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tv   BBC World News America  PBS  December 19, 2018 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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>> this is "bbc world news america." funding of this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation, and kovler foundation, pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs. >> wow, that is unbeevable. ♪>> i'm flying! ♪y >> starious. ♪
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[applause] ew>> and now, "bbc world n" jane: this is "bbc world news america." reporting from washington, i'm jane o'brien. president trump is pulling u.s. troops out of syria. he says islamic state is defeated. defense chiefs and senior republicans say not so fast. >> if you are tired of fighting radical islam, i understand it. they are not tired of fighting you. jane: markets tumble after the s.s. federal reserveai interest rates in spite of white house pressure. how one republican mayor in texas ilighting up his party with renewable energy and an eye-popping christmas display.
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viewers on to our public television in america and around the globe. president trump says he will be pulling u.s. troops out of syria. in a tweet, he stated, "we have defeated isis in syria, my oy reason for being there during the trump presidency." but the announcement was met with widespread criticism from america's allies and many republican senators. >> the decision to withdraw an american presence from syr isa lossal, in my mind, mistake, a great error that is going to have significant repercussions. >> it seems to me that our j number o is to defend america against people who want to attack us. if you are tired of fighting f dical islam, i understand it. they are not tiredghting
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you. if you don't get that, you are making a huge mistake. it takes two to end the war. 2600 troopis a small footprint, an insurance policy against isis coming back. jane: that was the view from many in congress. last week the bbc's state departmentorrespondent barbara plett-usher interviewed brett mcgurk, the presidential envoy for battli islamic state, pressing him on america's role in the region. barbara: the military commitment with the end of the caliphate. >> that is right. rba: no timeline on it? >> no timelines. jane: a brief chemical i bdiscussed --ef time ago i discussed the president's withdrawal announcement is a with a retired lieutenant general who served as assistant secretary of state for military affairs.on a a lot ofsion, a lot of contradiction. what do you make of this? >> don't see confusion or contradiction. president trump has been consistent since the campaign opail in 2015 that he was going to pull american tout of the region as soon as he could.
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he said the only reason we were in syria was to defeat basis. in his judgment, isis is -- was to defeat isis. in his judgment, isis is defeated. jane: has it? >> it is to the pointhat it may no longer be an american problem. we defeated isis inse of iraq with local forces and american support. there is no reason at this why int local forces cannot do the same thing inside of syria. jane: what does pulling troops out of syria say to turkey, for instance? >> i think turkey is delighted by our pulling these troops out. they have had a constant dispute with us for years in terms of our embracing of the kurdish ypg and continual unresponsiveness with what they believe to be national security requirements.a jane: whut iran and russia? there were so many different states involved in syria. is there a danger that america is ceding ground to them? >> that is where i a concerned. erica just left the
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negotiating table on any post-syria conflict situation. the decisions made by the eu and -- u.n. will be heavily influenced by russia and iran and not the united states. jane: that raises the question, is defeating the islamic state the only reason for the u.s. presence in syria? is it the most important reason? >> that is the reason we went in that has been the only mission we've had and the only missiond permitteder the policy put down by the president and department of defense. - l these additional missions have been added onaining the local forces, keeping an eye on the iranians. those are well beyond the mandate that presiderump had and president obama had when we went into syria in the first place. jane difference does it actually make pulling out 2000 trps? it does not sound very many. >> on one hand, it is not a lot of forces, but they are very
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good working side-by-side with the forces that have been very effective against isis. on the other hand, these a only ground forces. we will still provide intelligence and train and equip these forces. st not inside of syria. that is the methodli and the we took in iraq, and i think what has happened to isis inside of iraq demonstrates the value of that strategy. jane: there is a lot of confusion and it seems to have s caught people prise. are you surprised that there has not been more consultation? >> well, it should come as no surprise to anybody who has been listening to the president. i think the surprise is the timing of this, but this should not have been a surprise to anybody workinthis issue for years. jane: but allies in particular are very concerned about it and do feel they had considerable interest in america's position. >> candidly, i think the allies ent madeghted the pres his decision because the allies typically follow the united
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states and they are more than happy not only to have a troops coming home, but their own troops coming home from syria. jane: but do you think that jube use the president has said this that it will happen, given the concerns raised by his ownch defensfs? >> i think at this point it is the responsibility of the defense chiefs and national security advisor to take the president at his word, start to withdraw, but convince him of se right time and manner. as president obad, let's have responsible withdrawal, not a pell-mell rush to the door. jane: as ever, thanks very much indeed for joinipa me. the antion is over. rday we learned that the federal reserve sing interest rates to 2.5%. but it looks like there wilikbe fewer rate next year. president trump has been exerting a lot of pressure on the independent d to keep rates low.
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for more on today's move, i spoke a brief time ago with the bbc's business correspondent lemichelley, who was outside the fed. stocks have taken a tumble. it has been a wild ride on the markets. d whyou make of that?we michelle, look, if you take what the fed has done which is to raise interest rates and signal 2 more rate increases, it is a drop from three to two what they were previously focasting when they met in september, but what they are trying to say is they believe in the streth of the u.s. economy, that it is still growing, that the employment picture continues to improve, and as a result of that, they need to apply the brakes gently to try to keepecnflation in the markets were hoping for perhaps a more what we called dovish comment from the federal reserve. in other words, they were ping that the fed would go slower to avoid the risk of tipping the u.s. into a recession or
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accelerating a slowdown. is the balancing act th fed has had to do particularly with the wild swings in the stock market and slowing globalc growth, bothrs that the fed did acknowledge as they pointed out the strength they see in the u.s. jane: it is obviously something president trump is concerned about. how unusual is the open tension between the white house and the fed? michelle: well, look, i was trying to think back about this, janein i can't of a president who had access to twitter and try to back seat drive monetary pr.icy via twit in the past presidents have tried to avoid commenting publicly on the actions of the fed even if they didave strong views about it. the reason is to preserve the credibility and independence of the federal reserve. but that does not seem to be troubling the fed chairm jerome powell, who had no trouble dismissing driving monetary policy by the president
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when he came out in a press conference to say that political considerations were not part ofn the deciaking process, and that they would do what they thought was best. jane: very briefly, what are we expecting next year? the fed seems to think it will slow down the rate hikes. michelle: well, they were talking about this year. growth turned out to be much strongerhan they expected. they think in 2019 growth will continue, but the pace of that growth is modeting, which is why they are predicting two interest-rate increases at the moment. that could, of c coursnge. the fed is keen to point out that there is no preset path. they continue to monitor not st events at home but also global economic developments. as a result of that, they could shift again. we have seen them go from predicting three rate increases next year to two. that could still change. e we don't know the p
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those increases. jane: michelle fleury, thank you for joining me. news from around the world. the region commission has published a series of ntingency measures in th event of a no-deal brexit. it is to reduce what the commission calls significant damage if the u.k. were to crash out of the eu and come 100 days eefore the u.k. is due to le the union. in a daring rescue attempt after a cargo ship ran aground on the coast near istanbul, crew members have been brought ashore using the zipline. 16 crew members were stranded on board the vessel. there are no reports oany casualties. one of america's most senior intelligence officials has told the bbc that china is the number one national security threat to the u.s. much of the focus has been on russia for theme cs under washington increase pressure on beijing over espionage.
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the director of the national counterintelligence and security center has been speaking to a securityn correspondent gordo corera. them this is -- is what we were call the wall of shame, the depiction of the individuals in the u.s. that have betrayed our country. gordon: he is america's top spy catcher. outside his office in deintelligence" is are rem of those who betrayed america's secrets over the years. he is clear where he sees the threat coming from today. >> china's number one by far. gord: from where you sit, do you see china as the greater threat than russia? >> yes. think russia has its own skill sets that threaten our national security. t pales in comparison to the threat posed by china. gordon:s he' chinese spies has been stealing secrets to grow their economy. this chinese spy is awaiting
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trial in america. he is accused of stealing aviation secrets to help chinese companies. general electric aviation in america spent decades-teveloping hih material for engines. he is alleged to have enticed an american engineer to himanoo china, asng prepare blts and material on a high drive. when he met to pick up more secrets, he is arrested. not just regular spies the u.s. worries about. >> scientists, engineers, businessmen. gordon: theft of technical research from universities is a particular concern. washington is worried not just how china gained the economic power, but how it wields it. particularly trying to shut down discussion of subjects it considerssi sve like to get -- tibet or taiwan. >> i think the influence part of that is a security risk. it is part of a slip and slope
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where you have self-censorship in a free society. gordon: b concerns exteond washington. in austin, texas, the university nt through a divisive debate, rejecting significant new funding because of concerns there was chinese, his par influence. -- chinese communist party influence. concerns over censohohip extent thywood. >> i see through you. gordon: the 2016 hit "doctor strange" featured a british actors playing someone originally tibetan. the film's screenwriter says no one told him what to do. screenwriter, you start -- ing aut china is a very big market. lvege. gordon: what you are talking about isor self-ceip. >> yes, absolutely.
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gordon: in the ukare are similar concerns, but spoken more quality. a former engineer from rolls-royce is currently under police investigation for allegedly imparting information to china. heas reportedly denied the claims and has not been charged. there are concerns and t universities a way in which chinese money and influence can restrict the ability to discuss certain topics. then the -- >> there are serious concerns about china's presence in the academy. it is discouraging aritical discussion of certain issues imnsitive to the chinese r example, the three t's -- tibet, taiwan, tiananmen square. gordon:hi wton is determined to confront china over espionage and influence.
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gordon corera, bbc news. jane: you are watching "bbc world news america." still to come on tonight's program, facebook comes under a fiin as more data sharing comes to light. vladimir putin has always shrugged off the impact of tightening international sanctions on russia. but a recent report shows that one in five russians live in poverty and the president's approval rating is sliding. sarah rainsford traveled to siberia to test the mood. sarah: it is a sprawling siberian city of harsh realities . but a number of people in poverty has been climbing for five years. much, so he was looring fward to his pension a
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60 -- not to retire, but for extra cash. now the pension age has been raised. cannotargued that they go on with the system with more people living longer. >> no one pays any attention at all. people can understand why we need pension reform. sarah: but men still die on average two years breore the new tirement age. at this slter for people who have fallen on hard times, lost all have a drink problem. life for many here looks pretty good these days. with western brands, n buildings, smart cars. this is the first of several regions to elect a communist governor. perhaps it is no surprise that communist politicians are beating pro-putin once in places like this.
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places with concerns about taxes and pension reform are on the rise. it feels like russia's government is squeezing the people for fds, and as a result, president putin's approvalatg, once skyhigh, is starting to slide. vladimir putin's great pressure talk chimed with the nation that. her gains and stable. in this part of siberia, the e cracks in the messare starting to show. jane:nother week and another controversy for facebook. protectingor not user privacy. a "new york times" story reporte that the sociaa comedy -- company failed to disclose the large list of third parties who had access to user information including names of fries and private messages. for more on how this happeneri , one earl to gabe dance
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of the authors of today's report. thanks very much for joining me. how extensive isg?his data shar gabriel: the data sharing that we reviewed in the d euments is veensive. we counted over 150 different companies that facebook ha partnered with and the types of sharing is for myriad uses. gswe have th that have access to personal messages, friends, emails. it is very broad and very deep. jane: but i thought facebook was supposed to haveixed this. they gave all of those assurances during the summer. why haven't they? f gabe: we thougebook had fixed this as well. one of the main issues is why faceok has to continue to disclose partnerships but only bsequent to reporting. it seems like it would be in facebor's interests and th users' interests and it would make my job easier if they were more forthcoming about the partnerships entered into. jane: why aren't they?
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gabe: i think it is because facebook and some of these partners operate in a world where the transaction of people's data is fundamental toi thcompanies. the idea that they want to tell people that this trading of their data and access to the data actually flies in the face of their business model for the most part. jane: given the fact that this is so entrenched in the digital age, can anybody stop it? gabe: well, i think there is a good chance that british lawmakers could put a o it in a certain respect. thhee is the opportunity for u.s. federal government to stop to it. facebook is under a consent agreement for practices in 2011 that were misleading to its users. it seems that there is potential here for that agreement to have been violated and that could
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lead to further regulations and fines. europe is putting in place gdp protections. so i don't think facebook is going to do it on its own. i don't think facebook's partne compane going to do it on their own, although we have seen some device makers including apple try to distance themselves from facebook. it would certainly appear that the onus is on governments in the united states anad to rein in these big tech companies. : very briefly, what abo users? do they care? there are 2 billion of them. have we lost all idea of privacy? gabe: i think it is a great question and it is fundamental to how we ended up where we are today. when facebook launched, it was based around the idea of privacy, that you re sharing this information with your friends. as facebook grew, they decided that your friends should also
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grow. it was in their interest that your friends turned into friends of friends and those friends of friends started to include microsoft and amazon and yahoo!o an of the other companies that we discussed, that you did not even know were your friends. i do t interest in privacy, and i think as we continue to expose more of these data sharing arrangements, users who perhaps did not know that their basic infor and sometimes more personal and private information was being shuffled between these companies will in fact start to stand up and demand more privacy. but it might mean that they have to pay money for it. jane: gabe dance, thanks for joining me. ever since president trump pulled out of the ris climate agreement, the focus shifted to what states and local communities are doing to combat climate change. but yo probably would not expect to find a republican mayor in the state of texas leading the way.
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a majority of people there partn of ford trump and it is a region where oil and gas reign supreme.th but as our nmerica correspondent aleem maqbool found, this christmas season is being lit with the environment in mind. aleem: when it comes to saving the planet, come under fire for not doing enough. but one little town is trying to in against the grain thank part to its mayor. >> here we are on the most beautiful town square not only in texas, but the united state of america. this is what heaven would look like at christs. you -- for let me as an environmentalist, it doesn't look like heaven. it looks like a huge waste of energy. what is going on? >> it's not, because we are 100% renewable energy. all of these wonderful lights is funded by wind and solar energy aleem:republican from texas, he is an unlikely climate change superhero.wa
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but under hih, this town has become the largest in the u.s. to switch solely to renewable energy companies. ana wind farm in west texaa massive solar park are the supplies of the town's power. but in this conservative part of the countr the majority of people also voted for this man. pres. trump: all of this with the global warmi -- a lot of it is a hoax. it is a hoax. it is a moneymaking industry, ok? aleem: this sandwich shop has its own solar panels, and having a president who is not convinc out man's contribution to climate change is inspiring individuals to do their bit. >> i mean, you have to start somewhere.ai if youfor someone else to do it, it is never going to happen. i you have to yourself. aleem: that is the mayor's feeling, too, but in texas he has seen campaigns against him by members of his own party.
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>> you have special interest groups that promote oigas interests. i am not their number one guy right now, ok? they don't like that i'm out thertelling the truth and ju putting the facts out there. aleem: somof his critics say that is because he and others are disrespecting the heritage of the state andhe country by demonizing fossil fuel industries. >> a lot of what this state has seenn ospered from and what people have done for so long was oil. tyou tapeople across the state and they say, "my grandpa was an oilman," and when someone says oil is evil, they think, my grandpa wasn't evil. aleem: holiday season excess in georgetown is powered by renewable energy, and the town is trying to show you could be conservative in america and still care about environment. it is just that politics does t make it easy. aleem maqbool, bbc news. jane: so pretty.
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now i'm starting to feel christmasy. you can find all the day's news on our website. i am jane o'brien. thanks for watching "bri world news aca pure --thanks for watching "bri world news aca." >> with the bbcveews app, our rtical videos are designed to work and your lifestyle, so you can swe your way through the news of the day and stay us-to-date with the latest headlines you can t. download now from selected app stores. >> funding of this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation, and kovler foundation, pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs. >> what are you dog? >> possibilities. your day is filled with them. >> tv, play "downton abbey." >> and pbs helps everyoneer disc theirs.
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anytime, anywhere. pbs. we are with you for life. >> "bbc world news" was presented by kcet, los angeles.
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captioning sponsor by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. on the n hike-- the federal reserve raises interest rates, signaling a:nfidence in the economy. then, leaving syriresident trump's surprise announcement to draw u.s. troops halts t fight against isis, upending plans to stabilize areas oncero coed by militants. l plus, buildinge from the ruins of war. we travel to mosul, iraq, to see what is left once the fighting stops. >> this ishe best they can pe for. there is no running water, no electricity. they just hope to be able to bued the walls up enough to able to take shelter and sleep here. >> woodruff: all that and more on tonight's pbs newour.

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