon have died. >> woodruff: as nut harvests boom, salmon populations decline. california farmers and fishermen fight for the little water left during a historic drought. >> if we don't have water, we don't have a business, we don't have a livelihood, a way to continue providing for our family. >> ifill: plus, a rare phenomenon that occurs a few times each year at yosemite national park. photographers chase a fleeting rainbow, seen only by the light of the moon.
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>> at dusk, a bright full moon rises in just the right position under a cloudless clear sky. >> that is a moonbow! >> 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: >> lincoln financial-- committed to helping you take charge of your life and become you're own chief life officer. >> supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information at >> and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions
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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: the u.s. coast guard and the state of california called in more help today to clean up an oil spill that's fouled nine miles of coastline, near santa barbara. officials now say 100,000 gallons may have leaked from a ruptured pipeline on tuesday. several hundred workers have labored to collect about 20,000 gallons that reached the sea. and overnight, governor jerry brown declared a local emergency, making more crews and gear available, for as long as it takes. >> the cleanup operations generally do take time, and you may see some progress early-on maybe in the first week or two,
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where you can actually see progress being made on the beach. but these types of things continue on perhaps even for months. >> woodruff: environmental effects of the spill are still being assessed, but some birds have been oiled, and the area is closed to fishing and shellfish harvesting. >> ifill: the head of the boy scouts of america called today for dropping a ban on gay scout- masters. robert gates, a former secretary of defense, addressed the scouts' national meeting, in atlanta. >> i must speak as plainly and as bluntly to you, as i spoke to presidents when i was director of the c.i.a. and secretary of defense. we must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be. the status quo in our movement's membership standards cannot be sustained. >> ifill: gates suggested the policy should be revised soon to let local chapters decide for themselves. >> woodruff: malaysia and indonesia announced today they will actively search for
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stranded boats filled with refugees from myanmar and bangladesh. for weeks, thousands of the migrants have been turned away from landing, and left to drift at sea. but today came word that policy is changing, at least for now. >> ( translated ): the navy will defer to the indonesian foreign ministry on this matter. the foreign ministry discussed it and for now, as long as the migrants are in difficulty and in need of help, we will help. >> woodruff: malaysia and indonesia had already announced they will give temporary shelter to migrants who reach shore. >> ifill: in burundi, at least two people died in pitched street battles, as a political crisis deepened in the african nation. police fired tear gas and live bullets at protesters who ignored the president's call for calm. they oppose his quest for a third term. >> woodruff: back in this country, a grand jury in baltimore indicted six policemen on a battery of charges, in the death of freddie gray. they're similar to the charges
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already filed by the state's attorney. gray died last month after suffering a severe spinal injury in custody. >> ifill: the man who maneuvered a gyrocopter onto the grounds of the u.s. capitol pleaded not guilty to a string of charges today. douglas hughes appeared in federal court in washington. this cell phone video showed the former postal carrier flying up the national mall and landing on the capitol lawn in april. he said he was protesting big money in politics. >> woodruff: on wall street, stocks advanced, inch by inch. the dow jones industrial average gained a third of a point to close near 18,290. the nasdaq rose 19 points and the s&p 500 added five. still to come on the newshour: victories for the islamic state in syria and iraq. restoring diplomatic ties with cuba. talks resume to iron out details and set a deadline. the senate advances president obama's trade agenda with asia.
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the economic impact of historic drought on california's fishermen. domestic abuse charges for ray rice dropped. yosemite's lesser known wonders and the science behind the nighttime rainbows. and, why a generation of chinese americans toddlers are sent back to asia by their parents. >> ifill: after a week in which the islamic state group made dramatic gains in three countries-- iraq, syria and libya-- there were new doubts in washington over whether they can be stopped. isis fighters trumpeted their conquest of ancient palmyra, in central syria, after days of fighting. and syrian state tv confirmed it. >> ( translated ): syrian
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national defence forces have withdrawn from palmyra. islamic state fighters have entered the city in big numbers and are trying to enter archaeological sites. >> ifill: syrian activists reported the militants had, in fact, already seized the world- renowned roman ruins, just outside palmyra. the site is famous for its 2,000-year-old colonnades and other antiquities. and, there are fears that isis extremists will destroy them, as they've done in iraq. the head of the global cultural agency unesco pleaded today for a cease-fire. >> destroying heritage will not achieve anything. destroying such heritage does not mean that you achieve some kind of victory over your enemy. you don't convince other people that you are right. >> ifill: but the seizure of palmyra does mean that isis now controls even more syrian territory. and hundreds of miles to the east, in iraq, the militants today followed up their capture of ramadi, by overrunning iraqi
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military positions to the east of the city. the group also scored gains in far-away libya, taking the city of sirte, hometown of former leader moammar gaddafi. the cascade of isis victories raised new questions about u.s. reliance on air strikes to defeat the militants. that issue dominated a senate hearing, where lawmakers and witnesses took turns lambasting the administration. >> while it's still unclear what president obama is willing to do in syria, it is clear our partners do not draw confidence from statements of what we will not do. >> we are not only failing. we are, in fact, losing this war. moreover, i can say with certainty, that this strategy will not defeat isis. >> ifill: the president did not respond directly, as he met with his cabinet. but in an interview with "the atlantic," he offered an appraisal of the situation in iraq, saying:
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at today's white house briefing spokesman josh earnest spoke directly to what will, and won't, happen next. >> the president is not going to be in a position where he's going to consider a large-scale u.s. military deployment. and for those who are calling on a change in strategy, i would encourage them to be specific. >> ifill: there was word that the u.s. is sending 2,000 anti- tank rockets to iraq's military to target suicide car bombers before they strike. for more on this, i'm joined by feisal istrabadi. he was iraq's deputy ambassador to the united nations from 2004 to 2007. and, david ignatius, a foreign policy columnist at the "washington post." david, the president today in that interview that was published today described the fall of ramadi as a tactical setback. is it? >> i think it's more than that. i think it's a symbol that the strategy that the u.s. has been
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pursuing or encouraging iraq to pursue for the last year mosul was overrun in june of last year, simply isn't working in reaching out to sunnis, helping sunnis push i.s.i.s. out of big cities like mosul and now ramadi, fallujah which is next to baghdad. somehow the administration has to find a way to help or push abadi to reach out to the rest of his country. otherwise, it looks to me as if the sunni areas are gone. >> ifill: do you think the problem lies with abadi? >> i think abadi wants to do the right thing. he certainly tells u.s. officials often he's trying to reach out to sunnis, but for a year the u.s. has been trying to encourage iraq to pass a law that would provide money and training and weapons for sunni national guard that could with effective in places like ramadi like mosul in turning back the
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fighters. that legislation has not been passed. abadi needs help and to be prodded. if the weapons and training don't come, there are no sunni fighters. >> ifill: feisal istrabadi, is this a sign by the united states and the iraqi government itself? >> that may be. the stunning success in taking mosul in four hours should have focused all our minds discreetly. i think mr. ignatius is right, that there is not -- well, a year ago, the administration was right to say it would only support the iraqi government if political changes were made and recognized then political changes needed to be made on the ground in iraq. over the past year, it has not done enough, in my judgment, to insist upon that political acome base being -- accommodation
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being made and has focused too much on the military aspect of this engagement and not enough ton political reforms needed specifically reconciliation and some of the things that david ignatius talked about a few moments ago. >> ifill: but i wonder, and i'll ask david this as well i wonder if this doesn't speak to a disconnect in u.s. policy toward i.s.i.s. or defeating i.s.i.s.? >> it's not clear to me. the spokesman said if there's a change of strategy, tell us what it is. a change of strategy suggests there is a strategy. i don't see a strategy that deals with -- that concerns with dealing with with i.s.i.l overall. there is a strategy for dealing with it in iraq. i'm not sure there is one in syria and libya is different
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altogether. it isn't clear the united states or the western alliance or the regional powers in fact have a strategy of confronting i.s.i.l as such. >> ifill: david ignatius, what about senate. >> well mr. istrabadi is right. the u.s. strategy has been that iraq should come first. it's very hard to understand just what our strategy is in sir syria, frankly and on iraq, this is iraq's war. the role of the united states is to help iraq, to arm, train support, provide air support, but this has to be iraq's war. i think president obama, frankly, is reading the united states public correctly in judging that the country just isn't ready to send a big ground army back into iraq. >> ifill: even though there are 3,000 american advisors. >> but there are limits on the american role. i wish the advisors were leaning harder into the fight because i
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think that would help embolden the iraqi forces on whom we are depending. we have to look at what's happened in the last week. i think the only judgment you can make is that what we're doing now isn't working. important territory is being lost, and the president -- if he wants to stick with the strategy, he has to be tougher about implementing it with iraqis, with the american military providing the support. a whole series of things have to be stepped up or we'll see more reverse also. >> ifill: feisal istrabadi, to what degree is iran a complicating factor in all this? >> iran is a complicating factor. on the other hand, iran is also engaged in the fight against i.s.i.l for reasons of its own that include a desire not to see a reasonably friendly government in baghdad falling, but it also includes its desire not to have
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i.s.i.l's ideology spread in the region where it lives. so there is an opportunity for cooperation with iran. i.s.i.l is a common enemy, and i think we are at a point where the enemy of my enemy is close enough to being my friend, at least inks it's this kind of instability and of course a lot of argument against the u.s. being friends with the enemy of their enemy but does this kind of instability make it more difficult for the u.s. to accomplish other goals like getting this nuclear deal? >> well, i think the u.s. has been careful not to go too far in attacking iran's allies in particular in attacking hesbollah forces in area which have been propping up the regime of bashar al-assad. but the u.s. has to be careful. if our strategy depends on sunnis doing the fighting to clear mosul and ramadi and that seems to be the strategies you
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have to be careful it's not assumed u.s. is acting with iran and fronting for iran. that's a recipe for more soonias moving toward i.s.i.s. and away from the coalition. >> ifill: feisal istrabadi, sounds like between a rock and a hard place again. >> i'm afraid. so mr. ignatius is right in that lastlast point. it has to be a delicate balancing act. the fact is there is at least a de facto cooperation between united states and iran at least in iraq and i think if nothing else it's a realization they are and will be a factor and on this one, at least, they're on the same side. the militias are a problem because the militias may well be driving people to the wrong side in places like ambar. i'm not sure abadi is using the
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militias as having them forced on him and that the a complicated factor. >> ifill: thank you both very much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: officials from the u.s. and cuba resumed talks today in washington. they're trying to iron out the details of re-establishing diplomatic relations, which were broken off more than 50 years ago. at issue today-- what it will take to re-open embassies in each other's capitals. in december presidents obama and castro announced they'd reestablish ties. and meeting in panama, they re- affirmed that commitment. our own jeffrey brown is in cuba all this week, reporting on what the opening up of cuba means for that country. and chief foreign affairs correspondent margaret warner has been following the progress of the talks here. we welcome both of you. margaret, you have been following the talks.
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what's the latest? >> the latest is they've wrapped up for the day and there is still no deal. this is the fourth time they've met over the fairly confined issue of opening up embassies in each other's capitals and it's proved tougher than they thought. it's encouraging today the two negotiators are having back-to-back news conferences here in washington tomorrow. some concern that they may be dragging their feet. the u.s. has not gotten satisfaction on what it wants to open an embassy which is u.s. diplomats can travel around the the country to cuba, two that they can receive equipment,
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documents and secure containers and three president castro threw in a new issue last week which he was critical of the pro democracy programs u.s. runs out of the intersection which trains independent journalists, for example. so if you look at what's tying the issues together, there is par noia on the part of the cuban government, that the u.s. will use the access to stir up dissent in cuba, and president obama said it's not going to try to change the political system in cuba given the history there is understandable concern on the cuban's part. >> woodruff: so jeff, you have been in havana for the last few days. are people talking about it? are they aware of these negotiations going on and what are they saying about it? >> brown: oh, very much so judy. everyone's paying attention, even today just talking to people only street, they were aware of watching the news and following the talks margaret's talking about in washington and
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everybody talks about what happened since december any number of people said they never expected this kind of thing to happen in their life times. everybody talks about it with real hope, actually. caution but hope. the hope is really around two important things. the economy. the economy is really bad here. people are scrounging for a living. they're hoping that the opening can make a real difference. we've heard that from a number of people. the other thing is a sense of isolation. remember, this is how people have lived with the embargo and this isolation from the u.s. and much of the world for so long that we hear about the possibility of opening that up. here with clips of people we talked to in the last day or two. one woman runs a small craft shop which is another sign of what's opening up in cuba, opening to the private margaret. the second is a young man who's an athlete who's interested in travel and thinks there may be hope for that. what do you think about u.s. and cuba relations now.
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>> i think it's amazing this opportunity that we have here to meet people for 56 years we have been in to have -- we haven't been in to have with each other. so it's beautiful to know each other and start relationships. >> for many years we stopped. it is good to improve relations so everything flows better. the society improves, the blockade, all the things that have been affecting us many years. >> brown: you hear the object mitch but also there is caution about what exactly is going to happen how fast it will happen and how far it will go. one thing that ties a lot of this together is the internet. everybody talks about how disconnected this place is whether you're just trying to communicate around the world or whether you're trying to have a business and we feel it here. you're very disconnected, opening of the internet, you would be a real opening for this
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island. >> so, margaret, listening to what these people are saying, are these expectations that can be fulfilled by these talks, these negotiations? >> down the line yesterday, but it's interesting that they focused on a couple of things that either congress or the president has eased restrictions on. one is internet/telecommunications. congress decide add number of years ago it was all a part of let's expose the cuban people to more information. so the president then announced that restrictions -- any restrictions on american companies going down -- you know verizon, at&t, whoever -- to help set up a real infrastructure for the internet would be relaxed and these american companies could coit. but as jeff indicated, only 5% of this island even has internet penetration. only 5% of its citizens. so american companies who -- and they desperately need foreign investment to help the economy. american companies said we can't run a business out of here
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without high-speed internet access and the cubans know that. at the same time, it is a means of control, both of political thought and also frankly of business, of just knowing what everybody is doing. and the second thing jeff seemed to mention is tourism and, there again, large-scale tourism, the big hotels are all owned, apparently, by the son-in-law of president rauuúl castro, and the idea that big american firms can go in there and establish big-scale tourist facilities is still a long way off. so yes airbnb has 2,000 signups from people with rooms in their private homes, but there's a way to go. >> woodruff: you were telling me from whatever happens in the talks, things are already changing in cuba, jeff. >> brown: well, you can see it on the streets. you see fewer of the revolutionary slogans than you used to see, i'm told. i happened to be here in a
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festive time. there's a lot of tourists including a lot of american tourists. we have been told a lot of people with a lot of interests are coming right after december. the minnesota orchestra was here a big culture exchange. the havana bienial is on a big international festival. so a lot of people and energy. at the same time, the things margaret was talking about, the infrastructure problem so obvious here. the internet we talked about, the hotel space there's just not that much if they're going to start having people. banking system, credit cards. we can't use our credit cards're. getting around. those old cars, yeah they're on the street, look great but it's a sign of how poor people are here but there is not that many cars available to people. all kinds of, as i said hope for what's possible here but it's so obvious to see just walking around in a very beautiful city, you can see behind me, but one that is crumbling in many ways as well. so many questions as to what's
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to come even if it opened to some development, who would take over those things what's the future of this city and country, big questions. >> woodruff: jeffrey brown reporting from havana. margaret here in washington. thank you both. >> thank you, judy. >> ifill: the fight over the president's push for speedy action on an international trade bill moved a critical step foward today, but the senate spent much of its day today still locked in disagreement over the outcome. we're fast tracking this whole idea of a fast track process. why is that good for our country? why is that good for our workers. >> reporter: why is that good for our small manufacturers and the supply chains of all these big industries? why is that good for our communities? we've waited eight years, and this has to be done today mr. president? eight years we've waited for this and we have one full day of
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debate and the majority leaders shut down the debate. i'm alarmed here. the t.p.p. is the only way congress can assert priorities in the ongoing trade negotiations. it's the only way we can sure our trade negotiators can reach good deals with our trading partners, and it's the only way we can ensure that our pending trade agreements even have a shot at reaching the finish line. >> ifill: the president scored a narrow victory as the senate voted to move the legislation ahead, by only two votes. he called it a "big step forward," but there were strings attached. joining us to talk about what happened behind the scenes, and what's up next as congress prepares to leave for a break is political editor lisa desjardins on capitol hill. so, lisa, tell us the significance of that vote today. >> it's hugely zig suggested.
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it casts unions against u.s. corporations. but it's about the future of world commerce and the u.s. role in it. how much do you think free trade helps this country? how much does it hurt it? that all collided in a very dramatic scene on the senate floor today. this bill had 60 votes today. if you look at the video you pay attention to the group of people near the desk, you can see the blue jacket maria can'twell, a democrat who supports free trade in general looks for the moment she votes yes. you see mitch mcconnell convince her to vote yes and in part, the issue of tex port-import bank, the bank that supplies loans to many american companies in ms. cantwell's district and that's something she insisted be part of it is a vote to renew the bank which
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would otherwise expire in june. so a number of trade issues collide at one time today. >> ifill: reports the president even called people like the senator to do a little arm twisting there. >> calls made late last night and into the day today from the white house. there was definitely real arm twisting. in the end the fast track trade authority got 60 votes. that really cheers the way for the president to get fast track authority approval in the senate which ultimately could lead to the large trans-pacific partnership deal many people are watching closely. this is a huge hurd the president got over in his trade agenda today but faces another big one in the house where the fast track authority also faces very rocky cliffs. >> ifill: i want to talk about something else the senate is taking up and the question about privacy security surveillance the n.s.a. surveillance which we
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saw rand paul take over the floor ten hours yesterday. was there any movement on that today? >> there wasn't, gwen but something we need to watch carefully in the next 24 hours, maybe over the next two or three hours because the truth, is the way it stands now, that some key provisions of the patriot act including that provision allowing both collection of phone data, those are set to expire at the end of the month, with the senate, as you said, getting ready to leave town, they need to deal with it if the provisions will stay in tact if the patriot act will live. the house passed a version that excludes that phone metadata power. there's great debate in the senate whether intelligence agencies need to have that kind of broad power or not and seems, gwen, at this moment there aren't votes for any kind of deal, whether to drop that collection ability or pass a temporary two-month extension 'neath burn has enough support to make it in the senate at this moment so we know the senate intelligence chairman the
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associated press reports is trying to work out a compromise. this could easily go into the weekend. >> ifill: we're waiting on action on transportation and other issues as well. lisa desjardins on capitol hill tonight, thank you. >> you got it. >> woodruff: now to our continuing coverage of the drought in california. farmers are preparing for state- ordered cuts in water use to take effect this week. they are expected to affect agriculture and people in the watershed of the san joaquin river, which runs from the sierra nevada mountains to san francisco bay. it's a primary source for farms and communities. there are already battles over who's using too much water. economics correspondent paul solman looks at what you might call an "omega-3 food fight" among producers of well-known healthy, so-called super foods. part of his ongoing reporting "making sense," which airs every thursday on the newshour.
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>> reporter: california salmon are under siege these days, and not just from bears hungry for heart-healthy fatty acids. >> last year, all our wild spawning salmon have died. >> reporter: commercial fisherman mike hudson has seen this before, most recently in 2008, when california's multibillion dollar salmon industry suddenly and totally collapsed. >> just a short time ago fishing regulators in seattle voted to completely shut down california's salmon season. >> if you wanted to see some grown men cry, you could have just come to california, we were totally shut down. we were not allowed to work. >> reporter: then, as now, california was in the midst of a multi-year drought, leaving rivers too shallow and warm for adult salmon to spawn, baby salmon to survive. but there's a new reason for the disappearing fish, says environmental advocate adam scow. >> in the last few years, we're seeing record-high levels of production for almonds,
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pistachios, walnuts, in some of the hottest driest parts of california. >> reporter: hundreds of thousands of acres of thirsty nut trees, one gallon of water per almond, five gallons per walnut, requiring the diversion of well over a trillion gallons of fresh water to the southern central valley. >> the westlands water district is the single largest irrigation district in the united states. 10% of the state's water is now going to almonds alone. as we've seen the west side almond boom grow, we've seen fish populations decline. >> reporter: that's because water pumped from california's dams in the north to farms in the south is water diverted from the river delta that flows into san francisco bay, ferrying baby salmon to the ocean. >> last year, the sacramento river stopped flowing to the ocean because of, a, the drought and b, the water diversions. when these pumps turn on, the
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water flow in the delta goes in the wrong direction, the fish get misled to thinking that they're going towards the ocean when they're actually going to the south delta where the hot water is and that's where they get killed. >> reporter: but wait a minute says walnut farmer brent barton. what about the water rushing through his own farm right now? >> that's about four times the natural flow, and the excess is going out the delta, going out to the ocean. >> reporter: and it's going out to the ocean because? >> my understanding is that there's a few thousand salmon that they're releasing this water for. for the last four years we've had these ridiculous fish releases going on. we've drained the reservoirs. >> reporter: barton's family has been growing walnuts in california for over a century, ever since his great grandfather perry barton migrated from illinois to the town of escalon in the northern central valley . brother don barton handles the business end of the operation and business has been booming. >> over the last 12 years, production in california has
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doubled responding to tremendous demand for our product around the world. >> reporter: especially from asia, where the very shape of walnuts has appeal. do some chinese actually think that because the walnut looks like a brain, it's good for the brain? >> yes they do, but now, the great thing is that these studies that have been published just in the last few years, are proving that to be true. everything from heart health, ability to reduce blood pressure, antioxidants that have an impact on breast and colorectal cancer, bone health brain health and so demand has just skyrocketed. >> reporter: as for the supposedly exorbitant water use per nut, farmers like the bartons reiterated what we've reported before: per ounce of protein it's a lot less water than, say, raising beef. but as demand climbed over these last dozen years, so did diversions from the delta, up
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50%, from four to more than six million acre feet a year. >> if you imagine what a football field looks like, and then you build a water column that's six and a half million feet tall on the top of the football field, and you lay that on the side, it ends up in denver colorado. that's how much water we're diverting from the delta. >> reporter: annually. but as california has been drained by drought, some farmers have suffered cutbacks from the dams and aqueducts that distribute water. and just as environmentalists blame nut farmers for bleeding the fish dry, the farmers cry foul on the fish...and on the feds. >> farmers in california have seen significant reductions in water since the 2009 congressional action which forced the army corps of engineers to release huge amounts of water into the ocean for fish purposes. and when that occurred, the whole game changed, particularly for those guys in the southern part of the valley. >> reporter: ah yes, water to the southern part of
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california's central valley, long a subject of strife. the movie "chinatown" centered on diverting water for urban use, without which hollywood itself might never have flowered. >> now remember, we live next door to the ocean. but we also live on the edge of a desert. los angeles is a desert community. >> reporter: but it's not just communities like l.a. or, as recently featured in the new york times, say, rancho mirage. four times the water used by communities goes to making the desert bloom. the farmers grow annual crops like fruits and vegetables, crops farmers can choose not to plant during droughts. but increasingly, they've grown perennials-- trees that, without water, will simply die: citrus trees, nut trees. and thus the backlash up and down the valley, and the protest signs lining the interstate. >> if we don't have water, we don't have a business, we don't
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have a livelihood, a way to continue to provide for our families. >> reporter: to which fisherman hudson has a nearly identical response. >> our salmon fishery supports tens of thousands of good family wage paying jobs. that's not only the fishermen like me, but it's the wholesalers on the end of the dock that have people working for them, the people that work at the ice docks, the fuel docks, you know, there is always the fight between farmers and fishermen and so forth. but i tell you what, we fish sustainable these days. >> reporter: is this basically a fight between fish farmers and nut farmers? >> i would argue that this is a fight for the livelihood of farming families who have been doing this for generations. >> it would be more convenient for them if the fish were extinct which will happen if things continue as they are. >> reporter: and of course more convenient for the fish and fishermen if the central valley would return to growing non-tree crops. but for now, the fish-farm food fight continues, at least until the rains return.
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this is economics correspondent paul solman, reporting for the pbs newshour, up and down the state of california. >> ifill: now to the case of former nfl running back ray rice, the former baltimore ravens player was charged with aggravated assault after he knocked his then-fiancee unconscious. the league suspended him indefinitely, a decision an arbirtator later lifted. today, all charges against him were dropped. hari sreenivasan picks up the story from there in our new york studios. >> sreenivasan: a new jersey judge dismissed the charges after rice completed a one-year program known as a pre-trial intervention. anger management counseling is said to be part of that program, but few other details have been released. the prosecutor agreed to let rice participate in the program last year. there's been discussion again today over whether rice was offered a routine or unusual
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deal, given the assault. we break this down with debbie hines, a former prosecutor familiar with domestic violence cases. she now practices in washington, d.c. and, christine brennan, a sportswriter and columnist for "usa today" and commentator for abc news. debbie, i want to start withyou. how unusual is it to have the charges dropped in an aggravated assault case which usually carries a maximum of up to five years? >> hi. it is so unusual, i don't know even know how to describe it. in most cases where there's aggravated assault you generally are not even allowed to participate in the pre-trial intervention program. it's called different things in other states, but usually when it's a violent crime, whether domestic violence or just aggravated assault not involving domestic violence, you are not allowed to even participate in the cases. so what it means in new jersey, i understand, is that -- and roughly about less than 1% of all domestic violence,
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aggravated assault type cases ends up in this program. >> sreenivasan: so what's a typical path for someone who get an aggravated versus assault charge. >> the same thing as ray rice. he was originally offered a plea bargain once his case was indicted on the original assault, he was offered a plea bargain. he chose not to accept. he chose to plead not guilty and go through the program. the average person would have been offered the plea bargain and they would have had the option of either accepting a plea bargain offered and i can tell you it would not have been for a pre-trial intervention program or they would have able to proceed to trial on the case. >> how much is it because he is a high profile n.f.l. player. >> i'm sure a loot. what debbie is saying is rivetting and incredibly
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frustrating. i wonder if what would have happened if they had thrown the book at ray rice the n.f.l. would have taken its lead from the decision of the authorities and you wouldn't have had the two-game suspension by roger goodell, i am sure. aim sure they would have given him a much tougher suspension even back then, obviously would turn from two games into ifn definite suspension and ray rice would not play football again. but you think about how the course of sports history and cultural history would have changed if the authorities in atlantic city would have done the right thing instead of letting ray rice get off basically with a slap on the wrist. >> sreenivasan: it seems a disconnect in terms of how we're acting to the n.f.l. versus the prosecutor's office. >> absolutely. i've noted they have made a lot of changes and are doing more than anyone in sports maybe even in business, maybe worldwide. i know that's quite a stairntle on the issue of domestic violence. no one is doing enough but the
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n.f.l. learned its lesson from september 8, when we saw the ray rice elevator video. you think the pummeling roger goodell and the n.f.l. have taken, much self-induced but a lot not, and you compare it to where's the outrage about the authorities in atlantic city, i find it striking as a journalist the way the n.f.l. has borne the brunt of this when the authorities could have changed history and in a big way if they had done something different. >> sreenivasan: so debbie hines, a prosecutor might say i took into consideration what his then fianceeé now wife also says and feels about the situation. should that count in the sentencing or dropping the charges? >> in this case it should count for a very minimum amount because what you have to understand is there was a video. so they didn't even need the testimony of ray rice's wife so she would have had spousal immunity. but they had the video showing he knocked her unconscious.
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so, yes they would have taken into account her feels as they would any particular victim's case, but in this case the prosecutor could have proceeded without her testimony if she chose to i vehicle her spousal immunity because of the video. >> sreenivasan: christine brennan, there's also the question of whether or not ray rice will play again. there were articles on a handful of teams who could use a running back like him. other articles saying perhaps he's past his prime. will we see him back on the football field? >> it's doubtful. i think there's a chance if a team has injury during training camp. i don't think we'll see much action till training camp is open in the summer. there's a chance but ray rice is radio active and because of the video which, of course, the authorities in atlantic city has as well everyone knows him from that video. i think not only basically football-wise he's 28 which is kind of old for a running back, and he had his worse year in 2013 and didn't play last year. so it's damaged goods in many
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ways on the field and then the public relations night mayor that would have occurred if you sign him, that's another issue the teams will be dealing with. >> sreenivasan: christine and debbie hines, thanks so much for joining us. >> thank you. >> woodruff: now, a look at some of the wonders of the country's first wilderness preserve. special correspondent sandra hughes reports from the western sierra nevada mountain range. >> reporter: in its 125th year as a national park, yosemite remains as beautiful as it is popular. on most weekends, just getting inside the park takes patience. but the 1,100 square mile natural wonder in northern california is worth the wait for the four million visitors who travel here every year from all over the world. >> i think it's the most
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beautiful place in the world this time of year, in particular the spring, the postcard yosemite. >> reporter: gary hart understands yosemite's draw. a nature photographer who has shot every corner of this park hart leads photography expeditions for students out to capture yosemite's famous and lesser known wonders. over a four-day journey through the park, hart reveals his secret spots for amazing shots to his pupils. (shutter clicks) capturing iconic landscapes, beautiful waterfalls... ...and lining up yosemite valley to perfectly frame the rising moon. as a photographer what's it like to capture the ultimate picture in yosemite? >> oh it's euphoria, it's great.
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for me, it's trying to come with something that i've never seen which isn't really easy it's on the most photographed locations in the world. >> reporter: on this expedition hart and his students are chasing a photo of a fleeting natural phenomenon, which can occur on a clear night only a couple times each year, when the full moon hits a misty spray from yosemite falls at just the right angle to create a moonbow- - a nighttime rainbow that is visible only through a camera's lens. it's a shot that hart has gotten before. but this year, a moonbow sighting is uncertain. >> it's a pretty phenomenal event, things definitely have to be in line for it to happen. >> reporter: right, right. >> so sometimes it doesn't happen, sometimes it happens multiple times throughout the year, it just really depends on the moon and the water. >> reporter: this stick measures the height of the merced river which flows through yosemite. an average snowfall would raise the river level to 12 feet,
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after four years of drought this spring the water level is below three feet. that means that yosemite falls which normally flows until august, will be dry this year by june. >> you need waterfalls and most of the time you need big waterfalls. so what the drought means for the moonbow is that there may not be enough water in yosemite falls to create that mist, and to create moonbow. >> reporter: though hart hopes to give his students a moonbow experience tonight, he knows that this year it's a long shot. >> we're kind of in uncharted waters as far as the spring flow as far as i know it's never been this low this time of year. >> reporter: at dusk, a bright full moon rises in just the right position under a cloudless clear sky. hart and his students make the night time hike to the base of yosemite falls knowing it still may not be enough. it's not looking good right now? >> it really isn't. >> reporter: as the moon moves
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in and then slowly out of position, the mist at the base of the falls is too low to catch the light, mother nature may have spoiled the moonbow... >> i don't want to give up yet i want to get these guys some color. >> reporter: ...or will she? >> that is a moon bow. it's pretty cool a rainbow caused by moonlight. >> reporter: with a fraction of its water flow, yosemite falls creates just enough spray to do it's part with the moon and sky and create the amazing effect before disappearing. soon yosemite falls will follow suit. and this magical moment will be all dried up for another year.
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i'm sandra hughes for the pbs newshour in yosemite national park. >> ifill: we turn now to a story about reverse migration, to china. it's about chinese americans in search of solutions. where do the children go when their parents can't afford day care? in many cases, back to their ancestral homes, to live with grandparents. often, they then don't see their parents for years. university of california student leo zou brings us the report. >> reporter: this is kinber, a private kindergarten in a small town in southern china's fujian province. what is different about this place is most of these children are americans by birth. in china, they are known as "yang liu shou er tong," or "left behind foreign children."
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wein is the prinicpal at kinber. >> ( translated ): many chinese people in guantou have emigrated to the united states. most parents work in the restaurant business there which keeps them very busy. they don't have time for day care so they send their kids back to live with their grandparents. >> reporter: the children are only a few months old when they arrive, and it will be years before they meet their parents again. in this small town of guantou some 60,000 people, almost the entire population, have emigrated. for most people, it was a one- way trip. after years of toiling in chinatowns across america, they sent money home to china to help build houses for their parents. struggling to survive in the u.s., they also began to send their young children back.
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this boy named zhao weijie was sent back when he was a year old. his grandparents have raised three other children for their sons and daughters working overseas. >> ( translated ): what can you do? there is no other way to make a living. you can't make money if you don't send them back to china. >> reporter: weijie's mother sends him toys, clothes and gifts from america. but the contact he's had with her has been through a computer screen. children like weijie are common in guantou. at kinber kindergarten alone, more than two-thirds of its 250 students were born outside of china. the number is as high as 20,000 across the region. in class, a teacher asks students to draw their whole family. one boy draws his father, the teacher asks "do you miss him?"
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yes, he says, i cried. the teacher asks him what he would like to say to him. >> to come back. >> reporter: by the age of five or six, most children are brought back to the u.s. to attend elementary school. in less than a month, the six- years-old liang lexin will take that journey. >> ( translated ): i will go to the u.s. in nine days. i miss my parents. it's been a very, very long time since i've seen them. >> reporter: after five years apart, liang will be re-united with her parents. >> ( translated ): my heart really goes out to these kids. no matter how much the grandparents love their grand children, you can never replace a mother's love. but parents need to make money in order to let them have a better future. >> reporter: for the newshour i'm leo zou in fujian province, china.
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>> woodruff: finally tonight, our newshour shares of the day. something that caught our eye that might be of interest to you, too. tonight, it's a new kind of time-lapse, mining public photos to capture thousands of time lapses of noteworthy places. researchers from the university of washington and google sifted through 86 million photos posted on public websites like flickr and picasa to show sites from the gradual melting of a glacier in norway, to the construction of the goldman sachs building in new york city. the images also showcase seasonal changes at mount st. helens, shifting sandbars at a beach in thailand, the famous las vegas strip at night, and even a swiss guard at the
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vatican who was so still he became part of the time-lapse itself. the researchers said where it once took months or years to create these videos, they can now do it almost instantly in an effort to help document our ever-changing world. you can watch more of these time lapse videos for yourself at our website. tonight on charlie rose, a look back at letterman. >> ifill: and that's the newshour for tonight. on friday, we look at one creative solution for homeless transgender youth in washington, d.c. i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. we'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening with mark shields and michael gerson. 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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♪ ♪ ♪ 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 with the ongoing support of these institutions >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh
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this is "nightly business " with tyler mathisen an. >> battling back. two companies that faced big challenges show investors they have what it takes to top earnings expectations. >> hot market. we'll take you to one city in the u.s. where it's getting really hard to find a house. >> and wealth gap widens to a record between the rich and poor and now one group says it's holding back gr all that and more tonight on "nightly busines". >> good evening, everyone and welcome. the s&p 500 notched another record. the nasdaq just shy of one, but we begin tonight with earnings. expectations wer quarr profits, but the results as it turned out weren't as bad as expected.


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