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tv   PBS News Hour Weekend  PBS  May 21, 2016 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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captioning sponsored by wnet >> stewart: on this edition for saturday may 21: investigators confirm smoke and possible fire aboard egypt air flight 804 before its disappearance; in our signature segment, from your heritage to your health, the growing industry that relies upon the collection of d.n.a. samples. >> researchers have already gathered d.n.a., blood, and urine samples from 12,000 local residents, and stores those samples in a huge biobank, a refrigerated repository for human tissue, in this case, the size of a football field. >> stewart: and opioid prescriptions are on the decline-- what that might mean for america's epidemic of opioid-related overdoses. next, on pbs newshour weekend. >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: lewis b. and louise hirschfeld
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cullman. bernard and irene schwartz. judy and josh weston. the cheryl and philip milstein family. the citi foundation. supporting innovation and enabling urban progress. the john and helen glessner family trust. supporting trustworthy journalism that informs and inspires. sue and edgar wachenheim, iii. corporate funding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we are your retirement company. additional support has been provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting, and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. from the tisch wnet studios at lincoln center in new york, alison stewart. >> stewart: good evening and thank you for joining us. search efforts continued today to unravel what happened to the egypt air flight that crashed in the mediterranean on thursday,
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killing all 66 on board. egyptian officials denied reports they had located the plane's black boxes on the bottom of the sea. the boxes contain crucial cockpit voice recordings and flight data. the u.s. navy has joined the search, which has turned up plane wreckage and debris, including human remains and personal belongings. french investigators said just before it vanished, the plane sent signals indicating smoke had been detected on board, but the source of the smoke is not known and no causes have been ruled out. families of victims gathered today in paris. egypt air flight 804 was en route from paris to cairo when it disappeared from radar almost 200 miles off the egyptian coast. police and hospital officials in baghdad said today that at least four people were killed and close to 90 others injured when shia muslim protesters stormed the government's fortified green zone. police and security forces used live ammunition, rubber bullets, water cannons and tear gas yesterday to repel the demonstrators, who were demanding political reforms.
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but some managed to break into the prime minister's office and the parliament building. it was the second breach of the green zone barriers in only three weeks. the green zone is home to most government buildings and many foreign embassies. the protesters included supporters of the shi'ite muslim cleric moqtada al-sadr. sadr's deputy condemned what he said was the government's use "" excessive force." iraqi prime minister al-abadi and the united nations said the protests could hamper iraq's fight against isis terrorists. in advance of president obama's arrival in vietnam this weekend, officials there have released a prominent political dissident in a goodwill gesture. he's the reverend win van lee, a roman catholic priest who has spent much of the last 40 years behind bars or under house arrest. lee, who's 70 and in poor health, was serving an eight- year term for what officials called "anti-state propaganda." the u.s. embassy welcomed lee's release but called on the government to "unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience." president obama is expected to
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push vietnam for more progress on human rights, even as he weighs lifting of the u.s. arms embargo on the communist regime, which is eager to counter the growing influence of china. mexico has approved the extradition to the united states of convicted drug kingpin joaquin "el chapo" guzman. mexican officials agreed yesterday after the u.s. justice department said it would not seek the death penalty against guzman, who is accused of murder and trafficking. the leader of the sinaloa cartel is said to face charges from at least seven u.s. prosecutors. but guzman's lawyers have 30 days to challenge the ruling, and they have vowed to drag out the appeals process for months, if not years. guzman was seized last january following his dramatic prison escape through a tunnel six months before. and, after a unanimous vote in the senate last week, yesterday president obama signed legislation that removes the racial terms "negro" and" oriental" from federal laws. they are to be replaced by" african american" and "asian
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american." in addition, "spanish-speaking" is to be replaced by "hispanic" and "indian" by "native american." read about how the obama administration and a growing number of public school districts are pushing to expand computer science education in schools. visit >> stewart: in the united states, nearly 30,000 deaths a year can be attributed to the abuse of heroin and prescription painkillers-- opioids like oxycontin, vicodin, percocet, and methadone. this epidemic, in part, was due to the surge in prescriptions being written over the last two decades. however, a new analysis reveals that for each of the last three years, prescriptions being written for opioids declined. to discuss the implications of
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this, i am joined from washington d.c. by sabrina tavernise of the "new york times." sabrina, you've been reporting about this and writing about this for the "times." what has contributed to this decline. >> so, first of all, it's surprising there even is a decline considering the fact there had been so many-- had been rising for so long, for so many years. there are a number of factors that are going into driving it. for one, there's been a big, big change in public consciousness about these drugs. people believe that they are dangerous drugs now. doctors are sort of holding back from prescribing. my colleague talked to a number of doctors that said they didn't want to be the one who had got a call from someone, a parent, saying, you know, you were responsible for my child's addiction." >> stewart: are there any regional patterns here towards this decline? are these databases that some states have helping out? >> something called the prescription drug database sort of trackings systems. most states have those now. in a number of states, doctors are required to check them it
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make sure that patients aren't also getting an opioid prescription from a different doctor. so that has helped bring prescriptions down. for many, many years, actually, the pharmaceutical companies were arguing that the reason why the epidemic was raging was because there were a few bad doctors going from state to state, kind of, you know, giving out prescriptions like they were candy. but essentially, you know, the prescriptions had risen so much, i mean, gotten up to sort of 250, 260 million prescriptions a year, enough for every american adult to have a bottle of opioid pills. basically, the experts came to the conclusion that this was a habit and culture that had formed in the medical society more broadly, and not just one or two, you know, a couple, hand full of people. >> stewart: sabrina, has the decline in prescriptions translated to a decline in deathing due to opioided?
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>> so far, no. the deaths have still been rising. the latest we have is 2014, and that's a bit more than 28,000 opioid deaths. about 18,000 are prescription and 10,000 are heroin and other illegal drugs. and over-prescribing had been very closely associated with the rise in deaths and the rise in overdoses. and the hope is that the decline in prescribing is sort of a harbinger or a signal that the life cycle of this epidemic maybe on the downslope now. >> stewart: sabrina tavernise from the "new york times," thanks so much. >> thank you very much. >> stewart: biobanks-- facilities that collect and store human d.n.a. from samples of blood, urine, and saliva-- are a growing industry in the united states and around the world. sometimes companies offer to inform you about your health and your heritage. other times, scientists examine
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the data for medical research. this intersection of science and business can raise ethical and privacy concerns, especially for individuals who submit samples. in tonight's signature segment, we explore these questions by visiting a research center in north carolina with an ever- growing biobank and an ambitious agenda. special correspondent john larson has the story. >> reporter: when you first see the north carolina research campus near charlotte, you're struck by its colossal, georgian-style buildings. but to understand what's going on inside, you should know more about what came before. starting in the early 1900s, a textile mill occupied the same 350-acre property in the town of kannapolis. cannon mills manufactured cotton sheets and towels. at its peak, it employed 20,000 workers. gilbert cantrell and his wife both worked there. >> the whistle went off to wake you up. the whistle went off to tell you it's time to go in. you would see thousands of
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people passing each other, going in and out of the building at shift time. >> reporter: by the 1990s, the mill was struggling: cheap imports were undermining profits. when the mill finally went bankrupt and closed in 2003, more than four thousand workers lost their jobs. it was the worst layoff in the state's history. >> it devastated a lot of lives. they were people that that was all they knew. they didn't know how they were going to do anything else. >> reporter: two years later, a billionaire california investor bought the property and tore the mill down. david murdock, chairman of the dole food company, was fond of the town and also had once owned the mill in the 1980s, but now he had different plans for the property. murdock is an extreme health and nutrition enthusiast who, even now at 93, plans on living to be 125. >> i believe that some of those solutions will come right from this scientific center.
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>> reporter: he has invested more than $800 million to build the campus and launch research that he hopes will re-invent modern medicine. to get a sense of the original vision of the founder, all you have to do is come in through the front door of the main building here on the research campus. inside you'll find italian marble lining the floors, and if you look up, you see murdock's fascination with radishes, blueberries, and healthy foods. and the eagle with an 18 foot wingspan- that represents him. in the past decade, the campus enlisted 20 partners from universities like duke and the university of north carolina to companies like general mills and monsanto, hoping, like murdock, to better detect and fight diseases including alzheimer's, prostate cancer, and multiple sclerosis. murdock declined to be interviewed. doctor kristin newby is one of his lead scientists. what's the dream for this?
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>> so, it's this idea that we can get better at delivering the right drug to the right person at the right time. >> reporter: but before they can do that, scientists must first conduct an ambitious study, called the murdock study, which may play out over generations. researchers are gathering blood and urine samples from more than 12,000 local residents and storing those in a huge biobank, a refrigerated repository. in this case, the biobank is nearly the size of a football field. then the specimen's d.n.a. is analyzed as needed. >> those samples, along with the information that people tell us about themselves, and then things like the air pollution levels, the temperature, the humidity, access to healthy foods. and once you can start putting that all together in the context of how someone says they feel, you start to get a broader picture.
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>> reporter: cantrell donated his samples, hoping they will help medical research, specifically in two areas. diabetes, which his daughter has, and multiple sclerosis, which he suffers from. >> i want to be able to help somebody else, so they don't have to go through what i've had to go through for the last 23 years. >> reporter: the researchers' goals are not to advise any individual how to achieve better health, but to combine d.n.a. analysis, individual medical histories, and environmental measurements over a long period of time. it's like the town has become one giant petri dish. however, there are ethical concerns. participants receive a t-shirt and a $10 walmart gift card for their samples and nothing more, even if their samples help discover a cure for cancer or any disease. not only that, they also agree on their eight-page consent
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forms, they do not have to be notified or give permission each time their samples are used in a new study. and participants surrender their samples indefinitely, trusting the researchers to do everything they can to protect their anonymity forever. >> it's sort of an odd concept, biobanking. it's a fairly new sort of emerging industry. >> reporter: jean cadigan is an anthropologist who studies research ethics and has interviewed kannapolis donors. she says the murdock study consent forms are not unusual for biomedical research. >> by and large, consent forms for biobanks will say that once you've given over your sample, the university or whatever entity you've given it to owns it now. >> reporter: for any purpose? >> yes, for as long as they want. so we like to ask people, you know, "what do you think about that?" and, by and large, they say, "what?"
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>> reporter: because no one can know what a lab that uses a biobank may discover or one day create, cadigan has concerns about consent forms and says if she were a researcher she would explain consent to new participants like this: >> "i can't possibly begin to describe to you what the risks may be. i could make some guesses that privacy would be up there. but beyond that, i don't know what technology is going to be able to do for us five years from now. after you're dead, what this may mean for your children, that we have your d.n.a.." >> reporter: so in other words, i mean, 30 years in the future, your d.n.a. may be trackable by the government, by police authorities, by corporations. so in other words, who knows? >> who knows. >> reporter: let me invent a worst case scenario. >> okay. >> reporter: they take your sample, it goes into another study and another study. and eventually somehow your sample helps lead them to a diabetes cure and it's too
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expensive for your daughter to use? >> yeah, that would upset me. >> reporter: on the other hand, even more upsetting, according ronald bailey, a science journalist with "reason magazine," is the possibility that regulations about privacy or profit-sharing might stymie innovation. >> we're very early days in a biomedical revolution that is about to skyrocket, and to try to limit now, because of privacy concerns, would be to hold back science and to hold back the benefits, possible benefits, enormous benefits to millions of people. and that would be immoral. all this is here, nothing bad has happened to me. >> reporter: to help convince people that there is nothing to be afraid of, bailey submitted his own saliva sample to the company "23andme," which analyzed his d.n.a. >> i have a high risk of atrial fibrillation. >> reporter: a report explained his genetic information, which bailey posted online for anyone
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to see. >> and what i'm hoping will happen is that more and more people like me will in fact provide this information. i think the future is going to be amazing if we will just let it be amazing. if we will get out of its way. >> reporter: as for security, murdock study researchers say they use the strictest levels of encryption, and under the study's protocols, the government cannot come and take the samples. >> when you go into our electronic database, the server that stores all the information, you become a number. so you're disconnected from all of your identifiable information. >> reporter: everything is hackable. but can you feel like you can give them a guarantee? >> i think you can never give somebody a 100% guarantee. >> reporter: the project developers, however, did promise the campus would revitalize the local economy. >> the campus was envisioned as an opportunity, a chance to kind of move a kind of devastated
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community out of that mill background, more into a technological future that would be an investment and a growth opportunity. >> reporter: the campus now employs more than 1,000 people, nothing close to the 20,000 jobs on and off campus, murdock's real estate company predicted. and most employees, highly trained in their fields, come in from out of town. take a quick walk around kannapolis, and you see empty stores and hear disappointment. >> i don't see where it's helped a lot. >> reporter: the owner of the breakfastime diner says the research campus hasn't come close to replacing the mill. >> the mill used to do catering orders every single day of 1,500, 2,500 orders. then, it just disappeared. and we thought the whole bio campus was going to benefit everybody, but it's been a slow process. >> reporter: the week we visited kannapolis, researchers said they were closing in on a possible breakthrough in understanding multiple sclerosis.
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they said they were learning that the disease attacks men and women so differently, that it might be two diseases. discoveries like that are, of course, the dream of the campus's billionaire founder, david murdock, and study participants like gilbert cantrell. >> i think nothing but good is going to come out of this research. >> reporter: you're in? >> i'm all in. >> stewart: thursday, a san francisco police officer shot and killed a woman who was suspected of driving a stolen car. the police later said that she was not armed and was not driving toward officers when she was shot. this followed other fatal police shootings in san francisco, including that of mario woods back in december. video from the woods shooting had increased the pressure on police chief greg suhr to step down. and following thursday's shooting, at the request of
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mayor ed lee, suhr turned in his resignation. for more on what this means for san francisco and other police departments trying to implement reform, i am joined from san francisco by vivian ho of the "san francisco chronicle." >> can you describe for me the police chief's reputation in the community and at the political level. >> that depends who you ask. the chief had been around for a very long time. he had 35 years in the department. before he rose through the ranks he was a beat cop who spent a lot of time in a lot of these communities that are actually protesting him right now. a lot of the older members of the community remember him and they love him and still think of him as one of their own. but there are other groups in that community who see him as a symbol as an archaic way of policing, a biased way of policing, and a way that punished communities of color. meanwhile, politically, he's had a series of scandals hit him throughout his career, and each
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time he's found a way to rise above it and eventually make his way to chief. >> stewart: it's interesting that you mention those scandals. there have been a couple of different things. the shootings, we discussed, also, these racist and sexist messages, text messages that were sent through the department. was his resignation, was it a result, a cumulative result or one thing that really tipped the scales? >> it was really more of a cumulative results. since the shooting of mario woods, the community members have been asking for his resignation for the first time. they would interrupt community meetings, they would chant, they would call for it. five activists went on a hunger strike calling on him to step down or mayor ed lee to fire him. each time the chief dug his heels in saying we have a series of reforms they're putting in place. i want to oversee them. i'm man to do it. >> stewart: about those reforms, what kind of reforms had he started to implement or said he was going to implement. >> he and the commission have
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reopened the department's use of force policy, looking at how officers use force, how they use the weapons they have, and are really working to create a new policy that emphasizes the sanctity of life, desque alation, creating time and distance, and resorting to lethal force as the very, very last resort. >> stewart: obviously there's a new police chief in place. has he signaled any kind of plan going forward? >> acting chief to, in ey chaplain was head of the principal policing bureau before he was asked to step in as acting chief. he was looking into president obama's 21st century policing recommendations. he was working with the department of justice, whose community policing office is in san francisco right now conducting a collaborative review of the department. he made it clear on friday at his first press conference, that he very much wants to continue the reforms that were started under greg suhr, and he's everywhere committed to making sure that happens. >> stewart: vivian ho from the "san francisco chronicle,"
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thanks so much. >> thank you. >> this is pbs newshour weekend, saturday. >> stewart: after his visit to vietnam this week, president obama will continue on to japan, but not everyone is pleased with this plan. the newshour's megan thompson has more. >> reporter: yesterday, visitors at the peace memorial museum in hiroshima examined somber reminders of the catastrophic event 71 years ago that still grips the nation today. on august 6, 1945, the u.s. dropped an atomic bomb on hiroshima, killing 140,000 people. a second bomb was dropped on nagasaki three days later, killing another 70,000. japan surrendered on september second. since world war two, no sitting american president has visited hiroshima, until now. >> the president intends to visit to send a much more forward-looking signal about his realizing the goal of a planet without nuclear weapons.
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>> reporter: but some japanese are already disappointed with obama's visit. he is not expected to meet with survivors, and does not plan to offer an apology. >> ( translated ): many atomic bomb survivors don't think it's okay to not apologize. >> reporter: on thursday in tokyo, members of a survivors group demanded an apology. in addition to injuries and radiation sickness, many of the estimated 180,000 survivors have faced discrimination in employment and marriage. >> ( translated ): i think an apology is needed for the real victims who suffered. >> reporter: but not all survivors agree. >> ( translated ): if he comes here and sees what a horrible thing the atomic bomb is, i think that's enough. >> reporter: japanese prime minister shinzo abe has said no apology is necessary and obama's historic visit will achieve another goal. >> ( translated ): i believe that by visiting hiroshima, understanding the reality of radiation exposure there, president obama is going to provide a strong push for
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achieving a world devoid of nuclear weapons. >> reporter: abe is expected to accompany president obama on during his hiroshima visit on friday. >> a u.s. drone strike was carried out last night, targeting the top taliban leader in afghanistan. reuters reports a u.s. official as saying mansour likely was killed. the strike along the afghanistan-pakistan border was authorized by president obama. as always you can follow this story online at that's it for this edition of pbs newshour weekend. i'm alison stewart. thanks for watching. captioning sponsored by wnet captioned by media access group at wgbh >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: lewis b. and louise hirschfeld
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cullman. bernard and irene schwartz. judy and josh weston. the cheryl and philip milstein family. the citi foundation. supporting innovation and enabling urban progress. the john and helen glessner family trust. supporting trustworthy journalism that informs and inspires. sue and edgar wachenheim, iii. corporate funding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we are your retirement company. additional support has been provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting, and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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man: a mate of mine who was a pilot flying through the area called me up and said there was insane waves coming through. [conversations in foreign language] man: i'll guarantee you that somewhere in that crowd that there's a future professional surfer. guarantee it. [conversations in foreign language] [singing in foreign language]


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