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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  November 24, 2010 6:00pm-7:00pm PST

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macneil/lehrer productions >> lehrer: good evening. i'm jim lehrer. lines of travelers moved smoothly through airport security checkpoints on this thanksgiving eve. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. on the "newshour" tonight: tom bearden reports on the internet push to get passengers to opt-out of new image scanning machines. >> lehrer: then, we get the latest on the compensation program for gulf oil spill victims from jefferson parish president john young and fund administrator kenneth feinberg. >> brown: ray suarez wraps up his series of stories from africa with a look at the suspected link between illness and intelligence. >> does being sicker as a child
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make it harder to learn for the rest of your life? we're asking that question in heavily disease burdened and very low-income mozambique. >> lehrer: we examine the options for u.s. policy after north korea's artillery attack on a south korean island yesterday. >> brown: and judy woodruff looks at the future of space exploration with science correspondent miles o'brien. >> 500 people have flown to space for so far. in the his of the space program. the notion is there will be 500 a month flying or maybe even more than that if the power of the entrepreneurial spirit is opened up. >> lehrer: that's all ahead on tonight's "newshour." major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> this was me-- best ribs in nelson county. but i wasn't winning any ribbons managing my diabetes. it was so complicated. there was a lot of information out there, but it was frustrating trying to get the answers i needed. then, my company partnered with united healthcare. they provided on-site screenings, healthy cooking tips. that's a recipe i'm keeping. >> turning complex data into
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easy tools. we're 78,000 people looking out for 70 million americans. that's health in numbers. united healthcare. >> i want to know what the universe... >> looks like. >> feels like. >> from deep space. >> to a microbe. >> i can contribute to the world by pursuing my passion for science. >> it really is the key to the future. >> i want to design... >> a better solar cell. >> i want to know what's really possible. >> i want to be the first to cure cancer. >> people don't really understand why things work. >> i want to be that person that finds out why. >> and by the bill and melinda gates foundation. dedicated to the idea that all people deserve the chance to live a healthy productive life.
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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. >> lehrer: it was an easier day than expected at the nation's airports as major disruptions and delays failed to materialize. "newshour" correspondent tom bearden has our report. the day before thanksgiving-- the busiest travel day of the year. and this year, there was the potential for the traditionally long lines to stretch even longer, because of a loosely- organized protest dubbed "national opt-out day."
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some travelers said they would express their displeasure with the security measures by requesting enhanced pat-downs rather than go through scanners with advanced imaging technology. the transportation security administration estimated early this afternoon that approximately 1% of passengers were opting out of the scanners. the pat-downs can take four minutes or longer. the scanners-- as little as 10 seconds. and, on abc this morning, t.s.a. administrator john pistole warned the protest could cause problems. >> obviously, there's some unknowns in terms of how many people may decide to protest and that's one of the variables we are prepared to deal with. but the bottom line is that if a number of people protest at a particular check point it will definitely slow things down and i just feel bad for the rest of the traveling public who's simply trying to get home for the holidays and be with loved ones. >> reporter: of the more than 40 million americans expected to travel over the thanksgiving holiday-- more than 1.6 million will do so by air, according to a.a.a. here at denver international
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airport, most people said they were more concerned with making their flight than making a statement. >> i'm fine with it, frequent traveler. >> i'm not worried about it. much rather do it than have trouble on plane. >> reporter: that sentiment was echoed by travelers at washington's reagan national airport. >> i'm going to go through whichever. i just want to get home. it doesn't... either way, it's fine. security is my... is most important to me. >> reporter: still, some were reluctant to go through the scanners. >> i've heard in the past that some of these files have leaked out. you know, full frontal that that's open to the public. so, you know, i'm not going to be going through them. >> i prefer the pat down. i don't want any more rays running through my body, all the x-rays i've had in my life. >> lehrer: responses from our "newshour" twitter feed, meanwhile, gave the impression that most travelers weren't finding much trouble.
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one person at baltimore washington airport wrote: "all that talk about t.s.a. boycotts and delays were exaggerated. quick trip through security." another traveler at dallas forth worth tweeted this: "no problems. no scan or patdown, nor did i see anyone else doing it." while it seemed air travel was going smoothly today, the uproar over the new security techniques has some thinking about reforms at t.s.a. florida republican john mica who is in line to chair the house transportation committee in the new congress, contends the agency's screening methods are inefficient. >> right now, we're spending all our time on every american. we're spending time on airport employees, pilots, millions of people who have top secret clearances. there are folks like myself that can go into the white house or nuclear facilities and not go through what we do to get on an airplane. screening and re-screening those people that don't pose a threat and using all your resources in that unfocused manner that has to be changed.
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we can direct our resources, our technology and our invasion of privacy on the bad guys, not the good folks. >> reporter: but for now, the screenings and pat-downs will continue, while most passengers hope the lines will keep moving. >> brown: still to come on the "newshour": the gulf oil spill claims; health and the ability to learn in mozambique; u.s. policy toward north korea and what's next for the space program? but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan in our newsroom. >> sreenivasan: americans earned more and spent more last month and unemployment filings fell last week. the latest batch of government data was released a day before the thanksgiving holiday, and offered some hope that the u.s. economic picture is improving. still, the commerce department reported demand for new homes and long-lasting manufactured goods fell sharply in october. the improved numbers in the labor market sent stocks up on wall street today. the dow jones industrial average gained 151 points to close at
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11,187. the nasdaq rose 48 points to close at 2,543. in ireland, the prime minister unveiled the toughest budget cuts in the country's history. ireland will slash $20 billion over the next four years, so it can receive a bailout from the european union. the move will cut thousands of public sector jobs and pension payments while raising college tuition and taxes, among other things. in dublin, prime minister brian cowen acknowledged that while the austerity measures will be tough, they are necessary. >> i am hopeful for the future that this plan is another confidence-building measure, another sign post along the road towards national recovery. a journey upon which we have embarked since this economic and financial crisis began. >> sreenivasan: cost-cutting measures in portugal led to a nationwide strike from labor unions today. the day-long demonstration paralyzed many public services canceling flights, and disrupting train and bus travel.
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it came as lawmakers are preparing to vote friday on an austerity package that will raise taxes, and cut public sector wages and welfare benefits. in britain it was students who took to the streets to protest tuition hikes. that's one way the british government plans on cutting its debt by tripling university fees. we have a report from juliet bremner of independent television news. >> a symbol of authority and the focus of today's student anger. this police van was surrounded and almost toppled in front of the treasury. deep in government territory, a handful of hooligans-- some no more than school children-- covered in the graffiti and then looted it. several thousand students congregated in central london, determined to voice their frustration at plans to make them pay more for university education. it was boisterous and initially peaceful. >> it's not going to be easy for the other generations. like my brother is still in
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school, he's not going to be able to pay the amount that they're asking because this is ridiculous. you can't pay that much. it's basically the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. >> reporter: but once in white hall, the protestors found themselves contained. in a police operation that looked very similar to the much-criticized policy of keting used during the g-20 riot. they prevented them from spelling out into nearby streets. the students are no effectively barricaded in here between two lines of police. officers are at the ready in case things turn ugly, but up until now, it's been more noise than violence. however, confrontation did occasionally turn ugly. cans of drink were used as missile and two officers were injured, one with a suspected broken arm, the other with leg injuries. as darkness fell in london, bottles of water were handed out to hundreds still being held behind police lines. it was a cold, uncomfortable end to a day of protests that had
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again failed to remain peaceful. >> sreenivasan: students also demonstrated in university cities across the country, including bristol, liverpool and leeds. a suicide bombing in yemen left 17 people dead, and more than 15 injured. the car bomb struck a convoy of yemeni shi-ites on their way to a religious ceremony about 100 miles outside the capital city. yemeni officials suspect it was the work of al qaeda. if confirmed, that would be the terrorist organization's first direct assault on the shi-ite minority in yemen. complete parliamentary election results from almost all of afghanistan were finally certified today more than two months after the vote. ballots in 33 of 34 provinces were approved. but in the eastern province of ghazni there were still problems even after substantial investigations. meanwhile, the afghan attorney general launched a new fraud investigation into more claims of ballot manipulation. hope for finding survivors of last week's new zealand coal mine blast came to an end today. a second massive gas explosion rocked the pike river coal mine on the country's south island. 29 miners have been trapped underground there for five days.
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today, authorities alerted family members that even if the workers survived the first blast, none would have made it through the second. a jush in texas convicted former house majority leader on money laundering charges. delay was accused of helping fund $190,000 to texas legislative races in 2002 that ultimately helped send more republicans to congress. he now faces five years to life in prison. those are some of the day's major stories. now back to jeff. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jeff. >> brown: and we turn to the aftermath of the gulf of mexico oil spill. in the four months since oil stopped gushing from b.p.'s macondo well, the environmental damage and economic costs have continued to be weighed and claims for financial losses have come by the hundreds of thousands. under pressure from the obama administration, b.p. set up a $20 billion compensation fund administered by ken feinberg, who made a series of visits to hear the stories of spill victims.
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to date, more than $2 billion in emergency relief has been paid to 125,000 people and businesses across the gulf region. yesterday, marked the deadline for filing such short-term claims. today, feinberg announced rules for phase two: processing what he hopes will be final payments to those who suffered long-term damage. claimants will have two options: if damages are proven, they can get a lump sum final payment, but must give up the right to sue b.p. and other companies involved in the spill. or, they can continue to receive interim payments, on a quarterly basis, without giving up the right to sue. >> we're running out of money quick, okay? and we have already closed one business, okay? >> brown: even as emergency payments have continued, feinberg has faced complaints from local citizens and government officials over the size and pace of payments, the question of who qualifies, and
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much more. for example, this fisherman who had temporarily worked for b.p. during the cleanup complained when feinberg said he would deduct those wages from any future claims for damages. >> it is in no way, shape or form is me, wearing my boat out, working every day to clean up their mess, that is not no way compensation for my loss of my livelihood for years to come. >> brown: earlier this month, alabama governor bob riley criticized the oil spill claims process, saying: "if you have the capacity to turn them down with no explanation and make them sign away their right to sue, that's extortion." money from the bp fund will be paid out between now and 2013. now: the claims, the process, and the continuing costs in the gulf. we hear first from john young, president of jefferson parish in louisiana. i spoke with him this afternoon.
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john young, welcome to you. so what are your concerns about the claims process so far? >> well, it's been very cumbersome, complicated. a lot of people are complaining that some people who don't deserve to have been compensated have been, and those who deserve to be compensated haven't been. some of the smaller claims have been paid, but some of the larger more complex claims have not. i've been in contact with mr. feinberg and trying to get him down to grand aisle and lafitte, louisiana, which is part of jefferson parish to have a town hall meeting in early to mid-december so we can air out some of these problems. >> brown: who is getting the money so far? >> well, you have bartenders in new orleans, louisiana, who are getting money. you're having some boat owners getting some money. but the big commercial losses are not being paid. and now that it's moving into a different phase and they have to sign these releases, it's causing a lot of difficulties and a lot of people aren't going
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to do that and it's going to push a lot of people into litigation. >> couric: explain that a little bit more for us, because is the new phase that mr. feinberg has brought out today where people will have to decide about taking lump sums but waiving their rights to sue, right? >> correct. >> brown: so you're saying that's causing some concerns there or question? >> absolutely. because this is going to be a marathon, not a sprint. and in terms of future damages, a lot of people aren't in a position-- even with professional help-- to assess what their future damages may be. to require them to sign a waiver of all future rights, they're not in a position to do that. their losses aren't going to be fully known for maybe a year or two. but in the interim, they've suffered some serious short-term losses. now, there is going to be an interim situation where they can continue to get quarterly payments for past losses, but in terms of future losses, jeffrey, they're being left with very little alternatives other than to retain council and pursue
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litigation because at this point in time i would advise them not to sign a full release because they're... the extend of their future damages are un. >> brown: so you're advising people not to sign right now >> i would. >> brown: so what would you and the people in the community, what would you like from mr. feinberg and his fund at this snint not to go this far this soon? is that what you're saying? >> correct. and i think one approach-- and, again, i'm just throwing this out off the top of my head being a lawyer myself-- one approach would be to pay these people and allow them to collect some money and use it as a credit toward any potential damages they may have down the road against b.p. by allowing them to have a credit, i think you could process a lot more claims and avoid litigation down the road instead of making them sign a full release when they don't know the extent of their damages. because when somebody is confronted with that release. most of them are going to consult with a lawyer and a good
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lawyer will tell them not to sign it. >>. >> brown: and just give us an update on the situation there in terms of the continuing impact in your community, environmentally and economically. >> we're still removed from, obviously, the response pace of the recovery, but we're still finding oil in patches in the marshes, bays, wetlands andest chairs. we're finding oil six inches to two feet below the beach level of sand and we're continuing to fight with b.p. about removal of anchors that they've left in the waterway which is pose a hazard to navigation. we're continuing at the parish level, municipal level, to continue to fight with b.p. for reimbursement. i do want to say that our sea food is the best in the world and it's now the safest because it's been the most tested and i want to get out the word that it's safe to eat louisiana seafood and it's still the best tasting in the world and i for one haven't stoped eating it from day one.
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i've been eating it since april 20 when the well blew. so we are recovering, but, again it's going to be a marathon not a sprint. and they there's still a lot of work to be done. >> brown: all right. john young is the president of jefferson parish in louisiana. thanks so much for joining us. >> thank you, jeffrey, i appreciate it. happy thanksgiving to you. >> brown: and to you. we're back live now and joined by kenneth feinberg, the administrator of the compensation fund. and welcome to you, kenneth feinberg. >> thank you very much. >> brown: you heard john young say the process up to now has been too slow, too cumbersome, confusing as to who gets paid and who don't. >> first, i must be doing something right. we have spent or paid out over the last three months it will turn up to be about $2.3 billion in the gulf to about 150,000 individuals and businesses. louisiana has received over $700
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million in the last 12 weeks. now there are problems. this is a massive undertaking. but i do believe that the fund-- up to now, at least-- is doing what it was intended to do. >> brown: do you feel that this is more of a perception problem? the perception that there has been... there has been the perception, it's been said, that you appear to be too tied to b.p. and helping them. >> well, i mean, you know, that is a perception. i'm totally independent. both b.p. and the administration turned this program over to me. we are now moving into a new phase where every single eligible claimant who can document the damage has two choices. they can either take a lump sum payment, you heard the parish president, how the seafood is delicious and it's safe and everybody should eat it. you can take a lump sum payment
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and release your right to litigate and move on as best you can. or the parish president is the correct. if there are individual businesses or individual claimants that don't want to waive that right yet to litigate who believe that the future is still uncertain, still risky, they can instead take every three months for the next three years, jeff, interim payments, document their damage-- not easy-- document their damage, their past damage, and every three months for the next three years they can continue to receive payments and not waive any of their rights to litigate. >> brown: but your hope-- and we've talked about this before-- is still to convince people that they'd do better coming to the fund than going to court, right? >> i think that's absolutely clear. we don't want to repeat exxon "valdez."
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for 20 years that litigation continues. it is still going on. this program, which will be around until 2013, is designed to offer a voluntary alternative. if people want to litigate, that's their right. they have every right to do that if they do so desire. i in no way want to impede that right. if, on the other hand, they want to come into this fund voluntarily and take compensation sooner rather than later if they don't think it's fair they don't have to take the money or they can appeal my decisions to the coast guard or to the judges in the courts. i'm trying to do the best we can for the greatest number of people in the gulf. >> brown: what's been the hardest type of claim for you to date? is it still... we've talked about this proximity question, how close someone or how far someone is to the actual oil in the water.
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what's been the toughest problem? >> that's one problem. do you pay a golf course that's 100 miles from the gulf that claims damage or a restaurant in washington, d.c. that says it can't get gulf shrimp for scampi, that's within problem. the other problem, the parish president made a very good point very good point, and that is there's still a fair amount of uncertainty about the future in the gulf. the scientists haven't agreed, the biologists haven't agreed, it's very early. i'm doing my best in making a lump sum payment offer to take into account all of the available neutral data about the future in the gulf. and i'm hoping that the offers will be sufficiently generous that will claimants will accept them that final payment. but if they don't want it, they shouldn't take it, they can get interim payments going forward without releasing any of their litigation rights.
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>> brown: well, you heard him put poor ward one idea of payments as a kind of credit. you must be getting all kinds of advice. you heard the alabama governor with some tough language referring to this plan as extortion. you've had a lot of experience at this game. i mean, why has this seemed to be harder and tougher than perhaps you thought at the beginning? >> well, i think it's harder and tougher than i thought at the beginning based on the sheer volume of claims. i have received 450,000 claims. half of them have no documentation whatsoever. none! no tax stubs, no check receipts, no checkbooks, nothing. and yet these... the huge number of claims is a problem. the emotion here is a problem. but you'll recall 9/11 and when we had to design and administer the 9/11 fund for the first year there was plenty of criticism, plenty of emotion and i'm confident that at the time this program ends, years from now, i
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think that it will work and that people will continue to get paid fairly. >> brown: all right, ken feinberg, thanks for joining us once again and happy holiday to you. >> you, too, thanks so much. >> lehrer: next tonight, the connections between childhood illnesses and intelligence. that's the subject of ray suarez and our global health unit's third and final report from mozambique. >> reporter: at the chibuto hospital in rural mozambique, the pediatric ward is always busy. children here battle deadly diseases like malaria, h.i.v., and conditions like diarrhea, and often lose the fight. in mozambique, one in eleven children dies within the first year of life, one in seven dies within five years. the numbers are even higher in rural areas like chibuto.
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19-month-old dadesdores orlando has malaria. >> ( translated ): she had seizers and a fever. >> reporter: the family has already suffered one loss from the disease. >> ( translated ): i have three living children, a fourth died when child seven months of malaria. >> reporter: adrian agusto ndlate is one year and three months old, but he weighs just under nine pounds. he is severely malnourished. dr. gilberto luciano lucas says it's this baby's second time here, and if he continues on this path, he may not make it to age five. dr. lucas is one of two physicians caring for 200,000 people. >> they are in danger throughout their childhood, but the first five years are definitely the most terrible, the most difficult. >> reporter: now, a new study suggests the babies who do survive face an additional,
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lifelong challenge-- lower intelligence. the study concludes that babies who use their body's energy to fight disease will not have enough energy left to fully develop their brains. christopher eppig, a graduate student at the university of new mexico, authored the study. >> i like to think of this in terms of economics. so the body has a finite amount of physical energy that it can spend in a limited amount of areas. as a child earlier than five, at a younger age than five, one estimate shows the brain at more than half of the body's entire energy budget and as a newborn that number may be as high as 87% of the body's metabolic budget. and another expensive thing that the body does is fights off infectious disease. and so like any kind of budget if you have a limited amount of funds, if you take money out of one area, it has to come from somewhere. >> reporter: eppig found that
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countries with the highest levels of infectious disease also had the lowest average i.q.s. researchers matched i.q. estimates of 192 countries against 28 infectious diseases listed by the world health organization. mozambique which ranks at the bottom of i.q. scores also tops the charts in disease burden. >> the structure and the size of our brain is what gives us our intelligence. so exposure to disease early in childhood can affect the way the brain is built, the way its structured, and throughout your adult life you can be left with a brain that due to parasites wasn't built quite correctly. >> reporter: so multiply thousands of stories like those in chibuto hospital's pediatric ward and the economic potential of an entire country comes into question. the study immediately caught the eye of dr. emanuele capobianco, chief of health and nutrition
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for unicef in mozambique. >> the study basically says that if you fight infectious disease you raise i.q. of a nation. if this proposition is true by fighting infectious diseases you bring up the i.q. of a nation, which means the productivity of a nation, so it is a very strong argument for investing in health and fighting infectious diseases it's an economic argument that can be extremely strong and powerful for policy maker. who will have to decide how to prioritize their investment. >> reporter: mozambique receives millions in foreign aid every year, and still ranks among the world's poorest countries. would we think about development in a different way? would we think about medicine in a different way, if lifting the disease burden in the worst off countries was not just seen as a humanitarian gesture but as something with a direct connection to the economic future of a country? >> reporter: ivo paulo garrido is the former health minister of
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mozambique. >> you cannot have development in the third world with the present state of affairs in what concerns disease. so investing to combat diseases in africa, generally in what is called the third world is investing in development, and investing in development is investing in peace, stability for the whole world. >> reporter: the study controlled for other potential factors in a nation's average i.q. factors like quality and access to education, annual income levels, and even climate. and while those factors play a role, researchers found infectious disease to be the most powerful predictor of i.q. >> what we found is that infectious disease has the largest independent ability to predict average i.q. across the world when we consider it simultaneously with these other
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factors. >> reporter: more obvious is the effect of sickness on children who continue to suffer into their primary school years. jamie madumene is principal of chibuto's school. >> ( translated ): there is a difference between a child who is healthy and one who is not. there is a different level of understanding not only on tests, but in how the child progresses. >> reporter: not surprisingly, the i.q. study has been controversial. >> these are difficult waters to be swimming in. whenever a scientist asks questions about intelligence, national origin, place of origin, you can face a back lash. have you? >> a little bit.
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science is not inherently anything but science. if people have a racist ideology then they can look at that and say, this isn't in line with what i believe. if they're interested in changing the world, if they're interested in reducing inequality in the world they can look at our research and say, they've given us a tool to achieve our goals of reducing inequality in the world. >> reporter: and in rural chibuto mozambique, any tools that help fight inequality will be welcomed. >> lehrer: now, the latest on the crisis between north and south korea and what the united states should do about it. >> reporter: president obama began his day with the ceremonial thanksgiving turkey pardon, never addressing the issue of the escalating tensions on the korean peninsula. but last night, after an emergency session at the white house, the president, agreed to stage joint military exercises with south korea in the yellow
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sea this weekend. it's the united states' first military response to north korea's deadly shelling of a south korean island tuesday morning. the u.s. is sending the carrier george washington to the region more than 28,000 american troops are already stationed in south korea. prior to making the call, the president stressed the united states commitment to south korea in an interview with abc news. >> is an attack on south korea an attack on the u.s.? >> south korea is our ally. it has been since the korean war, and we strongly affirm our commitment to defend south korea as part of that alliance. >> this is a just one more provocative incident in a series that we've seen over the last several months. >> lehrer: today, the chairman of the u.s. joint chiefs of staff admiral mike mullen, increased pressure on china, north korea's strongest ally, to stand firm.
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>> the one country that has influence in pyongyang is china and their leadership is absolutely critical. >> lehrer: the decision to send u.s. forces came as south koreans remain on high alert, one day after a north korean barrage hammered yeonpyeong, a tiny island off the south korean coast. today rescuers there found the burned bodies of two civilians killed in the attack. the shelling also killed two south korean marines and wounded 18 people. about 1,700 civilians live on the island, home to a south korean military base. today's images revealed the scope of destruction. >> ( translated ): the bomb fell just fifty meters from me. i was going to turn around, but i didn't because i was reaching out for something in front of me instead, and at that moment, the bomb dropped. >> lehrer: more than 500 evacuees streamed into the port city of inchon after spending the night in underground shelters.
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>> ( translated ): i thought "oh, this is not another exercise, it is a war. i decided to run. and i did. >> lehrer: tuesday's attack by the north was the most severe since the korean war ended in 1953, and marks the first time civilians have died in the stalemate since the bombing of a south korean airliner in 1987. the incident also dramatically escalates an already tense year on the korean peninsula. in march, a south korean warship was hit by a torpedo on a routine patrolling mission. 46 sailors were killed. north korea denied any responsibility. and earlier this week, north korea revealed an advanced uranium enrichment facility. the north korean government has long refused to negotiate on nuclear issues, but has hosted three american delegations in the last month. for his part, ailing north korean leader kim jong-il again made no comment on the growing tension.
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he spent the day touring a university with his youngest son, and heir apparent, kim jong un. we have two views of what's going on now from christopher hill, who led the u.s. team negotiating with the north koreans from 2005 to 2008. he's now dean of the joseph korbel school of international studies at the university of denver. and from leon sigal who has written extensively about u.s.- korean relations. he's with the social science research council, an independent think tank in new york. ambassador hill, does the joint u.s./south korean naval exercise make sense to you? >> yes, it does. because i think the key element of any u.s. policy for north korea has to be the relationship with south korea. you know, this relationship is getting better and better. south korea's emerged as not only a major partner for us regionally but even globally as we've mean?
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the g-20 meeting. so i think it's very important that we stay in tight formation with the south koreans. and i think an exercise of this kind is entirely appropriate. >> lehrer: leon sigal, do you agree? it sends a message and it's the right message? >> i think the first thing you do is you reassure your ally. but we also have to think about how we play our way through this so we can find a way out. and that's also important for bringing the south koreans along. we need to find a path to get us out of the pernicious interaction between the south and north. >> lehrer: well, how is north korea likely to see this naval exercise, mr. sigal? >> well, i think they will, as usual, denounce it as, in their terms, provocative. but i don't... unless we get too close to north korean shores, i don't think they will respond in
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any military way. but i think, again, we have to see our way through this. we have to look out ahead and ask ourselves where do we want to be three months from now? and my own view is we have to be back at the negotiating table. in two different ways we have to be negotiating about their nuclear programs. but we also need a peace process in the korean peninsula, and for that... for both of those things south korea is critically important. >> lehrer: do you agree that, mr. ambassador? that there's got to be larger view here in the horizon or this does not make sense? >> well, i agree that we need a peace process. our problem right now is we don't have an interlocutor. it's very unclear what's going on in north korea. clearly they have a succession crisis. they have an army that's basically a law unto itself, that's probably not taking civilian direction at this point. so i think we have problems
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finding someone over there to talk to. in the meantime, i think it is very important that we work very closely with the south koreans. i don't think we want to be in a position of somehow egging them on, nor do we want to be seen as pulling them back. i think what we want to be doing is in very serious consultations and i think president obama is doing just that with president lee myung-bak. >> lehrer: you mean egging on the south koreans... or the north koreans? >> that is correct. that is correct. >> no, i'm referring to the south koreans, because there are two ways you can go wrong with the south koreans. one is to stand thousands of miles away and suggest there needs to be a much firmer response than they're making. and the second is to somehow, you know, advocate that they do less. >> lehrer: do you agree with mr. sigh gel that the only danger here, potential danger, immediate danger, is that the north korea... if the south korean exercise with the u.s.
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gets too close to south korea... i mean to north korea, they could react and this thing could have another tit for tat. is that possible? >> i agree. yeah, i agree. i think one has to be care informal these exercises. you don't want them to be needlessly provocative. but at the same time, the north koreans are pretty use to us having exercises and i think the worst thing we could do is not have an exercise and suggest that we're somehow intimidated by what is really... has really become a pattern of even more outrageous behavior on the part of the north koreans. >> lehrer: mr. say gal, let's go back to your... sigal, to your suggestion about a peace process. what do enough mind? >> well, ambassador hill fully know it is six-party process produced a document back in september of 2005 and one of the points in that document was that the relevant parties, obviously the united states, south korea, and north korea, but maybe china
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as well, would begin to establish a peace regime on the korean peninsula. look, until north korea is reassured... remember, the key target of of everything we're doing here has to be north korea. they're the ones who need persuading and it may not work. but we have to provide enough reassurance down the road-- not right now, but down the road to them that we are prepared to reduce what they see as the threat from us. it's only under those circumstances that they would conceivably stop their... some of their nuclear programs, begin to roll them back. i don't know if it would work, but a peace process is a critical element of that, and that was recognized in the september, 2005 joint statement. >> lehrer: do you buy that, mr. ambassador? >> well, at this point i'm not sure if a wheel barrel full of reassurance really going to help
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the the situation. the north koreans have really sort of acted out and acted on their own. i think what we need do as a first step is work with the south koreans and, as a second step, get to the chinese. and i think that is a very important element of the equation. >> lehrer: so you agreed with admiral mullen, what admiral mullen said today, that the chinese really do have the ability to influence north korea in a major way? >> i really think the north koreans sort of live and breathe on only one relationship out there and that wiese china. and i think top the degree to which we reach out with the north koreans right now really gets the chinese off 2 t hook. they say okay, that's what you should have done in the first place, talk to the north koreans we'll try to help you talk to the north koreans but we're not going to take responsibility for the action of this small neighbor of ours. and after all, north korea is pretty much a chinese creation. secondly, i would be concerned
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about any effort by the u.s. to reach out to the north koreans in terms of what it would do to the south koreans. i believe the key relationship on the korean peninsula is not north korea it's south korea. and that's why i keep coming back to the need not just to reassure them but to work closely with them and make sure this alliance that's gone on for some over 50 years is one that will last another 50 years. >> lehrer: well, leon sigal, you see it differently? >> yes, i do. i don't think china can-- whether they would or not-- bail us out. the key relationship north korea is seeking is a better relationship with us, south korea, and japan. they don't want to be totally dependent on china. that remains the case. i think today... and i think we have to test-- not right now, but after we work our way through the immediate situation-- whether they actually do want a better relationship. not just with us but with south
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korea and japan. i agree with ambassador hill that it's critical that south korea come along. this cannot work unless the south koreans are willing to play. but i think some south koreans, even on the conservative side in the policy ofinning to pressure has been met with counterpressure by the north. and that disengagement doesn't play well in pyongyang. whether engage element play any better, we have to test and see because in the past it actually has worked. you know, people forget, for 13 years the north koreans weren't making any plutonium. there were years when there weren't north/south confrontations. this is where we have to get back to, and i don't know any other way except try to negotiate, see what you can get. >> lehrer: and we have to get back to this whole subject another time. thank you both very much tonight. >> thanks.
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>> brown: finally tonight: the end of one era in space travel and the beginning of another. judy woodruff has the story. >> woodruff: the shuttle discovery is set to blast off for the final time next month, bringing nasa's shuttle program one step closer to an historic end. discovery is one of three remaining shuttles facing retirement by 2011. meanwhile, private companies are stepping in to fill the gap. this week, the california-based company, space-x, was cleared by the government to launch into space a capsule that will fly into low-orbit and re-enter the earth's atmosphere. it will be the first-ever commercial spacecraft to be licensed for re-entry. founded by south african entrepreneur elon musk, space-x has been a leader in the drive to develop commercial space travel. its company's dragon capsule is
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scheduled to orbit the earth four times next month, transmit data, receive commands, then re- enter the atmosphere and splash into the pacific ocean. if all goes as planned, it will deliver cargo and eventually astronauts to the international space station. and for more on all this, joining us now, our science correspondent miles o'brien. good to have you with us. >> good to be here. >> woodruff: let's talk background. the shuttle program going away. a lot of people don't realize it's not around for long. >> it's interesting. here we are approaching 30 years of shuttle flying, 130 some-odd flights and all good things, i guess, come to an end. this decision really was made on the heels on the loss of "columbia." in 2004, then president bush announced the slow retirement of the shuttle and the decision to move on to something else. at that time, the program was called "constellation" and the
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goal was return-to-return to the moon. but things have changed with the obama administration. >> woodruff: and so nothing was planned from the government for nasa post the shuttle program? >> yeah, i mean sad part about it, i think everybody can agree, no matter which thing we do next in space is that we are faced with this long gap. the shuttles will go away and we're going to have this five, six, seven, maybe longer year period where we will not have the capability here in the tous fly american astronauts to space on our own. what we're faced with to get to the international space station, something we've invested $100 billion in for research, what we're faced right now is the prospect of hiring russian taxis. a russian soyuz rocket will be carrying u.s. astronauts to the space station for the foreseeable future. i think that's unfortunate. >> woodruff: so we come to this commercial license, first of its kind granted this week. tell us who's behind it and what the goal is. >> well, elan mosque is a south african, lives in california who made a pile of money with a company called papal, we all
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know that one. paypal. he's always been fascinated by space and has gotten in this business, space exploration technology, space-x for short. he has a contract with nasa to build a rocket and a capsule that would deliver cargo and he hopes ultimately crews to the international space station, flying a dozen flights over the foreseeable future. this license he got is unprecedented because it's the first time that the f.a.a. has granted a license for a capsule to reenter from space. you know, the f.a.a. controls the airspace and if this capsule is going to come down after this test flight december 7, the f.a.a. these say a few things about it. >> woodruff: why did they give him a license? they must have confidence he can pull this off. >> the f.a.a. wants to encourage this because this is part of a burgeoning new sector, they hope, where one day we might have instead 500 people have flown to space so far in the history of the space program. the notion is that there will be 500 a month flying, or maybe even more than that if the power
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of the entrepreneurial spirit is opened up. and >> lehrer: again, the major developments of the day: so space-x is just part of it. a lot of people, of course, are familiar with sir richard branson and virgin galactic and the efforts there. there are other players in this field that would like to turn it into a for-real business. >> woodruff: are there disadvantages? are their worries about turning it over to the private sector? >> in a word it's safety. this is dangerous business. we've lost two orbiters on the shuttle period, let's not forget that. 14 brave men and women who we've lost. and so when you talk about giving more latitude to the private sector to build these rockets, the question becomes how will we know it is safe? and it's important that nasa and the f.a.a. are looking over the shoulder of these private players making sure that they're done in a way that is safe. but then again not being so much in their business that it's so expensive that they can't make a buck. >> woodruff: but advantages. what's the vision behind what he is doing. what does he ultimately want to
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do? >> of course, one of the things everybody always talks about is the notion of tourists going to space. there are a lot of people with a pile of money who... we've already seen it happen. who've flown on soyuz rockets going to the international space station paying $20 million for the visit. theres a small well-heeled market out there. you might say what kind of business is that? when the airlines were new in the 1920s not many people could afford to go on an airliner. no one could have envisioned in 1924 when they were flying a boeing triple 7 going to hong kong. you have to start somewhere. >> woodruff: this whole notion, miles, though,over letting the private sector determine where we go as a country in space, what does that... the united states has been seen as the leading country on the planet when it comes to space travel. what will that do to that image? >> well, you know, it's interesting because there's a lot of competition right now. the chinese have a manned space
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program now. we all know about the russian space program. the nation of india would like to have a manned space flight program. so there's a lot of competition in this field. but no one has designed to hand the reigns over to the private sector and give it some space, if you will, to create a business. so that could be an area where, if you could unleash america's entrepreneurial spirit, you could march ahead. meanwhile, in theory, at least, that opens up more money, effort time, resources for nasa to push farther out, to an asteroid, to a moon of mars or who knows where. >> woodruff: and we were talking earlier about this administration, the obama administration coming in, commercial flight has been a piece of how they've viewed the future of space. >> let's remember, commercial entitys have always been a part of the space program. it's just been more like the pentagon for all these years. cost plus contracts. as a result not very efficient. we all know how that goes. so the idea of having the commercial players involved is not new. what's different is how you allow these contracts to be set up.
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if you allow a fixed-price contract it changes everything. >> woodruff: and still, miles, you hear the voices of those who say but wait a minute, again, even though we're not turning it over to the private sector, what happens to that kind of just science for science' sake kind of work that nasa has? >> that's precisely what nasa should be doing, many people would suggest. that frankly at this point we've been flying to low-earth orbit 30 years with the space shuttle and nasa has proven that it has every capability to do that. scientifically, technologically, as an engineering feat, that's not as interesting as going far. so to the extent that allowing commercials to rule low earth orbit, it freezes up resources for nasa to move beyond. that's the notion, anyhow. a lot of people look back at the success of "apollo" and like to see that recreated. but "apollo" had the cold war context and a blank checkbook and honoring the wishes of a
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martyred president. that recipe is no longer here. >> woodruff: and meanwhile, the last space shuttle coming up soon. >> it's coming up and it's going to be a sad day. i have a lot of fondness for the program and i will miss the space shuttles. but all good things come to an end. >> woodruff: already nostalgia. miles o'brien, thanks for dropping by the studio. >> my pleasure. >> lehrer: again, the major developments of the day: there were few delays at airports across the country in spite of a movement urging passengers to opt out of new screening measures. the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff admiral mike mullen said china must work to restrain north korea from any further action against south korea. and a jury in texas convicted former house majority leader tom delay on money laundering charges. he now faces a sentence of five years to life in prison. and to hari sreenivasan, in our newsroom, for what's on the "newshour" online. hari? >> sreenivasan: find more on our twitter experiment tracking travel experiences this thanksgiving day and see how you can participate. that's on our homepage. judy woodruff blogged about what
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political journalists have to be thankful for this year. that's on "the rundown." we have the full video of today's turkey pardoning ceremony at the white house. and on "art beat," jeff talks with poet nikki giovanni about her new anthology: the 100 best african american poems. all that and more is on our web site, jeff? >> lehrer: and that's the newshour for tonight. on thursday, we'll look at a new drug aimed at preventing aids and the company that manufactures it. i'm jeffrey brown. >> lehrer: and i'm jim lehrer. we'll see you online and again here thanksgiving evening. have a good holiday. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> well, the best companies are driven by new ideas. >> our history depends on new ideas. we spend billions on advanced technologies. >> it's all about investing in the future. >> we can find new energy-- more cleaner, safer and smarter. >> collaborating with the best in the field.
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