Skip to main content

tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  April 15, 2014 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT

6:00 pm
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: boston remembers the lives lost, and those still healing, one year after twin bombs struck at the marathon's finish line. good evening, i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. also ahead tonight, the first sign of a military response from kiev, against mounting unrest in ukraine's eastern regions. it says it's recaptured an airport from pro-russian separatists. >> ifill: plus, the second of jeffrey brown's reports from the asian nation of myanmar. tonight, the struggle to preserve it's grand architecture and cultural history, in the face of rapid change.
6:01 pm
>> the city once called rangoon is often said to be frozen in time. that's changing and quickly. the key question is how to preserve something of the past while moving into a 21s 21st century future. >> ifill: 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: >> at bae systems, our pride and dedication show in everything we do; from electronics systems to intelligence analysis and cyber- operations; from combat vehicles and weapons to the maintenance and modernization of ships, aircraft, and critical infrastructure. knowing our work makes a difference inspires us everyday. that's bae systems. that's inspired work. >> i've been around long enough to recognize the people who are out there owning it.
6:02 pm
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. >> and the william and flora hewlett foundation, helping people build immeasurably better lives. >> 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. >> woodruff: the city of boston
6:03 pm
paused on this first anniversary of the bombings that erupted at the finish line of the boston marathon. survivors, public officials and the general public honored the dead and offered hope for the future. >> woodruff: the day began with a quiet wreath-laying at the site of the two blasts on boylston street. the brother and sister of the youngest victim, 8-year-old martin richard, laid one of the wreaths. a year ago, the scene was very different, as runners made their way to the finish line, the two pressure cooker bombs exploded within moments of each other. three people were killed and more than 260 others injured. many lost limbs. >> i run over there and there are body parts, people have been blown apart. the windows all blown out. >> woodruff: a manhunt began immediately for the suspects, identified as two brothers,
6:04 pm
dzhokhar and tamerlan tsarnaev. the city was effectively locked down, and tamerlan tsarnaev died in a shootout with police. the younger brother, dzhokhar, was eventually found hiding inside a boat in a back yard. he pleaded not guilty to more than 30 federal charges and is awaiting trial. today, survivors, families and medical staff joined with hundreds of others, including thomas menino, who was boston's mayor a year ago. >> it's an honor to be able to thank and praise the first responders who carried some of you to safety. ease the pain just a little more to shake the hands of the doctors and nurses who stopped the bleeding, closed your wounds, or mend you legs. who saved your lives so you are here with us. in this moment making the city and world a better place. >> woodruff: patrick downes was among those who lost a leg in
6:05 pm
the attack, and so did his wife. >> we would never wish the devastation and pain we have experienced on any of you. however, we do wish that all of you feel at some point your lives feel as loved as we have felt over this last year. it has been the most humbling experience of our lives. we hope you feel all the emotion we feel when we say thank you. to our fellow survivor community what would we do without each other? we should've never me this way but we are so grateful for each other. >> woodruff: the theme of "boston strong" ran through the remarks of each speaker, including vice president biden. >> next monday, on patriots day, when i'm told up to 36,000 people line up to start the marathon you will send a resounding message around the world, not just the rest of the world but to the terrorists,
6:06 pm
that we will never yield, we will never cower. america will never, ever, ever stand down we are boston, we are america, we respond, we endure and we own the finish line. >> woodruff: and then, under rainy skies, the crowd moved outside to the marathon's finish line, and paused for a moment of silence at the precise moment the bombs exploded. >> woodruff: the man suspected of shooting three people to death at jewish community sites outside kansas city was officially charged today. frazier glenn cross, a white supremacist, had his first court hearing. he faces one count of capital murder, which carries a possible death sentence, and one count of premeditated murder. district attorney steve howe. >> the options for the sentence are life without parole or, if
6:07 pm
we choose, we file a notice of requesting the death penalty. that is something we don't have to file when we file the charges. that is a, i don't take that decision lightly and that decision will be made after we get all the facts and evidence in the case 'cause we want to make an informed decision before that is done. >> woodruff: while the state murder case proceeds, federal prosecutors are working on bringing "hate crime" charges against cross. in nigeria, more than 100 female students were abducted from a boarding school. it happened overnight, in borno state. officials blamed the islamist militant group "boko haram." the abductions came hours after militants bombed a bus station in the country's capital, abuja. the death toll rose to 75 today, with 141 wounded. an ebola outbreak in guinea and liberia is now linked to more than 120 deaths. the world health organization confirmed the new total today, out of 200 suspected or
6:08 pm
confirmed cases. there is no cure for the deadly virus, and officials have warned the outbreak could last for months. a u.s. navy robotic submarine has begun it's second dive in the indian ocean, in search of the missing malaysian airlines plane. yesterday, the bluefin 21 cut short it's first attempt yesterday because the water was deeper than 15,000 feet, the deepest it can go. operators adjusted the search area for the second dive. data from that initial mission showed no sign of the plane. this was the day of the dinosaur in washington. the smithsonian's museum of natural history took delivery of a nearly complete tyrannosaurus rex. its fossilized bones traveled more than 2,000 miles, in 16 crates, from montana, where it's been displayed since being discovered in 1988. the re-assembly will take five years. >> the t-rex itself, once we unpack it, will be in hall 13,
6:09 pm
known as the rex room, just off the rotunda, and in that space, we'll be making a three- dimensional scan and creating a digital t-rex, which will aid us in the three-dimensional reconstruction and mounting of the actual skeleton in the hall in 2019. >> woodruff: the dinosaur will be part of a $48 million gallery devoted to the history of life on earth. wall street managed modest gains today. the dow jones industrial average rose 89 points to close at 16,262. the nasdaq rose 11 points to close at 4,034. and the s-and-p added 12 to finish near 1,843. still to come on the newshour: ukrainian forces push back against pro-russian separatists; the battle to slow the worst effects of climate change; myanmar's struggle to preserve its cultural heritage; one pulitzer prize winner's sobering look at life on food stamps; an oregon community that pairs seniors with foster kids; and a personal take on healing
6:10 pm
after the boston bombings. >> ifill: ukraine's military said it's forces clashed with 30 armed members of a pro-russian militia today, and regained control of a small airport. the action happened after the country's acting president announced an "anti-terrorist operation" to take back buildings held by separatists in at least nine cities in eastern ukraine. lindsey hilsum of independent television news reports tonight on the uphill battle ukrainian troops are facing against their own countrymen. >> reporter: coming into land, reinforcements for a unit of ukrainain troops. they're stopped on the main road just north of the towns where separatists have taken down the yellow and blue ukrainian colors and substituted the russian flag.
6:11 pm
they unloaded ammunition boxes and other supplies. the ukrainian government says their anti-terror operation has now started. their commander was clear that they see russia as the enemy. >> ( translated ): this is happening because of the unprecedented intervention by a neighboring country on sovereign ukrainian territory. note that this aggression is made in the most base way. let's not mince words: it's a criminal act. >> reporter: the soldiers were clear: they don't want the civil war the russian government has predicted, ukrainians should not fight each other. our enemy. >> the ukrainian people is not our enemy. >> reporter: what about the russians? >> maybe. but russian military. russian people, no.
6:12 pm
set up camp here elf days earlier. you have nothing to fear, said the ukrainian soldier. we're scared of you, they replied, and we want you to leave or come on to the side of the people. the people here are fighting with the separatists, those who prefer moscow, they want the soldiers to reject orders from the government in kiev. but you live in ukraine and this is the ukrainian army. they have the right to be here don't they? >> they don't have documentation to stay here and we don't recognize this government who sent them here. we didn't elect them and we don't support their decisions. >> reporter: whether they like it or not, ukrainian soldiers are now being drawn into conflict with ukrainian citizens, the very people they
6:13 pm
were always tasked to protect. >> ifill: lindsey hilsum is in izyum, in eastern ukraine. i spoke to her a short time ago. lindsey, i'm watching your report. seems like things are terribly tense on the ground. how tense are they? >> reporter: it's extremely tense today because this is the day that the ukrainian military has launched what it's calling it's special operation against the pro russian separatists who are occupying buildings in up to ten towns across eastern ukraine. today, they brought their armored personnel carriers and other equipment down south, and then they went into a place called kramatorsk. they went in helicopters, landed at the airfield and seized the airfield which had been controlled by the pro-russian separatists. it's not clear at the moment if there were casualties and if so how many. the russian media is saying
6:14 pm
there were people killed but that is not confirmed. this is very much a propaganda war at the moment, so one has to be very careful. what we do know is some of the local people were unhappy about the ukrainian troops retaking the airfield, they started protesting and confronting them and the ukrainian troops, according to witnesses, fired into the air, possibly with automatic weapons. so this is a very tense situation at the moment and also extremely dangerous. president putin and also william hague both talked about ukraine being on the brink of a civil war. it's a very dangerous moment. >> ifill: it does sound like that. but is there a way to gauge how genuine pro-russian sentiment is on the ground that you've seen? >> reporter: i think there is a very genuine pro-russian sentiment on the ground here. you've talked to a lot of people over the last couple of days and they the government in kiev is illegitimate, as they put it,
6:15 pm
because it did take power after the previous president yanukovich fled and has not been elected. there are supposed to be elections in may. we'll see if that's possible or not. many of the people here, they watch russian television and believe pretty much everything that comes out of moscow and what the propaganda from there has been saying is that the government in kiev is fascist, it's sort of marxist and so on. now, the propaganda is there on the other side as well, from the government in kiev and from ukrainian sources, too. but i think that what you see here is a people who very much believe that they are put down, they are dismissed by the authorities in kiev, that this part of the country has all the wealth. you see a lot of power stations and mines here. it is a main stay of the ukrainian economy. they feel they get their recognition for that and they are looked down on and they absolutely don't trust the new government in kiev.
6:16 pm
so there is a lot of pro-russian sentiment here on the ground. >> ifill: i was struck by the ukrainian soldier you spoke to in your piece who said he makes a distinction between the russian military and the russian people. it sounds like there are a lot of divide loyalties. >> reporter: well, i think there are because you have to remember that ukraine and russia were both part of the soviet union until 1991, and there are a lot of ties here, links which go back many m years and, also, world war ii, i mean we may think this is many decades ago, but for here it is very real. where i'm standing now was a major battlefield during world war ii, many people fighting for the soviet army were killed here. so all those memories are there, and those memories are shared between ukraine and russia. but in the west of the country, people identify far more with europe and poland, so there's a lot of division within ukraine. but i think for the ukrainian
6:17 pm
soldiers, this is really a terrible thing. i mean, what they believe they're here to do is like any army, protect the people of their country. to them, that means ukrainians. but what they're finding as they come into this area is that many ukrainian citizens no longer feel that loyalty to kiev are looking towards moscow, so they are being forced into conflict with their own citizens and that's an extremely difficult thing. >> ifill: you mentioned earlier we are in the middle of a propaganda war, but to what degree does it feel we may be on the brink of a civil war as well? >> reporter: the two things are linked because one of the great dangers here is that rumor or misinformation can trigger events. people hear of something happening and then react. wars have been started like that before by misinformation. sometimes deliberate, sometimes accidental. so there certainly is a sense of this area, this country being on the brink of civil war. but, of course, it's important to say that this is not too
6:18 pm
late. there are supposed to be talks on thursday which would involve the russian government, the ukrainian government, the european union and the americans as well. a lot depends on president putin. he has been pushing the situation here. i don't think for sure there are russian troops here but we can say for sure the russians have been orchestrating this and have made sure this happens because they don't want the government in kiev to have legitimacy and for those elections to be able to go ahead in may with no problem. they seized crimea, crimea was part of ukraine, now annexed to russia. that happened in february. so i think they are showing what they can do here. what may be called for now is diplomacy and dialogue because i think everybody knows just how dangerous this situation is and now is the most dangerous moment. >> reporter: lindsey hilsum from on the ground in ukraine. thank you so much.
6:19 pm
>> woodruff: this week's latest u.n. report on climate change warns of the urgent need for global action in the next five to 15 years, if countries want to ward off the worst impacts of rising emissions. it also lays out numerous scenarios of what could be done. but those options come with different costs, and in the u.s., there's been opposition in congress and often reluctance among much of the public to some big changes. we look at the economic and political challenges with robert stavins, a lead co-author of the report. he's an environmental economist at the harvard kennedy school of government. and maura cowley, the executive director of the energy action coalition, which includes 30 youth-led groups. we thank you both for being with us. robert stavins, let me start with you.
6:20 pm
this report stresses the urgency of doing something now, implementing new policies. give us an example of a policy that the united states needs to implement in the near term. >> well, jude, what's become clear is that for this country, for the united states, the only approach that conceivably would achieve meaningful emissions reductions such as those that are talked about in the new report from the new intergovernmental panel on climate change would be a new system, might be a cabin trade system as has been denigrated and passed the house but not the senate or perhaps a revenue neutral carbon tax but something pervasive throughout the economy and send the right price signals. >> woodruff: is this something you think lawmakers could embrace in today's political environment? >> well, in today's political environment what is feasible is what is happening in the united states and that is that the
6:21 pm
administration is taking some action under existing regulations and through executive orders. it's hard to do much more than that. however, it's possible, though, actually be proposing a cap and trade system, a tradable permit system, under one of the regulatory initiatives for power plants. >> woodruff: let me pick up with that with maura cowley because the last few decades, whenever congress has been asked or seriously considered action to try to get polluters to pay for their pollution, for carbon emission, it's failed, and lawmakers who voted for it often went on to lose at the polls in november. how do you surmount that kind of opposition, that kind of problem? >> well, i think taking action on climate change and reaching out to young voters. right now, young voters are the largest voting block in the country, soon to outnumber baby
6:22 pm
boomers at the polls. and over 70% of young people say they will oat vote against an elected official who does not take action on climate change. so if you want young people to vote for you, taking action on climate change is the right way to go. >> woodruff: are you saying in most states, most congressional districts right now young people hold the preponderance of votes? because i feel lawmakers are saying young people aren't turning out. >> young people elected barack obama in 2008 and turned out in record numbers in 2012. so i think the millennial generation is here to stay when it comes to voting. >> woodruff: robert stavins, there are also a number of politicians, in particular republicans, who question the science, even, question whether carbon emissions contribute to pollution. how do you address that kind of opposition or doubt? >> well, judy, in my view, the climate skepticism that you're referring to that exists among some people in the republican
6:23 pm
party, particularly the more conservative parts of the republican party, really doesn't have to do with climate change itself. it really has to do with political polarization that's been taking place. as the republican party has moved gradually to the right for a whole set of structural reasons. so what we have now is an ideological divide. so, tragically, the debates in the united states, the political debates on climate change are more akin to the debates at issue like abortion than they are on debates which are fundamentally about the science and thinking about what's wise and best for the country and best for the planet. >> woodruff: well, continuing in that line of thinking, maura cowley, you know, as you said, you're the head of this grassroots group representing different organizations of young people, but the pollers right now in this country, we looked at them, said while a majority of americans say, yes, we think climate change is real, but doing something about it ranks at the bottom.
6:24 pm
they're more concerned about the jobs, the economic, in some cases health care than they are climate, always seems to come up driving up the rear. >> yeah, i think what we're seeing across the country in terms of extreme weather is really starting to change attitudes about climate change. from superstorm sandy, hurricane katrina, the droughts in california, the wildfires in colorado, people are waking up to the realities of climate change and demanding leaders take action. we have had hundreds of people getting arrested over the keystone exxon pipeline. >> reporter: part of your coalition? >> yes, and students at universities, washington university in st. louis right now demanding that university sever ties with peabody cole, one of the largest polluters in the world. so there's a rising movement against the fossil fuel
6:25 pm
industries and demanding leaders take action on climate change. >> woodruff: robert stavins, how much of the responsibility lies with the united states and other developed countries and how much with the developing countries which are now increasing their use of fossil fuels as they expand their economies? >> well, that's a very important issue, and let's not denigrate the american population and assume they're foolish because of their unwillingness to take on actions and costs. we have to recognize, first of all, we're asking a current generation of people in the united states to take on costs or in all countries to take on costs to benefit future generations, because the worst impacts of climate change will be off in the future, not this year or next year. in addition, what you brought up is the global distribution issue, and that is, you know, the united states has now been surpassed by china as the world's largest emitter. in terms of the cumulative greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the united states is still in first place, but in current rates of economic
6:26 pm
growth, china is going to surpass us even in the stock in the atmosphere within a decade or two, depending on various factors. if we look overall at developed compared to developing countries, the eocd countries, the organization of check cooperation and development, essentially the industrialized world, emissions in these countries are flat to declining. the rapid growth is in the large, rapidly growingics emerging countries. china, india, brazil, south africa, mexico and indonesia. they need to be involved. if they don't get on the climate policy train, it's not leaving the station. a different question, though, is whether or not they have to pay for their tickets. >> reporter: well, andates much bigger subject than we can deal with. but maura cowley, in talking to the american people, how important is it that they understand that this is a shared responsibility with other countries? >> yeah, i think it's critical they understand that the united states needs to help lead the international community to take
6:27 pm
action observe climate change, and right now we're seeing people across the country really demanding president obama step up and enact strong regulations to regulate carbon right here in the united states, and doing that will send a major signal all across the globe that we are serious about climate change, that we are ready to take action. it would help ease the path forward so all those other countries would join us. >> woodruff: maura cowley, thank you very much. robert stavins, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> ifill: now, part two of jeffrey brown's look at myanmar, the country formerly known as burma. after years of turmoil, the military government is moving toward political reform. but as the country begins to open up to the outside world, there's a new concern: how development could overshadow its architectural and archaeological past. that's the subject of jeff's
6:28 pm
report tonight, which also marks the beginning of a new series, one we call "culture at risk". we'll explore the impact of war, climate change, neglect and more, on cultural artifacts around the world. >> brown: the afternoon rush hour in yangon: workers board water taxis for the commute home. on the streets, food vendors serve tea and noodles. buddhist monks in their maroon robes are everywhere. and the ancient schwedegon pagoda, hundreds of temples, statues and stupas, remains the country's most important shrine. yangon, the city once known as rangoon, is often said to be frozen in time, the result of a military regime that kept his country largely isolated from the modern world for more than 50 years. but that's changing now, and quickly, and a key question here is how to preserve something of the past while moving into a 21st century future. >> there's no urban landscape like this left anywhere in the
6:29 pm
world. >> brown: thant myint u, a harvard-educated historian, is head of "the yangon heritage trust." as myanmar opens up, he says, the nation's very sense of itself, told in part through it's buildings, is at stake. >> what we have now is a physical landscape that's starting to change, but also this opportunity to remember this history, and to try to begin to save what we can, before it's too late. >> brown: downtown yangon is filled with grand buildings, many from its british-ruled, colonial-era, the end of the 19th century until world war two. the huge secretariat, for example, housed the british administration but was also site of the assassination of burma's independence hero, aung san, father of aung san suu kyi some have been restored, like the strand hotel, where rudyard kipling and george orwell stayed. and the rowe and co. building the city's first department
6:30 pm
store, soon to open as a bank headquarters. but many others, like the balthazar, have stood in a state of neglect for decades. >> so you have this kind of dystopian world here. >> brown: oh wow. and today serve as home to squatters who live among rats and squalor. >> dozens of families, this is really a building that people shouldn't be living in. >> brown: hundreds of buildings have already been torn down to make way for new ones, and thant myint u and his colleagues are working to preserve what they can. what started with the plight of a handful of buildings has become a larger quest for smart growth. >> the last thing i would want to see is a sort of sanitized tourist zone that's good for just tourists and some rich burmese, with five star hotels and very expensive restaurants. so i think we're trying to get the economics of conservation right, seeing how we cannot just preserve the buildings, but really try to keep intact some of these communities that have been here for generations. >> brown: some of this history
6:31 pm
is very complicated. yangon has a colonial past and a lot of people, i would think, don't really want to remember it. >> no one has a positive view of colonialism as colonialism, but what i try to say is that this colonial era landscape downtown is also where the burmese people first learned to be modern, it's where burma's greatest anti- colonial politicians, anti- colonial writers, musicians, artists, and others lived and worked, and so it's important for our history. >> brown: this remains an extremely poor country, where most people live through subsistence farming. but as the military government has relaxed its grip on the economy, investment is pouring in from asia as well as europe and the u.s. and yangon's population is expected to quadruple to ten million in the next 25 years. the demand for office-space and housing is exploding, and rents are already sky-rocketing, especially downtown, where new
6:32 pm
buildings sit, uneasily at times, next to old. >> brown: this is tearing down what was here? >> yeah, i feel a little sorry that the building has been torn down and-- >> brown: you feel a little sorry? >> yeah, but i got no choice. it has to be done. >> brown: twenty-nine year old moe zat mone oversees operations at two construction companies that operate around the country. a native of yangon, educated in england, he's eager to be part of change and growth in myanmar. he showed us a model for a new luxury hotel, planned as three stories for now but, depending on what investors want, possibly as high as 15. all part, he says, of developing a modern city. >> we need more infrastructure, more hotels, hospitals, and more service apartments and office rentals. >> brown: are you optimistic that yangon can be a livable
6:33 pm
city, even as it grows? >> absolutely. i think it, come in five years' time. i think this country will be able to compete with our neighbors in south asia. >> brown: come in five years time? many are already coming some touring in hot-air balloons. and here in bagan, three hundred miles northwest of yangon, that raises other questions for the future. bagan is an archeological wonder, capital of a former burmese kingdom and said to contain the highest concentration of buddhist architecture of any place in the world. several thousand pagodas and temples in a variety of shapes, styles and sizes, some dating back more than a thousand years. one issue here is sheer numbers: how many tourists, and hotels and buses to accommodate them, can the site hold?
6:34 pm
of course, if you're a carriage driver, like myo han, the more tourists, the better for you and your children. his youngest is finishing high school soon, the first in the family to do so, with the hope of becoming a tour guide. myo han himself was once a farmer. >> ( translated ): a farmer's life is very hard and poor. driving a horse carriage is easier. i can make much more money. >> brown: another issue here: highly controversial restoration and re-building practices. >> brown: so the monastery was there? >> a monastery complex. >> brown: u myo nunt served until recently as deputy director of the department of archeology in bagan. he explained as earthquakes took their toll over the years much restoration was done piecemeal, and not by internationally-recognized standards. but these are buddhist shrines, he points out, seen as places of worship.
6:35 pm
>> ( translated ): people put gold coating or lime wash on the pagodas to make them look nice, thinking that will bring good karma. >> brown: other practices, such as the building of faux-historic pagodas, this one by a former top general, also raised concerns. all of this leading unesco to deny bagan world heritage designation. there is now internationally- sanctioned work being done here. we watched an effort at one of bagan's oldest and most important structures, the 12th century ananda temple, to remove layers of white lime coatings, a $22 million project being financed by the government of india, and overseen by indian experts. at the ministry of culture, as young people rehearsed traditional dances, another kind of cultural preservation, deputy minister sanda khin insisted a new awareness had taken hold.
6:36 pm
>> ( translated ): earlier generations tried to preserve and conserve their precious monuments in their own way. at the time, the study of archaeological practices was not widely spread, so they used their own traditional ways of conserving the temples for the last 20 years, with the assistance of unesco, we have learned the proper ways of preservation that are in accordance with international norms. >> brown: today, myanmar wrestles with many challenges: long-standing ethnic tensions an uncertain move to democracy, and a jolt into the global marketplace. add one more: how to manage and preserve part of its past, even while building its future. >> woodruff: you can see more photos of the stunning architecture of bagan, that's on "art beat." >> ifill: 47 million people, or one out of every seven americans, rely on government
6:37 pm
assistance to feed their families each month. for them, the $78 billion federal supplemental nutrition assistance program, long known as food stamps, is a lifeline. washington post reporter eli saslow set out to trace that lifeline in a series of stories that took him far beyond the typical washington lightning rod argument. yesterday, he was awarded journalism's highest prize, the pulitzer prize in explanatory reporting, for his work. he joins me now. eli, congratulations, first of all. >> thanks so much. pleasure to be here. >> ifill: thank you. you spend a lot of time talking about food and security in washed. you decided to go to rhode island and florida and tennessee and texas and even here in washington, d.c. to get to the bottom of that story. why? >> because these are the places where people are still suffering. i think it's easy here in d.c. or a lot of places to feel like the economy has recovered, the recession is over, people are
6:38 pm
doing better, the stock market is up, but the truth is there is this lasting scar of the economic collapse and it's these 47 million people, one in seven americans who are now depending on the government for their food and it's a program that's grown four times in size in the last ten years and those are the people worth paying attention to. >> ifill: many of the stories you wrote talked about the boom economy around the first of the month, illustrated with great goafts by michael williams at "the washington post." describe what the boon economy is. >> food stamps have grown to sort of an economy unto themselves. the first of the month is when people usually get their benefit. for most people the end of the month is a countdown, the refrigerators are more empty, they have less and less and the first of the month comes and they shop as quickly as they can. in grocery stores across america, a lot of stores may do 20% of business of the month on the first day, then the rest of the month is a trickle down.
6:39 pm
so it's not just money coming to the people on food stamps but entire towns are depending on the first of the month as an economic boon. >> ifill: the lifeline goes to the entire community not just the individuals. >> yes, to the individuals, the stores, the banks, and to the employees the grocery store hires. in woonsocket, rhode island, 40% of the town receives food stamps, so this is something a huge percent of the population is depending on. >> ifill: do charities fill the gap, the food pantries? >> the federal government even says in best case scenario food stamps give you enough money for 17 days, so that leaves you 13 days even in a best-case scenario that you have to take care of. that's a huge gap for food pantries and food banks to fill. they are totally overwhelmed and hurting, too. so that gap, they're not quite making it. >> ifill: in the towns we talked about, you went even to a
6:40 pm
border town in texas and to florida and captured the idea the people benefiting from this are elderly and children and everybody in between. >> yes, it hits everybody. half the people on food stamps, half of that money goes to children. so we're talking about almost 25 million children eating in part based on this program. elderly people are summed up in high numbers but the truth is they're not signed up to where they should be. only 25% of elderly people who can sign up for food stamps sign up because there is still a a stigma. >> ifill: shame involved. yes, so there are people who go around and talk to people about the program and funding the program so maybe they'll sign up. >> ifill: is washington seriously tackling these issues? >> i think some people are trying but the truth is right now washington is not set up super well to deal with complicated issues and this is maybe the most complex. one of the stories in the series
6:41 pm
is about a congressman trying to cut food stamps -- >> ifill: republican congress. republican congressman, sutherland, has his own reasons for wanting to do it. he hadn't yet spoken to the main democrat working on the food stamp program. so people aren't really talking to each other and it's hard to sell things when you're not even in conversation. >> ifill: as a reporter, a middle class guy who went into these people's homes and lives, and you decided to tell this story from the inside-out, how do you do that? how do you balance that as a journalist? >> it's the privilege of the job. the kind of journalism i do, narrative journalism, i might be writing about big issues and numbers but i'm doing that by going into people's lives and into their homes and not just interviewing them for a few minutes or hours, but really shadowing them sometimes for a week or two at a time, and that's a lot to ask of people, especially when you're there in those weeks when the fridge is
6:42 pm
more and more empty and maybe there are three or four kids not having very much to eat or waiting for one day provided by a food bank. it's encouraging to have people let you in and write about it. we try to do a good job telling their stories and doing it fairly and honestly. >> ifill: you did a great job and the nobel peac pulitzer prie recognized that. >> woodruff: next, about 15% of seniors in the u.s. live below the poverty line and many struggle to find affordable housing. but a unique community in oregon is offering low-income seniors reduced rents, in exchange for their time. volunteering time, to be specific. the newshour's cat wise reports for our "taking care" series.
6:43 pm
>> reporter: four years ago, jackie lynn began the process of adopting her nieces children who were living in the foster care in portland, oregon. their mother and father, both drug addicts, are now in jail. lynn is sixty, she's raised two grown children of her own, and she works full-time. >> it was tough. i had no support whatsoever. i'd be fixing dinner, and doing homework, and taking care of kids, and laundry, and all of it. the kids weren't getting the attention that they needed. >> reporter: but in 2011, lynn and the kids moved to bridge meadows, a supportive housing development for families who adopt foster children. that in itself is pretty unique, but what really sets this property apart is this. >> hi, how are you?
6:44 pm
>> reporter: jim and joy corcoran are lynns neighbors, and they are known here as the elders. there are 27 apartments at bridge meadows for low-income seniors who agree to volunteer about ten hours a week with the adoptive families, in exchange for reduced rents. and for jackie lynn, that support has been crucial. >> they are the reason that we thrive. jim takes the boys every sunday morning for about three hours. they come home excited, with all these wonderful stories. you see my children running up to the elders and giving them hugs, its just incredible to watch. >> reporter: jim and joy corcoran, who struggled financially after jim lost his job in the construction industry, now pay $500 a month for a one bedroom, one bath apartment. >> it was really difficult to find any decent housing that we could afford in any regard.
6:45 pm
so when we had the opportunity to move here, it was just a god- send, it was like a huge relief. >> reporter: joy is an artist with a long-term disability. she leads story time every week in the community library. >> it's sort of almost like a fantasy of being a librarian, or a teacher, or something like that, that i can't really do physically, but now i have that option to share with children. >> reporter: the development is funded by rents, as well as donations from corporations, foundations, and private individuals. the old and young mix here, every day, in multiple ways. once a week everyone comes together in the intergenerational community room. elders provide babysitting, tutoring, music lessons, even rides to school. and there are counselors on site to help both the families, and seniors, cope with the challenges of caring for children who have often been
6:46 pm
through a lot. derenda schubert is executive director. >> one of the beautiful features of bridge meadows is that there's reciprocity among the generations, so the elders are providing love and support to the families, and the families are doing the same, and even the children, they are giving back to the elders. >> reporter: in fact, schubert says that the health of many of the seniors, both physical and mental, has improved since they moved in. but she admits the close-knit community is not for everyone. >> we have had some folks move in and realize, it's a little bit of a fishbowl and i don't know that i want everybody knowing my business. the best part is people know your business, and the worst part is people know your business, so if that's not something you're looking for, an intentional, intergenerational community is probably not for you, but if you really are looking for a group of people who you feel like you're now an integral part of a community, then this is a beautiful place
6:47 pm
to age. >> reporter: for his part, jim corcoran says he cant imagine being anywhere else. >> we're flourishing, and evolving in this environment, we're growing big time. if you go to live in an apartment complex with a bunch of older people, for instance, people kind of wither away, and it's really not right. connections across the generations is critical, absolutely critical for aging well. >> reporter: demand for housing at bridge meadows remains high from seniors and adoptive families, some 8,000 children in oregon's foster care system are awaiting permanent placement. construction on a new property, across town, is expected to begin next year. and bridge meadow staff are now consulting with several other communities around the u.s. that are planning to open similar developments in the coming years. >> ifill: finally tonight, as we
6:48 pm
mark the anniversary of the boston marathon bombings, a personal tale of recovery and struggle. at least 16 people lost limbs in the attacks. that includes a pair of brothers, paul and j.p. norden, from stoneham, massachusetts, who each lost a leg. emily rooney of w.g.b.h. news sat down with them recently. here is part of their conversation. a year ago this time, paul and j.p. norden had just been laid off as sheet workers and could be at the marathon to cheer on a buddy. they were outside the finish line when they heard the bomb go off. >> some people were crying, scared, i didn't know what it was. it was just -- that's it. a friend of ours is, like, all right, we've got to get in the street. we just didn't make it.
6:49 pm
>> reporter: exactly 12 seconds passed before the second explosion. do you remember rescue people coming to help you? >> yes, i was laying on the sideline. i thought it took a while for them to look at me. it was just seconds. but felt like minutes when you're laying there and hurting. they were all huddled around, people taking their shirts off using them for tourniquets. they did a good job on me, i think, anyways. >> reporter: you said you both were aware at that second that something terrible had happened, you were away. >> i was so hurt and i just looked over and i saw him. i was yelling to him and he couldn't hear me. i saw his leg off but him sitting up.
6:50 pm
i saw him from the side. soy didn't see the burns and stuff up there. he looked fine except besides his leg being blown off, it looked like nothing was really bothering him. i knew he lost his leg and he was hurt but i didn't know how bad. >> reporter: did you know you had lost a leg, also? >> i knew that because when it first went off, i was confused but i thought i got punched. i didn't know. i was rolling around and i tried to get up and put this foot on the ground and i couldn't. it was gone. >> reporter: so you were both able to give your names and you were conscious enough? >> i called my mom. >> reporter: you called your mom. >> yeah. >> reporter: what did you say? i didn't want to say too much because i didn't want to worry my mom, because she would be devastated, so i didn't want to tell her too much. but i didn't realize how bad i
6:51 pm
was hurt. >> reporter: paul and j.p. recently penned a book "twice as strong" recounting their lives before and after the boston marathon. as it turns out, neither brother really knew what happened about the other that day until they read those portions of the book. >> when i was reading the book and saw what he had to go through, it made me cry. it was tough to see what he went through. then in general, hearing all the other stuff that went on, because i was in a medically-induced coma, so i missed the first week of april 15th through the 22nd, so i didn't know what happened. >> reporter: writing the book, buzz that cathartic for you at all? >> the book was therapeutic for all of us. you know, even to this day, like, we haven't sat down and talked about the whole thing, you know, because our focus in the beginning is getting on with
6:52 pm
this, putting it behind us. but the book was interesting to hear everybody's side. >> reporter: you're adjusting to having a prosthetic leg. do you still think about it every day or has it become routine for you? >> unfortunately, we have to think about it every day because when we get up in the morning, we have to put our leg on. i'm still sore all the time. him being above me and just to watch, he has to do things differently. >> it was pretty tuff, yowrntion it was difficult the first couple of snowstorms. hard on black eyes for either one of us, you know. but we'll get used to it and adjust. >> reporter: you both said at the time that you really weren't interested in talking about who did this, but having put a year behind you now, are you more interested? are you interested in the trial? >> no, i just think the justice system will do what it's going to do and we have no control, so
6:53 pm
that's my answer. i don't think of it. i just think this did something but we couldn't control it that day. >> reporter: is there anything -- sounds kind of strange -- but positive that's come out of this for you guys? >> yeah, a ton. i myself have got a different outlook for people. not that you don't realize it, but people are good. i mean, from giving me just what they thought of it and how good friends we are, we've gotten a lot of opportunities to meet a lot of new people, special people. for one bad thing that happened to us -- of course, it was a very bad thing -- but we got a lot of good out of it
6:54 pm
>> woodruff: the brothers are moving forward in other ways too: they're about to open a roofing business together. each also received $1.4 million from the one fund, the charity that raised $70 million for victims of the bombings. an artificial leg costs around $150,000 and they will need replacements in the years to come >> ifill: again, the other major developments of the day. ukrainian troops and pro-russian gunmen clashed at an airport in eastern ukraine as the government said it had launched an anti-terrorist campaign. and the white supremacist who allegedly killed three people at jewish community sites outside kansas city was officially charged with murder. >> woodruff: on the newshour online right now, it's april 15th and you've already filed your income taxes by now, right? so you know how much you paid uncle sam this past year. now use our tax calculator to find out how much of your salary you would have taken home in other countries. compare the u.s. income tax rate to those of other economically developed nations.
6:55 pm
all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. >> ifill: and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff, we'll see you on-line 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: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us.
6:56 pm
>> 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. captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
6:57 pm
6:58 pm
6:59 pm
7:00 pm
this is "nightly business report," with tyler mathisen and susie gharib. whipsaw day on wall street, stocks rallied out of the gate then dropped mid-day only to bounce back by the close. what is causing the volatility and will there be more to come in the months and weeks ahead. and a singular goal, safety, mary barra answers questions since the first heated congressional questions. and taking away on intel and yahoo! earnings that could determine the market's directions tomorrow. we have all that and more tonight on "nightly business report" for tuesday, april 15th. good evening everybody, and welcome. do you own a neck brace? if not,

84 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on