Skip to main content

tv   Sino Tv Early Evening News  PBS  November 22, 2010 6:00pm-7:00pm PST

6:00 pm
,, welcome to "the journal". ccoming to you from dw-tv. in cambodia, more than 300 people killed in a stampede after pact breaks out at a festival. dublin starts bailout talks at the u.n. the imf, sparking a political crisis and calls for early elections. for the first time in 4 under vehrs, a piracy trial. a somalian pirate appears in court. cambodian state television is
6:01 pm
reporting 339 people, many of them women, have been killed in a stampede at a festival at the capitol. mass panic broke out during festivities to mark the end of the three day water festival. witnesses say 1000 people were on the bridge at the time. many of the victims are believed to have drowned after jumping into the water below. others are thought to have been trampled to death. for the latest, we go live to not papnom penh. can you tell us what happened on that bridge? >> according to police, rumor that the bridge collapse [unintelligible] and some said that after that,
6:02 pm
the people were panicked, and they started to push each other. more stopped and fall down and some jump into the water. >> can we expect the death toll to rise? are people being helped? >> they announced on tv 10 minutes ago that the death toll is 239. officials believed that number will continue to rise. more and more victims are being taken to hospitals. >> our correspondent with the latest about that catastrophe. thank you. we will have more details as they come in.
6:03 pm
irish prime -- the irish prime minister has ruled out snap elections but said he would dissolve parliament after it passes a budget next month. that at the center of the international bailout plan. the greens called for a general election to be held in general. they are criticizing the bailout and there were protests before the parliament building today. at a protest organized by sinn fein, demonstrators forced their anger at the prime minister. they opposed the planned austerity measures. some politicians are making the same demand. >> we do not see the reason because -- this government has
6:04 pm
no mandate in the next couple weeks. the eel and imf are likely to put pressure on dublin to implement measures to cut the enormous debt. >> it is being negotiated currently with the irish authorities. by the progression with the imf in liaison. >>the program will address the fiscal genesis. >> the bellard package is expected to total as much as 90 billion euros. ireland may have to raise taxes in return. until now, the country has been able to attract many foreign companies with its low corporate tax rate. the tough conditions could impinge on sovereignty on fiscal
6:05 pm
matters. >> it is an unfortunate day for the country. it is the way it is. nothing more to say, really. >> this is a disgrace. >> whatever the final outcome, the people violent face difficult times ahead. >> we are joined by our correspondent from the irish state broadcaster in dublin. what did the prime minister say? >> he said he is staying in office despite a day of speculation he might step down or be forced to step down by his own party. some of whom are nervous about facing a general election with him as the leadership of the party. he will stay in office and do three things. pass a budget on december 7 and get established into law the
6:06 pm
necessary legal measures. he would publish a for your economic program that is designed to reduce government spending and raise taxes to close out the large budget deficit that exists. and to conclude a deal with the european union and teams that are in dublin that would provide funding for this country over the next three years. >> their position has been critical of the austerity plan or plans. do they have a way out of the crisis themselves? >> they have various plans but none of them are very cohesive. the opposition party would support the objective of cutting $6 billion -- 6 billion out of the budget. the socialist labour party would not favor that figure. it would probably sued both of those parties if the government stayed in office and did
6:07 pm
passion -- pass the budget. then calling a general election in the early spring time once the budgetary measures have been passed. >> thanks for the update. over to steve with them look at how the markets are reacting. >> even though the eu and ireland have gone to extremes to soothe nerves and calm down the market, there are many unknowns. the irish government has been putting the final touches on a four year plan to cut 15 billion euros in government spending. the irish government hopes to publish its plan on tuesday. it is negotiating the size of the rescue package with the eu and imf. they do not know yet -- the do believe it will be getting around 90 billion euros to help rescue domestic banks that overextended themselves in the
6:08 pm
run-up to the financial crisis. let's take a look at market reaction. european shares retreated as the request for the bailout failed to convince investors that eurozone regions' debt crisis has been contained. here's this summary of the day's trading. >> there was some relief on the financial markets. for the time being, the irish state budget and the banking sector seem to be safe. the concerns are not gone. moody's kamala rating agency said that most probably the irish government are facing another downgrade. the bonds may have to cope with another downward correction of the value of these delavan bonds. this outlook weighed on the stocks for the financial sector. it caused the good mood to
6:09 pm
vanish completely. >> the eurostock sliding and finishing at 2811. the dow lower by 0.4 of 1%. on currency markets, the you're treading -- euro trading down. the german government management consultant firm has decided not to merge with its rival. it would have created a consultancy giant. key partners including the company's founder and namesake voted almost unanimously to remain independent and funding
6:10 pm
its expansion as a stand-alone business. as germany's biggest building company continues to fend off a hostile takeover bid, it has announced new plans to spend -- expanded to a new sector. shipping harbors. they have unveiled plans to join up with dusbergen-haffen. the first projects which will capitalize on a rebound are planned for europe and south america. spain's acs is pursuing its -- continuing its pursuit. >> for the first time, almost 400 years, the northern german port city of hamburg is holding a trial against suspected
6:11 pm
pirates. one of the legal questions is whether some of the pirates are old enough to stand trial. >> the dog was crowded and the trial opened in hamburg. the 10 alleged pirates are being tried in this court. they are being defended by a team of 20 lawyers. prosecutors know little about the defendants. even their ages are not certain. the trial is expected to be complicated. prosecutors say they are certain of success. >> we have gathered sufficient evidence. we have presented the court with 22 witnesses and plenty of material evidence. including weapons. >> the men are accused of having seized the freighter in april. there were able to hide in a safe room -- the crew was able to hide in a safe room.
6:12 pm
piracy is commonplace in somalia. the defendant's' lawyers argue that their citizens see no other option but to return to crime. >> you know it is a poor country where millions are starving. it is difficult for people to get by. that has something to do with this case. >> the trial is likely to last until next year. if convicted, the defendants could face up to 15 years in prison. >> staying in germany. the apparent murder of tv zero teenaged children has shocked -- two teenaged children have shocked many. the girl was reported missing but several witnesses reported seeing her in the area in the following days. the boy went missing over the weekend.
6:13 pm
both attended the same school but have no further connection to one another. for the first time since the german government moved to berlin from bonn, authorities have placed restrictions on the parliament building. the move comes after germany and heightened its terrorism level alert say they had information of a specific threat. the government is providing -- advising the public not to give into hysteria. >> the police barriers have been in place for a few days. pre-arranged groups, members of parliament, and parliamentary employees have access. the government is striking a balance between security and maintaining normal daily procedures. interior ministers have called on citizens to be more aware but warn against falling victim to hysteria.
6:14 pm
>> it should be clear that we need citizens to be vigilant. maintaining and establishing order is the duty of the security. re>> reports were not helpful. the interior ministry is informing parliamentarians about the attacks. in closed-door session. >> three german soldiers have been injured in an attack by the taliban in afghanistan. roadside bomb exploded during
6:15 pm
trouble. the soldiers injuries are not life-threatening and they're being treated in the country. the german defense minister says the country's armed forces will and construction -- end conscription next year. they will meet to discuss the biggest reforms in their history. the changes will make it easier to deploy a larger force for logger time overseas and should reduce the defense budget. in efforts -- efforts to rescue a man trapped in a coal mine in new zealand are on hold. help must come quickly of there is to be any chance of getting them out alive. authorities say the bidding for the results on gases suggest
6:16 pm
that methane is still present, making rescue action extremely hazardous. there has been no word from the minors since the explosion on friday in the pike river mine. in southwestern china, 29 coal miners trapped after an accident have been arrested. state television showed rescuers bringing up the last of the men from the mine. they were trapped on sunday when water suddenly flooded. china is notorious for its poor mining record. last year, 2006 hundred miners died in coal mining accidents. some sports now. jokovich ohas defeated his opponent at the world finals in london. the third seed dominated from start to finish. he benefited from strong serbs.
6:17 pm
stay with us and i will have more on ireland's problems. coming up in one minute.
6:18 pm
>> the irish government is in tough negotiations with european and international banks for a massive bailout. the prime minister is responding to calls for him to quit and call new elections by saying there are not necessary and the government will pass its tough austerity budget as planned on december 7. the average crisis began in 2008 when the country's real estate and banking industries began imploding. the country's post houses, 300,000 unoccupied or partially finished homes dot the irish countryside. many fear harder times are to come. >> the banking crisis has taken the wind out of ireland's sales.
6:19 pm
-- sails. they are board about the future and maintaining their independence. >> things are going to be tough. there is a lot of disappointment out there. a lot of people do not know what tomorrow brings. >> we're really let down. then let us down so badly. i am sure the should have done something sooner. >> nearly everyone has been affected. wages and social benefits have gone down while taxes have gone up. after the boom years of the cal tech tiger -- celtic tiger's soaring economy, ireland has crashed back down to earth.
6:20 pm
of the global financial crisis, the property bubble burst. many construction sites are silent. there are have built houses across the country. many are struggling to pay their mortgages. the fear is that a new wave of defaults could make the situation worse. irish banks have hit hard. especially the anglo-irish bank which provided loans to property developers, often without guarantees. the irish government was forced repeatedly to step in and support the banks with a total of 35 billion euros. as a result, ireland has amassed huge debt. the prime minister resisted the need for a bailout as long as he could. on sunday, he gave up the resistance. mexican from the government has decided to apply for financial
6:21 pm
assistance at the european union. the request was transmitted to european authorities this evening. authorities have agreed to our request. >> ireland's government is on the verge of collapse. the junior coalition partners have called for new elections. the country has to navigate a government crisis on top of the debilitating economic crisis. >> irish political leaders did not explain to the public the complete dabs of the financial crisis. earlier, we asked our correspondent in brussels would persuaded them to change their minds. -- what persuaded them to change their minds. >> dublin came under immense pressure led by germany. germany is the biggest guarantor of any bailout. the pressure is immense. it was not just about dublin and ireland. it was about saving the year. i think that was an argument
6:22 pm
that the prime minister could not read it -- resist. >> how confident are ministers this move will stabilize the eurozone? >> hopeful rather than confidence. they have the experience of the greek bailout in april when markets rose and fell on every whim and change of mood. there is no guarantee. they hope they can contain this problem and hope it does not spread. they're hoping and waiting to see. >> will this include a loss of sovereignty as many people in ireland fear? >> i think it is. that is why ireland did not want the bailout. it is a big political issue. that is why there is public opprobrium. theit is something the prime
6:23 pm
minister had to accept was inevitable. he will pay the political price in the coming months. >> in ireland, the way business is done will change. >> i think it is and even if it were not to do so, this number crunches are looking over -- there will make sure the austerity measures are deep and effective. that means big cutbacks for the irish public. dublin is determined to do what is necessary to win the support of the international community to get the bailout and restore confidence. around the 16 countries which have a single currency. >> thank you. >> the irish economic crisis is leading to a mass exodus of young people. ireland is in the grips of then out-migration the likes of
6:24 pm
which have not been seen since the 1950's. cellmark comparing it to the high level of departures during the 1840's, the famine years. they are mainly the best and brightest. >> keira has graduated from the university of dublin. she can find nothing. she has decided to leave and go to new zealand. >> it is doom and gloom all the time. everyone is saying it will not come down for a while. there is no jobs and i would like to settle somewhere else. >> the boom came to a shuddering halt. dublin -- in dublin, the unfinished headquarters. the government stepped in to save the bank after the property bubble burst. >> this is the fault of the
6:25 pm
irish. we did it ourselves and we did it by refusing to focus on the things that got us rich in the first place. we started thinking that wealth came from selling overpriced houses to each other. >> ireland is on the brink of bankruptcy. the tens of billions pumped in to prop up the banks and plunge the country into record debt. unemployment has gone up. the budget deficit is 32% of gdp. >> i just get sick of it. i know people who are like my dad's friends and my dad, they do not pick up a newspaper because it is too depressing. >> the bailout will give dublin some breathing room. it will be attached to conditions that the eu and imf will monitor the austerity program. financial experts are optimistic. >> in light of what arlette has
6:26 pm
done to fix the public finances and the banking system, we are beginning to see the benefits. it is a young population. ireland can grow. >> what happens if the young and educated are the strongest irish export? we asked students how many see their future and outside ireland. the student union predicts many will leave. >> i would love to come back and i want to live here. i have to wait and see. if i can get a job in new zealand, i will come home. >> most do not see signs the situation will improve soon. >> that is our "in depth".
6:27 pm
thanks for joining us.
6:28 pm
6:29 pm
6:30 pm
>>this week on world business... >>it stages staggeringly expensive olympic games and is an economic powerhouse, so why does china still receive millions in foreign aid? >>i'm not saying this is a taboo question but it's a question that for the time being our leadership, let's say, has decided not to take an aggressive stand. >>reopening the river, egypt is pushing to get more freight shipped on the nile. >>the flow of cargos up and down the nile could be increased massively. >>why the wonders of the natural world are such a huge inspiration for scientists. >>we're not gonna make supertankers swim like fish. that's not the point.
6:31 pm
>>hello and welcome. i'm raya abirached and this is world business, your weekly insight into the global business trends shaping our lives. china is now the world's 2nd largest economy and growing at ablistering rate. the country also spent billions of dollars on showpiece events like the olympic games and the shanghai expo. so why are other countries still sending aid money to this economic powerhouse? >>reporter: bucks for bamboo; in rural sichuan, europe's taxpayers are funding a two and a half million dollar project to help revive, boost and sustain stocks of this fast-growing, versatile, substitute for timber. >>reporter: managed by the international network for bamboo and rattan, inbar, the programme also promotes saferfactory working conditions, more effective
6:32 pm
marketing and greater use of bamboo in construction. thegoal is to strengthen economic recovery in a region where the production chain was destroyed in the2008 earthquake. but there's a long way to go. >>yiping: a lot of problems, i think, for the workers' safety, for resource efficiency - so i think this project can bring a lot of experience or expertise from outside to help with lots of people. >>reporter: indeed - but in europe's age of austerity, why isn't china financing projects like this itself ? >>the world's second largest economy has some 2.5 trillion dollars in foreign reserves. yet it stillwelcomes 2.5 billion dollars annually in foreign aid - 70 million dollars from the european commission's budget alone, millions more from eu member countries including cash-strapped greece and ireland. >>abou: we try to adapt smartly to this situation where we have to help a country which has huge financial means
6:33 pm
- but i can say that in spite of that, these programmes that we are helping would not be done if there was not our help. >>reporter: poverty reduction, environmental protection, strengthening civil society - these kinds of targeted programmes are actually political priorities for major donors like the eu, the us and japan. but there's also a legal explanation for aiding china. >>reporter: for sure, china has the means to dazzle by spending billions on events like the shanghai expo and the beijing olympics - not to mention a hundred billion dollars annually maintaining its military. and the country has also emerged as a multi billion dollar donor itself - though it's accused of propping up unstable african regimes as it seeks valuable mining rights to feed its industries. >>reporter: but despite having most of the world's billionaires, china's per capita annual income is below 4,000dollars. and so, under the framework of the organisation
6:34 pm
for economic co-operation and development,the oecd, china still qualifies for international aid. >>abou: i'm not saying this is a taboo question but it's a question that for the time being our leadership, let's say, has decided not to take an aggressive stand. >>reporter: in 2008. oecd member japan contributed over a billion dollars to china. while germany, the second largest donor, provided half a billion. france and britain each earmarked over 200 million dollars, the us, 65 million. britain and germany, however, are now re-focusing their efforts on more impoverished countries - though they remain major contributors to the eu budget. but ever-mindful of trade relations, most governments tread carefully with china - least they offenda notoriously suspicious and sensitive receipient. 33" >>yongjian: giving aid may show friendship towards china and it's also a way of communicating
6:35 pm
a message. if you stop aid to china, it may send china a political signal. it might mean that you won't be so friendlyas before. what do you want to do? this can affect bilateral relationships between countries. >>reporter: europe exerts more soft power through its training programmes for judges. if the justice system functions better, then eu companies stand a better chance of legal re-dress iftheir rights are violated in china, where piracy is prolific. >>mackie: the eu is also providing expertise to help china construct a social security system. >>the thinking is, once chinese consumers have an adequate healthcare, unemployment and pensions safety net, then they'll save less and so consume more. >>for eu companies, if chinese spending boosts, then imports should increase too. >>reporter: it looks like clutching at straws, and indeed taxpayers in donor countries give their politicians short shrift for funding china
6:36 pm
to such an extent - given that it's a major competitor with trillions in the bank. >>but the aid equation is complex, as targeted projects can deliver substantial long term benefits. >>by focusing alone on the cash pledged today, you don't necessarily see the wood from the trees. >>egyptians have been using the nile to transport goods for thousands of years but over the last 50 years, cargo carried on the river has dropped to less than one per cent of the country's total. now though, following a government drive to get more freight onto the river, it seems that the nile is about regain its place as one of the world's great transport routes. >>reporter: at a cost of three and a half million dollars the wattania 201 is not cheap but it's only part of a massive expansion plan by the nile cargo barge operating company. founded
6:37 pm
three years ago, along with a sister organisation to manage ten new or refurbished ports, the company plans to buy a total of one hundred new barges over the next four years. >>power: we have equity in place for about $150 million and then there's the first tranche of loans of three hundred and twenty five million egyptian pounds, around about 60 million us dollars is in place, ...and we just have another loan being finalised now for the same amount and that will put most of theinitial investment in place for the first tranche of barges and virtually all the ports that we require and the equipment. >>reporter: the company began operating with thirty one used vessels but its new propelled barges mean that it will be able to transport significantly more cargo. >>power: it's four times the size of barges carrying capacity fully loaded its one thousand
6:38 pm
six hundred tonnes whereas the standard nile barge at the moment is 350 to 400 hundred tonnes. >>reporter: part of the company's new fleet will also be dumb barges - meaning they lack an engine but can be tied together and pushed up river. each dumb barge though will still be three times larger than the standard barge operating at the river at the moment - meeting the government's strategy of encouragingmore river traffic. >>rachid: in a way we are trying to improve our capacity and our efficiency in terms of logistics and the supply chain and one of the sources or one of the elements that is very under utilised is the nile. nileis of course an excellent source or road for navigation. >>reporter: one factor holding back the amount of goods transported on the nile is that the government currentlysubsidises fuel for road transport - this year to a total of eleven and a half billion dollars. that said it has pledged
6:39 pm
to remove fuel subsidies by 2014. ahmed heikal is the chairman of private equity firm citadel capital, which owns the two new companies. >>heikal: egypt has made a decision to remove, or partially remove subsidies over time and it's in anticipation of this partial removal of subsidies that the economics will improve over time. >>reporter: each barge can carry as much as 50 trucks and fuel costs are significantly lower than road transport. >>power: if you take five litres of fuel and how far will it push one tonne of cargo if you use a barge you will get that one tonne of cargo over 550 km - if you put it on rail you get about 300km and if you put it one a truck you get one hundred km so the efficiency is five times the fuel in cost effectiveness. >>blair: the flow of cargo up and down could be increased massively
6:40 pm
and that's important because first of allit takes cargo off the roads, it's less pollutive and clearly companies can increase the capacity on those barges significantly. >>reporter: yet despite these economic and environmental benefits, there are other concerns about increasing traffic on the nile. not least the potential damage to this vital water source. dr el quosy is one of the country's leading experts on water management. >>ahmed el quosy: this is the place all the egyptian drink from... so i believe unless you have a very strict and tight plan to sort of watch all these activities rigorously then things might go in the wrong direction >>reporter: there is also another issue that need to be addressed. during the winter, the river can become almost
6:41 pm
un-navigable. >>power: it is a challenge you have to operate very carefully but we still carry cargo this january we carried twenty to thirty thousand tonnes at low draft so we keep operating a little more carefully until the water comes back. >>reporter: so far some $155 million has been spent on dredging the river as well as the construction or repair of existing locks. >>el-khair: we created a navigable path of width 100 metres and depth 2.3 metres from the lowest water level. this means that all the vessels can move from aswan to cairo at the depth or draft of 1.8 metre >>reporter: currently the company handles around seven hundred thousand
6:42 pm
tonnes of cargo a year, although a contract is already in place to carry four million tonnes once the new barges arrive with forecasts for 15 million tonnes by 2014. two other private companies are also planning to begin operations, one in a few years time, so it seems that soon there should be a lot more than just water passing under cairo's bridges. >>still to come on world business... >>why it's only natural for scientists to copy designs evolution has perfected. >>and what does it take to make it in nascar. >>it's always a challenge. you don't win every race but it always keeps you hungry >>hitting the big time on the big track.... and the rest in just a moment on world business... >>over the last few hundred
6:43 pm
years the technological leaps made by mankind have been staggering. but the complexity of what we can achieve today is nothing compared to what occurs naturally in the animal world. and some scientists believe the best way forward is simply to copy nature. >>reporter: nature is amazing, efficient and above all sustainable. and a growing number of designers and scientists are looking more closely than ever to the natural world for inspiration. >>parker: biomimetics is extracting good design from nature. it's learning all the various ways that nature can interact with its environment and survive. because most of the work begins in biology departments, we then need to involve engineering and physics, the physical sciences, so once those two groups come together that's when we really have biomimetics.
6:44 pm
>>reporter: at the newly opened darwin centre in london's natural history museum, 17 million insect and 3 million plant specimens are providing a rich platform for research, into everything from malaria treatments to transport - even credit card security. >>parker: we're finding new structures and we're interested in the way they do interact with water or air or light for example. butterflies have wings with about 100,000 scales. and if we look you'll find nanostructures there that interact with light waves to produce iridescent colours, in the same way as holograms on credit cards for example. by replacing air with acetone you will see how the blue turns to green and as the acetone evaporates, air comes back and the blue colour returns. >>reporter: it may be an obvious model for sustainability and efficiency but until now the natural world has largely been ignored by the commercial one. but that's changing. bmt defence services, which specializes in naval design and engineering, has formed a symbiotic relationship
6:45 pm
with its neighbour, the university of bath and together they are coming up with some fascinating new technology. >>quilliam: underwater animals, tend to fish in the light, tend to be very quiet as well as being energy efficient, so you can see the defence applications in terms of stealthiness, in terms of energy efficiency,in terms of lack of support for returning to port, returning to a home vessel; being very attractive. >>megill: best propellers there are, are about 70 percent efficient - power in, thrust out - fish on the same scale are 95 to 98 percent efficient. [so you're able to generate a whole lot more efficient use, now convert that into a motor design and you've got less emissions.] >>reporter: bmt sponsors projects at the university with a view that the results may one day have applications in the market. hoping to learn potentially profitable lessons from evolution, researchers have drawn inspiration from creatures as diverse as birds that can swim underwater, to the mangrove-dwelling knife-fish.
6:46 pm
>>megill: this is a kind of fish that holds its body rigid and has a fin on the bottom of its belly and it's one of the only fish that can swim backwards just as easily as it can forward. so that says to us "ha! manoeuvrable." so we've gone and made a machine that mimics that propulsion mechanism. the robopuffin is a different machine, again, based on the same hull but in this case what we have is a set of flapping wings and so the idea is to look at the efficiency of things like penguins and puffins. so we have an oscillating motion the wing is moving up and down. >>reporter: another company is working to a similar model based on spider research at oxford university. orthox develops medical devices to repair and regenerate damaged knee cartilage. the secret weapon... silk and to produce it, they're using some of same processes spiders use to spin webs. >>skaer: although it's only a tenth the thickness of human hair, if you had a spider silk fibre which was thethickness
6:47 pm
of a pencil, and a web constructed of fibres that size, then you could stop a jumbo jet with it. >>reporter: spiders obviously use their webs to catch insects, not passing jets, but given the properties of various silks, it's no wonder scientists like nick skaer are interested in their potential. >>with experts predicting a 500% rise in knee replacement operations over the next two decades, there is clearly a potentially huge and profitable market, yet funding still proves elusive... >>skaer: we can't acknowledge too greatly the help the wellcome trust have given us in getting this far, but funding in general for biomimetics is a challenge. >>vollrath: the medical area is always a problematic one because of these huge timescales, from the first idea to ideally then a patent, and then the proof of principle, proof of concept, proof of safety, and then the proof of basically a product that can make money.
6:48 pm
>>reporter: but the idea is catching on. one study found the number of patents involving biomimicry had nearly doubled in the last 20 years. >>but there is still plenty of work to be done. >>megill: we're not gonna make supertankers swim like fish. that's not the point. >>parker: biomimetics is probably not going to completely save the world, but there are many cases that we come across all the time where we do see potential application. we see real potential. the trick is i suppose working with just the right company. >>quilliam: we won't get it right first time. the balance is probably to understand where you can and where you can't replicate what nature has done. [understand the limitations of materials, be they naturally occurring materials or manmade and to limit your expectations of biomimicry within those bounds.] >>reporter: after all, the wonders of nature did not appear overnight and this science also needs time to evolve. biologists and engineers still have a lot of catching up to do. about 500 million years should do the trick.
6:49 pm
>>nascar is easily the most popular motorsport in the us, and many people dream of flying round its oval circuits at speeds of over 200mph. of course, only a tiny fraction of drivers actually make itto the big time. but what's it like when you actually get there? we tagged along with one driver for a day to see what's involved, and also to find out how the sport itself is handling a recession that's proving both long and painful. >>reporter: i was driving across georgia the other day...and as i occasionally nudged the speed limit...i thought to myself...what would it be like to be...a nascar driver?...well...if you're 24yr old david ragan...along with doing this.... >>reporter: you'll be doing plenty of this....
6:50 pm
>>reporter: sunday morning...and ragan's meeting the public...as well as taking a closer look at one of nascar'smost challenging circuit... >>ragan: this is a fastest track in nascar...//..we average close to 190mph here >>reporter: this is ragan's 4th full year in nascar...and its important to build up his profile... >>ragan: sometimes i wish i could be sitting with no-one around and thinking about what's gonna happen here or there. but we all have to go through this....in order to keep the fans interested in our sport >>reporter: right now the sport does need its fans. projected attendances this year are down 8% on last year, around 20% on 2005. here at atlanta they're doing all they can to entice fans to the track... >>clark: we've got a $19 student ticket for today's race,..//...we have a family four pack where
6:51 pm
you can get 4 tickets, 4 hotdogs and 4 cokes for $159. >>reporter: it is pretty cheap entertainment.... >>well, it costs us for the bus and stuff $125 per person. reporter: >>for 4 days? >>for the whole weekend, yeah. >>about $ 150-200 for the bus, food, plus your beverages, you are around $300. >>reporter: but thinning crowds means that after hosting 2 races a season for the past 50 years...from next yearatlanta speedway will only stage one.... >>tharp: the parent company that owns this racetrack made the decision that they thought it might be best if we went racing next year in kentucky >>reporter: ragan was born near this track, the son of a nascar driver ...but oddly enough, he got his chance torace thru a reality tv show... >>ragan: my big break was the roush racing driver x show. jack roush had a driver competition . i sent in my resume, i was part of the show and that was my big break into nascar...
6:52 pm
>>reporter: the reality for ragan now is that when you're getting established, pressing the flesh matters... >>reporter: last year nascar sold about $1.6b worth of merchandise...not bad, although down by about 20% on 2008....but as the 36 race season roars on, of more concern is the demographic nascar is reaching... >>jong: they're still pulling in crowds of over 100 thousand to every race on average...but the average age of those fans is a lot closer to my age...than their age...it's in fact 42, and of the major sports in america...only baseball has older fans. >>tharp: certainly attention spans vary among young people. >>reporter: fox tv says its 18-34 year old nascar viewers have dropped almost 30% on last year...and
6:53 pm
nascar may have to consider whether today's youngsters are simply willing to sit through a 4 hour race... >>clark: we may not have 500 mile races in the future. we may have shorter events. >>reporter: there aren't too many young folk hanging around in the shiners tent...but the man with almost 17m dollars in career earnings soon wins over some more fans. >>reporter: for ragan...the business end of the day is finally approaching...time then for a hug from mum...who's unlikely to be enjoying the next 4 hours... >>ragan: you always have butterflies in your stomach...you're always a little nervous...but you know he lovesit, he is doing everything safe, you know he's in the best equipment possible so that is a comforting.
6:54 pm
>>reporter: you might think the publicity requirements might tail off a little so close to racetime...but nascarprides itself on its drivers' accessibility to both fans and media, so i go in for some last minutethoughts about race strategy... >>reporter: starting very shortly, what do think about now as you're getting into the car. >>ragan: time to get focused. can't talk to you too long. >>reporter: hmmm. not quite the gettysburg address, but from 9th on the grid...there's serious racing to be done....for regan it is going to be a mixed night... >>reporter: for nascar itself, results have been mixed at best over the last couple of years...but down at the track they remain convinced it's still an experience not to be missed.... >>nascar's still a lot of fun. you need to come. >>it's like seeing a picture of the grand canyon and actually going to the grand canyon. there is nocomparison between the two. >>reporter: which is why the die hards come back year after year...often to exactly
6:55 pm
the same spot... >>reporter: i guess the repetition is part of the attraction really. same people...doing the same things. >>seeing your friends again...yeah...sure thing. >>everybody out here always says play the cornhole. you have got to play the cornhole. that is the main game. >>cornhole. look at that. >>reporter: two years ago, in his second season, david ragan came 13th overall in the sprint cup, a superb performance that's proved hard to match...but he's confident his best days lie ahead...not behind. and round here they're equally optimistic that nascar's glory days are far from over.... >>clark: we are still number 2 to football in terms of fan attendance, fa support. tv ratings. >>tharp: from a standpoint of excitement and competition its never been better. >>reporter: after 4 hours and 500 miles...ragan finally takes 19th place.....it's been a difficult, yet still satisfying nights racing... >>ragan: it's always a challenge.
6:56 pm
you don't win every race but it always keeps you hungry for the next one. >>reporter: and so the search for an improved performance will continue.....both for david ragan...and america'sfavourite motorsport... >>that's it for this week's world business. thanks for watching. we'll see you again at the same time next week.
6:57 pm
6:58 pm
iijj
6:59 pm

168 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on