tv PBS News Hour PBS April 28, 2016 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. >> sreenivasan: and i'm hari sreenivasan. >> woodruff: on the "newshour" tonight: in syria's rebel-held city of aleppo, at least 27 are dead after an air strike that hit a doctors without borders hospital, further threatening a fragile cease-fire >> sreenivasan: also ahead this thursday, as the presidential primaries enter the final stretch, we look at the race for delegates and preview next week's primary in indiana. >> woodruff: and, backlash in north carolina: how the new state law requiring people to use bathrooms of their birth gender has set off a business boycott. >> our series a funding is several million dollars, and that money could be here in north carolina. and we made a decision, it's going to florida. >> sreenivasan: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour.
>> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> fathom travel. carnival corporation's small ship line. offering seven day cruises to three cities in cuba. exploring the culture, cuisine and historic sites through its people. more at fathom.org. >> 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 rockefeller foundation. promoting the well-being of humanity around the world by building resilience and inclusive economies. more at rockefellerfoundation.org >> carnegie corporation of new york. supporting innovations in education, democratic engagement, and the advancement of international peace and security. at carnegie.org. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: and 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.
>> sreenivasan: death rained down on syria's largest city today. at least 60 people were killed, nearly half of them at a hospital. it was the starkest evidence yet that a two-month-old truce is now history. chaos in the darkness of aleppo. an air strike smashed this hospital supported by the red cross and doctors without borders, in a rebel-held section of the city. among the dead: one of the region's last remaining pediatricians. >> this was the place for women to go and give birth. this was the place for children to go and get specialist treatment. it's now a pile of rubble. >> sreenivasan: after sunrise, more strikes hit a residential neighborhood, and rescue workers scrambled to pull a young girl free... >> ( translated ): here is a residential area! they are striking at residents. they are not terrorists here. >> sreenivasan: at the same time, syrian state media reported at least a thousand mortar rounds and rockets were fired into government-held areas
of aleppo. the attacks punctuate the collapse of a cease-fire in the country's largest city. the truce is also hanging by a thread in homs, where an aid convoy was hit this week. for its part, russia denied its warplanes carried out the hospital bombing in aleppo. instead, in washington, a state department spokesman said all signs point to the syrian military. >> the indications that we have now, and again, this just happened, are that these were-- these strikes were conducted by the regime. >> sreenivasan: and in a statement, secretary of state john kerry insisted russia use its influence on president bashar al-assad to stop the attacks. the main syrian opposition group joined in, from turkey, blaming moscow and damascus for the resumption of fighting. >> the regime, along with the russians, are burying the cessation of hostilities by committing crimes and massacres across syria. >> sreenivasan: and the u.n.'s
special envoy for syria, staffan de mistura, emerged in geneva, to say the cease-fire is "still alive, but barely." he urged the united states and russia to salvage the truce and bring the warring parties back to the table. >> the russian federation and the u.s., as you remember, had a very strong initiative which produced basically a miracle, and that produced a great feeling among everyone that in hope, unexpected hope, which then produced in turn >> sreenivasan: there was also a dire warning from the head of the u.n.'s humanitarian task force. he spoke of "catastrophic deterioration" in aleppo. >> lifeline to hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people that have had hopes that things would really get better now-- that lifeline may be broken. >> sreenivasan: adding to the warning, the international red
cross reported stocks of food and medicine in aleppo will run out soon, and the resurgence of fighting makes it impossible to bring in more. we'll hear from "doctors without borders" after the news summary. >> woodruff: in the day's other news, there's word that 16 u.s. military personnel, including a general, have been disciplined over the mistaken bombing of a hospital in afghanistan. the facility in the city of kunduz was also run by doctors without borders. an air strike last year left 42 people dead. u.s. officials say the service members received administrative punishments, but will not face criminal charges. a full pentagon report is expected tomorrow. >> sreenivasan: vice president biden made an unannounced visit to iraq today, hoping to resolve a political crisis. he touched down in baghdad on a mission to urge iraqi leaders to set aside their differences, and focus on fighting islamic state militants. the country's government has been paralyzed for weeks over corruption and demands for sweeping reforms. >> woodruff: north korea has
failed again, in a bid to launch intermediate-range missiles. south korean officials reported two attempts today. a similar launch earlier this month also failed. the weapons were fired from near wonsan, and have the range to reach u.s. bases in asia and the pacific. a united nations spokesman called today for the launches to stop. and, chinese president xi jinping said his country will not permit "war or chaos" on the korean peninsula. >> sreenivasan: president xi's government is moving to crack down on foreign non-governmental organizations with operations inside china. a law adopted today says they must never endanger chinese unity, and will now be closely monitored by police. it also bans them from recruiting or fundraising. chinese officials defended the restrictions at a news conference in beijing. >> ( translated ): there are a minority of foreign n.g.o.'s, that through the means of funds and some methods, will manage to
harm china's national security interests and some other illegal criminal activity. in this way, strengthening control including handling this illegal contact, is something that we should also do. >> sreenivasan: u.s. and european officials have criticized the law as the latest move in a growing crackdown by the ruling communist party. >> woodruff: volkswagen has announced it's setting asideuv nearly $9 billion to buy back or repair diesel models that cheated on emissions tests. part of the money would cover a buy-back deal for diesel owners in the u.s. it could affect up to 500,000 cars and trucks. >> sreenivasan: a rout in tech stocks carried away wall street today. it began earlier this week when apple reported its first revenue decline in 13 years. the dow jones industrial average lost 210 points to close at 17,830. the nasdaq fell nearly 58 points, and the s&p 500 gave up 19. >> woodruff: in australia, new figures show strict gun control measures have led to a major
decline in gun murders. there were 35 in 2014. that was down nearly two-thirds from 1996, even though the population rose sharply during that period. australia tightened its laws after a mass shooting, 20 years ago today, that killed 35 people in tasmania. >> sreenivasan: and, in utah's arches national park, the face of one of america's national treasures has been vandalized-- maybe permanently. the etchings span five to six feet across a famous red rock arch, and may be too deeply cut to remove. the park's superintendent says graffiti and other vandalism is a growing problem. >> woodruff: still to come on the newshour: the rising toll as leaders seek a peace deal in syria. calculating the delegate math ahead of the last ten presidential primaries. an economic backlash against north carolina's lgbt bathroom law, and much more.
>> sreenivasan: we return to the bombing of the hospital in the syrian town of aleppo. according to reports 27 people were killed. with me now is pablo marco, middle east operations manager for doctors without borders which supports the facility. pablo, you've probably been in touch with your colleagues on the ground there. what's the latest they're telling you? >> all right, so we are speaking with the head of the hospital hours ago. he was telling us how all the events unfolded. he explained that 10:00 p.m. yesterday, two bombs fell close to the hospital, then a lot of wounded people were driven to the hospital, directors were waiting at the gate of the hospitals to know about the news of the families. then the bomb fell at the entrance of the hospital in the emergency room and a massive
killing of people. >> sreenivasan: it was staged so the people would rush to the hospital, there would be more people there, and a secondary attack. >> we cannot assert this but all elements show that this attack was, as you say, staged to promote the maximum number of citizens killed. >> sreenivasan: tell me what kind of impact it means to tot have this facility in this corner of the city. >> well, there are very few facilities working in aleppo. we need to know around 95% of the doctors in aleppo have either fled or been killed by bombings, already. so every single facility that is destroyed or every single doctor that is killed has a massive impact. this hospital was a reference hospital for pediatrics and in, in addition, one of the key hospitals for internal medicine. so very, very high impact. >> sreenivasan: so how many
people, roughly, are treated in this facility, and how long, the wait lines, so to speak? there are probably not that many option force people in that area. >> exactly. we were talking with the director. he was telling us all the wounded have been taken to the hospitals, but, of course, they are absolutely overwhelmed, as you can imagine. >> sreenivasan: what does it mean for this hospital to be supported by doctors without borders? what's your involvement there? >> i have been working with them for at least, now, three years. we're in aleppo. we're going to the hospital every other week for technical advice, technical equipment. last year the hospital was attacked with bombings and, at that time, after the request for support, we provided new equipment to restart the hospital. even until this week, we were doing that with them with the
other nations. >> sreenivasan: are you sending more doctors into this area? >> so we'll keep supporting these hospitals, if we are able to make it happen, to make it work again, and we'll keep supporting many other hospitals in aleppo city. at the same time, something important we need to know is that we think it is really important that there is an independent investigation to clarify who has been responsible for this attack and if this attack has been delivered, some elements can point out. there will be a resolution for the city council in the next days regarding the protection of hospitals and this terrible event shows us that this resolution is more important now than ever. >> sreenivasan: will other aid agencies help fill the gap? who else supports this hospital? what happens to the people in
the region who no longer have access to any facilities? >> there is not much more anyone can do until the attacks on the hospital are finished. we understand that anyone is afraid to go to aleppo now. doctors, the medical staff, they are a target here. hundreds have been killed and it's really difficult to replace those having been killed in this attack yesterday. >> sreenivasan: do you see this as a pattern to target medical facilities not just in syria but other parts of the world, too? >> yes, we were talking a few minutes ago about the attack in afghanistan. we've had several attacks in yemen in the last month, especially in the city where there have been tens if not hundreds of attacks in medical facilities, and this trend is worsening in the last, say, six months. >> sreenivasan: there was that other story in the news today. does your organization have any sort of a response yet to the
u.s. government deciding to discipline 16 members of the u.s. military in that tragedy that affected the hospital in kunduz last year, the doctors without borders hospital? >> yeah. so what i will say is that, since this terrible event happened, we're asking the u.s. government and other actors that we think really that we need an independent investigation to clarify what has happened in this attack. the u.s. government has carried out their own investigation, but, of course, it hasn't been independent, and we keep asking for this investigation to happen. >> sreenivasan: all right, pablo marco, doctors without borders. thanks so much for joining us tonight. >> thank you. bye-bye.
>> woodruff: an unlikely character took center stage on the campaign trial today. former speaker of the house john boehner inserted himself into the conversation. the newshour's john yang reports. >> reporter: for ted cruz, it's all about indiana's republican primary next tuesday, and trying to stop donald trump. his challenge today, though, came from former house speaker john boehner. in congress, he repeatedly butted heads with texas senator cruz for backing government shutdowns, among other things. the stanford university student newspaper reports boehner newspaper reports boehner used unvarnished language about cruz during a campus speech. >> what about ted cruz. lucifer in the flesh. i have never worked with a more miserable (bleep) -- >> he allowed his inner trump to come out. >> he allowed his inner trump to come out. >> reporter: cruz fired back, casting boehner and trump as creatures of the washington
politics he's been railing against. >> john boehner in his remarks described donald trump as his texting and golfing buddy. so if you want someone that's a texting and golfing buddy, if you're happy with john boehner as speaker of the house and you want a president like john boehner, donald trump is your man. >> reporter: trump was in indiana, hoping the hoosier state will get him even closer to the republican nomination. >> we don't have a long way if i can win in indiana. if i win, it's over. (cheers and applause) if we win in indiana, it's over. >> reporter: trump got endorsements today from two house committee chairmen: florida's jeff miller of the veterans affairs committee, and pennsylvania's bill shuster of the transporation panel. but the frontrunner took heat for his foreign policy address yesterday. in a phone interview with the "today" show, he was asked about criticism that his plan to fight the islamic state is light on details:
>> one of the big tenets of my speech yesterday was the fact that i said, and very, very strongly, that we need unpredictability, we need to be somewhat unpredictable. >> reporter: as for the democrats, bernie sanders was in oregon, which doesn't vote until mid-may, while hillary clinton stayed off the trail. for the pbs newshour, i'm john yang. >> woodruff: after big wins on tuesday night, hillary clinton and donald trump have commanding leads in their fight for the presidential nominations. to make sense of the delegate numbers and how they shape the road ahead, we are joined by domenico montanaro, political editor for npr. welcome. >> thank you, judy. >> woodruff: let's start with the democrats. where right now do hillary clinton and bernie sanders stand when it comes to delegates? >> hillary clinton is far ahead after the sweep in four of the five contests on tuesday and after her big win in new york, you've got hillary clinton with 2165 de delegates, as you can s,
to bernie sanders 1357. she is 91% of the way there to the total to that magic number of 2383 that she needs. >> woodruff: you were telling me compare that to where barack obama was, then candidate barack obama in 2008 at this point. >> there is been a lot of talk how close this race this and certainly bernie sanders message has broken through. he makes a clear and understandable message. hillary clinton has had to use some of that message. but when you look at the numbers, hillary clinton is up to 333 pledge delegate leads. take out the superdelegates which sanders supporters s.a.t. when we talk about those because they feel they can vote any way they want, but 333, barack obama never had a lead higher than 114. he wound up with a 69-pledge delegate lead. hillary clinton is leading with 333 in pledge delegates is actually almost 100 points higher than where barack obama finished with ledge delegates
and super delegates combined. >> woodruff: there are 14 contests to go for the democrats ten states four territories including the district of columbia. how do you see this playing out? >> woodruff: hillary clinton, barring something extraordinary, will be the democratic nominee, because she's 91% of the way there, she could lose every remaining contest by 20 points or more and still win the majority of delegates. when you factor in superdelegates it's over 80%. so very difficult for bernie sanders barring something extraordinary. in the final contest, she has to get to 2383. there is the possibility she could do it as early as may 17 when oregon and kentucky go, but that would mean she would need another 120 or so superdelegates to come out in favor of her. there are 159 uncommitted at that point, 158, thereabouts. more likely she'll do it on june 7 when california votes and
the huge cache of votes they have. >> woodruff: let's switch to the republicans. where does it stand in terms of donald trump and his competition? >> donald trump has a 992 delegates just updated today with more delegates that came out of pennsylvania, almost at 1,000 delegates. he needs 1237 for his magic number. he's over 80% of the way there. he's cleaned up over the last few weeks since new york, over 200 delegates for him, only 9 john kasich, 3 for ted cruz. really amazing. ted cruz and john kasich for all the talk of how close this race has been, they are both mathematically eliminated from win ago majority of delegates on the first ballot at the convention. who would have thought a year ago we would have said the only republican who what is a chance in cleveland at the national convention would be donald trump. >> their hopes rely on second
ballot and beyond, if it were to come to that. >> that's right. >> woodruff: their path going ahead, ten states to come for the republicans. what does it look like for delegates there? >> woodruff: yeah, and the whole game here is whether or not donald trump can get to 1237, and when you look at some of these states, big ones coming up, indiana, this is why it's so important, 57 delegates coming up on tuesday, and this is why that john kasich/ted cruz alliance that sort of blew up within hours of itself is so important, to see whether or not they can keep donald trump below that 57 delegates or, you know, be able to win, you know, half the delegates or so, because if trump wins 57, he only needs 42% of all remaining delegates, he gets all 57 in indiana, he's at 36% of all remaining delegates and everybody is going to be saying it's a matter of time. he still won't be at 1237 -- >> 1237 -- >> woodruff: he could lose some of the other states coming up in may.
>> nebraska, ted cruz should do well there, but it will be about how close was donald trump get to 1237. if he's at 1200 or $1,150, it will be difficult for the delegates at the national convention to say they're no it giving it to donald trump. two-thirds of republicans are saying the nomination should go to whoever has the most votes. >> incredibly fascinating. domenico montanaro, with us at the convention. >> i will. thank you. >> woodruff: now let's drill down into that indiana primary next tuesday, even more important given the dance for delegates. brandon smith of indiana public broadcasting joins me from indianapolis. brandon smith, welcome. so we know the indiana primary is important. let's start with the republicans. what does this race look like now between donald trump, ted cruz and john kasich? >> i think the conventional wisdom around here was that this is a state that ted cruz would do very well in but there haven't been a ton of polls done yet, but of the few polls we
have seen, donald trump consistently has a lead in all of them. the amount of the lead varies but it's been between 4% and 8% in every poll wve seen. >> woodruff: what is driving the voters? do you get a sense of what they're interested in, why is trump doing well? >> primarily economic issues in indiana. the state's unemployment rate has developed significantly in the last few years but wages haven't followed. it's a heavy, intensive manufacturing state, one of the most manufacturing-intensive in the country and certainly trump, when the news was carrier was leaving indiana, cutting 1400 jobs, donald trump was out in front of that almost immediately and that resonated with voters here. >> woodruff: the big air air conditioning manufacturing company. what about this pact or alliance, if you will, between ted cruz and john kasich wherein cruz agreed to let kasich have oregon and new mexico and john kasich agreed to step aside in
indiana. how is that playing out? how are voters responding to it? >> well, we've seen ted cruz a lot in this state. he has blanketed indiana over the last several days, certainly even before that news came out and certainly afterwards. in terms of the voters, it's been a bit of a mixed bag. i've talked to some kasich supporters who say they're now all in for cruz, that anything to stop donald trump is what they're after, but there have been some kasich supporters who said i don't like how this is going down and they're turning their votes to donald trump because it plays into what trump has been saying that the whole system is crooked and rigged. >> woodruff: so kasich supporters not flocking, necessarily, to ted cruz. >> no. >> woodruff: by the way, you have john kasich in the state raising money. it's not that he's disappeared from indiana. >> not quite. he was scheduled for two public events and a fundraiser this past tuesday. he canceled both public events
but did come for the fundraiser. >> what about the bobby knight endorsement? that famous basketball coach endorsement for donald trump? what difference is that making? >> well, there certainly aren't many bigger names in indiana than bobby knight but i'm not sure how much it's going to play into the race. first of all, trump already has the lead, but it was seen more of a quirk than i think necessarily something that's really going to drive voters to change their minds. >> woodruff: all right, let's talk about the democrats, now. hillary clinton, bernie sanders, i guess the polls are a little bit closer between them. >> the polls are just a little bit closer. hillary has had the lead, but it's been more in the two, three, or four-point range. >> woodruff: and what's driving that race? >> the same sort of issues -- economics, manufacturing. hillary hasn't spent a lot of time in the state, only one day in past tuesday, but when she was here, she spent her time in northern indiana visiting two different factories up there, a
steel company and a vehicle manufacturer. so you can tell that's where she's focused and that's where a lot of voters are focused. >> woodruff: what about bernie sanders? what have you seen in him? what kind of crowds and interest in his candidacy. >> a lot of interest. he visited the two biggest university campuses, purdue and indiana university, huge crowds there. >> woodruff: and brandon smith, what about in terms of organization, money, who has the state better wired for their campaign? >> tough to say. certainly in terms of money, the cruz campaign spent the most on the republican side and hillary the most on the democratic side, and if you look at organization, maybe hillary has been the best, but in terms of state-wide organization, donald trump has been fairly good, we we haven't seen in a lot of other states, but in terms of working with the
press, at least, they have probably the best. >> woodruff: indiana is not a state that's used to getting a lot of attention in the primary period. how many interest is there in these primaries? >> a ton. in 2008, we've had it in indiana and we don't know the last time both parties were competitive in the same state at the same time. you've seen hit in the crowds and feel it in the crowds they're so excited to see any presidential candidate actually spending time in indiana. >> we're sure all going to be watching on tuesday night. brandon smith with indiana public broadcasting. wehank you. >> thank you. >> sreenivasan: stay with us, coming up on the newshour: the justice department's new
plan to help ex-convicts re- enter society. a biologist who says we should set aside half the earth for and how to be unapologetically black! but first, there's been no letup in the anger, battles and protests in north carolina over its new l.g.b.t. bathroom law. the fallout is not just political, but increasingly financial, as the backlash among business and companies keeps growing. special correspondent roben farzad filed this report from north carolina for our weekly series "making sense," which airs every thursday. >> reporter: high point market, the biannual furniture industry trade show, is the biggest in the world with almost 12 million square feet of show space. >> so this is one of our most interesting and exciting new pieces: the sophia collection with the duke chairs. >> reporter: here manufacturers like mitchell gold preview new products to retailers and designers. that is, if they show up. weeks before market, the north carolina legislature passed
house bill 2, directing people to use public bathrooms that match the gender on their birth certificate. it also excludes gay and transgender people from state anti-discrimination protections. in response some customers boycotted high point market. >> it's not just that the attendance is down, it's that buying power's down. williams sonoma and who owns pottery barn and west elm, they're not coming to market. and what i've asked people to do is, 'buycott,' b-u-y-c-o-t-t us at the market. because we have, we're a company that doesn't support this legislation. >> reporter: the economic stakes at high point are, well, high. according to duke university's lukas broon, the market generates over $5 billion a year making it north carolina's biggest money-maker. >> $600 million out of that is from visitor and tourism and so take 10% percent off of the market, and suddenly you lose $60 million. >> reporter: industry consultant mike moore had planned to be here four days but cut his trip to just one night. he thinks even more firms will boycott the next market in the
fall. >> this happened much too close to market, people couldn't pull out. most people, their goods for these exhibits were already here. they had already arrived and were ready to set up into displays. they signed their contract six months ago. and they paid in full when they signed those contracts. there was no reaction time. >> reporter: still, signs of opposition to hb2 were on display. moore, who's based in asheville, north carolina has opted to start a new firm out-of-state. >> our series a funding is several million dollars, and that money could be here in north carolina. and we made a decision, it's going to florida. i don't love florida, particularly. (laughter) i mean, i sweat the whole time i'm there but north carolina as a whole is not a progressive state and that's why i unfortunately say it is the money that will make the difference. >> reporter: of course, the business backlash to hb2 goes beyond high point. almost 200 executives have called for a repeal. paypal scrapped plans for a new operations center and 400 new
jobs, while canceled conventions have cost the state some eight million dollars and counting. and then there are the shows that did not go on. from the boss, to cirque du soleil, to pearl jam, and ringo starr. >> i was very much a beatles fan, and i was looking forward to seeing ringo starr! >> reporter: but an even bigger blow to mayor harold weinbrecht of cary, north carolina: deutsche bank's decision to freeze 250 new jobs at this software development center. >> we have rumors of other companies looking at not coming here, putting jobs on hold in the future, and that's the biggest concern: who's in the pipeline that we don't know about that had cary and someone else in their minds, and now are giving second thought to that, well maybe that's not the best place for us. >> reporter: state lawmakers passed hb2 to nullify a charlotte ordinance permitting people to use public bathrooms
based on their gender identity. dan forest is north carolina's lieutenant governor. >> it would allow any man to go into any women's restroom, girls' locker room, women's shower, girls' shower facility, and be able to get away with it. we've seen that happen in washington state that has a similar ordinance. >> reporter: so forest and other backers insist hb2 must be upheld for safety's sake, no matter what the cost. >> the life and the protection of one woman, one child related to this is so important you can't put a price tag on it. >> reporter: and, besides, conservative lobbyist tami fitzgerald says almost 400 companies have signed a letter of support for hb2. local firms carolina civilworks them. talk to us. but we could not find a firm to >> the press has intensely badgered these people. these businesses get bullied by the other side, and they get threatened, and they just don't want to go through the hassle. >> reporter: north carolinians have mixed views on hb2.
38% support it in general. but more than half believe people should use the bathroom of their birth. >> this plays out very well in the rural areas of north carolina. >> reporter: bob page is the owner of greensboro-based tableware retailer replacements ltd. he's long championed lgbt rights and has been vocal in his opposition to hb2. but his advocacy has driven some patrons away. >> we've had hundreds of customers who say they will no longer do business with us, one who voiced you know, about his christianity and that he hoped that the cesspool of sin that san francisco is, where our brethren gay and lesbians live, that he hopes that they will slide into the ocean after a catastrophic earthquake. and i thought, you know, those just don't sound like very christian views to me. >> reporter: page has a number of transgender employees who are directly affected by hb2. 24 year-old ty little hasn't used the men's room since she
was 17. >> i remember specifically i was at a bookstore and i went in and someone saw me go in and then mentioned to a manager and they approached me about it told me not to do that in the future and so it worried me a lot, for my safety. >> reporter: page hired 20 year- old college student payton mcgarry part-time after he was fired from another position. >> i've lost three jobs, because i'm a transgender man. >> reporter: mcgarry has joined a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of hb2. tell me how this law affects your day to day? >> i can walk into any business now and they can say, "oh, we don't serve trans people. sorry!" the last time i've used the women's bathroom was in high school. and, it got to a point where it was so bad, i was being verbally and physically harassed every time i went into a women's restroom, that they had to give me permission to use faculty restrooms. as, so i could avoid assault by my female peers.
>> reporter: both critics and defenders of hb2 rallied in raleigh when the legislature reconvened this week. 54 protesters were arrested. but the law still stands and the financial fallout continues. >> reporter: back in high point, organizers say it will be at least a week before attendance numbers are in and the effect of hb2 can be assessed. for the pbs newshour, this is roben farzad reporting from north carolina. >> woodruff: on capitol hill today, a group of top senators unveiled a bipartisan bill to reform the nation's criminal justice system. among other things, the legislation would reduce prison sentences for some nonviolent drug offenders, and create programs to help offenders re- enter society. the move comes at the same time
the obama administration is pushing a series of criminal justice initiatives. spearheading that effort is deputy attorney general sally yates, who joins us now. deputy attorney general yates, thank you for being with us. >> thank you for having me. >> woodruff: tell us what the thrust of the administration's criminal justice reform efforts are. what are you trying to fix? >> we're trying to accomplish a number of things. first with the sentencing reform bill, we're really trying to bring proportionality back to sentencing and specifically for lower-level, non-violent drug offenders. then with our reentry week this week, we're trying to high light the importance of assuring those returning from prison have the basic tools they need in order to be successful. >> woodruff: what are some examples of that? what are things they ant getting now most of them? >> just imagine now that you're leaving prison. you may or may not have a family to go back to, particularly if you were incarcerated a long way from where your family lives, your wife may have divorced you at this point, so you may or may not have a family to go back to,
and you may or may not have had a chance to stay in touch with your children during this time as well. it's expensive for people to travel. so you've got to find a place to live. public housing is difficult. some public housing operations will not allow convicted felons. then you've got to find a job, and finding a job is really difficult at all right now, but just imagine if you have to add convicted felon to your resume. >> woodruff: just to be clear, you're working just on prisoners in the federal system? is that right? >> well, we're looking at both. we're trying to help both prisoners that are leaving the federal bureau of prisons but also working through our grant program with state facilities as well. >> woodruff: so it's a big job. >> yes. >> woodruff: we're talking a lot of prisoners around the country. >> yes. >> woodruff: you said this week, i believe, our criminal justice system is not equipped to deal with what is fundamentally a health crisis. what did you mean by that? >> i was referrin -- i was refeo
mental health now. a lot of people on the street now have serious mental health issues. in the '70s when many of our mental institutions were closed, unfortunately states didn't pick up and provide the kind of community mental healthcare that's needed and that snowballed over the decades and now mentally ill people are encountering law enforcement and going into prisons and ostensibly getting freedom there but prisons aren't equipped to provide the kind of mental health treatment people need. >> woodruff: how do you fix that? >> a variety of things. with respect to mental health, we're trying to train our law enforcement officers in how to identify signs of meant illness. >> woodruff: before the individuals are arrested? >> before they're arrested, exactly, and to divert them to mental health services instead of necessarily going to prison. then even within our prisons, we're providing funding and training and trying, when we have folks that are actually in
the prisons, to make sure we are providing the kind of mental health treaent they need. but diversion is the key here, out of the prison system to begin with. >> woodruff: do you have a sense of what proportion of prisoners today have mental health problems or other emotional -- however you want to describe it -- issues? >> you know, there are varying estimates out there and i think it's hard to know what the true figures are because some prisons will only count those people that are so mentally ill that hay are a danger to themselves or others while in a prison setting and that doesn't necessarily capture the full scope of mental health issues. >> woodruff: do you feel you make progress, you mentioned working with police, corrections officers, how do you make progress in that arena? you're talking about individuals across the country, many different settings, local, state and federal. >> we're training crisis response teams, a group of law
enforcement officers within a police department trained to identify not only signs of mental illness but deease cay regulation strategies to deescalate a situation and take the person to a mental facility. we can't train every officer but we can have teams available in our law enforcement offices across the country. when someone's on the street and they encounter the individual, they call out for one of the crisis intervention teams. >> we mentioned coming in from the hill and a bipartisan senators announce add criminal reform proposal, what's the administration's take on this. >> we are encouraged by this. i haven't been in this town long, but one thing i learned in the relatively short time i have been here is there is not much that has bipartisan support, and this has strong bipartisan support from both ends of the spectrum and in between. you know, the bill today now has 36 co-sponsors, split evenly
with democrats and republicans, and i think that's just a reflection of the recognition that the time has come for us to recalibrate our drug sentencing for lower-level, non-violent drug offenders. >> you know, as i know you know, deputy attorney general yates, there are conservatives in the senate and elsewhere who are saying if you make a mistake and let someone out early who shouldn't have been let out early, they might go out and commit a violent crime, what's the answer for people with that concern? >> that's why this legislation is targeted at the non-violent offenders. there are some who would like it to go farther and others who think the legislation goes too far. we've worked hard with folks on the hill to try to find the right balance. we want to make sure the punishment fit the crime and to ensure that we are protecting the public and public safety comes first, but that we're not
keeping people in prison for longer than necessary now public safety purposes because that's not fair either. >> woodruff: how do you assure the american people this is the right thing to do? because there are still people who are wary with how they deal with and work alongside individuals who have done time. >> i can tell you, i'm a career prosecutor, i have been doing this for 27 years, and my focus in all of this is first on public safety, but also on ensuring the fairness of the criminal justice system. that's absolutely essential for the public to have confidence in their criminal justice system. when individuals have paid their debt to society and they've come out into our communities, i think all of us, not just the justice department, but all of us have a responsibility to give them just a fair shot at being able to live the kind of lives we have. >> woodruff: sally yates, deputy attorney general of the united states, thank you very much. >> my pleasure.
>> sreenivasan: next, scientist and two-time pulitzer prize winning author edward o. wilson first gained fame for his study of ants. through the years, he's moved from small insects to big ideas, and now, a very big one, one made more urgent by the problems of climate change. jeffrey brown has our profile, in his second report from southern alabama. >> i was just a 12-, 13-year-old boy, and it was just a wonderland to me. >> brown: edward o. wilson spent his formative years in mobile, alabama, looking for snakes and insects in the surrounding delta. >> and if i could i would just do the same thing today that i did then but it would look funny. (laughter) >> brown: the experience would shape him-- as biologist, evolutionary theorist, naturalist, and at age 86 perhaps most important to him now: conservationist. >> what is man?
storyteller, mythmaker, and destroyer of the living world. >> brown: his new book, "half earth: our planet's fight for life," takes on nothing less than the survival of plant and animal life on earth. yearning to be more master than steward of a declining planet. >> brown: wilson's solution is in the title: setting aside half the earth as natural habitat. we spoke beneath the old live- oak trees at fort blakeley historic park, where wilson's great-grandfather fought in one of the last battles of the civil war. half-earth. are you serious? >> i'm serious. i know it sounds radical, but we must have it if we're going to save most of the species remaining on earth. and it's easier to do than most people might think. >> brown: it does sound-- it sounds impossible. it sounds to some people crazy. >> i was just going to use the word "insane."
yes, it sounds that way because they envision cutting the earth into two hemispheres, one for us and one for the other 10 million species. but no, we mean giving 50% or setting it aside patches, some large wilderness areas, other far, far smaller, in order to make that amount of reserve area. >> brown: your ideas on this, on what should happen have gotten bigger and bolder. >> they have. my alarm went from yellow to red when i read the papers authored by large numbers of scientists and team efforts that showed just how far off the goal the conservation organizations were, how all our efforts around the world in slowing down extinction rates.
>> brown: one key to wilson's argument is how little we know of life on earth, only two million species identified out of a total probably closer to 10 million, even as species go extinct at 1,000 times the normal rate, thanks chiefly to human population growth and corresponding habitat loss. conservation efforts worldwide have thus far set aside a little more than 15% of the earth for habitat. wilson would triple that. >> we would be taking a first step towards securing enough space and natural habitat to preserve, by my estimate, more than 80% of the species left. if we don't do this, we're going to go down to 50% or more in a fairly short period of time this century. >> brown: wilson is attempting such a thing right here, to give national protection-- either a park or wildlife refuge status-- to parts of the mobile-tensaw river delta, one of the most biologically diverse areas in north america. there's opposition in this conservative state.
but wilson is not deterred. >> i think it's a moral thing to do. i believe morality is going to enter very strongly into what i hope will be a shift of perception and precepts and reasoning about this. that we really should take extra measures to save the rest of life on earth. and who are we, one species, to wipe out a majority of the species remaining that live with us on this planet just for, without even thinking about it, for our particular selfish needs. >> brown: wilson acknowledges that the world's population will continue to grow from its current 7.3 billion to around 11 billion before leveling out. but he thinks advancements in technology will help shrink our ecological footprint.
>> brown: so what are the stakes? >> the stakes are the future of life. mind you, we've done, we've made huge progress now, or shall i say we are beginning to make meaningful progress toward controlling the forces of climate change and of pollution and the other parts of the non- living environment that have been causing a large part of the destruction. if we allow the living part of the environment to disappear, for me, it would be by future generations regarded as one of the most catastrophic, even evil, periods in human history, for our descendants to look back and say, "they wiped out half or more of all of the rest of life on earth, the variety of life on earth." >> brown: a thoroughly depressing thought. but to spend a day with edward wilson is anything but depressing. >> science needs to have a goal and actually achieve that goal. we really want to see on the front page of the newspaper,
scientists announce cure for cancer, or cure for lung cancer, shall we say. and what galvanizes public support and puts spirit into it, is to say this is the goal that we must reach. let's set that goal, and let's get there. >> brown: from the mobile-tensaw fort blakely historic park outside mobile, alabama, i'm jeffrey brown for the pbs newshour. >> woodruff: finally, another installment in our "brief but spectacular" series, where we ask interesting people to describe their passions. tonight we hear from heben nigatu and tracy clayton. they're the hosts of buzzfeed's podcast "another round," which covers everything from race, gender, pop-cultu, and more. as nigatu and clayton explain,
their show has carved out a new and important space in the growing podcast landscape. we have good sound effects. give it an air horn. (air horn) >> beautiful. the opening. (laughter) >> it's not so much he fill a space. we wanted to create a space that wasn't there before. >> a lot of podcasters tend to come from the first places, same universities, same, like, n.p.r.-style training, so it all often tends to sound uniform. >> i saw a cartoon once and it was, like, a foot race between white folks. you had a white person in this lane and a black person in this lane. you have the same start as everyone else but in the black person's lane there is alligators and barbed wire. we have to be the right kind of black for people to pay
attention to us. we can't make white people too uncomfortable when we talk about race. it is exhausting. >> we have emergency. so much going on. a life olive. ppealing to white people's consciousness has a rough history in america, but appealing to capitalism does well. hence, i like to make the diversity argument about larger markets, untapped audiences. there are swaths of people you are not reaching. so if you are just not here for the moral reason -- >> be here for the money! yes. >> as black people we know what it's like to be overlooked but now we have the microphone. >> we want it all on our terms. we can have conversations with hillary clinton and have it on our terms. >> our editor-in-chief encouraged us to ask her the things he know. he said you'll probably never interview her again you're not
trying to meet a best friend, who cares if she gets uncomfortable. she had to meet us where we were. she had to talk to us like everybody else. we're like you're in our house. >> we didn't see that. it feels amazing to not have to be a diversity coach. >> or filter all your thoughts about culture through the prism of one specific outlook. >> and not having to worry about what are white people going to think. if this show doesn't make the right sort of space for the general white person to listen, to they can go literally any where else and find -- >> 97% of podcasts, y'all have a lot of stuff. >> i'm heben nigatu. tracy clayton. this is our brief but spectacular take on -- >> being unapologetically black. >> woodruff: you can watch more of our brief but spectacular videos online at pbs.org/newshour/brief. >> sreenivasan: also online,
columnist wendy thomas russell was used to giving her five- year-old time-outs, but then she decided to stop using that punishment. learn why by reading what she discovered about disciplining her kids. then, with low oil prices wreaking havoc in oil producing nations, one making sense columnist examines what it will take for saudi arabia to overhaul its vulnerable economy. all that and more is on our web site, pbs.org/newshour. >> woodruff: tonight on charlie rose: attorney general loretta lynch on president obama's economic legacy and that's the newshour for tonight. on friday we check in with paul salopek, the man walking across the world. i'm judy woodruff. i'm hari sreenivasan. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you and good night.
>> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> lincoln financial-- committed to helping you take charge of your financial future. >> the lemelson foundation. committed to improving lives through invention. in the u.s. and developing countries. on the web at lemelson.org.
>> 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