tv PBS News Hour PBS February 22, 2016 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> ifill: good evening, i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: on the newshour tonight: republicans rally in nevada for tomorrow's caucus after donald trump's big south carolina win this weekend, while democrats take on the palmetto state. >> woodruff: also ahead, a temporary cease fire is reached for war-torn syria a day after the deadliest attack yet by isis kills at least 130 people. >> ifill: then, an empty chair sits among the supreme court justices as they hear cases for the first time without the late justice antonin scalia. >> woodruff: and, why scientists are turning to elephants for hope in cancer research. >> it's as if these elephant cells have said, "well, it's much safer, much better strategy, to just kill the cell,
and start over." if we do that, there's no way that that cell could go on to become cancer, and that was an ah-ha moment for us in the lab. >> woodruff: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us.
>> lincoln financial-- committed to helping you take charge of your financial future. >> and the william and flora hewlett foundation, helping people build immeasurably better lives. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: and individuals. >> 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: confirmation today that the u.s. and russia have agreed on at least a pause in the syrian war. the formal announcement came from washington and moscow, but it left unclear just how extensive the cease-fire might be.
meanwhile syria's president bashar al-assad called a parliamentary election for april 13. we'll have a full report later in the program. >> ifill: in the day's other news, authorities in michigan say the man accused in the kalamazoo killings has admitted he did it. jason dalton faced a judge via video link from jail today. he was denied bail, and did not enter a plea. police say dalton killed six people at random in three separate locations saturday night around kalamazoo. the local prosecutor said today he's acknowledged his role, but given no reason. >> i've described this previously as intentional, as deliberate, as cold. this was not a, just a, momentary lapse. this was not just a crime, there is nothing that provoked this. there is video tapes of these incidences, he walked up on these people and he shot them. >> ifill: dalton is a driver for the ride-sharing service uber.
investigators are checking reports that he picked up passengers between the attacks. >> woodruff: the obama administration today defended its handling of a north korean call for direct talks between the two countries. the "wall street journal" had reported u.s. officials agreed to talks, without first demanding the north give up its nuclear program. the white house says it insisted the nuclear issue be part of any talks, and it says that's consistent with longstanding u.s. policy. the north refused, and days later, carried out a nuclear test. >> ifill: days of violent protests in northern india may finally be coming to an end. the government agreed on concessions late today. the unrest in haryana state has killed at least 19 people and cut off water to new delhi, as jonathan miller of independent television news reports. >> reporter: the angry people in haryana have taken the bull by the horns.
thousands are protesting against a lack of prospects in a fragile new world where many fall through the cracks. paramilitary forces were ordered to shoot looters and rioters on site, and they did. tonight, more than 10 million people in delhi have no water to drink or wash if because the protesters sabotaged the munak canal which provides the capital with most of its water supply. the protesters belong to the jat farming caste of whom there are 18 million across north india. 8 million in haryana, the state northwest of delhi. they want more government jobs and places in state education institutions, half of which are ring fens for what the indian government calls other backward classes traditionally more disadvantaged than gats.
>> the generation of the jat community are in danger of losing out. we are communing hope for the younger generation. the government should make us part of the system. >> reporter: after days of negotiations, jat community leaders have it seems a forced capitulation. h the state minister promised to include gats in the state system and the federal interior minister ordered a high-level committee be set up to address the jats grievous. >> ifill: the water >> ifill: the water service is now expected to resume tomorrow. but it could take days to remove vehicles left blocking highways, and to restore rail service. >> woodruff: in uganda, international observers were openly critical after officials announced the long-time president has been re-elected. they said yoweri museveni took more than 60% of vote. but european monitors said he won through intimidation.
the opposition charged fraud, and today, police hustled the main challenger into a van and took him away. he's been arrested four times in eight days. >> ifill: fiji faced a huge cleanup today after tropical cyclone winston blasted the pacific island nation over the weekend. the storm struck with winds of up to 200mph late saturday. at least 21 people were killed. today, people picked through what's left of ruined villages, and aid agencies warned of a possible health crisis. they're worried about low-lying areas where crops are destroyed and water supplies cut off. >> woodruff: back in this country, u.s. senator claire mccaskill has announced she has breast cancer and will take a three-week leave of absence. the missouri democrat says in a blog post that she'll be taking treatment in st. louis. she says, "it's a little scary," but her prognosis is good. >> ifill: and, wall street started the week on a high note, helped by an upturn in oil prices. the dow jones industrial average
gained 228 points to close at 16,620. the nasdaq rose 66 points, and the s&p 500 added 27. >> woodruff: still to come on the newshour: ted cruz and marco rubio fight to become donald trump's biggest threat. another fragile deal for a cease-fire in syria. the supreme court's first session without justice scalia, and much more. >> ifill: with one more contest down and one less opponent to battle, the republican presidential candidates spent the day scrambling for the next round of votes. meanwhile, hillary clinton expanded her lead over bernie sanders. with jeb bush now out of the race, and trump with another solid victory in hand, republicans moved to consolidate. we won with everything! we won with women! i love the women!
we won with women. (cheers and applause) we won with men! i'd rather win with women, to be honest. we won with everything. tall people, short people, fat people, skinny people! just won! >> the field is narrower now, but you still have names to pick from, and maybe you like a couple of people in this race and you try to decide between us. so i'm not here to bad mouth anybody else. >> coming out of new hampshire for the first time, my voice is being heard. and, you know, for that whole long period of time, we couldn't get anybody in the press to pay attention. now they're finally beginning to hear, and now this morning, here in virginia, we have about a thousand people that have come to hear a voice of experience, accomplishment -- >> ifill: then today rubio locked horns >> ifill: and today, rubio locked horns with ted cruz after cruz' communications director erroneously accused rubio of
criticizing the bible. the cruz aide, rick tyler, was fired. so the fight, for money, for endorsements and for credibility, is on. and we turn to politics monday with tamara keith of npr and amy walter of the "cook political report." as i say every week, where to begin? let's talk about the republicans, amy, especially what looks like a three-man rails. >> this saturday definitely consolidated the field in a way that we were expecting to see it happen after new hampshire. it did not. but with jeb bush dropping out and carson not getting much vote, john kasich is still in the race, and thinks he will be able to pick up momentum. >> ifill: when he gets heard, sometimes it's for his stumbles. >> and the reality is there is just not a lot of support there for john kasich. it really is marco rubio, now, who is getting the so-called establishment lane to himself. every minute, it seems, we're getting another update of another governor, senator,
member of congress endooring's marco rubio. the question is did they wait too late to consolidate to stop donald trump. >> ifill: my email box like yours has been full of endorsements all day coming from establishment, senators, members of congress for marco rubio, but i wonder whether the establishment lane exists in an election year when donald trump does so well? >> we inskeep wondering whether the establishment lane really exists. i think if it were anyone else at the top of this field who had won new hampshire and south carolina, we wouldn't even be having a discussion about who's going to overtake him. >> ifill: right. but it's donald trump and the discussion continues because there are a rot of people in the republican party and in the media and everywhere else were, like, really? this is going to happen? but he is, at the moment, very much the frontrunner. he's running a very unconventional campaign. we're now getting into a part of the race where it becomes more of a national campaign than a
state-by-state, hand-by-hand race and he's been running that kind of campaign all along. >> i would argue if any other candidate had negatives as high as donald trump, which are among 50% among his voters, he is the most polarizing candidate in the field, now that jeb bush is gone. there is still a lot of angst by republicans having him at the top. >> ifill: the dust between ted cruz and marco rubio, who did that help? donald trump, because he gets to stand by while they fight each other. >> and he tweeted about it. said thank you for doing that. if you look at the money spent on attack ads, the lion's share has been to attack marco rubio. very little has been spent to go after donald trump, at least in the paid media. we site on the debate stage but
not a concerted effort. >> ifill: if there were? had to write this down, but i think there are three rs going on with the republicans at large. resignation, reluctance, rationalization. all of that is they're in some ways resigned to well maybe trump can win because seems like we can't figure out a way to beat him, a reluctance to challenge him. not a lot of money being spent going after him especially by outside groups and rationalization, this idea that maybe trump could be a general election candidate, after all, hillary clinton is vulnerable and could be indicted and, look, he's bringing out all the new voters. they're forgetting a general election looks a lot different than a primary. >> ifill: jeb bush. what happened? we talked about how he was clearly ahead a year ago, he raised tons of money, yet completely out of the race. >> i think he said it best, which is he heard the voters and the voters told him they just
didn't want what he was selling, and i think what he was selling is a brand of establishment politics. he is the insider's insider. he had all of that money, and voters are attracted to a guy who says he can't be bought. >> ifill: speaking of someone who says he can't be bought, let's talk about bernie sanders who did not have a good weekend and is trying to come up with a strategy that looks like more about delegate picking than anything else. >> the challenge for bernie sanders is that the delegate system upthat the democrats have is actually incredibly helpful for underdogs and it's supposed to make it harder for somebody like hillary clinton, an establishment candidate, to build up a big lead because delegates are awarded proportionately. you can win a state by a million votes, you still only get a certain number of delegates. the challenge for bernie sanders is that he hasn't done well enough in the states he should be doing well in, that he's not
building a delegate lead. so the math is going to start to get really difficult for him because, if he keeps losing states that look like nevada, south carolina, a lot of these southern states, he can't just make it up by running the table in some other states. >> ifill: in fact, when he talks about running the table in states like minnesota, colorado, vermont, whey says, i have a shot there. let's talk ability hillary clinton. she's leapfrogged into texas even though this week is south carolina. >> she flew directly from nevada to texas. texas is the biggest delegate prize on supertuesday and she's also playing a delegate game and she wants to maximize the delegates where she can get them in places like texas. she expects to do very well in south carolina. she has a strong lead among african-americans, and the entrance polls in nevada are very good news for her on that front because she absolutely
dominated among african-americans. the story isn't quite as clear with latino voters. seems as though she and bernie sanders split latino voters. >> ifill: bill clinton has spent a lot of time in texas over the years so the groundwork has been laid there. >> absolutely. >> ifill: bernie sanders, did he ever get the young voter turnout he was counting on? >> that's the big issue. bernie sanders talks about building a revolution, and the revolution is smaller than the revolution that barack obama built. the voter turnout in iowa and new hampshire and now in nevada is not nearly as high as it was in 2008. but in 2008, you had barack obama versus hillary clinton. i mean, it's historic, it's a fight for the ages. this time around, bernie sanders has huge enthusiasm but republicans are turning out more voters than democrats and that has to be a worry for democrats heading into the general election. >> if you dig further into the turnout numbers, you see people
under the age of 30 are a smaller percent than they were in 2008 and people who are over the age of 65 are a bigger percent than they were in 2008. she does much better with older voters, he does much better with younger voters. becomes a wash. >> ifill: you see the path. absolutely. my walter, "cook political report," tamara keith, n.p.r., thank you. >> you're >> woodruff: syria's civil war has ground on for almost five years, but this day saw a diplomatic step that could begin the process of ending a conflict that's killed 250,000 people and displaced millions more. chief foreign affairs correspondent margaret warner begins our coverage. >> warner: syrian government forces and rebel groups battled furiously through the weekend. but some of the shooting is supposed to stop this saturday.
official word came after president obama spoke to russian president vladimir putin by phone. white house spokesman josh earnest. >> it will require all of the parties who signed onto this document to follow through on the commitments that they have made. the whole world can see in writing what everyone has committed to, and it's time for the signatories to step up and for the bloodshed to come to an end. >> warner: and from moscow, putin called it a "real step that can stop the bloodshed." secretary of state john kerry had initially announced a "provisional agreement" yesterday, after long-distance discussions with russian foreign minister sergei lavrov. the plan does allow for continuing u.s. and russian air strikes against the islamic state group, jabhat al-nusra and "other terrorist organizations designated by the u.n. security council." that last phrase will be key,
since the russians regard nearly all groups fighting the syrian government as terrorists. it's also unclear if the various fighting factions will actually go along with the cease-fire. still, u.n. officials expressed cautious optimism. >> it is a long-awaited signal of hope to the syrian people that after five years of conflict there may be an end to their suffering in sight. much work now lies ahead to ensure its implementation, and >> warner: there's also hope that a cease-fire will allow for the quick re-launch of peace talks between the government and opposition groups. but for now, there is no respite: islamic state bombings in homs and a damascus suburb yesterday killed 130 people. >> woodruff: and margaret warner joins me now. >> woodruff: margaret, what did it take to get the deal? >> u.s. officials believes two things. one, vladimir putin decided he got most of what he wanted on the ground. he shored up assad enough. the assad military can handle
things. they've taken back military from i.s.i.s. and the moderate opposition and he doesn't want to get sucked into a quagmire. epitomized in the phone call is putin wanted to be seen as a partner with the united states in resolving the conflict in syria. he wasn't even a player last september before he sent in troops. so not bad work in five months he is now co-chairing this group with president obama. >> woodruff: how confident, having said that, is the united states that this is actually going to work? >> judy, i have to say one official said to me no one's doing high fives around here and another one said after ukraine we don't necessarily believe anything. but the key concession i'm told putin has made is he will no longer take assad's pretext for bombing the moderate opposition. as we said in the setup, what he has been doing is accepting assad's definition of terrorist, so even the moderate opposition supported by the u.s. was being
pounded by russian military and that, if you look at the language of the document, it now says you can pound away at i.s.i.s., the al-nusra front or other groups designated terrorists by the u.n., and that actually means something. >> woodruff: now, margaret, why has this been so hard to get? >> well, judy, the big problem is, you know, there are so many players, not only on the ground in syria, but that everyone has a different mentor, a different benefactor, all with different aims. so for the u.s., number one is getting rid of i.s.i.s. for the russians, number one was shoring up their client state syria. for all the gulf states with the saudis in the lead, number one was getting rid of assad. for the turks, number one was undercutting the turkish-kurdish fighters whom they see as cousins to their own terrorist
kurds, the p.k.k. so when you have a group like that, they've always known they're never going to get the parties on the ground to agree to this, it had to come from the big boys, the 17-member group. but when they couldn't agree on what the objective was, that's why it's been so very difficult. >> woodruff: and as you point out, so many different interests from so many different directions. even so, there's been steady criticism that the administration hasn't done enough, that so many people have been killed, millions displaced from syria. how does the administration handle that? >> you're right. not only the criticism, but the united states is being played by the russians, that the russians got themselves in and they're promising help to defeat i.s.i.s. and instead used it to pound away at assad's adversaries. their answer -- well, secretary kerry got a little irritated this weekend and said, well, i've not heard any alternatives from anyone else. there are alternatives. we'll leave that aside. their answer is we believe the only way to defeat i.s.i.s.,
which is our number one objective, is end the conflict in syria. number two, we work for a president who is not willing to put in any more military muscle. we are now supporting the moderate opposition but nothing serious. no surface-to-air missiles to shoot down planes, nothing like that. so really talking -- getting all the parties together and trying to get to a political resolution was the only way to go. but a senior white house official said to me last week, you know, if this is really a turning point. if this doesn't work, i don't know where we go. >> woodruff: we will see. e will see if it goes anywhere. >> woodruff: a huge development, if it does. >> yes. >> woodruff: margaret warner, thank you. >> ifill: stay with us, coming up on the newshour:
what a british exit from the e.u. would mean for global stability. why elephants are largely immune to cancer. and a poet's tribute to his father and his photographs. but first, the supreme court returned to the bench today, absent justice antonin scalia. in a tribute read from the bench, chief justice john roberts noted that scalia, who passed a way a little over a week ago, "authored 282 majority opinions for the court. he was also known, on occasion, to dissent. we remember his incisive intellect, his agile wit, and his captivating prose. but we cannot forget his irrepressible spirit. he was our man for all seasons, and we shall miss him beyond measure." marcia coyle of the "national law journal" was in the courtroom today, and she joins me now. it was a somber mood in that courtroom in that chamber. >> it was, gwen. it was subdued and i think, throughout the court -- i can't speak for everyone who works within the court -- it was somber but i think there also
was a sense of fatigue because it was a very emotional week for everyone. relationships among the justices are long and good and the relationships between justices and court employees are also close. if you walk through the court building after hours, there is a sense of real family. they consider it a family-type institution. i thought the chief justice hit the right note inside the courtroom. he was respectful of justice scalia's background, education, family and also had a few little light notes in there. >> ifill: the little comment about the the dissent. >> occasionally reminding us how he was, on and off the bench. >> ifill: he also said he only argued one case before the court and won it so he had a perfect record. >> exactly, but it was very much business as usual when the court took up two cases this morning. there were just as many questions from those justices who typically question, but what was really missing was kind of the spark, the color that
justice scalia brought to his own questions. >> ifill: well, as the court was having their discussions about -- first of all, explain briefly what those two cases were. >> ironically, these cases seemed tailor-made for justice scalia. the first was about interpret ago federal law that mandates a preference be given to veteran-owned small businesses by the department of veterans affairs when it awards contracts and, so, the language of the statute, justice scalia was a bear about textualism. if the words are clear, that ends the discussion. i had a feeling almost that justice kagan was channeling her inner scalia during the arguments as she press on the words of the statute and pressed the government's lawyer, says clear when the statute used the word shall it means shall. the second case was a fourth amendment case.
he was very protective of the privacy of the individuals in their persons, their homes and documents and this case involved an illegal stop of someone by a police officer who then did an arrest warrant check, found there was an arrest warrant, arrested the person he stopped and searched him and the question was whether the evidence he found of drugs could be suppressed because the initial stop was illegal, there was no reasonable suspicion. so both cases really played, i think, to justice scalia's interests. >> ifill: while the justices were going about business across the street, you uncovered the emotions you go through to fill the vacancy. we saw prize for scalia but also groundwork beginning for the drama to begin. does any of that political drama seep into the court? >> not really. i think the justices and the
employees are very aware of what's going on. i think even some of them have a feeling that they would like to see this get on, get done with. but, no, they're really unaffected by the politics. the court does its work and today did its work as it has always done whether with nine, eight or seven justices and will continue to work through the end of the term. >> ifill: the white house put out a photograph this week of the president walking down the colonecolonade at the white houh a big briefcase showing everyone was still at work. today emerged a video of joe biden who is now the vice president, the senate senate judiciary chairman saying the same thing in 1992. >> in 1992, there was no vacancy, it was an election
year. i'm not in vice president's head but i imagine there was a concern there might be a vague sivment it was june and in june politicians' eyes turn to the supreme court. they always wonder if there's going to be retirements, resignations. this, to me, the typical partisan back and forth and the probably not all that helpful, but there have been many discussions over the years on how to improve the confirmation process. this is one that he was offering in '92. no election year confirmations. there have been others, you know, term limits, and we'll continue to see this. >> ifill: one more confirmation battle for you to cover there, marcia. >> we'll see. >> ifill: marcia coyle, "national law journal." thank you. >> my pleasure, gwen. >> woodruff: the united kingdom has been a part of the european
union for more than 40 years. but its place in that post-war attempt at european integration is now in question, and whether britain will stay or go is a hotly-contested issue that will soon go before british voters. it was a high-stakes moment: the british leader appealing to the house of commons, and to the country at large, not to bolt from the european union. >> our current trade agreements with 53 countries around the world would lapse. this cannot be described as anything other than risk, uncertainty, and a leap in the dark that could hurt working people in our country for years to come. >> woodruff: cameron said the deal he struck with 27 other e.u. nations on friday, grants britain special status. it includes measures to ensure britain won't be forced into becoming part of a european super-state.
it also creates safeguards for britain's financial services and the pound currency. and, it grants london the power to limit welfare payments to migrants from the rest of europe. cameron is depending on that deal to win over doubters in his own conservative party. but the effort was dealt a major blow yesterday when london's popular mayor and fellow conservative boris johnson came out in favor of leaving the e.u., what's become known as the "brexit." >> i will be advocating "vote leave" or whatever the team is called, i understand there are many of them, because i want a better deal for the people of this country, to save them money and to take back control. >> woodruff: johnson's announcement could increase the odds that britons will vote to leave the e.u. in a june referendum. but opinions were decidedly
mixed on the streets of london. >> i just think that we'd be just better off on our own. i think, you know, we've been an island for a long time and i don't think we need to rely on other people. >> europe protects our employment rights, human rights and maybe they keep our government in control, to stop >> woodruff: leaders of other e.u. member nations, including italian prime minister matteo renzi, also criticized a possible exit. >> ( translated ): the consequences would be worse for british citizens than for european ones. we hope this will not happen, but were i to make a forecast, if great britain leaves, the main problem will be for the u.k., its businesses and its citizens. >> woodruff: the uncertainty over britain's future in the bloc has already taken a toll: the british pound's value fell more than two percent today. with me now to discuss the political battle of britain's possible exit from the european union and its implications is
steven erlanger. he's the london bureau chief for the "new york times." steven erlanger, thank you for joining us. why, after decades of being part of the e.u., are so many britains looking to leave it? >> well, we still don't know how many are really looking to leave it. certainly there's a big portion of the conservative party which has wanted to leave it probably ever since britain joined it. in 1975, 41 years ago, there was a similar referendum which passed by, like, two-thirds to one-third to join it. but ever since margaret thatcher demanded her money back, the conservative party has been angry. david cameron thought heived promise a referendum on brussels if he won power again.
lo and behold even to his surprise he won a majority, so he kind of caught himself and felt he had to make good on his proims and hold this in or out referendum. >> woodruff: so what are the main arguments today for leaving the e.u.? >> well, some of them are historical and nostalgic. britain is an island, was an empire, it's never been fully european, but too close to europe to escape it, too. it was very much engaged in the great european wars but won them so it has a different sense of its own sovereignty than let's sea france or germany or bull gum which understand that sovereignty can be vulnerable. britain is an anglo-saxon country. it has a different notion of laws. it's not the napoleonic code. so that's one thing. the second thing is the british
sense of sovereignty. they feel parliament really must be sovereign, and the people who want to leave feel brussels interferes too much in the operations of british laws and british justice. the third major issue, which is an odd one, really, is immigration, because when you're part of the e.u., you have to guarantee freedom of movement and freedom of working for every citizen of the e.u., so they're worried about their jobs. >> woodruff: what are the main arguments in the other direction that print should stay in and who's making them? >> well, the main lessons are print is part of europe, it's inescapable, even the wars show that. print's security is guaranteed by being part of this larger group. britain's trade is heavily toward the european union. at least a million britains also take advantage of this freedom
of movement and freedom of labor and live inside europe. and the city of london which is a big financial center benefits more from being inside the e.u. than not. there are a lot of companies based in britain because they want to be part of the e.u. but also favor british labor laws. so if britain leaves, the great worry is some of those companies will leave, that there will be capital flight, that britain's security will be diminished, and also the americans have been very clear about wanting britain to stay in. >> woodruff: and that's exactly what i wanted to pick up on. what is it felt is the u.s.' stake in all this? >> the u.s. sees britain as a great ally and it wants its great ally inside the european union which has a big effect on global trade regulations, on data privacy regulations and the
u.s. feels, with its ally britain, it has more influence inside the european union than otherwise and, also, britain is a big military power with france, and it's good to have britain not just inside n.a.t.o. but inside the european union itself. >> woodruff: so i guess you're looking for a lively debate for the next four months. >> well, it's going to be lively partly because of what's added spice is now the conservative leadership is at stake because boris johnson, the mayor of london, who's always considered slightly buffoonish but also very popular and a possible prime minister, has broken be david cameron and is favoring exit exit, while cameron wants to stay inside, and cameron's quite angry with johnson, but johnson, i think, sees it as his best chance of becoming prime minister down to road. >> woodruff: drama at every level. steven erlanger with the "new york times."
we thank you. >> thank you. >> woodruff: now, big hopes in the fight against cancer, and the potential for some surprising allies: elephants. jackie judd reports on researchers thinking outside the box. >> the ringling brothers and barnum bailey performing pachyderms. >> reporter: this spring, all of these circus elephants will be permanently retired. but as they leave the center ring, they are taking center stage in another unlikely place, the huntsman cancer institute in salt lake city. >> just about every person i met who heard about this would come up and ask, elephants, cancer, what's the connection?
>> reporter: the possible connection is a work in progress, led by pediatric oncologist dr. joshua schiffman. >> insert the needle into the vein. >> reporter: he has enlisted the support of the ringling brothers center for elephant conservation in florida and the hogle zoo in salt lake to draw blood from these sturdy mammals for his experiments. logically, elephants should get cancer far more often than we do. they have 100 times more cells than humans, and so, there is much more opportunity for cells to divide and mutate into cancer. but, that's not the case. less than five percent of elephant deaths are attributed to cancer. >> elephants have had 55 million years of evolution to figure out how to avoid cancer. now it's our turn to take a page out of nature's playbook, and try to figure out how do we help our patients and families with cancer. >> reporter: most humans have
two copies of a gene called p- 53. when everything is working, the protein in p-53 is a cancer- suppressor; repairing or killing mutant cells so they don't multiply. elephants have 40 copies of p- 53. >> this is our tissue culture room. this is where we actually do the experiments to try to understand how does elephant p-53 work. in here are the actual cells growing. >> reporter: after bombarding elephant blood with radiation, dr. schiffman and his team stood back and observed how the elephant-p-53 responded to the damaged cells. the answer, recently published in the "journal of the american medical association," was that the multiple genes responded far more robustly than p-53's reponse in humans. >> instead of trying to repair themselves, the elephant cells,
many of them, all went on to cell death, to this cell- suicide, or what we call apoptosis. it's as if these elephant cells have said, well, it's much safer, much better strategy, to just kill the cell, and start over. if we do that there's no way that that cell could go on to become cancer, and that was an ah-ha moment for us in the lab. we're trying to learn how to get kids better without making them sick. >> reporter: now, the research has turned to this question: how does elephant p-53 respond in human cancer cells and could it stop the disease cold. could it be a treatment to prevent cancer or halt its growth? >> here are three breast cancers from different individuals. and we take the elephant p-53 and put it into the breast cancer cell lines and we wait and see, will the p-53 kill the
cancer cells? >> lilly you get the spoons, emma i'll get you the bowls. >> reporter: the research, and where it may lead, would be especially meaningful for people like tony means. he and others with a genetic disorder called li-fraumeni syndrome have only one p-53 gene-instead of two-leaving them virtually defenseless against cancer. in your family, your mother had li-fraumeni, died very young. >> yes ma'am. >> reporter: you have aunts and uncles who have cancer, and who have li-fraumeni. >> yes. a good chunk of our family, i would say a majority, >> reporter: and they've all been tested? >> every single one has been li- fraumeni. >> reporter: means is being treated for cancer and six year old daughter emma is being watched by dr. schiffman because of a small brain tumor.
two other children, with li- fraumeni, are frequently screened and the family takes part in dr. schiffman's research in any way they can. >> i've kind of put hope in him, by choosing to have children knowing that there's a chance they could have the gene. >> reporter: but you understand this is years off, if ever. >> oh, yeah, yeah, if ever, yeah. who knows. >> reporter: and that is where dr. avi schroeder comes in. dr. schroeder of technion, the israel institute of technology, joined the research several months ago, with the goal of developing a drug for humans that would mimic the elephant's robust p-53. >> now there's a delivery issue, how can we get that protein to the disease site, into the cancer cells, to act and to perform the therapeutic activity on site. we're going to wrap the proteins inside a nanoparticle, and they'll release the protein inside the cancer cells. >> reporter: and if everything works, the cancer cell will be
killed? >> yes, the cancer cell will go into a death cycle after that, yes. >> we are excited to have dr. schroeder here. >> reporter: the team of optimists believes clinical trials could begin in three years. not surprisingly, there is skepticism in the medical community, and is shared by dr. lee helman, the head of clinical research at the national cancer institute. >> the whole idea of putting an elephant gene that's regulated in a unique way into a human being when we've had enough trouble putting human genes into human beings with all kinds of difficulty, i would say he has a lot of hurdles to overcome. >> reporter: but, dr. helman does believe there is value to this deeper investigation into p-53. >> i think his finding only lends further evidence to support that hypothesis that p- 53 function, and being able to
regulate it, would be a major step forward in our ability to treat cancer. >> reporter: cancer touches almost every family, directly or indirectly. for families like the means it is a certainty. so, what is happening in this lab, at this zoo, could be life- changing. have you taken the kids to the zoo to see the elephants? >> yes, oh man, that was awesome, the kids loved it, and as they looked at the elephants, i thought if this is the answer, in their lifetime, this gives them hope. >> i don't promise my patients it will happen, because i don't want to have them disappointed. but, if i didn't believe this would work, i wouldn't be trying it. >> reporter: dr. schiffman concedes that turning to elephants for a cancer treatment is outside the box, but that he says, is often where the best answers are found. this is jackie judd for the pbs
newshour in salt lake city. >> ifill: next: a poet honors his father, and both honor their puerto rican heritage. jeffrey brown has the story. >> brown: a community organizer in a burned out building. >> brown: a young girl taking a ballet lesson. photographs of puerto rican life, in new york and around the country. they were taken by a man named frank espada, who died in 2014 at age 83. >> he lived many lives. and he evolved from someone who was working in the streets of east new york, where i grew up, to someone who was documenting
the condition of entire people, >> brown: what's it like to see your father's work in the smithsonian? >> surreal. >> brown: martin espada, frank's son, is an award-winning poet, author of more than a dozen books, a former tenant lawyer, and now professor at the university of massachusetts. his new volume, "vivas to those who have failed;" the title comes from a line by walt whitman; is filled with poems that remember and celebrate his father. >> i am the archaeologist. i sift the shards of you: cufflinks, passports photos, a button from the march on washington with a black hand shaking a white hand, letters in spanish, your birth certificate from a town high in the mountains. the poetry about my father is both elegiac and documentary. poets often in these situations perform the function of preachers, right? people expect you to say something meaningful in this age
where language has become divorced from meaning. we live in a time of hyper- euphemism. >> brown: you're a storyteller, you've got this public role as a poet, but most of all at that moment you're a son. >> yes, first and foremost, and i was feeling that as a son. so undercurrent pulsing through undercurrent of loss, of grief, and grappling with grief, and trying to see the ways in which poetry might be able to heal grief, if not for me, then for somebody else. >> brown: in his poems, martin refers back to old home movies that show his father, a man who'd come to new york from puerto rico as a boy in 1939, and was an athlete who played semi-pro baseball. while serving in the air force in 1949 he was jailed for a week in mississippi for not giving up going to the back of the bus. >> he said it was the best week of his life. >> brown: the best week? >> the best week of his life, because he figured out what to do with the rest of it. >> brown: frank espada would become a community organizer. he founded "east new york
action" in the early 1960's, and worked in the civil rights movement. >> there's little attention paid, up to this point, to what we might call the latino civil rights movement. >> brown: above all, says martin, who sometimes worked with his father, he was an artist who documented what he saw. frank espada published a book in 2006 titled "the puerto rican diaspora: themes in the survival of a people," and his photographic work has been collected by the smithsonian american art museum where martin and i met recently. >> i remember this one. this was a photograph that was taken in hartford and i remember >> at first glance, this appears to be a photograph of three kids on the street and, indeed, it is hat. but if you look more closely to the right you'll see a notice for a foreclosure sale on those premises. and that is very much a part of what my father is saying in that photograph. >> brown: in a poem titled "mad love," martin espada refers to
specific photographs, as a way of addressing what his father will no longer see. >> a beret, grinning at the vision of shoes for all the shoeless people on the earth; not the dancer hearing the piano tell her to spin and spin again not the gravedigger and his machete, the bandanna that keeps the dust. not the union organizer, spirits floating in the smoke of this victory cigar; not the addict in rehab gazing at herself like a fortune-teller gazing at the cards; not the face half-hidden by the star in the puerto rican flag, the darkness of his dissident's eye. now that my father cannot speak, they wait their turn to testify in his defense, witnesses to the mad love that drove him to it. >> brown: you say in last lines here, 'now that my father cannot speak'
>> yes. >> brown: you feel a responsibility to speak? >> absolutely, my father is gone, he can never utter another word, he can never snap another photograph, that's over, and so now comes my turn, now i must speak for him, and now those faces, the faces he documented, also speak for him. >> brown: from the smithsonian american art museum. i'm jeffrey brown for the pbs newshour. >> ifill: you can find martin espada's full reading of "mad love" on our poetry page on our website. pbs.org/newshour. >> woodruff: finally tonight, our newshour shares, something that caught our eye that might be of interest to you, too. 106-year-old virginia mclaurin never thought she would live to see a black president in the white house. when she was honored for her
>> ifill: on independent lens tonight, a look at the tangled web between an fbi informant, his targets, and government efforts to protect the u.s. homeland. "terror" tells the story of a 62-year old black panther turned counter-terrorism informant, caught between the competing narratives of fbi officials who believe targets may be a potential jihadist threat, and the targets themselves who deny supporting islamic extremism. >> they call me to do an assignment in pittsburgh. whatever the case may be, if they want me to do surveillance,
i'm going to do it, you know. i need the money. i need the money. >> i mean, these are all targets in suspected areas. for some of these, they've got a big population of muslims that come from the various countries over there to come to school here. moroccans, somalis, iranians, saudis. and then they all go back to where they come from. i don't have no feelings for them. making islam look bad. you've got to go.
>> >> ifill: "independent lens" airs tonight on most pbs stations. on the newshour online, if you kept track of the data scientists collect on climate change, you would see diagrams on everything from temperature rise, to glacial melt. but artist jill pelto sees something even more striking, and she takes those stats and turns them into vibrant watercolors. we have a gallery of those paintings, on our home page. pbs.org/newshour. >> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonight. on tuesday we'll look at how opioid addictions hold a deadly grip in many states. i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. join us online, and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> lincoln financial-- committed to helping you take charge of your financial future.
>> and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. >> supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information at macfound.org >> and by the bill and melinda >> 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. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org how i wish you were he
is "bbc world news america." >> funding of this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation, newman's own foundation, giving all profits from newman's own to charity and pursuing the common good, kovler foundation, pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs, and hong kong tourism board. >> want to know hong kong's most romantic spots? i will show you. i love heading to repulse bay for an evening stroll. it's a perfect, stunning backdrop for making romantic