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tv   PBS News Hour Weekend  PBS  January 25, 2014 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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on this edition for saturday, january 25th. even as the war rages on, syrian peace talks began in switzerland. why the world's emerging markets could be a major concern for american investors. and william bragham with a rare look inside iran. >> prices for consumer goods and everyday items have gone through the roof. at the very same time that the value of the money people use here, the real, has completely plummeted. >> next on pbs "newshour weekend." >> made possible by lewis b. and louise hi are feld komen. joyce v. hale.
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the walllach family. bernard and irene schwartz. roslyn p. walter. corporate funding is provided by mutual of america. designing customized, individual, and group retirement products. that's why we're your retirement company. additional support is provided by -- by the corporation for public broadcasting. and for contributions to your station from viewers like you. from the tish studios in lincoln center, new york. >> good evening. thanks for joining us. for the first time since the civil war in syria began, representatives of syrian president bashar al ashaud's regime and some of the rebels trying to oust him held face-to-face peace talks today. that conflict has led to an estimated 130,000 deaths. itv reports from geneva. >> reporter: there was a sense of purpose about the way the delegations walked in geneva
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this morning. this was the day the talks finally got serious. through the hostility, representatives of the warring sides in syria were on their way to sit down and face each other in the same room. >> we shall start with modest ideas. and we hope we build on them, achieve something, and then move gradually to bigger and bigger issues. >> reporter: inside the palace of nations, it was the u.n. special envoy, lakdar brahimi, who chaired and did most of the talking at the first meeting. >> the two sides entered the negotiating room by separate doors. one of the negotiators told me the atmosphere inside was like a courtroom with the two sides communicating with each other via the judge. the u.n. mediator. the main efforts at the start of the talks is to try to establish local cease-fires in places like homs to aloud alow aid to get th
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to the civilian population. >> our delegation is passionate. >> can you guarantee you can stop opposition fighters fighting in homs, guarantee to get them to put down their guns? >> if there is agreement reached we can guarantee that, yes. >> reporter: at the end of a second two-hour meeting this afternoon, mr. brahimi was frank. >> we haven't achieved much. but we are continuing. >> reporter: they may not have found common ground today, but given the animosity between the two sides, the fact that they are still here and still looking does count as progress. there was more violence throughout egypt today on the third anniversary of the overthrow of hosni mubarak. at least 25 were killed during a series of clashes between supporters of the military government and infamous backers of the deposed, popularly elected mohamed morsi. there were 4 than 400 arrests.
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a car bomb exploded outside a police facility in suez city, wounding nine. in afghanistan president hamid karzai said again he will not immediately sign a security deal with the united states that would keep american forces there past the end of the year. >> translator: afghanistan will never sign the security agreement under pressure. if america wants to stay as an ally with us, work with us as an ally, not as an opponent. we afghans know the difference between an ally and an opponent, clearly, and this difference is obvious in the world too. >> nearly 2,300 members of the u.s. military have been killed in afghanistan since 2001. in ukraine a major political concession from the government. president victor yanukovych offered to name a top opposition leader prime minister, following weeks of protests after the government refused to move ahead on a deal strengthening ties with the european union deciding to deepen ties with russia instead. clashes between protesters and
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police turned violent and protesters began blocking and occupying several government buildings. the philippine government has reached an agreement to end decades of fighting with muslim rebel groups that led to an estimated 150,000 deaths. the power-sharing deal with the islamic liberation front is designed to lead to an area of muslim self-rule in the southern part of the nation. in exchange for a decommissioning of rebel forces. the fighting has lasted more than 40 years. there's been a clash between authorities and residents of a region in western china with a large muslim population. authorities say at least 12 people in the province were killed after a series of bombings and an exchange of gunfire. the area is home to most of china's 10 million ethnic uighurs, most of whom practice islam and have repeatedly been at odds with the nonmuslim population there. the death count has risen following a fire in a retirement home in canada. authorities now say 32 senior citizens are presumed dead following a the blaze in the province of quebec. the search for more bodies is
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continuing in frigid conditions. many of the residents were more than 85 years old and used walkers and wheelchairs. in this country another shooting incident. three were killed and four injured after a gunman opened fire at a mall in columbia, maryland, 30 miles north of the nation's capital. the gunman reportedly shot himself dead after killing two others. the family of an ohio inmate whose execution lasted longer than expected has filed a lawsuit saying dennis mcguire writhed in pain during the 26 minutes it took df he died. he was lethally injected with a combination of drugs never before tried in the u.s. the lawsuit also says that the drug manufacturer should be prohibited from making the drugs available for capital punishment. in texas, a judge has ordered a hospital to remove a brain-dead pregnant woman from life support, despite its effort to save her fetus. state law prohibits the withdrawal of treatment from a pregnant patient, however, the judge ruled that marlise munoz
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is dead and the hospital had been misapplying the law. eric munoz says his wife would not have wanted to be kept on life support. the hospital acknowledged in court documents that the fetus is not viable. it has until monday evening to remove munoz from life support. and word that scientists have discovered a new species of river dolphin, the first discovery of its kind in almost 100 years. according to a published report in a science journal the new marine mammal found in the amazon basin in brazil separated from other col fins 2 million years ago. river dolphins are among the rarest in the world. we want to spend time talking about the global markets. following a huge run-up in stock prices during the past year, most major markets reversed course late this week and suffered their biggest decline since 2012. for more about what contributed to that reversal we're joined
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now from washington, help us unpack what happened in the stock market the last couple of days. what contributed to this? >> well, investors are reacting to a whole set of global forces that are all colliding at once. in the united states, the federal reserve is starting to pull back on its extreme monetary policy. that's pushing interest rates up. that's a very difficult adjustment for a number of emerging economies that had seen a flood of money come into their markets as a result of low interest rates around the world. so in turkey, for instance, they're going through a fair amount of political instability. and combined with the moves by the fed, investors are starting to flee. nobody wants to be left there holding an investment that's going to turn bad very quickly. you're seeing a similar force in south africa, in brazil, even argentina, which has been a bit of an economic mess. investors in the united states are looking at this and wondering whether global growth
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is going to hold up, whether the entire global economy is going to be able to be propelled by some of the forces that have been propelling it for the last five years. >> okay. there was also a manufacturing report in china. why was that so significant? >> that was significant because china of course is the second largest economy in the world. and there have been long-standing fears about what will happen as china tries to rebalance its economy. it's trying to shift from being a big exporter to providing more of its economic growth from home, from its own citizens. and as it does that, it's starting to do this adjustment. and there are other problems in china like a big property bubble that leads to deflate and its leadership knows it needs to deflate. when china has been a growth engine for the world and that starts to pull back it makes emerging markets very nervous, it makes developed economies nervous, because the united states and europe are selling into china not just buying products from it. >> besides the decision by the fed to raise interest rates here and chinese manufacturing what's tribute together argentinean
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currency or the turkish currency to devalue so quickly against the dollar? >> well, you're seeing a reversal among investors in argentina because they've had so many problems since its currency crisis in 2001, 2002. investors aren't really giving them the benefit of the doubt at all and fleeing very quickly. turkey has its own issues. and people are pulling out of there. the big question now is whether these risks are dealt with as emerging markets as a whole and investors treat them all alike, or whether they start to distinguish between other economies, mexico for instance is an emerging economy that would have been wrecked by something like this before but it's in a much better position now. so we're going to have to watch over the coming weeks whether investors can handle understanding the differences between some of these economies. >> so is what happened yesterday something just a short-term reaction? and to put thatperspective, it's only a 2% drop compared to a 30% sort of positive year.
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>> it is a very short-term reaction. we can't get ahead of thinking this is going to be a long slide down. it's certainly possible this would be the beginning stages of a currency crisis. but we've gone through moments like this before and gone past them fairly easily. but there have been a lot of forces building up. and it's not really clear to investors how something like this settles out. these are a lot of forces that you haven't actually seen come together like this before. certainly from the fed and what you're seeing in china and a number of these bigger emerging markets. it's an unusual adjustment for investors and for markets. so we need to watch whether this ricochets through other markets or whether we start to see investors get a little calmer and not overreact to some of these moves. >> all right. from washington, thanks so much. >> thank you.
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tonight in our signature segment, a rare peek inside iran. news coverage of that country of 80 million people is typically limited to iran's effort to develop a nuclear program. and the western sanctions designed to halt that. tonight, something different. "newshour" correspondent william brangham spent two weeks in iran and while there reported extensively about the effects of those sanctions. he also got a look at other parts of liar, consumerism, entrepreneurship, censorship, the imprisonment of political dissidents. i began by asking him whether those sanctions limiting iran's oil exports and access to the international banking system seem so crippling on the streets of iran. >> reporter: if you hadn't told me before i came here that iran has under this "crippling sanctions" regime, you would have no idea from walking around on the streets. the streets are packed, traffic everywhere. the stores are full, the grocery stores are packed with goods.
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so on the surface, you really have no sense of this country is under this regime of sanctions. that said, at a market in northern tehran, we met a 54-year-old shop owner, his name is hamid, and he owns a store that sells soap and toiletries and cleaning products. he said the real problem with the iranian economy is inflation. and in fact, across the country, prices for consumer goods and everyday items have gone through the roof. at the very same time that the value of the money the people use here, the real, has completely plummeted. he told me the prices of the products in his shop, every single one of them, have doubled or tripled in the last couple of years. just one example, he said that a dove bar of soap, a single bar of soap, a few years ago cost about 1,500 reals. now that same bar of soap costs 5,000 reelal s. this makes it difficult for customers to buy as much as they used to and his business has
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suffered. >> that inflation is connected to economic sanctions. are all iranians feeling pinched? >> reporter: the middle class and upper middle class and wealthy in iran have been doing very well. and there's evidence of that everywhere. we went into one electronics bazaar in the middle of downtown tehran. it was like an electronics bazaar out of new york city. you could not believe the amount of products that were available for sale. apple products, samsung, the latest mobile phones. i mean, it was a remarkable sight to see. inside this mall, one store owner who sells mostly mac products told me he has a special blue tooth headset, the latest thing he said, it's only available according to him at apple stores in new york city and his store at this mall in tehran. so a fairly good sign of affluence going on in certain parts of iranian society. we had a fairly interesting experience when we were in this mall. while we were walking around in the hallway, the evening call to prayer from the local mosque was piped through the loud speakers
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in the mall. here we were in this moment, people gawking over all the latest iphones and ipads, yet you hear this thousand year old tradition, the call to prayer coming through the loud speakers. it was a collision of cultures where this ancient tradition is butting up against the pinnacle of western consumerism. >> are the sanctions leading to shortages? say, for example, medicine? >> reporter: we went to a hospital in downtown tehran. it's actually a jewish charity hospital in the middle of the city. and there we met a doctor, a fascinating character, this big, burly, chain-smoking, jewish doctor. yes, there are about 30,000 jews in iran. he's working in a jewish hospital that's catering mostly to lower and middle class iranians in tehran. in hisnhvy√∑ office he has pore s of ayatollah khomenei on one side, and moses and his brother on the other. very, very interesting guy. he described to us, yes, because of sanctions he has had a very difficult time getting a lot of
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the medications that he needs for his patients. and he said it's not so much that there's prohibitions on selling the medicines, per se. in fact, u.s. treasury department offers exemptions for those things. he says it's because that the financial transactions that are prohibited by sanctions means that western pharmaceutical companies for the most part will not do business with iranian firms. and so there's shortage of very specific drugs he has a very hard time getting and he said it's really a problem. >> did you meet other people who said they were affected by the sanctions? >> reporter: yeah, we did see a few examples. one of those example wet found in the city of isfahan, the ancient capital, a five to six-hour drive south of tehran. and there we met a young man whose name is roghani. he has an advanced degree in mechanical engineering. he used to work in the auto industry, his family business made parts for motors. sanctions had very specifically targets i ran's automobile industry. and so a lot of jobs had been lost and that industry has
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really sort of been contracted quite considerably. so this young man gets out of that business and he joins his father's shoe business. so he is now a mechanical engineer using his skills to design and manufacture new shoes. he makes these very cool blue wing tip shoes and things like that. >> so many americans have heard that the iranian government censors the internet. in your time there, what did you see? >> reporter: the internet is heavily regulated. the government has strinlgt controls over what sites you can visit and can't visit. if you try to access a site that is blocked, twitter or facebook, what pops up is this government website that says, this site is blocked, and offers this helpful list of other websites you might prefer to visit instead. most iranians, however, can get around this by using what are known as vpns, virtual private networks. and it basically allows you to create your own small internet out of your own computer. it allows you to bypass a lot of these restrictions. the logic behind the
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government's censorship of the internet isn't totally clear and it doesn't always make sense. sometimes there's some strange inconsistencies in the way they enforce it. for example, npr is blocked. but pbs isn't. nbc news is not blocked. abc news is. so it's sometimes hard to understand exactly what's going on there. >> i read that social media sites like twitter and facebook are censored as well? >> reporter: the irony about blocking twitter and facebook in iran is that the current administration, rouhani's administration, are some of the most active users of social networks among the government in the past. rouhani has an active twitter account, the foreign minister has a facebook page, they're constantly posting messages on there. a guy named jack dorsey, one of the founders of twitter, he sent president rouhani a tweet saying basically, mr. president, glad you're using twitter, but can the people of iran actually read your tweets?
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president rouhani in his style wrote back very casually, good evening, jack, in a tweet, then basically didn't answer the question. >> what's behind the government's desire to censor social media? >> reporter: some believe that the censorship of these social networking sites in particular stem from the 2009 protests which took place all over iran after president ahmadinejad's last heavily contested election. and twitter especially was used to help get the word out about rallies and marches and events. it's believed that part of the government's desire to censor the internet is so that they can stop that kind of -- what they think of as dissent from getting out there. >> you said you met a man there who was part of those protests. >> reporter: said lelaz, a prominent iranian economist and journalist. we went to talk to him principally to talk about the impact of sanctions on the economy. but several years ago, said was also involved in election protests and he was convicted by
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ahmadinejad's government and sent to the notorious eben prison, which looms large in the iranian imagination, it was a prison built by the shaw, peoh,e have been executed and tortured. he spent four years in that prison, including solitary confinement, in a very small cell. at the end of our interview we went to his practitioner and on the wall we saw this wooden carving. said told us this was a gift, a handmade gift, from a prisoner he met inside prison. and he took it down off the wall and he read the inscription to us. it says, "as you pass through this desert of terror, pass it in good health. when you reach the blossoms and the rain, give them our greetings." said said, here's a message for everyone from a prisoner inside one of iran's notorious prisons. >> have you seen or felt anti-americanism while you've
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been there? >> reporter: no. none at all. our interactions with iranians across the board have been overwhelmingly positive. people are genuinely curious about the united states. there's just not that many westerners that come through here. especially americans. so we're kind of viewed as a bit of a rare bird here. people want to know, what is america like? what does america think of iran? they want to offer their impressions and so -- our interactions have been incredibly positive. the few instances that you do see it, and i think it does exist in iranian society, we just haven't come across it. the few instances where we've soon touches of it are in these more official versions of it. for example, there are murals all over tehran. you see these faces everywhere you go, looking down on you. huge, huge faces. most of them are either the ayatollahs, the former or current. intellectual leaders of the islamic revolution. or heroes of the 1980s iran/iraq war, volunteers or family members who went to fight the
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iraqis. the only mural that i saw that had one touch of anti-americanism was this one. in it, president obama is back to back with one of the sort of most famous villains from shiite islam. this is a guy who is believed to have murdered, in cold blood, the grandson of the prophet mohammad. and this -- the mural is basically indicating that obama is like this guy. his hand may be outstretched in a gesture of friendliness, but you can't trust him. >> william brangham from day han, thanks so much. he'll have an in-depth report on the effects of the sanctions for the weekday "newshour" in the coming weeks. see more images from inside iran. visit us at newshour.pbs.org. this is pbs "newshour weekend saturday."
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and now, what you had to say about us. comments we received after our broadcast last weekend from viewers like you. most of what we heard focused on our report from india about that country's little-known but ambitious space program. a source of pride and controversy in that nation of 1.2 billion people. we posted the story online with the headline, "is india's space program worth the money?" a number of you wrote back saying, the united states might want to ask that of itself. clay shott went to our website and wrote, ari could have certainly pointed out the parallel between the points he's raising and the very same points raised by critics of the u.s. space program in the 1950s. john pennerelli wrote on facebook, the united states has a huge homeless population as well as millions who live in poverty. yet we spend thousands of times what india spends on their space
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program. we are not in a position to criticize india. many readers agreed with walter when he wrote, i don't think a nation's science programs are an economic issue. it's more a problem of political will. besides, the payback for spending money on scientific exploration is phenomenal. most of our modern electronics can be attributed to these programs. we heard something similar from johnny lay on our site. he said, you can't eliminate poverty with $70 million, but you can inspire millions to study, to be more than who they currently are. finally from india we heard this. i don't understand why indians should indulge westerners by giving interviews and justify how we spend our money. feel free to send us your thoughts either through the comment section below our stories, at newshour.pbs.org, on our facebook page, or tweet us back @newshour.
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join us tomorrow, on-air and online. trying to solve the environmental problem of food waste. >> food now represents the biggest component of solid municipal waste that makes its way to landfills. food waste converts to methane, a greenhouse gas that's at least 25 times more powerful in global warming than carbon dioxide. >> that's it for this edition of "pbs newshour weekend." thanks for watching.
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>> "pbs newshour weekend" is made possible by lewis b. and louise hirsch feld komen. judy and josh westin. joyce v. hale. the wallach family in memory of miriam and ira dean wallach. bernard and irene schwartz. roslyn p. walter. corporate funding provided by mutual of america. designing customized, individual and group retirement products. that's why we're your retirement company. additional support is provided by -- and by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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