Skip to main content

tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  October 3, 2011 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT

6:00 pm
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: anti-wall street protesters kept up their campaign today against what they call corporate greed, and planned to expand their demonstrations around the country later this week. good evening. i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. we have the latest on the movement after 700 people were arrested in new york over the weekend. >> america thinks we're okay. we are not okay. more people need to get together like we're doing here and protest for our rights and what we deserve as human beings.
6:01 pm
>> ifill: ray suarez gets an update on the stepped-up violence in syria from deborah amos of npr. >> woodruff: kwame holman reports on a senate bill that could-- if passed-- punish china for undervaluing its currency. >> ifill: on this first monday in october, we look ahead to the supreme court's new term with marcia coyle and tom goldstein. >> woodruff: from india, fred de sam lazaro reports on the world's largest school lunch program. >> the second fastest growing economy in the world has almost half of its children mall newerished. >> ifill: and jeffrey brown talks to dr. anthony fauci about the nobel prize in medicine, awarded today to three scientists for research on the body's immune system. 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.
6:02 pm
>> we have the chance to build the economy. >> create jobs, keep people healthy and improve schools. >> ...and our communities. >> in angola chevron 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 bnsf railway. >> 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.
6:03 pm
>> woodruff: a growing protest movement vowed today to turn up the heat on wall street over profits, pay, and practices. the demonstrations came to a boil over the weekend. the chants of protestors echoed off brooklyn bridge on saturday in this video taken by new york city police. as members of a group calling itself occupy wall street trieded to march across the span. officers shouted warnings with bull horns. things escalated when some of the marchers crossed into the roadway. and 700 were arrested for obstructing traffic. protestor video posted to you- tube showed police securing the hands of some with plastic ties and escorting them away.
6:04 pm
>> not once. i was never told if i walked the roadway that i would be arrested. >> woodruff: most of those detained had been released by sunday morning. the previous weekend police arrested about 100 people in a smaller stand-off. but sunday's arrest fueled the anger of those camped in manhattan's park, a site they've dubbed liberty square. they say they are there to protest what they see as wall street greed, social inequality, and a government more responsive to corporate interests than to ordinary americans. >> i don't care if you're rich or poor, black or white, where you live, everyone has got a financial he can quity system oppressing them. >> woodruff: demonstrations began just a few weeks ago with a few dozen people and no central organizer but they've grown largely on social media websites. sometimes drawing in the thousands. now the protests have their own newspaper and celebrity supporters.
6:05 pm
similar protests are spreading in other cities. in los angeles, hundreds marched on city hall yesterday. some set up camp in a park across the street. >> once the the call for revolution comes everyone should answer it. >> woodruff: they were joined by protestors in durham north carolina. >> banks are set up to punish the poor and reward the rich. >> woodruff: there were similar gatherings in seattle and in denver. back in new york the occupy wall street movement hopes to gain even more mow men... momentum with a labor union rally planned on wednesday. for more on the protests and the people behind it, we turn to two journalists who have been covering the story. arun venugopal is a reporter with wnyc public radio. and julie shapiro is a reporter- producer with, a web site that closely covers local news in new york. we thank you both for being with us. arun to you first. you've been out there among
6:06 pm
the protestors for several days. who are they? >> well, it's a motley group of mostly young people who have come from all over the country. they've been joined by people who are not so young who have also joined them from new york city. i've met people from los angeles, from boston. they're joined i guess what they share is sort of a sense of disenfranchisement, a sense that their voices, what they call the voices of the 99% are being muted, being canceled out by the power of structure, i guess. the 1% as they call them. at the feel like corporate interests really take precedence over the voices of the masses. . they're trying to change that. >> woodruff: julie sha peer... you've been out among the protestors. tell us about some of the people you've talked to. >> i've seen a huge variety of people. you have people who are squatting in apartments in brooklyn who have lost their jobs and in danger of being evicted. college students from pennsylvania who are concerned about the war in iraq and the
6:07 pm
america's dependence on oil. you have a huge range from one end of the spectrum to the other. what they really share is the sense that the political system is not serving their needs. they're trying to create a new way of being heard that isn't through the existing political system. >> woodruff: arun, what exactly are they asking for? have they made a list of demands? >> no. they've been criticized for not having made this list of demands. i guess they've come off as somewhat vague to people who have been following this movement. but they, i think, have been avoiding that for a reason. for one, i think they are just trying to channel this general sense of frustration and to some extent i think it has been successful because the moment that they do, i guess, crystalize this into something specific they could clearly turn off some people even if they might gain some people. right now they said they've been avoiding creating something like a policy arm that might actually bring these down into a specific list of demands. but again they come back to
6:08 pm
certain things that they think are wrong with this country. the control that they say corporate america has over the political process, things like environmental damage to the country. they want more rights for workers for the labor movement. >> woodruff: and back to you, julie, what do you hear from them? do you get a sense of a consistent message? >> i think the most consistent message is just they're not being heard through the current channels and that they feel that the wealth of the country is not being distributed equitably. they're trying to change that in a dramatic way. like arun said, there are so many different factions there and people who want so many different things that if they were to really break down a granular platform it would be easy to disenfranchise some people and they're really trying to avoid that and be welcoming and say this 99% as they call themselves they're here for all of them. >> woodruff: what about if choosing a leader, arun? what i've been reading and
6:09 pm
hearing today is that they seem to be well organized but, as one of you has just said, they don't seem to want to anoint someone as their public, at least, acknowledged leader. >> right. for them this is really about a process of trying to be inclusive, as julie said. they are very clear that they do not want to anoint a leader for several reasons. one they think that that would create a hierarchy that would be antithetical to what they stand for which is this inclusiveness. second they feel if there are people who become sort of the, i guess, the go-to people, the leaders of this movement they feel that could easily be i guess broadened by the police, targeted by various interests or they could be bought off by various interests. they're trying to avoid all these things. in some senses as you said it is organized. as other times as a journalist trying to understand what it is all about it can be very difficult because you have different people to go to, you hear different things. it can be chaotic.
6:10 pm
they're trying to make it easier on themselves as well as for others, people observing, exactly where they're going with all of this. >> woodruff: julie, when you talk to them, do you get a sense of where they want to take this movement? is it just out in the streets expressing their anger and frus vacation? what's your sense of that? >> sure. every time i've asked someone how long they're going to be there, they say as long as it takes. so i think that they're there for the long haul. they don't have a specific end game, a goal of if x happens then we'll all go home. i think they're trying to transform the political system of the country which they recognize is going to take time. it serves them to be there and to be gaining attention and to have more people be aware of their goals. so they're really achieving their goals everyday that they're there. >> woodruff: arun, how are they communicating with each other and with the news media? and do you have a sense of how the word is is spreading to different cities? i mean we are seeing something
6:11 pm
like 12, 15 different cities expecting big gatherings this week. the one in new york on wednesday with labor unions. we're expecting something in washington later this week. what are you hearing. >> that's right. well, yeah, i think this is where a lot of the momentum is is going is in the creation of all these different occupations across the country. and for them, the people in new york i thrill it is very exciting to see that happen. this has been sort of a ram shackle process for the people in new york. many of them are very young. one thing you take away from speaking to them is that the people in some of the other cities such as washington d.c. they're actually much more sophisticated at organizing. they're been doing this for a year some of them the organizers there. they've raised a lot more money than the people in new york had they're much deeper in the activist process. they have a lot of years of experience on them. i think where this is heading is, as you said, there is this big march on wednesday. what some of the people in new york say is that they... they're hoping that there will be this leap that takes place
6:12 pm
in the next couple weeks where the general public and, i think, traditional activists start seeing this as a movement that is integrated between the people occupying wall street and progressive causes, unions and community groups. and they're going to start pushing a little harder on certain traditional progressive causes things like maybe higher taxes, strength in terms of collective bargaining rights and other issues like that. >> woodruff: all right. we are going to leave it there. arun venugopal and julie shapiro, we thank you both. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> ifill: still to come on the newshour, updating the violence in syria; targeting china's currency; previewing the new supreme court term; feeding children in india; and unlocking the secrets of the human immune system. but first, with the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: stocks took another hit today on news that greece will miss the deficit targets it agreed to under a
6:13 pm
bailout plan. the statement added fuel to the fears of a partial default. european markets were down 1% to 2% or more, and so were the major indexes on wall street. the dow jones industrial average lost 258 points to close at 10,655. the nasdaq fell 79 points to close at 2335. the price of oil slid below $78 a barrel in new york, its lowest level in more than a year. president obama said he does not regret giving a $500 million federal loan to a solar panel firm that has since gone bankrupt. investigations are underway into how the company qualified for the loan despite warnings. the california company shut down last month and laid off its 1100 workers. the president addressed the issue in an interview today with abc yahoo. >> hindsight is always 20/20. it went through the regular review process. people felt like this was a good bet. but the fact of the matter is that if we don't get behind clean energy, if we don't get behind advanced battery
6:14 pm
manufacturing, if we're not the ones who are creating the cars of the future, then we're not going to be able to make stuff here in the united states of america. >> a house committee released emails from a democratic fund-raisers advising against a visit to the company last year. an appeals court jury in italy today threw out the murder convictions of american amanda knox and her former boyfriend. the court ordered both of them released. the pair had been convicted in the sexual assault and stabbing death of meredith kercher, knox's british roommate. but there were questions about the d.n.a. evidence, and knox insisted to the court today that she was innocent. we have a report from martin geissler of independent television news. >> reporter: the strain was clear on the face of amanda knox this morning. there was one last dramatic opportunity to appeal their case. in a strong, impassioned seemingly unscripted address in fluent italian she told them she was innocent. the moment was captured in the court's internal camera.
6:15 pm
>> i am not what they say i am. the perversion, the violence, the disregard for life, i haven't done what they say. i didn't kill. i didn't rape. i didn't rob. i wasn't there. >> reporter: her former boyfriend... address the court. his speech by contrast was mumbled and faultering. he showd a bracelet he's worn for four years. on it the words amanda and rafael. the knox family were in court watching. normally keen to speak for their daughter, they said nothing as they made their way in. >> how are you feeling today, mr. knox? >> reporter: the family of the murder victim, the british
6:16 pm
student meredith kircher flew in today. there can be no satisfaction for them in any of this. thefeel their daughter has been forgotten, amid talk of movie deals and big money interviews for amanda knox. >> sreenivasan: prosecutors now have to decide whether to appeal today's ruling to italy's highest court. jury selection began today for two minnesota women accused of supporting a terrorist group in somalia. federal prosecutors say the two raised thousands of dollars and recruited fighters for al- shabab, a militant organization with links to al-qaeda. the women insist they were soliciting money for muslim charities. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to gwen. >> ifill: next, the violent stalemate in syria between the government and opposition. ray suarez has the story. >> suarez: the weekend brought new images of the syrian army bombarding its own people. by all accounts, the assault in central syria saw some of the worst fighting since the
6:17 pm
uprising began six months ago. for a week the military battled hundreds of deserters who joined with protestors. but today activists reported security forces had detained 3,000 people there. word of the violence spread and prompted protests in several other cities. meanwhile leaders from several opposition factions gathered in istanbul turkey on sunday to form a united front. >> we have heeded the call of the syrian opposition and established this council. >> suarez: the new syrian national council urged international action against the government of president bashir al assad to stop the killing of civilians. reports of the council's formation brought clapping and cheering from crowds in several cities across syria. still assad continues to hold on to power. he does have supporters.
6:18 pm
on thursday a group of them pelted the convoy of u.s. ambassador robert ford with eggs and tomatoes as he headed to a meeting with an opposition leader. and there's no end in sight. reports from a town say a new military operation is underway there. faced with such prospects, the protestors are starting to take up arms and the casualties are growing. the united nations estimates at least 2700 syrians have died since the uprising began. for more we're joined by deborah amos who is covering these developments from beirut. deborah, what's the latest word coming out of this town? >> well, the latest word is that the army has completely retaken that town. there was a five-day battle in rastan and the army has made it very clear, this is a town that had a certain number of army detectors.
6:19 pm
they went... produced a video a few weeks ago that said that they had defected from the army. they were going to protect the people of rastan. the army message this week has been we will not allow a bengs ay in syria meaning we will not have the same situation as we saw in libya where there was a place where army detect... defectors and opposition people could gather. the syrian army made it very clear this week that they will not tolerate that. after those five days they brought an enormous amount of tanks to the town, soldiers to the town and now they have retaken that town. >> suarez: 3,000 people getting picked up sounds pretty ominous. dangerous even. have there been sweeps like this earlier in this conflict if you get arrested, do you ever get released? >> there are documented 15,000 people who have been arrested throughout the country. there have been arrests sweeps before this one.
6:20 pm
it's not really surprising that there would be this kind of arrest. the syrian government says that the people in rastan are armed terrorist groups. that has been the government line all along about who is out on the streets. and so to take back the town, it would be a normal government policy to arrest that many people. now, the pictures that the official syrian news agency ran make it seem like it was very horrific in rastan. there's not been a whole lot of information coming out because most of the communications were cut there. but syrian newspapers today did run the pictures and also that they were bringing in people to clean up the town. i think that the violence is now going to shift to a town that is very close to rastan. there's another town where we've seen... it's become a hub for defectors. in fact three or four neighborhoods have closed themselves off in hommes and
6:21 pm
also has done a stand-off against the military. >> suarez: and deborah, there's a new development from hommes. tell us about it. >> well, the new head of the syrian national council, his niece was kidnapped there today. this follows the assassination of the chief cleric in syria. the son was shot on sunday. these events are, you know, making people very, very nervous. as this country slides into the kind of violence that resembles a sectarian, a civil war. >> suarez: so people in and out of syria who were worried whether there was an alternative to bashir al assad is the formation of this government in exile a significant move? >> the way that i sort of judge these things is what did the activists on the streets say about what happened at this meeting in istanbul, this
6:22 pm
new syrian national council? there were many many videos released yesterday after the announcement of the formation of the council from the streets saying finally, finally the opposition has organized itself and now there is a public international face for this uprising. it doesn't comprise everybody. there are still some arguments. but over these seven months finally the opposition has stopped playing individual politics, has found common cause and has rallied together and say they will now begin to lobby the international community to step up actions against syria. here's the question. is it enough for the fence- sitters-- and there are many of them inside syria-- is it enough for them to say this is the alternative? i think that is not clear. we have to see how they behave in an international setting. we also have to see what governments recognize the syrian national council.
6:23 pm
and all this comes as the violence in syria is escalating. >> suarez: well, as you mentioned, as people were looking around for alternatives, does this kind of development give a place as support for assad is sinking around the world, give a place for that new power to shift, a place if you want to support the opposition for that support to go some place concrete? >> well, it is not all that concrete. for example, there is no office. there is no address. let's say you're an army defector inside syria, where do you go? that has been the problem for defectors. many of them sneak across the borders. there are 300 of them in turkey. there are more than 60 of them in jordan. there are some dozens here in lebanon. it is very hard for the opposition to say here's where you go. this is the address.
6:24 pm
especially as things are getting more violent and more of the protestors are being hunted and being arrested and are being taken to jail, i think that this meeting does help. it does give a face to the opposition. the very fact that you have secularist leftist communists and the muslim brotherhood altogether under one umbrella and the tribes and the kurds, all these disparate groups who have been opponents of the assad regime for a long time but never really came together, never gelled together in any kind of group, the other side of that is you have an uprising which is a grass roots organization. so if you can bring these two sides together, then you have something. but this is very different than libya. libya actually had a city. it had a place. the syrian opposition does not have that. >> suarez: npr's deborah amos.
6:25 pm
deb, good to talk to you. >> thanks, ray. >> woodruff: the set is stage for punishing one of the nation's most aggressive competitors. the bill aimed at china's currency cleared a 60-vote threshold this evening. the move comes as unemployment here in u.s. remains high and jobs continue to go overseas. newshour congressional correspondent kwame holman has our story. >> reporter: the colorful chinese currency known as the you-want has been a target of u.s. political leaders for years. they argue it's deliberately undervalued to give chinese companies price advantages in international trade. the issue reached the u.s. senate today in a bill to allow counterveiling duties on chinese goods for currency manipulation. economic action against china has undeniable political appeal as lawmakers watch jobs moving to china even as american unemployment sits
6:26 pm
stubbornly above 9%. >> we need to fight for and defend aggressively every single job this country has. as against unfair trade practices, we need to say no. >> they use the rules of free trade when it benefits them. and spurn the rules of free trade when it benefits them. and for years and years and years americans have grim ased, shrugged their shoulders but never done anything effective to enlarge... to in large measure stop the chinese pursuit of unfair mercantileism. >> reporter: others warn the bill is not the way to address an undervalued chinese currency and it could have unintended consequences. >> so the united states senate, the body of 100 people that are elected for six-year terms,
6:27 pm
wants to put in place tariffs on a major growing country that we have growing exports to and create a trade war? a trade war between the two largest economies in the world? that's our response? >> reporter: the u.s. treasury department historically has favored negotiations instead of direct action. and it now says the chinese currency has risen in value about 7% since june of last year. at the white house today, spokesman jay carney said president obama has not taken a position on the senate bill yet. >> we're still in the process of reviewing it. we share the goal that it represents, which is to achieve further appreciation of china's currency. we've seen some appreciation since last summer which has been useful and good but not enough. >> reporter: the chinese say the senate bill is expedient and shallow. in a commentary today the state news agency complained, "this has become a common practice.
6:28 pm
whenever the u.s. economy is slow, whenever an election is nearing, voices in the united states pressing for the rise in the currency are all over." in fact, the issue has entered the 2012 republican presidential campaign. but the candidates are divided over how to proceed. >> we're going to clamp down on china for not living by the rules that they signed up to live by. we're going to make sure they get sanctioned. >> what will fix the u.s.-china relationship real itically is fixing our core right here at home. our core is weak and it is broken. we have no leverage at the negotiating table. >> reporter: the senate debate is likely to consume most of this week but even if the china currency bill passes there, republicans in charge of the house say they have no plans to take it up. >> ifill: it's the first monday in october, and that means the u.s. supreme court is back at work. the court has a docket full of
6:29 pm
controversial cases on topics ranging from obscenity to strip searches to warrantless surveillance. then there are the cases that haven't officially reached the court yet, including a challenge to the constitutionality of the federal health care law. joining us to preview the term: newshour regular marcia coyle of the "national law journal" and tom goldstein, founder of the web site let's first talk, marcia about the big elephant in the room that's not actually on the docket. that's the health care law. how many states have brought this chal tong the court? >> well, i would say a total of 27 now. 26 states filed one lawsuit. virginia filed its own lawsuit. there are many lawsuits around the country, but right now the supreme court has, i think, maybe five petitions. does that sound about right, tom? five petitions asking the court to get involved. and th obama administration now has also asked the supreme
6:30 pm
court to review the legal queestions. that's probably the only thing that all the parties agree on at this point is is that the supreme court should get involved. >> ifill: when both sides agree that the supreme court should get involved sooner rather than later does that make it more likely to happen. >> it does make it more likely. here it's all about certain. the federal courts of appeal say it is absolutely on the fast track. >> ifill: what other things are not quite on the docket yet that everybody is waiting for them to arrive? >> well, the main event comes after health care. we have arizona's very famous immigration law and the question of the states' role in enforcing immigration policy. we have a critical case about affirmative action in higher education. this case is really important because it might be another place where the roberts' court takes a step to the right and back from earlier decisions giving.... >> ifill: the university of texas. >> exactly right. their program where about 20% of the students have race as part of the consideration.
6:31 pm
there's a major religion case that is coming up that will tell us a little bit more about the role that the government can have. this is where the state of utah is involved in a program of putting crosses by the side of the highway where officers die. there are a number of really hot-button social issues waiting in the wings. >> ifill: waiting in the wings means it may not necessarily get argued this year but if the court takes it up it's significant in and of itself. >> that's true, gwen. the affirmative action, there's a petition that's already been filed so we will know this term probably if the court is going to take it or not. and the arizona immigration case the governor of arizona has already filed a petition with the court. we may well know this term yet if the court will take it. >> ifill: tom, let's talk about some of the things actually on the docket. one of them is the case involving strip club... strip searches not strip clubs. strip searches for this individual who was arrested on
6:32 pm
a minor offense. you're involved in this case. >> right. so i'm biased a little biment. i represent the defendant. but there's a battle of two important considerations here. these are people who have been arrested for minor offenses. there's no reason to believe they're particularly carrying contraband but they're strip searched on the other hand. the jails have a concern about the smuggling into the facility. the supreme court will have to deal for that. >>. >> ifill: i was thinking about the nudity case which is also before the court. >> compliments of fox television and abc. the court is going to take a look at the federal communications commission's regulations that have fleeting expletives and nudity that involves cher and nicole richy who during two separate awards shows used expletives and a segment of the now nypd blues in which a woman's naked but theto bes was shown.
6:33 pm
this case was on the supreme court on the fleeding expletive issue but it did not deal directly with whether the regulations violated the first amendment. >> ifill: there's another case which is coming which also feels like it was taken from the entertainment world. this is about g.p.s. searches. there was a movie called enemy of the state where you could follow a guy based on something you attached to his car. turns out now in this age of g.p.s. this is a real issue. >> that's right. it's happening today. the supreme court is going to have to decide if the police want to attach a g.p.s. tracker to your car, do they have to go get a judge's permission in order to use that to know where you're driving around? and so that's important in its own right but it also is another step forward in the court's trying to deal with new technologies and privacy and where to draw the line. >> ifill: seems like we're hitting every possible hot button in this court. the reliability of eyewitness something that was a major question in this troy davis case. >> i don't think the court is going to get right on point in
6:34 pm
terms of the reliability of eyewitness testimony. this comes up in a different sort of fact pattern involving circumstances in which the police may have suggested that a certain person committed the crime, suggested it to the person who is an eyewitness. but it is the first time in many many years that the court is taking a look at how eyewitness testimony is viewed. >> ifill: of course there is not a very amazing court session without religion involved in this. in this case it's the case about whether a religious school can, what, fire somebody who doesn't share their religion? >> that's right. the question is whether religious organizations, might be a school, might be a church, some other... something affiliated with a religion, the extent to which they're subject to the federal civil rights laws. the laws that say you won't discriminate on the basis of race, gender or religion. does the application of that law say to go this school in this instance you can't fire someone or engage in retaliation against them, does that involve the government
6:35 pm
too much in religion? where do you draw the line where it's actually the government dictate to go the religion what it's own religious beliefs are. on the other hand how do we protect people from discrimination when they work in those institutions. >> ifill: when we look at what the court has decided to take, what does that tell us about this reordered court? we now have a fairly settled group of justices. nobody we think is resigning. there are no new justices i think for the first time since justice roberts took over. what does that tell us? anything in. >> i think instead of looking for big scenes right now what we're seeing with this court is a continuation of interest in certain areas of the law. for example, the first amendment. we've seen some really interesting cases that the court has handled, the violent video games, the protests at military funerals. now again we have a first amendment case involving the f.c.c.and the fleeting expletives. a continuation of their interest in the fourth amendment as we see with the
6:36 pm
g.p.s. case and the strip searches. one thing, gwen, that we don't see on the docket is a big business case. last term there were several huge business cases. it's still early. the court can add cases to the docket. generally up until about mid january, add it for arguments in the current term. so we'll see what happens there. >> ifill: is the lack of a business case mean that it's more likely to be kind of a political court, the health care case could come down in the middle of an election year. a lot of these other cases touch on political issues. >> if they take not only health care but i am grigs immigration, if they get involved in affirmative action and religion, this will be remembered as an incredibly ideological term because those cases will be decided by very narrow margins between conservatives and liberals. >> ifill: is it fair to say this is how the roberts' case will be defined a year like this. >> there was a similar year 2006-07 when the case had race
6:37 pm
and abortion and religion on the docket. it was a very divisive term for the court. there were a lot of unhappy justices that term. >> ifill: marcia coyle, tom goldstein we'll be riding it through with both of you. thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> woodruff: we turn to >> woodruff: and we turn to india, where the economy is growing rapidly, but not fast enough yet to take care of its millions of poor and hungry children. special correspondent fred de sam lazaro reports on a solution that's resulted in the world's largest school lunch program. a version of this story aired on the pbs program "religion and ethics newsweekly." >> reporter: in thousands of schools across india, teacher s will tell you to add one more r to reading, writing and arithmetic. recess may be the most critical part of a student's school day.
6:38 pm
that's because morning recess is when students are provided a hot meal as are a few younger siblings who are allowed to come along. the principal of this school in india. >> in this school, only about five children in all are able to bring lunch from home. we have about 300 children. >> reporter: anywhere from a third to 40% of the world was undernourished children live in india today. about half of all children here have stunted growth. those grim statistics contrast sharply with the glowing ones on india economy. >> india finds itself acutely embarrassed. its ambitions of being a global power are very poorly reflected in the social sector indicators. there is an acute embarrassment that the second fastest growing economy in the
6:39 pm
world has almost half of its children malnourished. >> reporter: in 2005 india's supreme court ruled activists and ordered the government to ensure that every child gets a cooked meal in school. this person who works for a commission that monitors compliance with the court order says officials resisted at first. >> on the grounds there was no infrastructure, that teachers would get all the burden, that indian didn't have the financial resources to start a program of this nature. but the supreme court reaffirmed that fiscal constraints can never be allowed to come in the way of children's right to food. and if the government had to tighten their belt, it had to happen elsewhere. >> reporter: with the stroke of a pen the court ordered the largest school meal program in the world. that left the daunting task of implementing it. >> the challenge in our country is how to deliver it. and deliver it up to the last mile. that is the challenge. because a large country with
6:40 pm
120 million children in hundreds and thousands of schools, that delivery is a genuine challenge. >> reporter: the group called bottomless pot was among the first to step in. it was started in the '90s by a group of hari krishna devotees preparing school lunches. later when such meals became the law of the land, he went to the government for funds to expand and to india's corporate sector for expertise. >> passion alone is not enough. you need to have organization. you need to have organizational capabilities. you need to have... it has been a very unique marriage of dedicated missionaries and professionals. >> reporter: and with their wallets. among india's growing middle class there's a dawning of philanthropy he says. many people are attaining
6:41 pm
wealth at a much earlier age. >> my parents-- we come from a middle class family-- would have a house when they were probably 50 years of age. in today's india, by the time someone working in a software company in india, by the time they are 28 or 30 years old, they already have a house. they have a car. and then what? they still have a lot of disposable income. and they're genuinely looking for opportunities where their money can be used well for social development. >> reporter: it is now the largest of several social enterprises doing school lunches. it serves 1.3 million children every day from kitchens like this one, efficient and productive as any in the world says the manager. >> (inaudible) the ingredients
6:42 pm
we use are something like 7,000 (inaudible). >> reporter: 300,000. hours before students show up to school, workers begin feeding wheat flour into giant mixers. at the other end flat breads called chipatis emerge 40,000 per hour packed in spotless conditions. in industrial sized cauldrons rice and a lien till stew are prepared. no animal products are used. hari krishna devotees are vegetarian in principle. so are most students by economic necessity. in the desert summer, school starts early and the meals arrive as early as 9:00 a.m. in the four years since it
6:43 pm
began catering in this area the most visible impact is in school attendance. it's up 11%. no surprise to the principal. >> some of the children their economic condition is so poor that they are not able to eat food in their home. so many of them depend on their midday meal. >> reporter: the whole day's nutrition? >> yes for the whole day's nutrition. >> reporter: she says the students have more energy and improved concentration in class. for its part, the company plans to expand its meal program five fold by 2020. still not all children, especially in the vast countryside, have benefited equally from the supreme court's order says compliance monitor. >> for instance, one state... i despair of the quality of the meals that i've been served there. even in states where the meals work well, in the remote parts of the state, you have meals
6:44 pm
which are not comparable at all in quality to what children in the rest of the country are getting. >> reporter: we like it, they responded when asked about their food. but when i asked how many students have to go hungry on the days when there's no school, the response wass also nearly unanimous. they all did. despite the supreme court's sweeping order and large recent initiatives to address it, malnutrition remains a daunting problem. it is is the root cause of 2500 child deaths in india every day. >> woodruff: fred's reporting is a partnership with the undertold stories project at saint mary's university in minnesota. >> ifill: the first of this year's nobel prizes was awarded today. jeffrey brown looks at the advances in treating cancer and other diseases made possible by the work of this year's winners. >> brown: in the words of the
6:45 pm
nobel committee, the three laureates have "revolutionized our understanding of the immune system by discovering key principles for its activation." american bruce beutler and french scientist jules hoffman won for their discovery of the mechanism that triggers "innate" immune responses. canadian ralph steinman, who taught for many years at rockefeller university in new york, shared the prize for discovering the trigger for so- called "adaptive" immune responses. shortly after the prize was announced, news also came that dr. steinman had died this past friday. and while the prize is generally not awarded posthumously, the nobel foundation announced that in this case its decision would stand. joining us now to explain the research of this year's winners is dr. anthony fauci, head of the national institute of allergy and infectious diseases. welcome back, dr. fauci. so before we get into the details in general terms this is about how the body fights disease. >> indeed. what the laureates established and discovered was the precise
6:46 pm
mechanisms whereby the two components of the immune system are activated. the very primitive, inate immune system which was what beutler and hoffman discoverd. and then the connection between that inate immune system and what we call the adaptive immune system which is much more sophisticated part of our immune system which is what ralph steinman was able to delineate by discovering this very specialized cell so it is really a very worthy discovery of the nobel prize. >> brown: start with a little bit more on the inate i am unity. this is described as the first line of defense. what that is that mean. >> a very primitive line of defense. it's what very, very early primitive animals have who have not yet involved into developing what we call an ataptive immune system. it instantaneously senses invaders like bacteria or viruses or parasites. it's rather non-specific. but it's very instantaneous in its ability to recognize these
6:47 pm
invaders and to trigger a response that would protect the organism in question, be it an ameeb a or a much more developed organism. that's what we mean by inate. very rapid, very quick but not very specific. >> brown: what did the discovery by beutler and hoffman allow once you know that? >> they discovered very molecules that the cells that are the cells of the inate immune system use to recognize these invaders, these bacteria and these viruses. the word that was used is a toll-like receptors. it was some early work that hoffman did in the fruit fly where he noticed that they had a gene which when it was an abnormal gene they did not defend themselves very well against funk eye. in the mouse beutler showed the same sort of thing to show these were the molecules responsible for triggering this very early response. >> brown: the so-called...
6:48 pm
move to go the so-called adaptive i am unity, the work by dr. steinman. the intriguing idea that sort of hit me is that the immune system develops a kind of memory to deal with specific attacks. you said this is more complicated. explain. >> well, what it is is that for the early response, it's very non-specific but the adaptive immune system is much more complicated one. it has memory and what we call specificity. it will specifically recognize something, and it will remember the next time you get exposed to that. so it gives a much more robust response. what ralph steinman discovered was the particular type of cell called dendritic cell which bridges the gap between the two immune system by picking up viruss or bacteria or other antigens, even tumor cells and presenting those cells, those products to the immune system that
6:49 pm
specifically recognizes it. so it's kind of a carrier cell that is able to take whatever it is that you want to respond to and present it in a very specific way to the specific or adaptive immune system. >> brown: so how do these breakthroughs translate into treatments or therapies or vaccines? >> well, they're going to be very, very important, for example, in determining the molecular mechanisms of how you activate the immune system which would immediately allow you to control it. either by boosting it with what we call agivens or suppressing it when it gets out of line. particularly the dendrit k cells are very interesting in that they're the front line of the future type of vaccines using dendritic cells that you actually pulse with a particular protein that you want the body to make an immune response to. then you infuse it back into the body so that it now very, very specifically induces an immune response.
6:50 pm
so it has the complications for everything from cancer to vaccinations to agivins and to protecting us against infections. >> brown: you said it's going to be. no vaccines yet? i mean, where do things stand? >> there's no product on the shelf, as it were, that is the result of this. but the science is so elegant in this that there's no question that these are going to be breaking through and really providing some very important countermeasures in the future, be they vaccines or therapies against cancer. >> brown: i do want to ask you before we end here, i mentioned that dr. steinman had died friday of pancreatic cancer. there was word out from rockefeller university where he worked that he in fact had been treated by a kind of experimental immunotherapy based on his own work. i think we're still getting information about that. do you know much about that? >> well, yes. in fact, he did. you know, he had obviously a very serious cancer. unfortunately he died just a
6:51 pm
couple of days ago. but as part of his therapy, he employd this technique of using dendritic cells that you could actually pulse with tumor antigens. >> brown: and? >> obviously it didn't succeed. he had an advanced form of cancer. he had it for a few years. he did relatively well for the years he was sick. a senior very brave man. we should mention he was doing elegant science literally to the very end of his life. >> brown: dr. anthony fauci on the three nobel laureates in medicine this year. thanks so much. >> you're welcome. >> ifill: again, the major developments of the day. anti-wall street protesters kept up a growing campaign against what they call corporate greed, stocks took a hit over new worries about a partial default by greece. the dow industrials lost nearly 260 points.
6:52 pm
a court through out a murder conviction against amanda nox. she was released after four years behind bars. we have much more online. hari sreenivasan previews some of the stories on our politics and world pages. hari? >> sreenivasan: in this week's political checklist, gwen and judy chat with political editor david chalian about florida's move to set its g.o.p. primary in january, and what that means for other states. our global health beat posted a slideshow from somalia, where an international aid group offers help for drought and famine victims in mogadishu. from our partners global post we get a preview of their new series exploring gay rights around the world. and on art beat, we remember palestinian poet taha muhammad ali, who died over the weekend. jeffrey brown visited him in his hometown of nazareth in 2007. here is an excerpt from the profile he produced at that time. >> in my place there is no palestine, no israel.
6:53 pm
the suffering, sadness, longing, fear, together make palestine and it real. >> sreenivasan: that was poet taha muhammad ali. he died on sunday in nazareth, israel. he was 80 years old. all that and more is on our web site, >> woodruff: and again, to our honor roll of american service personnel killed in the iraq and afghanistan conflicts. we add them as their deaths are made official and photographs become available. here, in silence, are 8 more.
6:54 pm
>> ifill: and that's the newshour for tonight. on tuesday, we'll look at the congressional testimony of federal reserve chairman ben bernanke about the nation's economic outlook. i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. we'll see you online, and again
6:55 pm
here tomorrow evening. thank you, and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: chevron. we may have more in common than you think. intel. and by bnsf railway. and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. 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.
6:56 pm
6:57 pm
6:58 pm
stocks fell on worries that china might... announcer: the new pbs for ipad app.
6:59 pm
you'll never know what you'll find. [dog barks] announcer: available now in the app store.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on