tv Sino Tv Early Evening News PBS December 23, 2010 6:00pm-7:00pm PST
♪ >> hello, and d welcome to the "journal" on dw-tv. i am shane fankhauser in berlin. >> and i am miranda with the business news. >> bombing and said that -- bombings at the swiss and chilean embassies rocks the italian capital. north korea threatens a holy war against the south as soltan the next >> media reports say eurozone countries, including germany, of working on any financial stability rescue fund. ♪ >> hello, and welcome. italian police have been surging foreign embassies in rome after a series of explosions. two people were wounded in
separate blasts at the swiss in chilean embassies the italian foreign member -- president spoke of a serious threat. >> another bomb alert in rome. this time in the city's diplomatic quarter. the device exploded in the chilean embassy and was the size of the videotape and concealed in a yellow package. in an earlier incident, and member of staff at the swiss embassy was seriously injured when a similar parcel exploded in the mail room. >> the man is an embassy employee. he sustained injuries while opening a package, which blew up in his hands. he is being treated in the hospital. no one else was injured. an investigation is underway. >> investigators are thought to be following a possible anarchist link to a group active
in spain and greece. no one has claimed responsibility for the attacks so far. police have been conducting checks on all embassies in the city. there was also a false alarm at the ukrainian embassy. but the suspected bomb turned out to be a greeting card. >> earlier, we spoke with our correspondent in rome and asked if there is any indication who may be behind the attack. >> according to the interior minister in a tv interview that will be broadcast later tonight, he is going to say that the anarchist clue is the one that they're working on at the moment. there are similarities between what has happened here and what happened earlier in november in athens, where the chilean and swiss embassies were targeted for postal attacks.
it then it spread out to government outside greece. that said, the greek police have contradicted an earlier report from italy that they have been asked for help in the investigation into these latest incidents. >> thank you very much. russian president dmitry medvedev has welcomed the u.s. senate decision to ratify the start nuclear arms control treaty. the russian have said the first of three votes on the treaty for friday. the treaty was approved in washington wednesday night after a contentious debate in the u.s. and the vote represents a major victory for president barack obama. >> senate democrats managed to persuade 13 republicans to vote with them to ratify the start treaty. for president barack obama, a major foreign-policy success. >> this is the most significant arms control agreement in nearly two decades. it will make us safer and reduce
our nuclear arsenals, along with russia. with this treaty, our inspectors will also be back on the ground that russian nuclear bases. so we will be about to test and verify. >> it has been nine months since obama and his russian counterpart, dmitry medvedev, signed the treaty. obama pushed hard to have it ratified before a new congress convenes in january. under the agreement, the u.s. and russia commit to reducing their nuclear arsenals from 20 two hundred warheads to 1550. delivery systems for the missiles are to be limited to 700 for each side. now the russian lower house of parliament as to ratify the treaty. it will hold the first of three votes on friday. >> north korea has threatened to fight a holy war with its nuclear deterrent against south korea, which is conducting military exercises close to the mutual border. tanks, jets, and ground forces are taking part in the drill,
while naval maneuvers are being held at sea. tensions have been running high on the peninsula since november. >> it is all a 20 kilometers from here to the north korean border. the south lawn -- wants to send a clear message to the northwood -- with its maneuvers, that it will not be intimidated. p'yongyang has reacted to the drill with a new and dramatic warning it on state tv, the regime threatened a holy war and the use of nuclear weapons. a spokesman for the south korean foreign ministry tried to allay fears of retaliation. >> my understanding is that this is a regular exercise and is taking place quite far away from north korea. >> the south korean president met a point of visiting the
troops to show his support. the military drills by south korea also of the full support of the united states. >> the united nations has condemned the killing of almost two hundred people in post- election violence in ivory coast. it accused the incumbent president's forces of caressing -- of harassing u.n. peacekeepers. the u.s., france, and regional powers are considering a move to reinforce troops. they have resisted international pressure to sit down. he refuses to recognize the winner of last month's election. >> we will have more on that situation on the ivory coast coming up later in the program. >> europe's sovereign debt crisis continues to concern investors. fitch downgraded portugal's debt, while hungary approved a budget for next year, just hours after fitch downgraded the
government's credit worthiness to not above junk status. the budget passed by a two- thirds majority of the governing center-right. the party aims to cut the deficit from 3.8% gdp this year to under 3% next year. it includes new taxes on banking, energy, retail, and telecom sectors. the irish government is taking majority control of a bank as it struggles to stabilize the country's embattled financial sector. it is putting 3.7 million euros into allied irish bank. it was once ireland's biggest bank, but ongoing losses have driven the asset base below capital requirements. the government has already nationalized anglo irish bank and irish nationwide building society and others. a german newspaper said several european countries, including
germany, are working on a permanent european financial rescue mechanism which would include the creation of a new and independent institute a long sigh and european central bank. it would have the same independence as the ec bb. >> at the frankfurt stock exchange, christmas has seen investors the concerns about the eurozone debt crisis to the side for now. but behind the scenes, eu leaders are considering long- term rise of shielding the single currency from speculators. experts said of the german finance minister have drawn up proposals for european financial stability fund. officially, it is the case study, not a policy draft. but it could be floated at a january meeting of eurozone finance ministers. the fund would be a new institution, working parallel to and independent of the ec be. it would hold enough reserves to give emergency loans to struggling eurozone members.
it would ensure that governments maintain a strict condition that would go with the loans. the institution would be modeled on the international monetary fund based in washington, which performs a similar role for its 187 member states. this year, for example, the imf help fund the bailout for eurozone members greece and ireland. >> european stock markets ended mixed on thursday as positive economic data from the u.s. failed to animate pre-holiday trading. for an update on the market, we spoke to our correspondent. she sends us this report from frankfurt. >> the german dax gained 1% throughout the week, a good sign of the new year begins shareholders are still confident. the severe winter weather also played a role in the stock market. live danza -- live dance the shares could recover.
and scandinavian airline could be taken over. shares of deutsche bank ended excuses talks over the sale of a company. finally a solution for this problem, traders said. >> taking a closer look and market numbers, in frankfurt, the dax closed slightly lower. the eureuro stoxx 50 close lowe. in new york, positive did have had little affect on stocks. the dow is trading down. in currency markets, the bureau is steady against the dollar after china said it would help struggling eurozone countries. the hero is trading for $1.3110. a mining group has met a takeover bid for an australian company. the deal is worth some 3 billion euros and has been recommended by the company. rio tinto is the world's second-
biggest iron ore producer. it would give control of a major coal mining project in africa. shareholders may hold off for a rival offer. the heavy snow appears to have that many germans in a christmas buying. retailers say the season the shipping of to be the best in five years. despite the snow and freezing temperatures, consumers are eager to depart with their money. i research association expects turnover to rise to 77 billion euros. big gift items are winter clothing and sporting the women. other items are available despite transfer delays due to the snowstorm. arab opec ministers began arriving in cairo thursday, ahead of talks, oil prices hit fresh two-year highs. it rivals that of 2008, when oil strike a record high. it was after the deep recession
of last year that oil began rising again. brent crude hit a two-year high of nearly $94 this morning. that is making its way to the gasoline bombs, were the uighur euro is making gas even more expensive. -- for the week bureau is making gas more expensive. >> christmas travel has been slowly getting back to normal. after days of heavy winter conditions. frankfurt airport reported only a few dozen cancellations thursday, but it is a different story on the audubons. there are numerous accidents because of the conditions. >> roads in a north german state were blocked with fresh snow thursday morning. a new cold front moving down caused massive problems for road and rail traffic. further south in lower saxony, motorways became treacherous and slippery as a rain froze to i said as it hit the ground.
another area, just walking to the tram was a risky business. on thursday, there were no problems, but traffic was heavy. roads in and around munich filled up with travelers heading for alpine regions. >> anyone wanting a relaxed journey would be best off traveling on christmas eve, assuming the weather plays along. motorways another major roads will be pretty empty. hopefully the weather gods will not let it snow too hard. >> taking to the rails instead of risking the roads is not much of an alternative. on many lines, there is standing room only as people tried to get to their destinations before christmas. >> about 500 christians from the gaza strip have traveled to the west bank to celebrate christmas in bethlehem. the israeli military loosened its blockade of gaza to allow the trip as a gesture of goodwill. christians form a small minority among the 1.5 million
palestinians in gaza. >> this family is decorating the christmas tree. they are among the 3500 residents of the gaza strip who are christians. they are not among the privileged ones allowed to leave the blockaded gaza strip before christmas. >> it is especially hard for the children. i wish they could have got to know bethlehem and seen where jesus was born. i wish they had the chance to learn about their country. >> in bethlehem on the west bank, children held the traditional christmas parade for peace. calling themselves children without borders, they are urged people to live in harmony in the holy land. i injures a limb, shimon peres welcome to a children's choir from nazareth. the northern israeli city with the predominantly arab population.
>> i would like to see the support community and send my -- [unintelligible] >> they expect more than 90,000 pilgrims in the country over the christmas time. >> now to soccer and to the last 16 of the german cup. the top managers had than all bundesliga shutdown. it was packed with drama. nine goals from two records from a one missed penalty. later, winners. -- bayern was the winner. >> bayern the lead after six minutes. gomez made it 2-0. bayern look like they were going to win, but stuttgart had other
ideas. this player claude went back. just before halftime, the big russian added his second, and stuttgart equalizer. bayern took over the lead early in the second half. bayern then got lucky. stuttgart hit the ball and then had the penalty phase. the home side fought on to make it 3-0. bayern kept their cool. the clothes are added two more. -- the clothes are added two more. the final score was 6-3, bayern got through to the quarter finals. >> sticking with soccer, inter milan have sacked their coach, who was only in charge for six months.
♪ >> hello, welcome back. is civil war looming in the country once viewed as one of west africa's most stable nations? the standoff in the ivory coast but it's the incumbent laurent gbagbo against alassana quattara, who actually won the election, according to official response -- results. alassana quattara's supporters saying force may be the only solution. the army stand united behind laurent gbagbo. years of intense national pressure to step down. the u.s., u.s., european union, and africa african bloc have all recognized alassana quattara as the winner. meanwhile, the u.n. is taking steps to extend the mandate of peacekeeping troops in ivory coast.
in recent years, ivory coast had been considered a relatively stable african country. but the fragile balance between north and south, muslim and christian, locals and economic migrants, now looks precarious. eight years ago, the balance was thrown into disarray when a part of the army rose up against the government and seized much of the north. this is the area were presidential contender alassana quattara has his support base. most followers of the incumbent laurent gbagbo live in the south of ivory coast. the hope was that the election would help heal the wounds of the civil war. but even though laurent gbagbo lost the vote, he is clinging on to power, defying the international community. economic repercussions from the conflict have already been felt in what is the world's biggest producer of cocoa. but ivory coast can no longer
guarantee that it will deliver its biggest earner. >> the turmoil has profound economic implications. ivory coast is the world's top cocoa-producing country and has been one of west ever does most promising economies. the standoff has raised the sector and fighting could disrupt exports by blocking transport and shipping, leading cocoa prices to shoot a bit of the world bank froze funding to ivory coast on wednesday to squeeze laurent gbagbo financially. but if he is feeling to the pain, it is not visible. he and alassana quattara offering material rewards to supporters. >> free petrol. that is not enough -- that is not an offer that will be turned down. the have been lining up but the filling station for hours. they want to get to the main city of the ivory coast that is 400 kilometers away. there will be many roadblocks, but that does not deter them.
chrysler had nothing to eat and no jobs. the country cannot go on like this. we have to do something. >> two governments, two presidents. it cannot work. ivory coast is not a banana republic. we can change things. >> the men who donated the fuel was alassana quattara, recognized internationally as the winner of the presidential vote. news the figurehead of the economically deprived in north of the country, where he has many supporters the road to the well-off south with its cocoa plantations have been blocked off for days. drivers have to wait. only bass's with alassana quattara supporters are allowed through two thousand seven meeting at the demarcation line that has divided the north from the south. it was drawn eight years ago, after the civil war. the motorbikes position themselves at the head of the convoy. they do not know how far they will get in their visit -- a
mission to support alassana quattara. protected by some 800 u.n. peacekeepers, he is camped out in is a luxury hotel. it has been converted into a stronghold surrounded by barbed wire. alassana quattara garnered 54% of the vote and the presidential election three weeks ago. that is according to the independent electoral commission. alassana quattara and his newly named the ministers are however only save on the grounds of the hotel. the incumbent, laurent gbagbo, seems determined to keep his job and has made his own cabinet. you rule for the last five years without an electoral mandate as reliable the military and state media for support. on top of that, laurent gbagbo knows how to play the more than 60 different ethnic groups against each other.
a mutiny within the army calls for civil war, and a petitioning of the country eight years ago, many people from ivory coast became displaced by the conflict. among them, christine, who grew up in the north. now she struggles on here. >> the politicians do not care about us. they make a big fuss and act as if they do. they are all like that. >> even so, i voted for laurent gbagbo. you have to vote for someone. >> she has to provide for five children. her husband is little help. he is not recovered from the civil war. used to have a good position with an insurance company, but now he is jobless. every day, there are new headlines about the battle between the two presidents.
christine just seized two well- off man in retirement age. she cannot see a difference in their politics, and she's not alone in thinking the two are just in it for the power and influence. >> what i want is peace. the two men should sit down and talk. all that counts is peace. >> alassana quattara supporters want to avoid bloodletting. this one works at the taxi. you voted for alassana quattara at the elections, for no other reason than that he comes from the north as well. >> partition of the country is overshadowed everything. not just the presidential vote. since the civil war, militias of the onetime rebels run the show
in the north. while in the south, it is the rb -- army. >> this is a neighborhood where nearly everyone voted for alassana quattara. among them, immigrants. the parents came here to work on plantations. their children are now mostly unemployed. this person also lives here. he came to the city as a child with his parents and that lucky when a relative that in the texas job. he does not think it unusual that most of the top politicians are millionaires. is africa, he says. but it really upsets in the ordinary people become pawns in their power games. >> politicians always think of themselves first. their children and relatives, or their ethnic groups. it is all that interests them.
they deny care about us poor people. >> last thursday, laurent gbagbo give orders to the army to stop rebels and for the thousands who supported alassana quattara from getting to the state tv channel. a heavy fight ensued. un troops caught up in the exchange of fire and had to seek cover. the attempt to take over the tv station failed, but several people were left dead and wounded. the convoy from the north has slowed down to a trickle. in the business district on friday, the shops were shut, the streets amid -- abandoned. intermediaries that the scene tried to find common ground. alassana quattara met with the catholic bishops of ivory coast. laurent gbagbo met representatives of the african union.
♪ - hi, this is bob scully and welcome to our special annual holiday edition of the world show, this year from birmingham, alabama--a very logical place to be, because our holiday edition is devoted to one of the great entrepreneurs in north america today, who lives very close to birmingham. he's bud kirchner.
you'll remember that we discussed how he has turned around companies--how he has been able to fix and cure sick companies without ever trashing them, respecting the work that people do there, and respecting the value that's been created-- the old fashioned way--and also how he started the hidden angel foundation in memory of his young son, christopher, who died of sanfilippo syndrome, a foundation which is devoted to lengthening and enriching the lives of children in similar circumstances through multi- sensory experiences. so bud is a fascinating man to listen to. here he is again. bud kirchner, winning entrepreneur of the year is a big deal. you can wear it as a badge of honour for years and years. it's like winning wimbledon. but generally, unlike wimbledon, you win it once. and you are the björn borg of this thing, or the roger federer, because you've won it twice in a row. let's talk about that. how did that happen? - well, it was quite a while ago
now, but what i do remember about it is that each of the awards recognized one of the two things that are most important to me in business: the first was for building a world-class company; the second was for fixing a world-class company. and the reality is, those are the two aspects of business that i've devoted my career to, so to have a recognition related to each of them was pretty important to me. - and björn borg went for five. are you thinking of that? - no, i'm closing to retiring than i am going for number five. - and you're known as the--you say fix--and you're known, i saw in the research, as the mr. fix- it of the venture capital world. you will take a mess and try to deliver it back to its shareholders or new shareholders in working shape. it's called a "work out", usually. it's very different from hedge funds or just venture capitalists who just want to sell out when something grows. it's kind of messy, isn't it? it's hard? - well, it's hard, but the reality is that i learned those skills by helping to build companies from the grassroots
up, and so once you know what makes a good company, it's relatively straightforward to put it back on track once it gets off track. so we have a fairly disciplined approach, and we go into these situations. it's a kind of work that's in fairly high demand because almost every company goes off track at some point. we tend to think of it as a stigma, but the reality is, for small and medium enterprise, if you're working as aggressively as you can to build something from nothing, inevitably you are going to go off track--it's part of the process. so we're pretty proud of the fact that we've got a reputation of being able to put those companies back on track and taking them into another success story. back to the entrepreneur of the year award, the company there that i fixed, we actually went on to... at the same time we were fixing that company, a hundred competitors went bankrupt, and when we finished, for the next five years we were in the top
five companies in the country for revenue and shareholder value creation. - that the others went bankrupt tells you it was a troubled sector right there. - yes, that's right. - what sector was it? - that sector was aquaculture. - aquaculture. in other words, in, like, hydroponic, and... - well, it's... aquaculture in the general sense is growing fish under intensive culture. it can be shellfish, it can be finfish... the bankrupt company we started with was a finfish company. when we finished, we were in several different species, and we had done acquisitions around the world. - so you inject capital; you don't just fix. you really have to bring in new parts and new equipment in a sense, meaning capital. - well, if you think about making a company successful, it's a little bit like a barrel where one stave is inevitably shorter than the others, and that's where the water runs out. so to fix a company, you start with fixing that first stave, and that might be the need for capital, it might be the need
for more disciplined management, it might be the need for a more aggressive marketing campaign, access to international markets... so the fixing of the company is all about first things first--dealing with the first stave that's short, then another one becomes short, and eventually you've built a successful company. - and you're a little bit, i guess, like the doctor on the battlefield doing triage. you're solicited a lot. you have to decide if it's fixable, and that's a tough decision. how do you make that? is it gut feel, or analysis? do you come in and say, "no, i'm not going to touch that one. i can't do it. this one i can do". how do you make that determination? - well, i think probably on the back of a 40-year career, there's a lot of pattern recognition. i can look at a company, i can get a pretty good sense of whether there's the right ingredients there and they've just been sort of deployed inappropriately, or whether or not it's a flawed business model, or-- the fundamental issue is: is there a value proposition that the market actually needs? - and so how important are people there? because i noticed in the research it comes back
a lot, but a flawed business model can be the market. does it happen that you have great people in a lousy business model and you have to turn them down? - well, if you have great people, i'd be inclined to take on great people no matter what the business model, because really, it's always about business. analogous to the real estate saying about "location, location, location", small and medium enterprise is about people, people, people. - and when you come in, do you come in with a team that will sit there and sort of run it for a few months? do you have a pattern there? a method? - well, if we're dealing with what we would call "a distressed", or a company that's off track, the first thing we'll do is essentially an assessment. they'll determine what things are working, which things are not working. we'll determine what the potential is for the company in the marketplace. we then formulate a plan. we build a plan that we think addresses all the needs of the company and dovetails better with the marketplace. then we'll assemble a team amongst our people to go into the company, and then, as qui
we will phase out of that company and bring in more permanent management, because, again, like an emergency room doctor, we're at our best in those acute situations when we're in a distress situation. when we're helping to build a company from the grassroots up, then we take a completely different approach, but the priorities remain the same. - and as i read a lot of the things you've done, i kept thinking of--this is a different story altogether, but buffett has often made a lot of money on obscure little companies that he's taken care of--see's candy, and the furniture mart in omaha with that lovely old lady who died at 90... but he kept them. he kind of fell in love with them, but they were good, and he worked hard at them. do you ever fall in love enough that you keep it in your portfolio? - well, we will inevitably keep an ownership interest. it's just, our management team would tend to move on and put in a more permanent management team. so, for sure, if we put a company back on its feet, by then, we know it so well-- we've become so personally
involved in its success-- that we would always maintain an interest--an economic interest--in that company. - but you want 100% of it? - rarely would we own 100% of any company, because we're a small group, and it's important to be somewhat diversified, so generally our ownership interest and our asset management business, for example, would be somewhere between ten and 50%. - and you're not... in venture capital there's always this kind of be-all and end-all, which is the exit strategy where they're going to make a pile, and people are always looking at the clock saying, "when's our exit strategy?" but that's usually with companies that they want to take public and so on. i don't think this process is like that. - well, there's always an exit component, because companies inevitably need someone to be able to move on. it could be someone wants to retire. it could be an estate that needs to be settled. companies rarely go on generation after generation with the same ownership. there's usually some transition. actually, one of the groups that we have within our overall group
is dedicated to helping companies do these kinds of transactions--to transition from one owner to another. not because we're hell-bent to get out of deals, but because we recognize that ownership interest changes. people's priorities change, people get older, situations change. - and how does it work concretely with the phone on your desk? it's like calling the doctor, right? "help. i need help. when can you come over?" how does it happen? people get your name, and they say, "mr. kirchner, i'm in trouble here. what can you do?" is that the way it...? - yeah, i'll give you a quick example. so, not too long ago, i had a phone call just as you described, and it was from a group with a company in california, but with operations in australia, in europe, and several other countries. they said that their instincts were, things were not going as well as they should--these are the investors in the company. so they asked if we would first just go and take a look-see. so, we'd literally got on a plane, went to london, spent
three 20-hour days assessing the core of the operations. came back, reported to those shareholders some 55 issues that we had identified that seemed to not be as good as we thought they should be. and from there, the process that i described earlier. we went in, built the plan, and restructured the company. - and you seem to be the opposite. you earn your keep, and you earn that profit--that plus value. how do you feel, though, about these hedge funds? i've got to ask you this. [bud laughs] parasitic hedge funds. we've seen, you know, they fool around with the paper. couldn't care less about the company. as a matter of fact, if it goes down, they'll short it. since they are in a parallel business, do you feel some kind of... what's your feeling about them? - well, many years ago when i started in this business, i spent a lot of time contrasting what we do to what i could call financial engineering. there are very smart people very able to manipulate balance sheets, to play with inventory, to make companies look like they're better than they really are, or there's their ability to use leverage to generate a higher
return on assets. my approach and my orientation, and our group's approach, is really about fundamental value--what makes a good company good, how do you make it great, and how do you fix it when it's broken? it's not about how do you make it look better than it maybe is? - and i would not want to miss a second topic that's very important, which is your social entrepreneurship, to which you devote a lot of time as well. it's the hidden angel foundation. let's talk about that. what is that? - well, the hidden angel foundation is, as you say, my effort at social entrepreneurism. my wife and i had a son, who had a congenital problem that prevented him from being able to interact with the world around him. we discovered that when he was exposed to situations that would stimulate his senses that his world lit up and his life became enriched. and so when he passed away, we decided to start a foundation devoted to something called multi-sensory environments, and in his name we would make these available to children
throughout north america. - and can we put a name on the... what illness was it? - his condition was called sanfilippo syndrome. - i see. but multi-sensory-- mses--can help, i'm told, alzheimer's patients, elderly patients, all kinds of autistic children. how does it work? - well, if you think about... well, imagine this. you typically would touch 300 surfaces every 30 minutes-- we all would. inside, underneath our skin, we have miles of nerve endings. we have pressure sensors, we have cold sensors, we have all sorts of different apparatus that release neurotransmitters, release hormones. this is how we know we're alive. this is what lights up our day. now imagine the world for children or senior citizens who are unable to interact with the world around them. imagine how that must feel. so they tend to develop conditions where they fail to thrive, where they withdraw, because their life is not enriched. so the concept
of multi-sensory environments is very simple: we develop facilities--generally inside of hospitals or schools or therapeutic clinics--where these children, or senior citizens in the case of alzheimer's patients, are able to go in, and by accessing this equipment, they not only can interact with their environment, but they can actually influence their environment, which gives them a completely different perspective on the world around them. - and although i don't know exactly how it works, i was struck by some of the descriptions that gave me the impression that it was a good idea that nobody had stumbled upon before. some of these things are quite simple, like a mirror ball. i mean, they're not nuclear science here. but how did they happen upon these solutions? - well, in fact, the techniques were originated in europe in the 1970s. for some reason they never really made it to north america. when we were dealing with our son, we started with a more fundamental approach to sensory stimulation. we would take him in the fresh air. we would spend a lot of time
exposing him to music. we would take him to a mall, which is the ultimate multi-sensory experience. in the course of doing that and reading about sensory stimulation, we discovered what in europe are called snoezelen facilities, and "snoezelen" is the word they use in europe for these facilities. there, for decades, they've been using this equipment to deal with children with autism, all sorts of neurological conditions, physical impairments... and they've discovered that the children learn better, are more relaxed... i mean, the reality is, as we all know, when you're happy, you're healthy. and that's what we're trying to achieve. - and--i don't know if i read correctly--your son was expected to not go beyond the age of 12, and he actually doubled that. - that's correct. - and you would attribute that to these efforts. - we think--we know; we could see every day in his eyes--that this equipment motivated him. and we believe it enriched his life and ultimately extended his life. correct. - and the grandmother who never
knew him plays a role here. again, i hope i read correctly. it's in memory of... why? - well, the grandmother is my wife's mother, and she passed away when my wife was very young. by all accounts, she had many of the same gifts that christopher had. she was a very courageous person. she was a very loving person. and so we thought that there was a certain thread that was continuing from her to christopher. christopher was, as we would describe him, the ultimate hidden angel, in that he was able to make a lot of things happen despite his infirmities. - and so was she, then, a hidden angel. - she was also a hidden angel. - and do you spend... i know that you spend resources-- money--to endow hospitals with a particular facility like that, but in birmingham, or whenever you are in a city that has one, do you visit? do you spend time with the kids? - oh, absolutely. absolutely. i mean, the highlight of my week is when we open the mail from the different
facilities and we hear these anecdotes about children who were unable to show emotion before and now are smiling and giggling. we read about children who were having difficulty learning, and now--because they're so relaxed, they're in a non-threatening environment-- they're able to learn. the anecdotes go on and on and on about the impact that these rooms have on people--at the most fundamental level, simply enriching their life, but, as i said, in some cases, encouraging children with autism to say their first words, encouraging other children to interact with the world around them when they won't previously. - and i would imagine in some cases if the problem is not biological, not physiological, but psychological, you might actually turn their life around completely, the way you turn around a company. you know, if there's nothing "wrong", quote-unquote, with the brain, and it's some kind of autism that developed some other way, you could turn that around. - well, i don't know if i'd want to say we could work miracles,
but the reality is that we're learning more every day about the brain's ability to adjust and to adapt. we now talk about brain plasticity. we hear about people with strokes recovering. we hear about children with neurological problems developing supplementary skills. so, again, i wouldn't want to create false expectations about what these rooms would do, but the point is that when an individual is able to have the neurons--the neural system--firing, and feeling normal about the world around them, it opens up scope to learn, to be healthy, to be happy, and these things all sort of lead to the brain's ability to start to adjust and adapt. - but i would assume also--and this might be amusing to watch-- that given your lengthy managerial experience with competence and incompetence, you walk into a snoezelen room that you've endowed halfway around the world, you know if they're on the ball or not. do you feel like cleaning some of them up?
- it's a very good point, and the reality is that, as we talk about pattern recognition in business, we have the same thing in social entrepreneurism, and there the key factor is simply empathy. if there is a room where the caregivers--the enablers, as we call them--are empathetic, it will be making a world of difference. the reality is, if we'd all learn to be more empathetic with these individuals who have special needs, it doesn't have to occur in a room; it can happen every day. - so endowing the facility is one thing, but i guess "recruitment", we'd call it in business terms, is key here. - recruitment is key, as is evangelical effort. a lot of our time on behalf of the foundation is simply spent trying to convey the message that individuals with special needs are first and foremost entitled to be happy and enriched just like the rest of us. but secondly, from a somewhat selfish point of view, they have tremendous gifts to give us--they can teach us about courage, they can teach us the meaning of love, they can teach
us about the importance of simple things in life. so a lot of our time is simply spent trying to convey that message. the rooms are just one vehicle to help deploy that. - and i guess the phone rings, the word gets around--it's the same as the companies--they say, "let's call mr. kirchner. we want a room like this". is that how it works? hospitals call you? - yeah, again, i can give you a quick example. not too long ago, we got a call from a school board. they had a school with 250 children with special needs, and a budget with which they were unable to do anything special for these children; they were just exposed to conventional programs. so we went, we met the children, we talked to the teachers, and got a sense of what--what we would call the "sensory diet"-- would have been for the children. we recognized that there were at least two different situations: some children were completely unable to get around except with assistance; others were more mobile but still had infirmities. and so we actually there donated two different rooms: one designed for the
children with much restricted limitations, and the other for the other children. so that's kind of how the process works. - and i'm struck when you say, "we went and checked it out". and you'd do that with a company, too--you'd go check it out. and i remember reading-- i think it was a biography of benjamin graham, who was that legendary investor at columbia. - warren buffett's teacher. - that's right. and in the '20s, he would do that. he would go visit companies, and all of wall street would just laugh at him and say, "what are you doing, wasting your time? look at the numbers, and do your money stuff, and that's it". nowadays, though, it has become practically a truism: you can't get anything good done in business or in social entrepreneurship unless you're hands-on and really put your nose in it. - well, i think the reason i travel 270 to 300 days a year is the fact that i believe that very firmly. i could just simply sit at my desk and answer the phone calls, as you suggest, but the reality is that i need to understand what the situation is. i have to rely on my instincts. i've spent a long time trying to sharpen my skills as an entrepreneur, so whether it's in a business setting
or a social setting, i like to try to deploy them from the grassroots up. - and did your son--who is now the hidden angel--as he was growing up, see all of this unfolding and in a sense realize he was giving his life so that this could be done for others? - we believe that that was the case. he was unable to communicate in a conventional manner, but the reality is that we believe very firmly that this is his mission, not ours. - and the parents of these children, i assume you meet them too? - mm-hmm. - are they--because it's not a problem that is easily addressed, and certainly not by health systems that want pathology with cures and drugs and so on--they must be quite grateful when you... - well, i think they're grateful. i think that they're in sense relieved that really it's such a simple thing to help their children. i mean, the reality is, the ultimate sensory experience is a hug. and sometimes you just have to remind people that, as difficult it may be to deal with someone
with special needs, you can enrich their life through the most simple gesture, and that goes back to the lessons i said that these individuals can teach us. - and to go back to business a little bit, i think people by now realize you're a person who is capable of great hope and great optimism, but no fool; you're very realistic and hands- on. so, get us out of this recession. [bud laughs] what would you suggest? i mean, small and medium-sized companies are the motor of almost every economy. what would you suggest? - well, i think, as you say, that really we need to start to focus on what we would call small and medium enterprise, mid-market companies. it is the engine of the economy, it's where the most jobs are created, and the reality is, it's where the great ideas are being born. so what we need to do is go back to the fundamentals. we need to start looking for good ideas. we need to look for very committed, intelligent people, and we have to provide them with the resources to succeed. i like to think one of those resources is the kirchner private capital group, where we can provide those people with the "been
there, done that" expertise that they need throughout the various stages of what they're doing, whether it's turning an idea into a business, buying another company, creating annexure for themselves... this is what we do, and it's designed to help build these companies, good times and bad times. - and you travel all over the world. you deal with companies from all over the world. mr. friedman in the new york times keeps banging on this nail, saying the us--and you could include canada in that--have had it easy for so long that we're not worried about innovation anymore. we're not worried about hard work. we somehow think it's all going to come our way. meanwhile, these other countries--india and so on-- are busy, busy, busy. is that your impression? - um... i think it's an oversimplification, but i think for sure we have been lured into a false sense of security. innovation, tenacity, sacrifice--these are the things that build great economies. i think other countries are at a stage in their development where that's perhaps more the rule than the exception,
but i would never underestimate the north american entrepreneur, and i believe that, as i said earlier, with the right kind of resources, you will see a lot of great innovation coming out of north america. - and would you also say that the cold shower on wall street didn't last long? they didn't get punished very much. that's a feeling that's out there, and they're back to partying. that's not very reassuring. what's your take on it? - i mean, i think unfortunately that appears to be true. i think that one would have hoped such a sobering experience would have carried a lifelong lesson for people. i'm not sure that happened. but again, a lot of what goes on at wall street is not about small and medium enterprise. small and medium enterprise is closer to main street than wall street. so i think these are the companies that... it's a much smaller transition back to the fundamentals. and i hope that more and more opportunities will present themselves for these companies to see that mission, as opposed to the delusions of grandeur that is sometimes
wall street. - and, bud kirchner, to end, i know some people will have picked up on the hidden angel foundation. do you have a website? - we do. if people would be kind enough to go to cdhaf--ugll foundation--dot org... - they will find out. - they will find out. - okay, and i'm sure many of them will. thank you so much. long life to you and to the foundation. - thank you very much. - bud kirchner on our special annual holiday edition of the world show, and, of course, it's that time of year again. we want to toast you and celebrate with you, and we're not going to tell you exactly what to do. just don't drink and drive-- personally, i don't drive. but, all our team--our exec, claudette théorêt; our producers, michèle marchand, francine blais; and myself-- we never go through this period without thinking of you and doing this really for you. here she comes... happy, happy, happy holidays.