tv PBS News Hour PBS January 29, 2014 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> wooduff: a deep freeze and snow crippled the south; thousands stranded in cars overnight and into today; kids forced to sleep at school or stuck on buses. good evening, i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. also ahead this wednesday, we get capitol hill reaction to president obama's state of the union address. from senators jeff flake of arizona and tim kaine of virginia. >> wooduff: and margaret warner reports from germany on the growing outrage over u.s. spying. those are just some of the stories we're covering on tonight's "pbs newshour." >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
>> i've been around long enough to recognize the people who are out there owning it. the ones getting involved, staying engaged. they are not afraid to question the path they're on. because the one question they never want to ask is, "how did i end up here?" i started schwab with those people. people who want to take ownership of their investments, like they do in every other aspect of their lives. >> supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information at macfound.org >> 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. >> ifill: they called out helicopters and humvees in atlanta today to rescue people who'd been stuck in snow since yesterday. the storm also immobilized large swaths of the deep south and left at least six people dead. we'll get a full report right after the news summary. deep cold has descended on parts of central and eastern europe as well. temperatures in moscow dipped to minus eight degrees today, while furious snow storms pummeled romania. authorities there warned of gale-force winds and near-zero visibility. president obama signed an executive order today to create starter retirement accounts for low-wage workers. it was part of the strategy he laid out in last night's state of the union address to act on
his own if he can't get congress to go along. we'll have much more on the day after reaction to the speech, later in the program. the director of national intelligence is urging edward snowden to return any still- secret documents he took from the national security agency. james clapper told a senate hearing today that snowden's leaks have already done profound damage and future leaks will only make it worse. >> snowden claims that he's won, and that his mission is accomplished. if that is so, i call on him and his accomplices to facilitate the return of the remaining stolen documents that have not yet been exposed to prevent even more damage to u.s. security. >> ifill: clapper said terror groups have changed how they communicate to avoid detection as a result of the leaks. the federal reserve is dialing back a bit more on its economic stimulus efforts. in a statement today, the central bank said it will cut its bond buying program another
$10 billion to $65 billion a month. the move helped trigger a new sell-off on wall street. the dow jones industrial average lost more than 189 points to close at 15,738. the nasdaq fell 46 points to end at 4,051. meanwhile, the european union announced proposed reforms for the continent's 30 biggest banks. the rules are similar to the "volcker rule" imposed on u.s. banks. they're designed to curb risk- taking and protect taxpayer money in the event of a bailout. the rules must first be approved by member governments and by the e.u. parliament. in ukraine, the parliament voted today to offer amnesty to protesters who've been arrested, but only if their comrades end the occupation of government buildings. demonstrators have been using the buildings in kiev as dormitories and support facilities in sub-zero weather. opposition leaders have so far rejected the government's amnesty proposals. the syrian peace talks in geneva
broke a little ground today, with the first discussion of a transitional government. the assad regime and the western-backed opposition met with a u.n. mediator, but afterward it was clear the two sides are still far apart. >> ( translated ): the most important thing is we started today to talk about a transitional governing body. of course this body is tasked with ending oppression and starting free life and ending the military fighting in syria. >> they want to jump to the item that speaks about transitional government and they are only interested in being in government while what we are interested in is to stop this horrid war, for which you know, our people are paying a very, very, high price. >> ifill: the u.n. negotiator -- lakhdar brahimi -- conceded he does not expect substantive progress by friday, when the talks wrap up. a new, five-year farm bill is one step closer to becoming law. the house of representatives passed the measure today, 251 to 166, and sent it to the senate.
the bill would cost nearly $100 billion a year, and preserve most crop subsidies. it also shaves one percent off the food stamp program, about $800 million a year. attorney general eric holder confirmed today the justice department is investigating the data breach at target stores. hackers stole about 40 million debit and credit card numbers during the holiday shopping season. they also got personal information on about 70 million other people. at a senate hearing, holder said investigators will attempt to track down the hackers, as well as anyone else who exploits the stolen data. scientists in boston and japan have scored what looks like a breakthrough in creating stem cells. they used a relatively simple method: giving ordinary cells found in mice a quick acid bath. the stress turned them into stem cells. the results were published in the journal "nature". if the method works in humans, it could become much easier to grow replacement tissue and organs.
west virginians whose drinking water was tainted by a chemical spill may be breathing traces of formaldehyde, when they shower. a state environmental official told lawmakers today he can guarantee it's happening. he said the chemical spilled by freedom industries breaks down into formaldehyde, which can cause cancer. federal health guidelines say it takes a lot of exposure for that to happen. still to come on the "newshour": winter weather wallops the south; senators react to president obama's state of the union address; german outrage over u.s. surveillance activities; a possible breakthrough for stem cell research and writers on the hardships of life. >> woodruff: we lead off with the winter storm that has wreaked havoc across much of the
south for the past 24 hours... jeffrey brown has been looking into what happened. >> brown: it was only a few inches of snow, but it triggered utter chaos. all around atlanta, thousands of people got stranded overnight in a mass exodus to get home early. countless wrecks, including jack-knifed trucks, ground traffic to a halt in icy gridlock. hundreds of students spent the night on school buses. ray henry of the associated press in atlanta says others faced their own, unique dilemmas. because of the weather conditions, we spoke via skype. >> one woman ended up giving birth, en route to a hospital basically got stuck on an interstate and delivered a healthy child, that's very good. other people were running out of gas after sitting in traffic stalled for six to seven hours. many people needed to be picked up by national guard humvees and taken to warming stations or shelters. it's pretty messy out there. >> brown: and some people took to social media, including this snowed out atlanta facebook page, to offer and request
supplies and shelter. >> seems like a lot of useful info was communicated. people were able to get tips about warming shelters; local churches advertising about keeping their doors open. people were even advertising a house near the highway and some guest bedrooms; welcoming people to stay and people offering to shuttle gas. it was interesting to watch. it seems at least in some parts it was effective. >> brown: mckenzie dunn was one of those stranded. >> i don't think they were prepared for it, which kind of irks me because it happened two years ago. >> brown: it didn't help that atlanta's mayor kasim reed had tweeted yesterday morning that his city was ready for the storm. >> we're not sitting around twiddling our thumbs. >> brown: today, reed defended the snow response, but also offered something of a mea culpa. >> 120 pieces of state equipment have been mobilized. the national guard has been mobilized. the city of atlanta has been
running 12 hour shifts. we've been running our spreaders and sanders non-stop. the issue is and people are going to stop feeling frustration when we get people out of cars on the interstates. and i'll take credit... i'll take credit or blame for my statement. we made a e by not staggering when people should leave. so i'll take responsibility for that. >> brown: georgia governor nathan deal said the state did not deploy its trucks and plows earlier because it wasn't clear where the snow was going. >> the national weather service had continually had their modeling showing that the city of atlanta would not be the primary area where the storm would hit. it would be south of atlanta. i don't blame anyone. mother nature has a mind of its own and it does what it chooses to do, and even with the best of forecasting, i don't think anyone could have totally predicted that was going to have
the magnitude within the short window of time in which it occurred. >> brown: all of the children stuck on school buses were rescued by this afternoon. others had hunkered down last night in their schools and officials spent the day trying to get them home safely. >> we are having the national guard and the state troopers working, and the national guard will provide lead vehicles as the school buses make their routes to return those children back to their homes. >> brown: the a.p.'s ray henry says private citizens have also pitched in. >> the storms brought out good sides of people. home depot opened their doors for people stuck on the interstate. there are a lot of stories people helping out one another; opening up homes. one person staff interviewed today-- one guy had a humvee and was making runs to pick up people on the interstate. so there has definitely been some testiness, but also some sort of southern graciousness.
>> brown: ice and snow also made for treacherous travel in central alabama where more stalled and abandoned vehicles littered the highways. >> we ended up coming down here, and we don't have no way home, no way home. yellow cab won't come and get us so we're hoping that my brother in law can make it to come and get us. and they need to put some sand and some salt on these streets! >> brown: overall, emergencies were declared in six states to help expedite much-needed crews and supplies for extensive clean-up efforts. >> i hope this is over with soon. i've had enough of winter. >> brown: there was hope for a bit of a respite. forecasters said temperatures in the south will gradually warm in the days ahead. just a short time ago, i spoke with the governor of georgia, nathan deal via skype. he was not able to go to a television studio because of the conditions. governor, thanks so much for joining us. what's the situation right now. are there still people stranded in cars, school, and elsewhere? >> well, the situation is much improved from what it was
yesterday. there are still some people who are in their cars. i have taken an aerial helicopter tour of our interstates, and we have most of the area completely open with a few exceptions. however, because it was such a heavy outpouring of snow and in such a short time frame and we had so many people on the roads there are still vehicles that are on the sides of the roads or in the outside lanes that still will need to be removed. the roads are being cleared so that if they have their drivers in them, many of those are now being able to get back into the main pathway of the roadway and be able to move their vehicles. we are hopeful that the weather change which will come tomorrow will get above freezing. and if that happens, then it will allow many of these roads to be completely clear. but it appears that we have made
significant progress. we are trying to extract those drivers that are still in their vehicles if they choose to leave. they will be provided the option of doing so, and taken either to their homes or to another area where they can be secure and not be in the elements. >> >> brown: there have been a lot of questions and some anger at officials. i wonder what, would you say tonight to residents who are angry about the way state and other government officials handled this. >> well, we tried to respond as quickly as we could. the mayor of the city of atlanta and i and our resources have worked very cooperatively together because we were faced with the same problems. we had the interstate responsibility and he, of course, had the off-interstate roadways. and they both experience the same kinds of heavy traffic where everybody got on the roadway at practically the same
point in time. and that creates a huge backlog of traffic. atlanta is one of the larger metropolitan areas, and we have a lot of natural traffic, people wanting to go and come back and forth to work. we also have the major interstate corridors that lead into the downtown area and around the perimeter of atlanta. >> brown: excuse me. was there a lack of coordination, or some have 99 thoughtave lack of trust between government and some of the local governments. >> no, absolutely not. we all were on the same page. we worked together. the truth of the matter is, that we were all surprised. i am told that for yesterday as a calendar day, that it was the largest snowfall we've had on that date, january 28, here noatlanta. so it was a combination of a lot of things. it came in a very quick time frame. people got on the roadway, and
there were just too many cars and too many trucks to be able to accommodate any rapid movement with snow being packed down and becoming ice very quickly. >> brown: can you tell us briefly what you are looking at in the next hours or day in terms of how long you think it will be before you get back to something approaching normal? it. >> well, we are hopeful that with the thaw tomorrow, that we should have almost all the vehicles that either were left by their owners or those that may still be occupied, that we will have them off the roadway. we concentrated our efforts because it was not just state and local government that got caught by surprise. we had school systems that had children in their schools, and when the snow came, even though they called a halt to their school day, we had several thousand students who had to spend the night in their schools last night. we have now verified that all of those students have been
returned home or at least are on their way home at this point in time. we called in the georgia state patrol. they provided security at each of those school sites. we called in the national guard, and they became a force that worked to get the children that were on school buses, some 99 school buses at one point in time, that had children on them. we were able to get them off of those buses and back to their schools or to another location. so as far as the school children are concerned, we feel fairly comfort at this point in time that they are back home and they are with their parents or their families. >> brown: all right, thanks so much and good luck. >> thank you very much. >> ifill: president obama hit the road today to build popular support for his state of the union agenda. "newshour" congressional correspondent kwame holman reports.
>> it's time to give america a raise. >> yeah! ( cheers ) >> reporter: the president kicked off his post-"state of the union" tour at a costco store in lanham, maryland. he highlighted the chain's starting, entry-level pay of $11.50 an hour, more than $4 above the federal minimum. >> so right now, in congress, there's a bill that would lift the federal minimum wage to $10.10. $10.10. $10.10-- that's easy. it will give more businesses more customers with more money to spend. i guarantee you if workers have a little more money in their pocket, they'll spend more at costco. ( cheers and applause ) >> reporter: while congress considers, mr. obama plans to act on his own-- raising the minimum to $10.10 for those working under future federal contracts, with an executive order. he made that a recurring theme last night, serving notice he's through waiting on key issues. >> but what i offer tonight is a set of concrete, practical
proposals to speed up growth, strengthen the middle class and build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class. some require congressional action, and i'm eager to work with all of you. but america does not stand still, and neither will i. >> reporter: in addition to the minimum wage hike, the president also plans executive action to: streamline the permitting process to build factories that use natural gas; increase protection of environmentally sensitive federal land from gas and oil exploration and create a new savings program-- myr.a.-- for workers whose employers don't provide retirement plans. he signed that order at a second stop today-- a u.s. steel plant near pittsburgh. >> we want every american who works hard and takes responsibility to retire with dignity after decades of honest work. these are real, practical, achievable solutions to help
shift the odds back a little bit in favor of more working and middle-class americans. >> reporter: the enthusiasm the president found for his 2014 agenda on the road is unlikely to be matched with bi-partisan support back in washington. congressional republicans roundly challenged his vow to bypass them with executive orders and pointed out any serious accomplishments will be hard to achieve without their support. >> it's clear, president obama missed the mark last night. >> reporter: on the senate floor republican minority leader mitch mcconnell sounded that note today. >> he basically refused to reach across the aisle in a way that would lead to immediate job growth opportunities. that's distressing news for our country. it's especially disheartening for the middle class. the president wants to keep doing the same old thing, just without as much input from the people's elected representatives in congress. basically, all the same policies, less of that pesky democratic accountability.
>> reporter: despite the divisions, the parties stood together last night when the president honored army sergeant 1st class cory remsburg, who was badly wounded in a roadside bombing in afghanistan. the president hopes for more unity as he continues to sell his state of the union initiatives tomorrow, in waukesha, wisconsin and nashville, tennessee. >> woodruff: so what are the prospects for the president and congress to find common ground in 2014? we pose that question to two members of the senate: democrat tim kaine of virginia and republican jeff flake of arizona. senators, welcome to the "newshour." senator flake, i'm going to start with you. looking back on what the president had to say last night, do you think it makes it more likely that washington is going to address the country's major problems? >> i think there are a couple of areas where we do have some agreement, where the senate has already acted-- for example, immigration reform.
the president said that he'd like to see a bill there. the house needs to take action, and i think it will. so that's one area. also, trade. the president needs trade promotion authority. that's something that he'll likely get a lot more republican votes for than democratic votes. but he's got to work to round up some democratic votes for that. that's an area where i think we'll see both parties working together. >> woodruff: senator kane what, about you? do you think it's more likely things are going to get done as a result of what the president said? >> i think, judy, it is, and not just because of what the president has said. even though our approval is low in congress, we have been on a bit of a roll. we got a two-year budget bill and an appropriations bill done in mid-january. yesterday here on the hill, there was an announced conference deal on the farm bill, a five-year farm bill, which we've been struggling to find now the for a number of years. and i agree with what jeff said. i was sitting with the republican house member,
retiring virginian, frank wolf, who has been in the house 34 years, kind of back in the corner last night, and. when the topic of immigration reform came up, i asked frank what he saw the thought, and he said, look, it will go through some twists and turns, but he was feeling optimistic about the house to go an immigration reform bill. it will look different from the senate bill but we'll get in conference and trade. there may be other issues. we are moving ahead. we have to get over the debt ceiling hurdle but i expect more willingness to work together. >> woodruff: let me pick up on immigration. senator flake, you both said you think that's a real possibility. do you think there could be an agreement that includes a pathway to citizenship? >> the senate included a pathway to citizenship. that's what i prefer, and ting the senate prefers in general. the house may say that those who are here illegally can access current avenues to citizenship,
but no special path would be created. that would be a kind of hybrid that might win the day. i think that that's a step forward. i think that's something that the president could and would accept. so, yeah, it may not be exactly like the senate did, but that's fine. >> woodruff: but you could accept that, and you're saying you think the president would? >> i don't want to say where the president is, but it's something i could accept. and i would hope that the president would as well. not everybody who is here desires to be a citizen. in 1986, it was made relatively easy for people to achieve citizenship. and in the end, i think fewer than a third ever did. but my own view is, if you're going to be here for 20 or 30 years, you ought to have the rights and responsibilities that come with citizenship. but not everyone feels that way. >> woodruff: senator kaine, what about you? is that language you could live with? >> i want to keep battling for the path to citizenship.
i don't think having a permanent, locked-in, second-class status is a good idea. however, i think that jeff is probably right. if we're going to predict what the house bill might be before it goes into conference, i think they'll do the border security and they'll thael do visa reform and maybe dream act provisions. but oing citizenship they might fall short of where the senate is. that will then be a challenging negotiation. but we shouldn't-- you know, we shipment predetermine where that negotiation will go. getting the house to pass something would be big, and then we have our conferees, and folks like jeff who worked on the bill hard getting in that room and trying to figure out the best possible deal. >> woodruff: senator flame flaik, what about some of the other things the president talk about? he talked about wanting to build ladders of opportunity into the middle class. is his prescription the right prescription? and if not what, is? >> i think what is the right prescription is to have conducive tax and regulatory policy to allow people to climb
that ladder. i have my differences with where the president has been on that issue, particularly, on regulatory policy. it's very difficult for people to get ahead. we have federal it agencies, partly because the congress really hasn't functioned for several years, that have just taken it upon themselveses to impose regulations that make it very difficult for businesses to flurish and to hire. i think there are things we can agree on. the the president talked about fundamental tax reform. i think we'd all like to see that's. it rarely happens this close to an election but hope springs eternal. >> woodruff: it sounds like the parties are still far apart on some of these formulas. senator kaine, do you see the prospect of the parties coming together on some of these things? >> i think we can. but the economic issues may be more difficult. i think on the democratic side, we're strongly in support of increasing the minimum wage. had the minimum wage risen with inflation from what it was last
increased it would be about where we're going to hopefully peg it as we move forward. and i think that will be very positive in creating those ladders into the middle class. and there are the education and human capital strategies. you be, the most-- probably the best ladder into the middle class is trairng either education or career and technical training that will enable you to have the skills that we need in the 21st century. the president talked about that last night, career and federal trieng training, taking some of the federal programs and streamline them and make them better. that was an applause line from both chambers, both parties. i think the human capital strategies and dealing with the minimum wage, those are things we have to do, because we're seeing there's a lot of inequality. and it's not just inequality. we need more mobility. there are going to be people at the lower end of wage scale who need to see a path. >> woodruff: senator flake, what about the president's
stating last night, yes, i want to work with you, republicans when you want to work with me, but when you don't, i think i need to take executive action and he listed several he plans to execute. >> i would say there's very little that he can do in a productive way to get this economy jump started. if he tries to do it unilaterally. anything that is going to do something for the economy, whether it's creating certainty on the fiscal side, some reform our entitlement programs. oraise said, conducive tax and regulatory policy, that's going to take cooperation, collaboration with the congress. so i think there's very little productive he can do on his own. >> woodruff: how do you see, that senator kaine. >> i want the president to use his executive powers like other presidents have done. this president's executive orders have probably less than our most recent presidents. but i do agree with jeff.
probably the big things that will really help the economy will require congress working together. and we've got one staring us in the face, having gotten over two the two-year budget deal that was great-- not perfect, but we got a deal. we do have to get over this debt ceiling hurdle in the next few weeks. do it together, not stumble. if we do, i think we will have shown that we are trying to provide some certainty, which could be very helpful in the private sector. was talking to christine laguard, of the international monetary fund recently, she said if you get over that hurdle, the two-year budget deal, you will get over the economic lift. the president can't do that. that's on us to find that between the senate and house. >> woodruff: very fast, final yes or no question to both of you. do you think this year will be more productive than last, senator flake. >> yes, more productive. >> i agree with jeff on that. >> woodruff: very interesting. senator tim kaine, senator jeff flake, thank you. >> thank you.
>> ifill: we wanted to get reaction to the president's speech from outside washington. so we asked viewers like you to submit youtube videos and our public television stations to gather local opinions. here's a sample: >> i was hoping that he would take a powerful stand, pushing for energy renewables and energy conversation. so i was let down. >> he doesn't get mean enough with the opposition. he needs to basically take these issues and beat the snot out of the republican party with them because the majority of the people want the minimum wage. they don't like the great income disparity. >> i was hoping he would balk about obamacare because there are so many glitches it, people having a hard time applying for health care, people have lost jobs and cannot get health care. >> i was hoping to hear was that the president was going to work
with congress to set some limits on the n.s.a.'s collection of data. and he really didn't do that. >> i latched on to him talking g about using his executive power the way that bush did and clinton did before him to try to move around congress. i hope that he doesn't have to go through with that threat or that promise, i should say, but the fact that he did, i'm hoping will spark congress to actually want to work towards getting things done as opposed to using their pride and their power and their position to stalemate each other. >> ifill: you can watch all of the responses on our web site where you're still welcome to upload your own video. >> woodruff: german chancellor angela merkel used her own major address today to take aim at the united states' surveillance programs. in her inaugural speech to parliament, she said that the
spying by the u.s. and great britain sows distrust and that, quote, "in the end there will be less, not more security." chief foreign affairs correspondent margaret warner is in berlin, and tonight she examines the strain the n.s.a. surveillance revelations created between old allies. >> what did we listen to? basically, everything that went through the air. >> reporter: a hardy band of germans joined former u.s. army sergeant chris mclarren in 10- degree cold this past sunday to tour teufelsberg or "devil's mountain." built from millions of tons of rubble from the third reich's destroyed capital, it was a vital allied listening post during the cold war. this hill above west berlin was the first home base of u.s. signals surveillance in germany. the spying was on a clear adversary-- the soviet union and warsaw pact. and it had a clear objective: to prevent a war, or to prevail in one. >> so long as they listened and we listened, there was no surprise; there was no panic. no overreaction.
and here we all are. >> reporter: mclarren worked here as an army intelligence analyst in the 1970s. after revelations of widespread surveillance by the u.s. national security agency, leaked by former contractor edward snowden-- and reported extensively in the u.s., british and german press-- but when news broke in october that n.s.a. monitored the mobile phone of german chancellor angela merkel, public outrage exploded. polls showed that three-fourths of germans consider such surveillance unjustified-- far more than the british or french publics. >> i think in many ways many germans are very private people. and the kind of culture they've got, perfectly understandable. >> reporter: because they know what abuses can take place? >> that's true and i think that's the great fear which they have,
>> reporter: but here, state surveillance evokes a collective memory of the nazi-era gestapo and of the stasi-- east germany's secret police-- which invaded the lives of millions. an angry angela merkel even compared n.s.a. surveillance to the stasi era. saturday at prater graten-- a beer hall in what was once east berlin, we met cardiologist henrik thomsen. he was 19 when the berlin wall fell, and with it that surveillance state. >> we had it and we didn't like it. so we don't want it. you know we don't want anybody trying to get to know what we do or what we think. >> reporter: at the 100-year-old clarchens ballhaus. social worker andreas klein voice not only that disappointment, but a dismay that their long-time ally doesn't grasp german frustration or even seem to care. >> ( translated ): they don't understand the fears in europe, and specifically in germany. ever since 9/11, my impression is that america considers its priorities about security to be
more important than considering our concerns about privacy. >> reporter: to explore those deep concerns about privacy, we went to visit the headquarters of stasi, east germany's feared it kept files on millions; and persecuted, jailed and killed thousands; at just this central berlin location 60 miles of records are shelved. thousands of germans come each year to search their own invaded histories. the director of this archive is roland jahn, a former east german dissident, jailed for his support of poland's solidarity movement. he tempers any talk that n.s.a. spying approached a stasi-era level of invasion. >> ( translated ): there's a fundamental difference between an intelligence service in a democracy and a secret police in a dictatorship. the secret police used the information to manipulate and punish people to maintain the power of one party. under democracy, the intention is to use the information to protect all citizens. >> reporter: but he says the
fact of collection itself should concern everyone within its reach. so is what you mean if it's never been abused, the vast collection shouldn't be a problem? >> ( translated ): this type of question has to be answered every single day, because the intelligence services have to be controlled in a democracy and you have to answer the question how much freedom can you limit to preserve security. what good is safety if we lose freedom? what good is freedom if we don't have safety? >> reporter: with the cold war long over-- here outside the brandenburg gate next to an ultra-modern, new u.s. embassy-- >> the u.s. needs cooperation on the nuclear negotiates in iran to the draw-down in afghanistan.
>> the need for an active american role, active american management, active american concern in europe is just as great as it was 25 years ago. >> reporter: kornblum is often called upon to explain american actions and policy to the german public, as he did sunday night on a raucous tv talk show built around a new interview with edward snowden. kornblum understands the history beneath the reaction, but thinks it's overwrought. >> it's deeply emotional and what it means is that the realities are often covered over. in this case, of course there's a bit of hypocrisy because germany depends on upon this surveillance as do most of our other european allies. >> reporter: wolfgang bosbach, chair of the parliament's interior affairs committee, and concedes that germany does which has helped german authorities foil terrorist plots in the past. yet he told us that even with his access to classified information, he was caught off guard by the scope of the nsa surveilance. >> ( translated ): the
indiscriminate monitoring of an entire population, completely regardless of whether individuals or organizations were suspect of posing a threat to the security of the u.s.? yes, that was an unpleasant surprise. >> reporter: push for a "no spy agreement" with the u.s., so far, to no avail. >> that still leaves 99.99% of germans. there are 81 million people living here but only one chancellor. >> the obama white house was concerned enough about reaction here to grant the president's only interview after his recent n.s.a. policy speech to germany's zdf network. cornbloom thinks the relationship will weather this. >> reporter: kornblum believes the relationship will weather this. >> i don't think there will be a major mantra or diplomatic rift. i think this is one of the short
term events that the u.s. and its european allies get into fairly often. >> reporter: but bosbach believes the rift and mistrust over n.s.a. surveillance strikes more. >> ( translated ): how does the u.s. government intelligence see germany's legitimate interests in protecting the basic rights of its citizens? it's about the very foundation of the house? >> much of the trade was built on u.s. communication and internet firms, former ambassador cornblum has talked to some and are worried about losing business to european competitors. >> if you're considered to be a company whose interests are guided by your country. >> the most profound effect of all seems to be the german public's realization that they've become enmeshed in a system that could invade their
privacy more intimately than the ghost of their past could. frederick fisher says the hashtags n.s.a. and snowden have led his site list for months as germans struggle to grasp the dark side of the internet. >> it was such a new and exciting thing and it had this empowering potential, i think we're all like really shocked to see that it had become this like potential control and censorship apparatus. >> reporter: on that frigid hilltop overlooking berlin, from consultants andrew weissenberg and michael kreft, drawn to this >> actually their is not much you can do, you know, i have my mobile phone and with me. it's very easy to lost privacy. >> if the people in your country want to know something about us they will know it.
>> warner: that's one reality germans and americans share. >> woodruff: secretary of state john kerry is scheduled to meet with chancellor merkel on friday in >> woodruff: secretary of state john kerry is scheduled to meet with chancellor merkel on friday in berlin. the u.s. surveillance program is expected to be high on their agenda. >> ifill: today's news of a breakthrough in stem cell research captured the attention of scientists around the world. for years, researchers have been investigating how to get adult stem cells to behave more like embryonic ones, which would allow them to be developed into almost any organ or tissue. the findings announced today involve a simple treatment-- immersing adult mouse cells in a mild acid bath. as seen here, mouse embryos were grown with beating heart cells derived from this process. doctor charles vacanti was one of the lead researchers from the team at brigham and women's hospital. and he joins me now.
dr. vacanti, this is kind of amazing. are you telling us you're making stem cells instead of finding them? >> that is correct. and we believe we're doing exactly what's being done in the body when you normally have an injury. >> ifill: so how did you come about this? >> it's been a long process. i started working with this, with my brother, martin, about 15 years ago, first looking for a better cell to use in tissue engineering. and in 2001, we described a stem cell that we thought we had found and several years later, we started to wonder, rather than find this stell, were we makinmaking this cell with the h environment of the isolation process. >> ifill: and that's the acid bath i was just referring to. >> yes. and actually, we tested seven different stimuli to see which stresses would cause mature cells to naturally revert back
to their embryonic stem cell state. >> ifill: i have to-- i noticed, doctor, you're an, anesthesiologist and your brother is? >> a pathologist. >> ifill: neither of you are stem cell experts. how do you stumble across this discovery? >> we started doing this in the early days of stem cell reports. and in the 1990s, there were very few stem cells reports. and it seemed logical-- we had had a lot of experience with tissue engineering, but it seemed logical in order to do this effectively, we would need to find a better cell than currently used mature cells. >> ifill: by the way, when you say you have experience with tissue engineering, you're the guy who grew the ear on the mouse back in the day, i think it was the late 90s? >> actually, 1995. i am guilty of that one. >> ifill: i still remember those pictures. it was creepy then. creepy now. let's go back to what you've discovered now. are you saying the research premise all these years for all these experts who were trying to
get to the bottom of how to create stem cells, the research premise was wrong? >> um, i'm saying that when i read a lot of the stem cell papers, when you describe their isolation process, the harsh conditions, the conclusion was that people were killing adult cells and only the very hardy stem cells were surviving. and i think that they were looking at it from the wrong perspective. so we started to wonder if rather than in natural, normal injury and repair, is it the stem cells that reside in the tissue doing the repair, or is the harsh environment causing mature cells to change back to stem cells, which are doing the repair. it seems like a simple difference, but i think it's important. >> ifill: well, one of the differences it seems to me, the debate about stem cell research has always been around embryonic
stem cell research because you had to destroy embryos in order to get access to that and that has crossed all kinds of barriers for people. if this pans out, it removes that possibility? >> that was the intention. so it is my belief that we can now create otologus, so special for any individual, their own embryonic stem cells for use to generate new tissue without ever having to create an embryo or ever having to destroy an embryo. >> ifill: so give me a practical, therapeutic application for this. obviously we're not growing ears on the backs of mice any more. so say this is possible for a human use. what is the benefit? >> so, my belief is you could tiewz for many, many, many organs, and i'll give you an example. if you look at any vital organs, your heart, your lungs, your liver, your kidneys, you only need about 20% function in any of those orgtoons survive. so when people go into kidney
failure or lung failure, it's because they are down to less than 20% function. they may be down to 10%. so rather than building an entire new kid neerks or entire new lung, which is a noble cause, and i think will be achieved some day, why not start with delivering cells to those injured tissues, those disease tissues, and see if you can boost the function back up over 25%, and now you can live a normal, healthy life. i think the first applications will be not growing new tissue but boosting existing tissue function. an example-- sorry. >> ifill: i was going to ask you for an example. if you have a heart that's not pumping blood the way it ought to be, and it's working at some percentage less than it could be, you could build that heart back up. >> just build it back up, use serial delivery of these cells that will then turn into heart muscle and you may take your heart function from a very low
ejection fraction to one that's compatible with life. >> ifill: it's fascinating. assuming that this is tested now in mice, is it being tested in other species? and then how long-- it takes a while-- before we begin to see an application in humans? >> so we've already tested it in several other species. and we've even begun work with human skin cells. and what we found in primates and humans and sheep and pigs, we found the process is very similar. so we've isolated cells. we believe we've reverted them back to embryonic stem cells, and we started to test these. we have not done it to the same degree that we demonstrated in this report. this was an extremely sophisticated, complicated, and expensive study to do. so we are slowly doing all the necessary markers and gene studies, but our early studies are very suggestive that we've now repeated it in older
animals, in primates, and in humans. but we have yet to determine if, indeed, they are as potent as the cells that we created in the mice. >> ifill: we will be watching to see what happens next. it's truly fascinating science. dr. charles vacanti, of brigham and women's hospital in boston, thank you. >> thank you, so much. >> woodruff: finally tonight, capturing the full range of the human experience on the page. jeff is back with our book conversation. >> brown: poets write of many things-- of love, of nature, of their own interior lives. from at least the time of homer to our own, they've also written of war, political upheaval, national tragedies, the dark things that people do to one another. a new anthology looks at this tradition as it's played out in english literature. it's called "poetry of witness," co-edited by carolyn forche and duncan wu. ms. forche joins me now.
a professor of english at georgetown university, she is herself an acclaimed poet who's written of strife in central america and elsewhere. welcome to you. >> thank you very much. >> brown: first what, do you mean by "poetry of witness?" what does that mean? >> poetry of witness is written by poets who endured conditions of extremity, who passed through the suffering of warfare, imprisonment, forced exile, censorship, banning orders. they pass through these experiences, their language also pass through it. and they write in the aftermath. and their language articulates that suffering. it becomes legible in the poems. >> brown: as i go through it here, it's almost like an alternative history, or the news, and i was thinking about what we do on this program. >> we felt that we were reading back through 500 years of english language poetry, to find out what happened in the aftermath of all of the wars and
everything that-- all of the upheaval in england and her former colonies this is all english language poetry-- and we felt this was a new way of reading it, that we have discovered something very special, and that is that poets have always been embroiled in the events of their times, in history. they've always spoken of it in their work. and we've gathered it all together in one place. >> brown: i mention that you have done this kind of work, and i've read it for many years. how do you think about it personally? i mean do, you think of yourself as a witness, to use your word, or a reporter in a sense, or as poet first? >> well, i have been in country at war, especially when i was younger by force of circumstance, in the beginning as a translator, and then accompanied my husband who was a journalist. and i was very deeply affected by it. and some of that experience emerged in the poems. and at first everyone was saying
oh, it's political. these are political poems. but i thought we have to think about this more deeply. we have to open a space for reading work that emerges in the aftermath of violence and conflict. and not politicize it, but actually understand it as a kind of outcry of the soul. >> brown: some of the-- many of the poemses are directly about war, fore. but then you include somebody like emily dickinson. we don't think of her as a war poet. we think of her sitting at home, and yet what? >> we think of her in a white dress up in her room but she wrote most of her poems in the civil war. and in her letters we find laments over the war dead. she knew many combatants. the war was very much in her mind. she even said at one point in a letter, "i am singing from the charnal steps, i'm singing from the tomb that's holding the
bones and the bodies." and she's very poignant in her letters in this regard. so we found some poem poems thae had actually written and published in "drumbeat," which was a magazine dedicate stod raising funds to help soldiers with million supplies. so she was engaged and effective and she lived in a country in a time of war so she's included here ?rown you take us through many of the famous world war i poets and world war ii and after. i'm just wondering in our last minute here, about where we are today. there's a lot of talk about contemporary poetry being more inward, people writing about themselves. is there still a sense of writing about the world, of what's happening? the tradition continues in all countries, even our own. our veterans of iraq and afghanistan and vietnam, the wars that we've been engaged in, in the last several decades, our writing, and we have some very poignant and masterful poems
that have come of it. unfortunately, it continues. and our poets continue to speak of it, and they aren't silencing themselves. >> brown: all right, well, we've asked you to read a number it of those poems that we're going to put online, and we invite the audience to go take a look at those. and i thank you for that. the new anthology is "poetry of witness," coedited by duncan wu and carolyn forche. thank you very much, thank you. >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day: helicopters and humvees helped rescue people stranded since yesterday on snowy highways around atlanta. president obama opened his post state of the union tour, with an executive order to create retirement accounts for low-wage workers. and wall street sold off, after the federal reserve reduced its economic stimulus efforts further. the dow fell 189 points. >> ifill: on the "newshour" online right now -- there's
never a sure thing in the world of sports, especially when it comes to the super bowl. but that doesn't stop millions of dollars from changing hands in vegas as fans bet on the outcome. we wondered about the science behind the numbers, so we talked to some math wizards to see how they calculate their odds. that's on our science page. you can find all that and more at newshour.pbs.org. >> woodruff: and that's the "newshour" for tonight. on thursday, we'll look at the political realities before the white house and congress. what can and can't get done in the year ahead? i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. we'll see you online and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us here at the "pbs newshour," thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪
♪ >> this is "bbc world news america." >> funding of this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation, newman's own foundation, giving all profits to charity and pursuing the common good for over 30 years, and union bank. >> at union bank, our relationship managers work hard to know your business, offering specialized solutions and capital to help