tv PBS News Hour PBS June 20, 2011 5:30pm-6:30pm PDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: two major decisions at the supreme court today, justices threw out the largest class-action suit in history, and rejected a global warming lawsuit against power companies. good evening. i'm gwen ifill. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. on the newshour tonight, marcia coyle walks us through the decisions, and we assess the wal-mart class-action ruling, in a sex discrimination case that could have wide implications for american workers and companies. >> ifill: then, as the u.s. steps up contact with the taliban, margaret warner solicits views from three influential afghan women. >> brown: special correspondent john tulenko visits a high school classroom in new york, where turmoil in the middle east
offers a "teaching moment" for a lesson about refugees. >> i think it's very important to expose them to what's happening in the rest of the world. they don't understand that it's important to care about people. it's even important to care about people that you don't know. >> ifill: we explore why children's food allergies are now more common and more severe. >> ifill: and we close with a musical memory of the "big man," e street band saxophonist clarence clemons. >> ifill: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> oil companies have changed my country. >> oil companies can make a difference. >> we have the chance to build the economy. >> create jobs, keep people healthy, and improve schools. >> and our communities. >> inngola evron helps train engineers, teachers and farmers, launch child's programs.
it's not just good business. >> i'm hopeful about my country's future. >> it's my country's future. >> and by the bill and melinda gates foundation. dedicated to the idea that all people deserve the chance to live a healthy, productive life. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> ifill: the supreme court today sided with wal-mart to stop the largest gender discrimination lawsuit in history. more than one and a half million current and former employees accused the chain of paying women less than men, and
promoting them less frequently. in a separate decision-- and a defeat for environmentalists-- the court ruled unanimously that the environmental protection agency should regulate greenhouse gas emissions. here, as always, to walk us through how the justices ruled and why is marcia coyle of the "national law journal." let's start with that wal-mart case, big case. >> yes. >> it fell apart on what grounds? >> well, first of all this case was not about whether wal-mart discriminated against women. the court didn't face that question. the question before the court was whether these women, current and past employees, could join together in what's called a class action to claim that wal-mart discriminated against them in pay and in promotions. so there were really two major parts to the decision, gwen. the first part was the lower court had approved a class action for these women. was it a proper class action under the federal rules.
the court lead by justice scalia unanimously said no, it was formed under the wrong federal rule. this was a class that did not allow monetary relief. and these women were seeking money relief, back pay. but the second part of the decision, and potentially more significant, the justices split 5-4. more along ideaological lines. that part of the decision really had to do with a threshold element for having a class action. justice scalia said that these women did not have what is called issues of law and fact that were common to all of them. >> ifill: which is to say that these women were from all over the country. were a lot of different wal-mart stores. an even though they had complaints which under their argument fell under the rubric of discrimination, they weren't the same underlying. >> that's what he said. he said that the because they wanted to sue for literally millions of
employment decisions, there had to be some glue holding all the alleged reasons for the discrimination together. he said they had not provided significant proof that wal-mart operated under a general policy of discrimination. >> ifill: something which they didn't actually address. justice againstberg disagreed with that. >> absolutely, she lead four dissenters. and she said that the women's stories of what happened to them in the individual stores suggested that wal-mart's corporate culture was diffused with gender bias. she said she also had statistical evidence that they provided that show, for example that women held 70% of the hourly jobs in wal-mart stores but only 33% of management positions. and also, that women were paid less than men in every region and even where men and women were hired for the same job at the same time, the pay gap widened over
time. >> ifill: and the end of this failed for the part of the plaintiffs because they were not able to-- they brought the wrong way because of the process of wait it got to the supreme court? or because of the underlying arguments they were making that weren't hang together? >> well, it had to be both. because the arguments they made had to show that they met the requirements of the federal rules for a class action. justice againstberg ultimately said that justice-- justice scalia and the majority focused more on what distinguished the women in this class than on what united them. >> ifill: let's talk about the wal-mart case a little more. jeff brown, so let's talk about the second case. the epa case, very different case. except in this case stateses were trying to sue these governments, these utilities, actually, in order to be able to-- to what? >> there were six states. new york city and three land trusts that wanted to bring what is called a public nuisance lawsuit against the utilities on the grounds
that their carbon dioxide emissions-- contributed to global warming. so the issue before the supreme court was whether the states and the land trusts could use a public nuisance lawsuit. which public nuisance is a very old common law doctrine. justice againstberg wrote for a knew man news court here. she said that the question was who decides this kind of issue, this global warming kind of issue. is it the executive branch agency to which congress has delegated authority in this area or is it the courts. she decided the court decided unanimously that it is the executive branch agency. she said that the federal clean air act and the authority delegated to the environmental protection agency displaced that old public nuisance doctrine that is being used here. >> ifill: didn't this case end up coming to the court because the states, the local land trusts felt like
the epa waenl wasn't handling this? >> absolutely. in fact, one of their arguments was that really epa and the clean air act shouldn't displace their lawsuit until epa actually comes forward with rules governing greenhouse gas he motion-- emissions. but again justice ginsburg explained that it's all together fitting that epa be the primary regulator here. she said that judges don't have the scientific, technological expertise at hand that an agency has in order to deal with the complex issues that are involved global warming. >> ifill: we just talked about this case a couple of months ago sitting here at this table and this is one of those cases it seems in the end where the administration was kind of arguing against the policy. >> the obama administration really disappointed environmental groups here because it did come into the case, one of the utilities is a tenancy valley authority so it is a federal
agency. the obama administration told the court that epa was making progress here and was going forward with the rulemaking and it did not want the courts to intervene until epa did what it was supposed to do. and the court accepted that argument. >> ifill: okay, marcia coyle, another busy day. >> it was. and we have maybe two more left. >> ifill: okay, we'll talk to you then. >> thank you. >> brown: and coming up we will indeed >> brown: coming up, we'll have more on the future of class action lawsuits after the wal- mart ruling; plus, afghan women and the taliban; a high school course about refugees; children's allergies on the upswing; and remembering the big man. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: white house officials today defended the president's conclusion that the u.s. is not involved in hostilities in libya. mr. obama used that reasoning last week to justify not seeking congressional approval under the war powers resolution of 1973. weekend reports said lawyers at the justice department and the pentagon argued otherwise.
but white house spokesman jay carney played down the differences today. . >> i can tell you that by some miracle every lawyer in this administration with an agreement on that issue, you wouldn't believe me because it has simply been too contentious for now, 38 years. so there was not a unanimous agreement on it but the president makes the decision. obviously his white house counsel, also agree with his assessment and we feel very confident that the legal reasoning is sound. >> sreenivasan: in libya, moammar qaddafi's government claimed a nato air strike today hit a large family compound west of tripoli and killed 15 people. an alliance official in italy said there have been no air strikes in that area for the past 24 hours. on sunday, nato acknowledged that a weekend strike mistakenly killed as many as nine civilians. a spokesman said an apparent weapons failure caused a bomb to miss its intended target, an alleged military missile site.
syrian president bashar al-assad made his first address to the nation in nearly two months today. he opened the door to possible reforms, but he made clear he would not to bow to a pro- democracy uprising that began in march. that insistence was met with a new wave of demonstrations. we have a report narrated by jonathan rugman of independent television news. >> reporter: in northern syria today protestors posted this film on the internet of a crowd throwing its shoes at president assad. in the suburb of the capitol damascus they shouted "we don't love you, mr. president. leave us alone." >> and along the iraqi border today, a new chant. the people want the speech to be be explained. that despite at plaus here at damascus university the president's speech, his first in two months has not
quelled nationwide unrest. mr. assad admitted that what he called a crisis had shaken syria and he blamed it on saboteurs and con spir tures who had spread like germs. >> germs are everywhere, scientists don't try to destroy germs but to immunize against them. we want the people to back reforms. but we must isolate true reformists from saboteurs. >> reporter: the response was swift. mr. president, you are the germ, this crowd in damascus chanted in. in the northwest hundreds gathered outside the town hall. words won't help you, they cried. what do we want? freedom. that is the hope among more than 10,000 refugees now camping across the border in turkey. assad urged them to return. the state is like a father and mother, he said, promising they would be safe. the response here, more
protests against him. and in this camp, another shoe was whacked at the president's face. >> we have been listening to such speeches for 41 years. we have been listening to promises of unity, freedom and socialism, but nothing has been changed. >> reporter: today assad gave no hint of stepping aside. and will stay on t seems, unless his own army turns against him or an extraordinary-- gives him no choice but to go. >> late today the president of turkey >> sreenivasan: late today, the president of turkey, abdullah gul, said assad's speech was "not enough." he said the syrian leader should agree to establish a multi-party system. greece suffered through rolling power blackouts today as part of new protest against austerity measures. workers at the main power utility walked off the job to oppose selling the company to private interests. it was the latest in a series of strikes that have hit greece. meanwhile, european finance ministers gave the greek government two weeks to approve new spending cuts and tax hikes if the country wants a second
bailout. but european markets remained unsettled over concerns that greece will default on its debts. . >> the financial market does not like insecurity. they want clarity and i don't know for how much longer we're going to see meetings without results which we would need. are where do we want to go with greece. if the case would be that greece cannot be saved, then it has to be said that they have to agree on a plan b. they cannot function with the germans wanting this, with the french wanting something completely different that is just wishy washy. >> sreenivasan: the greek prime minister, george papandreou, faces a critical vote of confidence tomorrow in parliament. if his newly reshuffled government survives, it will still need to win approval for the new austerity measures. wall street shook off any concerns about the greek crisis and posted new gains. the dow jones industrial average added 76 points to close at 12,080. the nasdaq rose 13 points to close at 2629. hot winds eased today in southern arizona, giving fire
crews a welcome reprieve. they have been battling the monument fire just south of sierra vista. it has forced the evacuations of at least 10,000 people so far. to the east, the wallow fire was 50% contained. that fire is now the largest fire in arizona's history, scorching more than 800 square miles. the head of the u.n. nuclear watchdog has called for a worldwide review of nuclear safety measures. the appeal today followed the nuclear accident in japan caused by a massive earthquake and tsunami. the u.n. official outlined a five-point plan that includes strengthening current standards and conducting regular safety reviews at all of the world's nuclear reactors. it also recommends improving emergency response systems. reviews in japan have sharply criticized the response there. the international organization that oversees the internet's address system voted today to allow virtually unlimited domain names. the idea is to alleviate overlap of names in traditional domains, like "dot.com," which already has 94 million sites.
starting next year, groups can petition for new web site suffixes using almost any word in any language. each application will cost $185,000. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jeff. >> next tonight afghanistan. from both the u.s. and afghan governments are exploring new negotiations with the taliban. margaret warner sat down with three afghan women who have a significant amount at stake in the outcome. >> we don't see the real inclusion. we don't see the real sort of participation. >> warner: these women are influential figures in afghanistan. in politics, business and nongovernmental organizations. that's a far cry from the subordinate role women held in taliban era afghanistan. barred from schools and most jobs, and brutallized for social infractions. they were in washington last week meeting with senior members of the
administration and congress. their message, women's voices must be heard as the u.s. and afghan governments chart the course ahead. their visit came at a crucial time. the summer fighting season against the taliban has reached a fever pitch. yet the administration and president hamid karzai government are stepping up efforts to talk to the taliban, including figures close to mullah omar seeking a negotiated end to the ten-year-old war. what's more, president obama is on theerge of announcing how many u.s. troops he will begin withdrawing from afghanistan next month. >> at a white house meeting, lieutenant general doug-- the president's pointman on afghanistan told the women the troop decision will be made in a thoughtful manner. >> i want to first reassure you that this is not, this will be-- this will be a responsible, deliberate adjustment of u.s. force
posture and not a rush to the exit as some people have suggested. >> warner: i spoke with three of these women right after that session. afghan american entrepreneur hamidi set up a business for legal women producing embroidered goods in kandahar. i began by asking her how she feels about talking to the taliban who still terrorize her city. >> i live in a region where that is part of life. in a way that is not understood in a lot of parts of the world. debt is so close to us. where every second and every minute of our life we consider an accept that we might not be here the next minute. and so if talking to the taliban would mean bringing peace and stability to the level where i don't have to think about debt every second of my life, then i'm for it. >> a gender advisor to president karzai's negotiating team supports the talks. but she also worries about where they might lead.
>> as a woman i do have concerns with other women in the country. and that the peace deal with the taliban might affect human rights or the rights of women which they have right now in the country. however, i would say that the government has to insurance that the rights of all citizens are protected. and that when negotiations take place all the conditions on the rights of women or human rights in general should be taken into account. >> 30-year-old-- mafro advocates for women's causes in afghanistan. she supports the talks too. despite vivid memories of the fear she felt as a refugee in pakistan, returning for visits home in the taliban days. >> from a matter of principles, i am for it, even with the taliban and other elements. but i also believe that taliban are not the only threats to the women of afghanistan or to the people of afghanistan.
i have seen war lords who have raped women on the street. we have seen people who have taken our land. we have seen people who have done more damage. >> warner: do any of you know anyone personally who identifies himself as taliban? >> yes. >> warner: and do you think he or they have changed their attitudes about the role of women in society? >> these couple of-- the commanders that i came to know and i know, like they are very, very traditional people. their mentality, they grew up in a home where they didn'tee their own mother, for example, literally. they were trained and brought newspaper camps across the nation where they didn't see the levels of mother, or father of a family so they can be included if in a society as a normal human being so when you take these elements or this background into consideration, you can be hopeful that they're human beings or that they will change.
because to be a human being, we're constantly changing. then you have commanders who are very ideaologically driven, very politically driven. their idea is for example that there should nobody school in this village, no clinic, no sort of progress, no government. with them it's much more difficult. these are the people who behead, for example, schoolteachers, these are the people who burn down schools. and it's very difficult to reconcile that sort of element. >> warner: so dow want to add something. >> i can also not imagine if i would ever be able to talk with the talib commander or with people who have been at the leadership level of the taliban. but i would not name anyone but right now i sit with them. they were former taliban but they have joined the government. they discuss with me political situations. the situation of women. they give some very good recommendations in order to improve the situation of
women in the country. >> i think what is missing from the current conversation in afghanistan that the government is a part of the problem. the reasons that it has driven people towards insurgency and there is a brand of taliban is the afghan government it has no capacity in providing people with those access to judge. a 13-year-old girl girl raped with by 13 men with police officers among them. what dow expect people. people-- blow-- . >> warner: do you think that is what is driving the insurgency. >> young men h they have absolutely no opportunity. i went to-- in 2005 and saw streets full of young men just sitting in the sun, just bathing in the sun because there was nothing to do. no schools, no jobs, no factories, no skills producing activities for them to be involved with.
>> warner: if taliban returned to the government, do you think they will start pushing a more conservative social agenda about the role and rights of women. >> it depends if they come in and join the government, would accepting the constitution and articles related to human rights in general and women's rights, i think they will be obliged according to the constitution to allow women to participate in all sectors whether it's social or political. however, the risc is there, of course. >> warner: is the karzai government listening to these concerns, is it committed to these concerns. as it embarks on these talks? >> i don't think so. he does listen us at times, just the way the international community listens to us but never cause what we ask him for. similarly the president too listens to us. we have relationship, we have conversations.
but because it's not the property. for them it's the-- that's the trip that has to be mitigated. we are not the threat. the women of this country are not the threat. so literally what they are doing is to mitigate the threat and we will talk about women's issues later. >> warner: so the reason we are supporting peace first and most importantly so that when there is peace, at least the threat to our life will hopefully be, you know, kind of taken care of and we with can work on all these issues which will make many, many years. i'm 33 years old. i don't foresee a very dramatic, positive change in the lives of women in my lifetime if i live another 33 years. that's a reality picture that i have painted for myself. but if we can bring, if my work can be the root of change for my daughter and my grandchildren's life, that's the change and the hope that i am living with
today. >> what our fear is that we don't want the reputation of what the past decades have showed us. and so our being in washington and talking to you is one way to get the message across, to do not to please do not let afghanistan fall back to the years of civil war, to the years of injustice and inhuman acts against all sectors of society, most especially women. so for once let's listen to the women and take their suggestion seriously. >> warner: right now the president is considering how many troops to withdraw from afghanistan and how quickly. what is your thought on that? would you like to see u.s. troops begin to leave and in substantial numbers? >> it all depends on the reconciliation process. i would say we should wait a little bit more to see how this process goes further. but we don't-- we cannot have a deadline for the reconciliation process because it takes a long time. it's a social process.
but on the other side, i think it's also important to start seeing the reduction of troops for the purpose of proving to afghanistan that america's not here to occupy. because that is a propaganda that insurgents are using to control the hearts and minds of afghan citizens, that america is leer to occupy you. but i do want to stress that we cannot and i'm sure it's the american government is not naive in pulling out the entire troop, you know, overnight. but the gradual troop reduction on the ground will mean to the afghan people and afghanistan government that america is to the going to be in afghanistan forever. >> therefore we're going to be forced to sit and make a deal with each other, be it tribal, community and regionalwise to make peace, literally. because are you not going to have this international protection for much longer.
>> warner: what would you say to americans who are growing very war wary. if they were to listen to this conversation and conclude it's just hopeless, we ought to just leave, what would you say to them? >> i would say that if the situation of afghanistan is hopeless today, america has-- has contributed to that as well, as part of the international community. there has to be the issue of accountability. why did you go in 2001 if the country, and have you achieved the objective. that is the immediate question that we as afghans are asking the american government. >> i would like to remind america that when we pulled out of afghanistan in 1989, we ended up going back in 2001. i hope that we do not repeat that mistake. >> warner: thank you all very much. >> you're welcome. >> thank you for having us.
>> warner: president obama will announce his plans on wednesday for beginning to draw down u.s. troops from afghanistan according to a white house official. >> brown: and we turn to the wider impact of today's landmark supreme court ruling in the wal- mart workplace discrimination lawsuit, with two outside experts who filed briefs in the case. suzette malveaux is a professor of law at catholic university's columbus school of law. richard samp is with the washington legal foundation, a public interest law firm. >> suzette malveaux, i'll start with you. you wrote on behalf of the women bringing the suit, how significant was today's ruling for them starting with them? >> this ruling was very significant. in fact this was sort of a devastating block, i think, to employees who are challenging systemic discrimination nationwide against an employer like
wal-mart or of the magnitude of an employer that size. and so you know, the supreme court basically killed this class action and it is going to be very difficult now or certainly there's a higher standard for employees who are bringing these kinds of massive cases together to come together and bring those resources together and challenge nationwide discrimination in one case. >> brown: i will explore the class action implications in a moment. but first richard samp you argued on behalf of wal-mart. why was this important to the company? and to other companies? >> the reason it's important is that today's decision had nothing really to do with employment discrimination and everything to do with the fairness of having class actions that are on a nationwide basis. wal-mart rightly pointed out that it was not being given an opportunity to defend each of the potentially hundreds of thousands of claims of employment
discrimination. but instead was having the entire case lumped into one big pot. and what the supreme court said was you can't do that. if there isn't a single policy of nationwide discrimination, you can't decide the case all at once based on a policy that is not there. >> brown: now, all right so, suzette malveaux, explain for us, then, why is bringing a case as a class action so important? the women here still can bring their own individual cases, correct? >> yes, that's true. all of the individual women, because the court did not say anything about there being gender discrimination there was no ruling as far as that was concerned, all of the women are free to bring individual cases. so if they feel there was gender discrimination and pay and promotions, they should do that. now the problem realistically is for many people they don't have the resources to do that. they may be very skittish
about challenging their employer especially at a time like this with this economy, it takes alot of courage, of course, to sue your employer and keep your job. you may an afraid of retaliation. you know, if you have small claims it may be difficult for to you attract a lawyer to your case. so the class action mechanism makes it possible for people who might not otherwise be able to bring a lawsuit at all to do so collectively so it certainly gives them the power to do that. not to mention there really is-- you can't challenge systemic discrimination as an individual. you can challenge your own situation that might be happening on the ground in your store but it's very hard to reach policies and procedures that you think are having a greater impact. and so that's really where you are going to see sort of less-- less cases looking lake that. >> so richard, that is the argument. that the supreme court has raised the bar so high, that individuals cannot, i mean they can legally but realistically, practically,
cannot sue? >> they can't realistically bring any more nationwide class actions. what they can do if they can identify a policy, for example, a store manager who discriminates against women on a storewide basis, they can bring a class action in those circumstances. moreover it's not really true to suggest that an individual doesn't have the economic wherewithal. they can hire an attorney on a contingency fee basis, the law provides attorney fees, it also provides for an award of punitiveamages in case of egregious misconduct so that there really are employment discrimination cases. >> so you are sayings that a class action is still possible, what must a complaint have to go forward in your opinion as a class action? >> it has to point to some policy that has been adopted. all that was ever alleged here was that wal-mart's policy was a failure to have a nationwide policy to allow
individual managers around the country to do as they wanted to. and therefore allowed them to discrimination. if, in fact, they did discriminate, then you can bring a class action within that region or within that store where the manager is. >> so suzette malveaux, does that leave room for either the women we're talk approximating about at wal-mart or anyway, at other companies that want to bring class action suits? >> women can still challenge discrimination at wal-mart. i mean i would sort of take exception to how realistic that is for many people across the country with limited resources, despite the sort of the what's in the statute in terms of title 7. so you can do that but i think it does, i think the courts ruling is kind of extraordinary because it raised the bar and said you have to have significant proof that there is this policy of discrimination. and up to this point, it has been adequate to say that excessive subjectivity is, in fact, a policy.
it's a policy of discrimination. it's a practice that it's the glue that sort of keeps all of thighs women together and holds this together as a case. and the court has said today that that's not good enough. that it's not good enough to have a sort of-- to challenge excessive subjectivity that comes out of headquarters. and so certainly you know, a minority of the justices, four of the justices disagreed with that dermentation and felt that, in fact, that is a policy and that policy should be protected and should be permitted to go forward for a class action. >> brown: richard samp, how wide-ranging is this? this is-- corporate america is watching very carefully. so are we talking about beyond other employment cases? are we talking about product liability, securities, anti-trust? >> definitely. this decision will cut back on class actions in those areas where you really really can't point to something that the defendant did on a classwide basis. so for example, in product
liability suits where somebody has been injured by a product, in january, those kinds of class actions will not be allowed to go forward after today because every individual plaintiff will have to show the individual circumstances of their injuries. and the individual damages that they suffered. on the other hand n some eas like securities law, the supreme court in two very recent decisions has made it very clear that because securities actions tend to take place on a marketwide basis, those are very susceptible to class actions. >> brown: suzette malveaux, do you see it having that wide-ranging an impact across all kinds of areas? >> you know, it's a little hard to tell, actually, because the case ask so centered around the facts of title 7, the civil rights act of 1964. and that it's clearly an employment discrimination case so it's not entirely clear. to the extent that the court has made some broad statements about the class action rule then it could
have a greater impact. it's not really clear at this point. i think one of the things that's helpful, there was a supreme court case recently that made it clear that let's say you wanted to structure another class action. there may be a more limited class action that is possible. this was a far reaching one and so i think plaintiff's council will be thinking, you know, all over the country about how do we, in fact, bring cases that may be sort of less widespread, right. you might look at regions and say we're going to bring this case on a regional basis. maybe just california or illinois or whatever. and sort of reign it in. so it's not impossible, in fact, to bring other class aks or smaller types of cases where people can come together. so i think plaintiffs will start to look at that as a real possibility. >> and breeze through. >> and briefly richard samp what will the defendants' attorneys be looking at to plan ahead for what might be coming. >> first of all i agree totally with that last
comment. we will see class actions just on a smaller basis. i think defense attorneys, however, will be feeling armed by today's decision to vigorously fight efforts to certify a class, that if the plaintiff in most cases can get class certification, the feeling is the case has to settle. it generally is too big to actually go to trial. so this becomes a much bigger battleground than before. >> richard samp, suzette malveaux, thank you both very much. >> thank you. >> brown: now, bringing the realities of war and life as a refugee to the classroom. our story comes from special correspondent john tulenko of learning matters television, which produces reports on education for the newshour. >> everyone, your eyes and your attention please.
>> reporter: the high school in the bronx, new york. >> today what we are going to be do is we're going to kind of trying to start thinking about this concept of what is a refugee? what is, you know. >> reporter: here a few months back 9th grade english teacher lauryn decided to set aside the usual curriculum and instead take her students on a virtual five-week journey to the middle east. to bring them as close as she possibly could without leaving the classroom, to the millions of people who have fled the war in iraq and become refugees. >> it's the people that are really suffering from the war. it's the every day people trying to go to work and school and the same things we're doing here who are really, really being impacted by this. >> and it's also the world is so interconnected. and i think the things that are happening in the middle east really do affect things happening over here in ways that they don't necessarily see. so you i want to try to illuminate some of that for them. >> so start coloring in the
countries that you think are middle eastern countries and i will come back and help you. >> reporter: guided by a curriculum designed by the morningside center, an i had case nonprofit, she began her course just as waves of protests were spreading across the arab world. >> we wanted to find out how much these 9th graders knew about people, places and recent events there. so at the outset, i gave them a little quiz. >> name four countries in the middle east. >> india. >> protests in the middle east do you no he where they are happening had? >> no, sir. >> who is qaz avi. >> qaddafi. >> they just don't have the exposure that a lot of kids get. they don't read the way other kids, they aren't read to at home. >> i would also like you to look at where in the world refugees exist currently. >> they grow up with such a limited worldview it's really important to expose them to what's happening in the rest of the world. >> where else? >> her students live in a poor community. burdened by all the social problems of the inner city. >> part of growing up on the
streets and neighborhoods that they grow up in is that they have a really hard, kind of like shell to crack. so they believe that they need to be incredibly tough. and what often happens is that they become desensitized it to everything. they don't understand that it's important to care about people. it's even important to care about people that you don't know. >> reporter: to help them care, she began the class with some basics. students looked at maps of the middle east and went on-line to do research. >> 8,400,000 refugees worldwide-- . >> reporter: by week two they were prepared prepped and ready for the second leg of their journey. >> one of the major things we will be doing in this discussion today is looking at our packing list. the lesson is called packing your bag. the scenario is it's 2 in the morning. your parents wake you up. say we have five minutes. >> we have got to going, right now, pack your stuff, we're leaving in five minute. and what are the ten things you would trach with you. >> i had some funny stuff on my list. i put pencil sharpener,
money, my cat, my. >> i put on there cell phone, i put laptop and computer, magazines. >> ipod, lamb top, luggage full of clothes. >> my sneakers. >> my game system, my phone. >> looking over their lists, the students identified each item as something they wanted or needed from there, the lesson continued. >> you guys are trying to drive to a place where it's going to be safe. all of a sudden the car breaks down. there are other things that you have to carry as well. so they brought some water. they brought some bedding for you guys, some food, things like that. >> they have to get rid of five of the things on their list of 10 because they need to leave them behind so they can help their family carry some of the other things that are really necessary. >> i would leave, okay, my game system, my 4r57 top, my phone, my charger. >> i would grab my sister, my other sister and my mom,
my cat and me. >> a passport, i.d. cards, also my keys. >> and the last thing i probably would take, would be my mom. >> what you start to find happening when you cut down that list is they start really kind of reprioritizing s having, you know, that chain and these shoes and that phone or whatever, is that so important? is that what life is really about? >> one table at a time you're going to come over, find your photo, please. >> in weeks three and four of the class, the teacher teaches about real refugees thin the photos tell the stories of five families on their journey leaving iraq to different countries. most of them are actually in jordan there are a series of 3, 4, or 5 photos that are about a particular family. the kids are actually doing the biographies and matching it with the photo. >> the background is the home of the refugee family. they're watching the news of iraq. and from what i can see is the person that is being
interviewed is saying the iraq war is lost already. >> these look like refugee kids because barefooted. not a lot of furniture. they seem like they don't really go to school or have anything because they are always traveling around. >> in the pictures they see all these people crying. some of them are injured. they are waking you up, sad, alone, scared, they don't really understand. >> imagine having to leave and not know where are you going. everything happening to fast and you feel like your life is about to crash. >> in poem, they tried to capture the experience. >> running in ciles and all i have is hope. money lost. >> i'm a refugee, a person who must leave their home. i have no food on me to eat, no water to drink. >> i'm back thinking where do i go? it me alone not having a home. i need a family or home, i
need something. >> these students correlate because for many of them the refugee experience is painfully close to home. >> we have a lot of students who are homeless. a lot of my kids live in shelters right now. a lot of them are in the foster care system. they understand more than a lot of high-school students what it feels like to be displaced, to not know where their next meal going to come from. to not necessarily feel safe in their home environment and having to get yourself through a big crisis. >> the course lasted only five weeks. but by the end, many students had gained a new perspective on their lives. >> i'm lucky to be here. i'm lucky to be in my country, and my home, my family. >> i think i live in luxury.
because there are pictures, ten people living in one room, like the size of this class r5078, maybe even smaller. and i live in a room with three sisters. >> i'm better off because i have teachers here. if i am having trouble with something, they will help me to get it done. >> there's no war outside my dar. i'm fortunate for that i'm fortunate to have my family with me to have support, have a roof over my head, able to sleep at night. >> next year the teacher says, she'll do it again >> ifill: now, the rising number of children with food allergies. a new study out today in the journal "pediatrics" finds they are growing more common and more severe. of that group, 39% have severe or life-threatening reaction.
30% had multiple allergies. the survey of nearly 40,000 u.s. parents found that nearly 8of children under the age of 18-- about six million-- have a food allergy. researchers also concluded that nearly 40% of those reactions are severe, and nearly one-third have sensitivities to more than one food. the study was sponsored by the food allergy initiative, a research advocacy group. dr. ruchi gupta is the lead author of the study. she's a pediatrician at children's memorial hospital and an associate professor of pediatrics at northwestern university school of medicine. . >> the first question that comes to mind is that this never used to happen, at least it didn't seem like it we're talking about $6 million children with food allergies y so many now? >> so that's a great question. and there's a lot of theories on why. but what is really important is that it does exist and this one out of every 13 kids, two out of every classroom in america a lot of kids have food allergy and a lot have severe food allergy. >> how did you come up with these numbers? >> we surveyed 40,000 family ass can cross the united
states to get these numbers. and we were able to ask food allergists specific questions like what type of food allergy they v what type of reactions, how it was diagnosed. and this allowed us to paint a really good picture of what food allergy looks like today. >> so tell me what the answers were. what kind of food allergies are we talking about? >> so the most common food allergy of all children way food 58er gee, the most common was peanut allergy. about 25% of kids had a peanut allergy. after that it was a milk allergy. about 21% of kids with a had a milk allergy and shellfish. and other common food allergy include egg, wheat, soy, and tree nuts. >> are children more likely to fall victim to these allergies because of their socioeconomic status or because where they were raised or their racial background? >> so that's a great question. and we do have data in this database to look at that. on first look it looks like
children who are african-american or asian had a higher chance of having a food allergy but a lower chance of being diagnosed with food allergy. lower income children had a lower chance of having a food allergy and lower chance of being diagnosed with a food allergy. this starts to make us think that maybe some disparities exist, especially in the diagnosis of food allergy, maybe related to access to care, and maybe related to not really understanding what a food allergy is. or many families may be just avoiding the food and not discussing it with their physician. because currently there is no cure or preventive medicine a child can take who has a food allergy. >> a lot of people say allergy, so what, a rash, a sneeze, but your report finds severity. describe what you mean by that. >> so that's a very important point of the study. what we found, allergy, i think the term is misleading. so allergy, a lot of people think of you know, sneezing,
runny, watery eyes, for environmental allergies. and often time force food allergies people think of rash, hives, maybe vomiting or a little bit of swelling. and this can occur. this is a mild reaction, mild to moderate reaction for food allergy but what we found was that 40% so, about two in every five kids who have a food allergy actually have a severe reaction. and by severe reaction, we mean trouble breathing, throat closing, drop in blood pressure. pretty much any reaction that is life threatening and can lead to death and it has and it does. >> is exposure, does it have to be ingestion s this something you had to drink, eat, or you can merely be around a nut substances or around shellfish and have the same kinds of reactions? >> yeah so, often, with eating will you get the reaction but a lot of people have sensitivity to touching the object. so if the food touches them they may break out in a rash or hives in that area.
some have speculated that it can be in the air and some kids are that sensitive. but usually it has to be by touch or ingestion. >> you said at the beginning of our chat here that there are lots of theories about why it seems like there are more allergies than there used to be when we were growing up. but if you don't have an answer to that question, what are parents supposed to do to prepare themselves or guard against this? >> son, the theories that you mentioned, i will tell you what a couple of them are. now none of them are fully substantiated and research is being done currently to look into it but there are they are hes like the cleanliness that we are too clean in our society and our system isn't fighting -- >> too clean? >> our immune systems aren't able to at this time too the germs they used to fight so they are fighting things they shouldn't be fighting like food and environment. other theories are about how our western diet is today. how the foods, the pesticides, maybe it's changing our gut
flora so we're more susceptible to food allergy. so there are theories and studies being conducted. there is a large study in, all over the country called the national children's study. they're going to follow children from before birth until 18 to collect genetic material and environmental material and maybe some day we'll have an answer. but today we do have a couple of these theories we're trying to substantiate. and your second question was what-- . >> quickly how parents should deal with this. >> so if they think their child has a food allergy or -- >> or how to guard against it. >> it is scary, right, right t is scary. i wish there were guards against it if a child starts reacting to a food or breaks out in a rash or has some vomiting or anything, the parents should know what food it was and take them to their doctor and get tested. unfortunately there's not a whole lot of it theories on what you can do to prevent a
food allergy today but hopefully in the near future. >> ifill: dr. ruchi gupta, thank you so much. >> thank you. >> brown: and we close tonight with a brief celebration of a musician known as the "big man." clarence clemons was best-known as one of rock 'n' roll's great sidemen, the sax player, founding member, and joyful stage presence of bruce springsteen's e street band. clemons died this weekend from complications from a stroke. he had a solo career awell, and was recently featured on lady gaga's album "born this way." but it is on records and onstage with springsteen that the 6'4" clemons made his biggest mark, and most memorable solos. here's one of those, from the song "jungleland," in a 2001 concert at madison square garden.
♪ >> brown: clarence clemons died saturday at a hospital in palm beach, florida. he was 69 years old. >> ifill: again, the major developments of the day. the u.s. supreme court blocked more than one and a half million women from mounting a class- action suit against wal-mart, over gender discrimination. the court also barred states and environmental groups from suing to force cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by power plants. president obama will announce his blueprint for drawing down u.s. troops in
afghanistan, according to a white house official. and to and to hari sreenivasan, for what's on the newshour online. hari? >> sreenivasan: gwen and political editor david chalian talk about the g.o.p. presidential hopefuls on this week's political checklist. and as crews battle western wildfires, we look at an all- female group of native american firefighters known as the apache 8. they are the subject of a recent documentary. plus, every monday our foreign affairs beat plots the stories to watch in the week ahead. find that feature on our world page and tell us what you're watching in international news. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. gwen? >> ifill: and that's the newshour for tonight. on tuesday, we'll look at jon huntsman, the latest republican to announce his bid for the presidency. i'm gwen ifill. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. we'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening. thank you, and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> chevron.
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