Skip to main content

tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  January 13, 2014 6:00pm-7:01pm PST

6:00 pm
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: relief came to some west virginians today. given the green light to turn on their taps after five days without water. but new questions emerged about oversight of the company behind the chemical spill. good evening, i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. also ahead this monday, the supreme court hears arguments for the first time over the president's power to make appointments when congress is not in session. >> woodruff: plus from california, the story of a program bringing senior citizens into the internet age >> when they're able to use email and able to communicate with a friend or loved one far away, there's a big smile.
6:01 pm
it just makes y our day and you those are just some of the stories we're covering on tonight's "pbs newshour." >> and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
6:02 pm
ochingss announced a chemical spill near charleston has largely dissipated so they're lifting a ban on tap water in stages. we'll get the latest details after at news summary. new numbers on the president's health care law show enrollments are weighted towards older americans. administration reported today that adults 55 to vi 4 years old are one-third of the two million plus who signed up. officials hope for a surge of younger, healthier enrollees before the march 31st deadline, to hold down premium costs. >> ifill: the day's numbers from wall street were down sharply -- due partly to falling oil prices and to uncertainty about the federal reserve's plans. dow jones industrial down 179.11 at 16,257.94 the dow jones industrial average lost 179 points to close below 16,258.
6:03 pm
asdaq index down 61.36 at 4,113.31 the nasdaq fell 61 points to close at 4113. israel held a state funeral today for former prime minister ariel sharon. he died saturday at 85 after languishing in a coma for 8 years. we have a report from geraint vincent independent television news. the coffin of a national hero wrapped in the flag. ariel sharon was in so many ways the em bodeiment of israel. its rights and its wrongs. its hopes and its fears. outside the parliament building statesmen paid tribute to a man who devoted his life to israel's defense. >> the state had to be protected for future generations. when that meant fighting, he fought. when that meant making peace, he sought peace. >> the security of his people was always his unwaivering mission. a nonbreakable commitment to
6:04 pm
the future of jews, whether 30 years or 300 years from now. >> israel remembers a brilliant battlefield commander. so as sharon's body arrive for burial at his family's ranch, weapons of war stood ready nearby. >> the funeral is taking place just the other side of those trees on the hill there. and just behind me on the ridge here the israeli defense force has deployed what it calls the iron dome, a missile defense system to protect the funeral from any rockets which might be launched at it from inside palestinian territory, the gaza strip, just a few miles away from where ariel sharon is being laid to rest. it was prime minister sharon who ordered the israeli withdrawal from gaza but after a lifetime of confrontation, no one was morning him here. >> sharon will be buried near gaza said this man so he can feel our suffering
6:05 pm
and god can judge him. >> this evening two rockets were fired over the border but they fell well short of the ranch where ariel sharon may have found peace. >> but the land is still waiting >> ifill: in iran, reformists welcomed a plan to scale back the country's nuclear program in exchange for easing sanctions. hard-liners have rejected the deal, calling it a "poisoned chalice". meanwhile, u.s. and russian leaders working on a syrian peace deal announced today that the syrian government, and elements of the opposition, will allow humanitarian aid into the country. we'll examine iran's role in syria and on the nuclear agreement later in the program. >> ifill: anti-government protesters in thailand tried today to shut down bangkok. they want to derail elections set for next month, and force prime minister yingluck shinawatra from office. the protesters seized key intersections in the heart of the capital, blowing whistles, waving flags and even spreading out picnics. but, they insisted, they won't
6:06 pm
go away >> ( translated ): whoever is thinking about negotiations, compromise, hoping for a win-win situation, a win for both sides; i tell you now there is no win- win, there can only be one winner. either i win or you win! >> ifill: for the most part, police did not interfere with the protesters. >> ifill: the supreme court today refused to hear arizona's bid to revive a ban on most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. a lower court struck down the ban last year. the justices also heard arguments over presidential recess appointments. the fight centers on president obama's nominees to the national labor relations board. we'll talk to our supreme court expert, marcia coyle, later in the program. >> ifill: new jersey democrats are pressing two new probes involving governor chris christie. a special counsel will investigate the partial closing of a bridge, apparently to punish a democratic mayor. christie denies any role in the decision. separately, a democratic
6:07 pm
congressman announced a federal audit of an ad campaign that featured christie, after "superstorm sandy". baseball star alex rodriguez filed suit today to overturn his record suspension for doping. on saturday, an arbitrator ruled rodriguez must sit out the entire 2014 season. he cited "clear and convincing evidence" of using banned drugs and obstructing an investigation. rodriguez denies the charges. his federal suit names major league baseball and the players union. >> ifill: still to come on the "newshour", questions of oversight for the company behind west virginia's chemical spill. a case of presidential power before the supreme court. bringing seniors into the internet age. how your zip code affects how long and well you live. the progress and perils of diplomacy with iran. and anger in haiti, over the possible origins of a cholera crisis.
6:08 pm
>> woodruff: a few drips of good news greeted residents of west virginia today, but the fall out from last weeks chemical spill is far from over. >> woodruff: there's finally relief for some of the 300,000 west virginians who've been unable to drink, cook or even bathe with tap water for five days. governor earl ray tomblin announced today that test results are now below toxic levels. >> the numbers we have today look good and we're finally at a point where the do not use order is been lifted in certain areas. we've made a lot of progress but i ask all west virginias to continue to be patient as we work to safely restore service to the affected areas. >> woodruff: it can't happen soon enough for people who scrounged for ice and bottled water over the weekend. more than 230 visited emergency rooms complaining of exposure
6:09 pm
symptoms; 14 were admitted. still, some were undaunted: a local beauty pageant went on, as planned. >> we cannot take showers so some of the girls used water bottles to wash their hair. they're using a lot of dry shampoo, baby powder, lots of hair spray and teasing. >> woodruff: the crisis began thursday when 7,500 gallons of the chemical "four-methyl-cyclo- hexane methanol" leaked from a storage tank at freedom industries. some of the substance, used in coal processing, escaped a containment area and ran into the elk river, just upstream from the region's water treatment plant. the breech shut down the water supply in nine west virginia counties, an area that includes charleston. the plant is not subject to state inspections, but local leaders now say there were obvious problems. >> you can actually see where there are cracks in it, where the chemical came through. conditions at the plant were not
6:10 pm
good and the conditions were known by the previous owners and the danger is known to the present owner. >> woodruff: federal authorities have opened an investigation of the freedom industries site. meanwhile, the water company is watching contamination levels downstream. >> while we've been dealing with this situation in charleston. we expect there will be considerable dilution in the rivers that will work in our favor and mitigate the impact of the spill on the water in huntington. >> woodruff: as for charleston, water officials say the licorice odor may linger for a while, as water service is restored in stages. for the latest now we're joined by ashton marra, she has been covering the spill for west virginia public broadcasting. >> i spoke with her a short time ago. >> ashton marra, thank you for talking with us. so what is the very late snes. >> the very latest is now two loans have been proved
6:11 pm
to open and begin flushing out their homes and their businesses, and able to use water again. now those zones have been prioritize as west virginiaian american water president told us earlier today to zones that include hospitals and a the highest population density areas. so zone 1 and 2 have been approved to start the flushing process. both of those include major hospitals. >> woodruff: and tell news brief what is this flushing process? >> basically the flushing process is a three step method. first of all you're turning on your hot water faucets for 15 minutes. then you're turning on your cold water for five minutes and then you have to go through the process of cleaning and flushing all of the appliances in your home that use water, as a very, very detailed list, thins like washing machines, dishwashers, icemakers, any type of water filters, there is a detailed process for each of those appliances. so this is something that is not really very easy.
6:12 pm
it might not be common sense or there might be things that people could forget. so it's very important for west virginiaians who are able to start using their water again to check on those protocols and west virginiaian american water has made those available. >> woodruff: but once they do this process then are then able to drij the water. >> we have been told that once they go through the process, completely flushing out of their homes and their businesses, the water is good for use. the tests that are coming out of the treatment facility show that the water is testing at a safe level. safe for consumption, safe for use, safe for bathing. so anything after you get all of that water out of your home system, the water is good to go. no further precautions need to be taken. >> woodruff: ashton, you have been reporting on this story since it started a few days ago. how are people finally, how are they holding up? >> i think people have been frustrated to say the least. this is obviously a hard time for everyone. but i can't say that-- can
6:13 pm
say that emergency management officials have really been handling this very well. people who are stuck in their homes, the elderly, maybe sick. they haven't had to do anything. they have had water and supplies delivered straight to them. now as far as businesses go, you have to think about these people who work in restaurants, who are making minimum wage. this is a difficult time for them because they haven't been working, but we do have some lawmakers who are putting a campaign together, asking west virginiaians as they return to these restaurants to tip a little bit extra. think of those people who are struggling to make ends meet and have lost a few days of work and need a little bit of extra help. but we are recovering and we will get there slowly. >> i know that's good news to everybody involved and all of us watching. ashton marra with west virginiaian public broadcasting, thank you. >> thank you. >> woodruff: a number of questions have been raised about the regulation and oversight involved in this case -- and other recent accidents in the region.
6:14 pm
coral davenport has been reporting on those as the energy and environmental correspondent for the new york times. coral davenport, welcome to the program. as we just reported, this plant was not subject to state inspections. why not? >> judy t turns out the plant hadn't been inspected since 1991. but that was legal under west virginia state law. the state law stipulates that because this was a storage facility rather than a production or manufacturing facility, it was not subject to any regulations or inspections, permitting. and so one of the first developments that's come from this is an immediate call to change the state regulation, the governor and the head of the state environment department are talking about introducing some legislation that would at least firm up that inspection process.
6:15 pm
it would add, you know, add annual inspections to storage facilities. but there are a lot of complaints broadly about the regulatory environment in west virginia and also west virginia's history of accidents and disasters related to the chemical and coal industry. >> woodruff: we just just heard the county commissioner said that the current owner of this plant and the previous owner knew, he said, that the conditions were poor in this plant. what is known about the state of this plant? >> well, that is-- that's sort of slowly unfolding, more rapidly unfolding as we go on. the attorney general has launched an investigation and although we don't yet know, you know, there haven't yet been allegations of violations or any kind of criminal allegations, the attorney general's office did say that when you have a spill or a disaster, an
6:16 pm
accident of this magnitude, they're almost certain to find major violations, possibly a violation of the law. >> woodruff: any evidence of previous accidents there? >> not that we've seen. you know, not that we've seen from these particular companies. what's interesting again is you know this facility has a clean record from the epa. no record of violations whatsoever. but that's also because there haven't been any inspections. so its record is clean but there really isn't anything, you know, there hasn't been any inspections to make that record. >> and what about the fact that this is a storage plant for a chemical but it's located on a river and very close to a water treatment plant. >> on a river just a couple miles up from a water treatment plant. again this is something where a lot of local advocacy groups who have been pushing on this for a while say this is an example of sort of systemic
6:17 pm
environment of lax regulations in west virginia. this is an area, the valley is known as chemical valley because the chemical industry is the core central part of its economy. it has major chemical plants, companies like dow, like dupont. these are very influential both in the region and in state politics. so this is, you know, kind of one of the reasons that these outside groups are saying, you know, these chemical companies seem to have a lot more influence in weakening regulations than, you know, than necessarily, than the push by environmental advocates. and again, this is just in this area, this area known as chemical valley, this is the third chemical accident in five years. >> well, we are going to leave it there. a lot of questions being raised for sure.
6:18 pm
coral davenport with the "new york times", thank you. >> good to be here, thanks. >> ifill: today's action at the supreme court centered on the question of whether the president can make temporary appointments without senate approval. marcia coyle of the national law journal was in the courtroom this morning and joins us now. it sounds like today's arguments were about current day politics, the kind that we see being argued on capitol hill but also about early history of our nation. >> very much so, gwen. this case was about the recess appointments clause in the constitution. and surprisingly the supreme court has never taken a look at the meaning and scope of that clause. so today we heard a lot about the words and the clause and their meaning. historical documents at the time the framers of the constitution were writing
6:19 pm
this and what they thought. and also a very, very long tradition of how presidents used or didn't use the recess appointments power. >> ifill: how did this end up coming to the court after all this time. >> sure this stems from a labor dispute, a kpon one between noah canning which is a washington tate-based soft drink bottler and distributor and its workers union. theres with a disagreement about, over contract negotiations. the union filed a complaint with the national labor relations board. the board ruled in favor of the union, the company took an appeal to a federal appealate court here in washington d.c. its main argument was that the board lacked the authority to make a decision because three of its five members had invalid recess appointments to the board. the lower federal appellate court agreed, disagreed with the government's argument that those three members were appointed january 4th, 2012 during the period when
6:20 pm
the senate had adjourned but was reconvening in what we call pro forma sessions. not to conduct business. the administration said that was the recess the a pointments were valid. >> now whenever we have seen this sort of thing happen it has happened on the political level based on without-- if it is a democratic president, democrats think executive poer with is fine, and if republican they think the same thing did. it play out that way in the chambers. >> i don't think so. i think the justices from some of their questions were very aware of the politics behind this. but they also were very engaged in exploring the meaning of the phrases in the closet at issue here. there are really three issues before the court. the recess clause gives the president the power to fill all vacancies that may have been during the recess of the senate. and so they were trying to decide what is the recess. may the president only make
6:21 pm
appointments in that break between the biannual sessions of congress or as presidents have, during recesses in the middle of the session. what about may happen, vacancies may happen. does that mean the vacancy has to arise during the recess or as presidents have done, existing vacancies can be filled during the recess and one final question, what about these pro forma sessions where businesses is conducted. is what a real session of the senate or a recess as the administration claimed but, regarding today. >> did we expect, did we see the original list against the liberals? did we see scalia and thomas did. we see the regular divide i guess. >> we did in a sense. i would say every justice today was an originalist because they really did try to look at the text and understand what it's meaning was. but for example, on the may happen phrase, those same justices, most of the justices said they felt that the opponents of the
6:22 pm
government had the stronger argument, that arises during. but some of the same justices more prague national-- pragmatic said well, what about this 100 year plus tradition of appointing vacancies that have already existed. so there was that tug-of-war on almost all three questions. the meaning versus the tradition. and what should prevail, what was more persuasive. >> how unusual is it for the justices to have this kind of clean slate to come before them, it's not like abortion or the other issues we talked to you about where there is a long, long history of jurisprudence. there is something they get to kind of make up. >> yeah. >> kind of within it's very unusual and they have, don't have prior decisions to look to. so yes, they're going to be going back to the next, the documents, the tradition and trying to figure it out. i think the only case comparable to it in recent years was the second amendment case involving the
6:23 pm
district of columbia's gun ordinance. >> ifill: did this whole debate we've had in washington about filibuster, nuclear options across the street at the senate, did that come money? >> it didn't at all. and i'm not surprised that it didn't. because in a sense, although it made it easier for president obama to get his appointments confirmed. senate rules change as we saw with the filibuster rule. and future presidents and future senates may have the same issue. so the supreme court is focused on the questions before it, not on the politics. >> one final question the court also today didn't do something, they decided not to take up an arizona abortion case. this is a couple of states decided they would put this 20 week ban into that. and the court basically backs away and says this is the state's business. >> it didn't say anything. >> right t just declined to get involved, to review arizona's appeal. the lower federal appellate court here had said the law violated the supreme court's precedent on you know, when
6:24 pm
an abortion may occur. so they didn't say anything. they didn't say anything when they declined to get involved in two other cases that came from oklahoma. so we really don't know what the court is thinking about. these cases, they could have had procedural problems. we didn't know. >> ifill: we know it has to get worked out at the state level. >> for now. but there's lots of litigation going on and it also shows the court may see the question again and maybe they'll take a question. >> ifill: marcia coyle, national law journal and our own, thank you very much. >> my pleasure, gwen. >> woodruff: going online to work, shop, or check in with loved ones. is now just a part of daily life. but for some senior citizens, the world wide web is a maze they are yet to navigate. the "newshour's" mary jo brooks reports on a program trying to change that. >> do you remember how to get into your email?
6:25 pm
>> reporter: at seventy-six years of age, bing farjardo is trying to become internet savvy. >> im still groping. im getting to know it a little more, but it will take a little time. >> woodruff: although fajardo worked with computers as a secretary for many years, using the internet is a completely new experience. she would like to become more adept so she could stay in touch with family members in the philippines, and with her daughter in switzerland, who wonders why her mother doesn't answer emails. >> she says you mean you haven't opened my email yet? >> reporter: and what prevents you from opening it? >>i get frustrated opening it, because it takes time. >> reporter: fajardo hopes that frustration will lessen now that she's taking an internet class sponsored by the st. barnabas senior center in los angeles. >> reporter: the center --which for more than five decades has provided seniors with a broad
6:26 pm
variety of services, including exercise classes, hot meals and medical check-ups, now has added computer and internet training to its roster of offerings. >> today we're here for facebook one, the starter kit. >> reporter: the day we visited, there was a class about how to use facebook, the popular social networking site. >> so these are the people who want to contact me? >> reporter: about 15 seniors listened intently as instructors walked them step-by-step through the process of how to set up an account, look for friends and open up attachments and links. >> reporter: instructor andres gonzalez says often his elderly students need even more basic instructions, like how to use a mouse and keyboard. >> there's a fear of touching it. of being in the room with it. so what we do in the first class we go over the equipment, how to touch it. unless you're banging it, you're not going to break it.
6:27 pm
>> reporter: but helping seniors overcome this digital divide is a daunting task. the pew research center estimates that only about half of all americans over the age of 65 use the internet. that number is certainly up from the year 2000 when just 13% were online. but still, with more and more information being offered digitally, from banking statements to government forms and medical records, seniors who don't use the internet will be left behind. rigo saborio, the director at st. barnabas says getting seniors digitally connected is vital to their long-term health and well-being. >> it's really about opening your horizons to access services and info that is available to truly transform their lives. its going to have a profound
6:28 pm
impact on health, mental health, physical health and financial health. i think it's critical that we do what we can to enable people to have greater access to health and financial information through the computer system. >> reporter: one of the great barriers for many seniors is, of course, the cost. that's one reason st. barnabas established a cyber cafe where, for a small monthly fee, seniors get unlimited use of the computers, wi-fi and one-on-one help with technical questions. the center is now working to raise money to buy laptops and tablets which could be lent to people who cant afford them. st barnabas is also expanding its mobile technology program, setting up laptops, mobile hotspots and offering classes to homebound people in low-income and retirement communities.
6:29 pm
>> they feel like there's a sense of freedom and opportunity in that process. when they're able to use email and able to communicate with a friend or loved one far away, there's a big smile. it just makes your day and you know you're making a difference. >>i like to see friends of mine that i haven't seen physically in a couple of years >> reporter: thats certainly been the case for seventy-eight year old philip white. he says he was initially slow to embrace certain kinds of social media on the computer. but he now regularly comes to the cyber cafe to check in on facebook and use skype to make video calls with friends around the world. >> a friend called me from new jersey and were chatting away and i put up a photo of my brother and my kids. and its great. you just put them up there and chat about whatever there is. >> reporter: and that's one of the encouraging things about computer use and the elderly: once they are exposed to the internet, they do use it.
6:30 pm
according to that same pew study, 70% of seniors who have internet access use it on a daily basis. the number using social networking sites has increased 150% over the last two years. with 45% of senior internet users saying they use facebook. >> woodruff: much of the national focus on improving health care has centered on the expansion of coverage that's starting to take effect. but a report out today says it's time for the country to pay more attention to the socio-economic conditions that play a role in health outcomes, especially for lower-income americans. the recommendations, issued by a non partisan commission created by the robert wood johnson foundation, call for new investments like pre-k education for children under five.
6:31 pm
david williams is a professor of public health at harvard's school of public health. he was a staff director for the commission as well. for the record, the foundation is one of our sponsors for health coverage. >> it's good to be with you. >> woodruff: so what is the rationale for thinking that doing something about socioeconomic condition sps going to be connected to a health you recall provement? >> well, first, the logic context is as a nation we have a huge problem. we spend more money on medical care than any other country in the world, according to the world bank half of the money spent on medical care in the world annually is sppbt in the united states. yet we rank at the bottom of the industrialized world on health and we are losing ground over time so we have a crisis. and the problem is not just a problem of the low income individuals and the poor. even the best off americans are not currently achieving a level of health that
6:32 pm
possible. and more medical care spending will not solve it. we now need to look at what are the drivers of health in the first place our health-care system is wonderful, we have great facilities, the best trained medical workforce in the world but to a large degree, medical care is a repair shop that takes care of us once we get sick and it doesn't determine whether we get sick or not in the first place. >> so what san example of something that can be done to improve someone's what we call socioeconomic stat thaws then leads to an improvement in health? >> so let's talk about early child has development watch. we know is that the foundations of health in adult issued are late in childhood and the opportunities and experiences that children have even before they go to school shape their risk of chronic disease 30, 40 years late soar that everything that he with can do to prepare those children and give them the optimal health
6:33 pm
and optimal developmental opportunities in the preschool area then they're ready for school and they have high levels of education and they will have better health for the rest of their life. >> can you give us an example of something they would learn in school that would then lead to a better health outcome. >> certainly, more health education and more physical fitness in school are good but that is not where i'm going. we're going on preparing those kids for learning, so for example, i a child exposed to toxic stress and toxic stress are examples of being taken care of by a caregiver who is cronically depressed, growing up in chronic poverty, being a victim of abuse. that child will have more problems in success in school but will also have more health problems as an adult. studies show that we can actually measure the alteration of brain structure in those preschoolkids linked to the
6:34 pm
exposure to toxic stress. >> woodruff: at the same time i was reading today that of course there is disagreement among experts about whether universal prek education which sun the things i think your task force is calling for is go good for all children. how do you look the a the arguments that are out there about this? >> i think every child needs the opportunity for healthy development, for many children at the may get that in the home. and they don't have to go to a preschool setting. so we are not necessarily calling for preschool, universal preschool for all. we are calling for universe preschool for those who are in environments where they need that healthy environment to do well. and that's certainly characterizes many of our lower socioeconomic populations. >> looking the again at some of your recommendations it's pretty ambitious agenda. how do you pay for it. >> that is a really good question. give given our expenditure
6:35 pm
on medical care, money is not-- there isn't a shortage of money in this country. the question is how do we spend our money and what are our priorities but the good news there are promising models all across the country right now with creative public private participations like in the state of minnesota where the business community and the state has come together to provide scholarships so that all poor kids can et go a preschool education or an example from texas where the state raised the sales tax by 1/8 of a penny and that money is allocated for preschool education so there are wonderful examples. >> woodruff: you are saying the evidence is already out there that this works. >> let me tell you how powerful the evidence is, the best evidence comes from a study done in ypsilanti michigan more than 50 years ago. the perry preschool study where kids were random leigh by the flip of a coin received preschool or didn't receive preschool. they have now been followed for 40 years.
6:36 pm
those kids that got the preschool, 40 years later, high levels of education, high levels of income, high levels of home ownership, high levels of marriage. less involvement with the criminal justice system, less involvement with the social welfare system, and for every dollar invested there is a $17 return to society from that preschool program. that is stunning, that is amazing economic development that we can achieve. >> so just quickly finally is this something that you have to persuade the white house and the congress to go along with to make it happen? >> i think there is a lot of interest in prek education, across the political spectrum in the united states now because the evidence is so strong that there is such enormous benefit for our society. >> all right, professor david williams of harvard, we thank you very much. >> thank you. >> ifill: now to iran, and two
6:37 pm
different foreign policy challenges facing the obama administration. >> let me be crystal clear about something: iran is currently a major actor with respect to adverse consequences in syria. >> ifill: in paris today, secretary of state john kerry made plain his frustration with iran's role in syria's civil war. ( explosion ) he said that tehran has helped prop up syrian president bashar al-assad, undermining western efforts to force him to step down. >> iran is supporting another terrorist-designated org called hezbollah. and they are supporting hezbollah to come out of lebanon across the border, into syria and to be a fundamental, basic fighter. no other country, no other nation, has its people on the ground fighting in the way that they are and the way that they are supporting. >> ifill: kerry is in paris to
6:38 pm
discuss plans for a syrian peace conference, next week in montreaux, switzerland. iran, currently, is not set to join that gathering. but on another front, iran reached agreement with the u.s. and five other countries yesterday, to implement an interim nuclear deal. it calls for the islamic republic to dial back enrichment of nuclear fuel. in exchange, financial sanctions will be eased, allowing the release of $4.2 billion in frozen iranian funds. some in tehran were cautiously optimistic today. >> ( translated ): i think we can take this agreement as a very good starting point but we have to be very cautious and remain vigilant as america has a bad reputation and can destroy this agreement any moment. >> ifill: but hard-liners rejected the deal out of hand. and most iranian lawmakers are supporting a plan to enrich uranium at even higher levels. much of the u.s. senate is skeptical as well. at least 57 senators now support imposing new sanctions on iran.
6:39 pm
this afternoon, president obama warned against the move. >> my preference is peace in diplomacy and that is one of the reasons i sent a message to congress that now is not the time for us to impose new sanctions, now is the time for us to allow the diplomats and they can call-- technical experts to do their work. >> ifill: white house press secretary jay carney warned again today, any such move could spoil the interim deal. >> ifill: joining me now to discuss challenges facing the iran nuclear deal and the country's involvement in syria is chief foreign affairs correspondent margaret warner. marg-- margaret we were talking about in in november, a big deal finally agreed to agree to something watch. important now? >> warner: i think what's important, is as you said in november it's-- not easy, it was very difficult to get a deal after marathon negotiations but really as they say the definite sill in the details and the parties currently were determined to work out all these complicated technical
6:40 pm
aspects. and how verification would work, who would take what step first. i think that the cautionary element here is that it was thornier than they expected. more complicated than they expected. at one point the iranians staged a miniwalkout. it suggested getting the big comprehensive deal going to be tough. still i think what is most important is it is a real milestone and if the administration failed to get this deal it would have been katie barred at this door on capitol hill with the pressure. >> there is still pressure on capitol hill. the iranians walked away, they have pressure at home as well. which is the more pressing pressure, i guess. >> i think it's pressure on both presidents, actually. certainly on capitol hill this agreement, announcement yesterday didn't appear to have changed the battle lines. house majority leader saying there is nothing that cements a bad deal, a deeply flawed deal and the 60 senators as you mentioned
6:41 pm
are close to, signed up for this. the administration is hoping to forestall it even being introduced. at least now they can argue the program is frozen. >> it must be worried the president brought that statement up on an unrelated issue. he wanted to say this is not something we should do. >> oh, he really wanted to say it. and yesterday gwen, there was a briefing by state department officials, a backgrounder on the phone and it was that we discuss all these technical aspects but really constantly the participations kept pounding home this same message. if it is brought to the floor which they hope to foresaul, then what they are really looking at is trying to get a veto-proof margin. >> iran is central to so much. john kerry is in paris preparing to go to month roe, switzerland for syrian peace talks and iran could be the fly in the ointment there as well. >> yeah, there is huge pressure. you wonder what to make of this tough talk from kerry. the fact is the pressure is on. next week is the conference. and iran is proving a hurdle
6:42 pm
because the u.n. and the russian, i think you pointed out about the u.n., want them involved saying look, iran has influence with assad like nobody else other than the russians. but the u.s. doesn't want iran in the mix if they won't agree to at least the sort of underlying principles that this conference was convened on which is this transig. so i also think it relates to the nuclear issue and that the saudis who already have their nose out of joint about the iran issue are allies, really don't want assad and syria-- don't want iran in the syria game, as you know. both those countries have opposing forces on the ground. >> and when you talk about iran's influence on sir ya, we're not just talking about diplomatic influence or friendship. we're talking about weapons, arms,. >> weapons, arm and by most intelligence estimates, hundreds of iranian revolutionary guard actual fighters, really good troops on the ground there, as well as, of course, is kerry
6:43 pm
pointed out hezbollah for which iran is a major patron. so you must have a lot of problems with what iran is doing in syria right now. >> ifill: and how much does the u.s. have riding oncoming up what, it feels like if there are balls in the air, any one of which the nuclear deal or the syrian peace talks could crash to ground and ruin everything, spilling over everything else. >> i think that is why the administering has decided no to the tie the two together. because the obama administration, the number one priority is stopping this nuclear program. s this's the thing that is a threat to the u.s. that is the thing that is potentially a threat to allies in the region like israel. and also it offering an opportunity for cleaner victory. i mean there is at least the prospect of a legacy producing deal, to at least insight. whatever happens in syria, it's outcome is going to be messy. it's not going to be pretty. the war is to the going to end soon. and finally, of course, the a bomba administration, the president is on the hook potentially to intervene militarily if the iranian nuclear deal should fail in
6:44 pm
and iran should pursue, he's not obligated like that in sir why. >> but this pause deal is just for six months and it is a very steep uphill battle to get to the next step. >> absolutely. as the ns for this pause deal showed. >> ifill: margaret warner, thanks so much. >> warner: thank you. >> ifill: finally tonight, we update the situation in haiti, four years after it was hit by a catastrophic earthquake that killed more than 100,000 people. efforts to rebuild the poverty stricken island were led by the united nations. but in a cruel twist, u.n. soldiers sent there to help are thought to have inadvertently started a cholera epidemic one year later. now a lawsuit is being brought by more than 5,000 haitians. we have this report by inigo gilmore of independent television news. >> reporter: the artibonite river is in many ways haiti's
6:45 pm
life source. for generations, people have come here to bathe. it had always provided a natural and safe source of drinking water, too. that is, until it was poisoned with cholera, just over three years ago. people around here started dying. >> ( translated ): this is where we take water to wash our clothes, to shower, to drink. and the u.n. is up there dumping their bathroom waste into the water. we got infected from the water. >> reporter: soldiers stationed at this united nations base perched by the river in the town of mirebalais were accused of being the source of the cholera outbreak. in october, 2010, it was alleged that dark liquid from an overflowing septic tank was spewing from the base into the river. >> ( translated ): my daughter got cholera when she was two
6:46 pm
years old and recently, she got sick again. she spent three days in hospital. she was much bigger than this. she's lost a lot of weight. >> reporter: three years on, there's been nearly 700,000 cholera cases. now, this insidious disease is growing more deadly. at this medecins san frontieres hospital in laogane, we met countless young families in distress. >> ( translated ): she was just crying. she was crying for three days, so we drove her here. she had diarrhea in the car. when we got here, they ran some tests and it revealed she had cholera. >> reporter: the daughters are acutely worried about her child, alcheyna. she's malnourished and fungus is spreading inside her mouth.
6:47 pm
another sick baby, ruji, is just six months old. ravaged by their harsh living conditions, young and old are succumbing quickly to cholera, which should be easy to treat. but the number of clinics and doctors here is actually decreasing, as haiti drops off the international agenda, and aid budgets are slashed. >> there are less and less treatment centers, you know. there is less and less preventive activities, so as the organizations, as the government have disengaged from the day to day management of cholera, the number of deaths is increasing. this is the only facility where they can come. everyone else, including the administry of health, they're not present. they're not engaged in this medical activity, which is absolutely unacceptable. >> reporter: haiti had never had a recorded case of cholera before 2010. proof of its source is not definitive. but the scientific evidence from international and local experts
6:48 pm
has been stacking up. ( translated ):scientifically, you can't be 100% sure. but the waste from the base was being dumped into the river. and the first victims were drinking water from the river. the soldiers in the base came from nepal, a country where cholera exists. the bacteria we identified matches the one from nepal. all this cannot just be coincidence. >> even though haiti has not been at war. the. in mission has a fractious relationship with haitians. its forces accused in dozens of rape and sexual abuse cases and now for bringing cholera. the epidemic is now reaching some of the most remote corners. surrounded by rice paddy fields, this village lies more than two hours downstream from the un base in mirebalais.
6:49 pm
but even here, cholera has taken a heavy toll. >> ( translated ): this is the water we used to drink from. we got cholera from this water. >> reporter: villagers step forward to tell us about the loss of their loved ones. >> ( translated ): i lost my child. and i had cholera myself. when i lost my child, i thought he'd been poisoned. i took him to a traditional healer. before we could do anything, the child was dead. >> reporter: this old man lost his brother, a cousin, and his two children. he seemed shell-shocked, wondering aloud who would now look after him. >> ( translated ): they took me to a nearby cemetary. and in the undergrove, blue plastic sheeting was clearly visible. they told me, they'd wrapped the bodies in plastic and buried them hurriedly in unmarked graves. fearing the spread of contagion. >> reporter: there's no dignity in death around here.
6:50 pm
a human bone was lying near one grave. first, there was sorrow. now, there's real anger. >> ( translated ): the united nations must be held accountable. we lost a lot. they should compensate us and they should do it right away. >> reporter: their cause has been taken up by haiti's leading human rights lawyer, who is seeking compensation from the u.n. for over 5,000 haitian victims whose plight, he says, is being ignored. >> ( translated ): the recognition of human rights for rich people, human rights for poor people. we can't accept that. because united nations is an organization for the world. >> reporter: mario joseph has now launched a lawsuit in new york's federal court to challenege the u.n.'s claims of immunity from prosecution. but over at the u.n. headquarters in port au prince there's a refusal to even discuss the issue.
6:51 pm
>> why didn't the united nations committee just admit it's responsible for the outbreak of cholera in haiti? >> well, unfortunately, i can't comment on that particular side of the issue. >> why not? >> because we're not supposed to be commenting on issues that are being considered by the legal office in our, in our headquarters. >> but it's not just a legal matter, there's a moral matter here as well. people are appalled by what's happening. they blame the u.n. >> as i said, i'm sorry but i can't comment on it. and i think what's more important is how to deal with it here and now. >> due process, the rule of law, the human right, they need to give hatian people a day in court. >> reporter: but as he seeks his day in court against the u.n., it seems he won't be getting much help from his own health ministry, which is clearly reluctant to take on the world body. >> ( translated ): we support the hatian people who are victims of cholera.
6:52 pm
>> reporter: you said you support victims of cholera? do you support the claim that 5,000 people are against the united nations? >> we support the haitian people. >> reporter: can you answer the question? do you support this claim, please? >> do you answer my... do you... do you hear my answer? >> you are the level of the health ministry. >> reporter: suddenly, she'd had enough. she headed for the door, jumped in her car, and drove off. the haitian government says it's working on a ten-year plan to rid haiti of cholera. but the aid agencies trying to hold back a disease that's already claimed over 8,000 haitian lives says it's an emergency, right now. >> so who's going to treat these patients, yeah? this problem is not going away, yeah? an eradication plan over ten years is a great idea, a great initiative, but it doesn't address the needs of the haitian people today. >> reporter: four years ago, the world responded to haiti's massive earthquake with promises to rebuild the country and make it better than before.
6:53 pm
four years on, many pledges still remain unfulfilled, and the world body stands accused of heaping more misery on this ravaged people. >> woodruff: again the major developments of the day. officials in west virginia announced a chemical spill near charleston has largely dissipated. so, they're lifting a ban on tap water, in stages. congressional negotiators reached agreement on a $1 trillion spending bill to fund the government through september. stocks fell sharply. the dow industrials lost nearly 180 points and israel held a state funeral for former prime minister ariel sharon. he died saturday at 85, after eight years in a coma. >> ifill: on the newshour online right now, it appears that van gogh and picasso can keep their detroit home.
6:54 pm
local and national foundations have pledged more than $300 million dollars to protect the city's beloved art collection while it undergoes bankruptcy. the funds will also bolster the city's ailing pension funds. you can read more about the deal on our rundown. all that and more on our website, >> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonight. on tuesday, we'll sit down with former defense secretary robert gates about his attention- grabbing new memoir. i'm judy woodruff. and i'm gwen ifill. we'll see you online and again here tomorrow evening. for all you us here at "the pbs newshour," thank you and goodnight. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪
6:55 pm
moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information at >> 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. captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh
6:56 pm
6:57 pm
6:58 pm
6:59 pm
7:00 pm
this is "nightly business report" with tyler mathisen and seussy girhab. >> our service provides an objective independent ratings daily on over 4,300 stocks. learn more at >> stumbling start. stocks tumble, extending their losses for the year so far. so what is holding the market back? and are there more declines ahead? >> who's buying the drinks? beam is being acquired by a japanese firm. the price tag, $14 billion. and now investors want to know who's next. the aftermath -- target's ceo speaks for the first time about that big data breach, promising significant changes


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on