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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  April 28, 2014 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT

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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: in oklahoma, rows of houses smashed and in one arkansas suburb, entire neighborhoods in ruins. both were the work of deadly twisters, and tonight, the south is bracing for even more threatening weather... good evening, i'm judy woodruff. and i'm gwen ifill, also ahead this monday,a swirl of outrage from fans and players alike, over racist comments allegedly from the owner of the l.a. clippers. what's next for the n.b.a. and the franchise. >> woodruff: plus, paul solman's look at that all-important economic yardstick: gdp, or gross domestic product.
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it's relied on as a measure of progress, but does it paint an accurate picture? >> one synthetic number that purports to describe lived reality with an average, has to make choices about what you include, what do you add, what do you exclude, because you can't include everything. 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.
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>> supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information at >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. ifill: a sitting member of congress, new york representative michael grimm, was arrested today on a range of federal charges. the two-term republican pleaded not guilty to a 20-count indictment, including mail fraud, wire fraud and tax fraud. it alleges he under-reported and concealed wages for workers at
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a manhattan restaurant. grimm is a former fbi agent who's also under investigation for campaign finance violations. suicide bombers killed at least 50 people across iraq today, ahead of wednesday's parliamentary elections. the worst attack came at a kurdish rally 100 miles northeast of baghdad. 30 people died there. other attackers hit polling stations where soldiers and security forces began casting ballots. prisoners and hospital workers also voted today. the national elections are the first in iraq since us troops withdrew in 2011. hundreds more islamists have been sentenced to death in egypt, in the latest mass trial of muslim brotherhood supporters. a court in cairo imposed the penalty today in a case stemming from violent riots last august. jonathan miller of independent television news reports. >> reporter: the egyptian judiciary on trial today as a notorious hanging judge broke
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his own grim record, recommending that 688 men be sentenced to death in a trial that lasted ten minutes. said youssef today also upheld the death penalty on 37 of the 529 he condemned last month. the remainder commuted to 25 years in jail. distress among relatives outside the cairo courtroom this morning. you can hear others screaming as this mother talks of her son. >> i swear to god he did nothing. the officer came and arrested him when he was asleep in bed. >> reporter: among others sentenced to hang, the 70 year old spiritual guide of the outlawed muslim brotherhood, mohamed badie, on charges of inciting violence. lawyers and human rights groups today condemned the trial. not fair, they said. no due process. >> the right to a defense was
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breached. in a normal case with a defendant that killed someone it would take one or two years. but here it was wrapped up in one session. >> take stosk what has been happening in egypt. less than a year ago mohammed morsi was president. today he is in jail. 2500 of his supporters are dead. the movement designated a terrorist organization. by this time next month, general asisi, the ex military intelligence chief under the dictator hosni mubarak, is expected to have easily won presidential elections. back to the future. today sixth of april democratic activist group which spearheaded the revolt against mubarak three years ago was outlawed. it's two leaders are already in jail. all but 68 of those sentenced today were tried in absentia. the judge's decision will now be appealed to egypt's top islamic
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official, the grand mufti. in the central african republic there's word that muslim rebels shot up a hospital over the weekend, killing at least 16 people. three were local workers with "doctors without borders". it happened in a town in the remote, northwestern section of the country, near the border with chad. the rebels have regrouped in that region after being driven from the capital city of bangui. president obama is praising-- and defending -- a 10-year agreement with the philippines, allowing us forces greater access to military bases. the pact was signed as he arrived in manila to meet with president benigno aquino. the news also sparked protests by hundreds of filipino activists, opposed to any renewed us military presence. they burned effigies of both leaders. mr. obama maintained the move will be good for the region. >> i want to be very clear: the united states is not trying to reclaim old bases or build new bases. at the invitation of the
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philippines, american service members will rotate through filipino facilities, will train and exercise more together so we're prepared for a range of challenges including humanitarian crises and natural disafter theres. >> ifill: it's aimed at countering aggressive chinese moves in the region. it's been five weeks since the washington state mudslide, and today, authorities officially ended the active search for bodies. the death toll in the shattered community of oso remains at 41. two people are still listed as missing. a forensic team began schorg a tiny church in madrid today hunting remains of spain's greatest writer who died in obscurity in 1616 years after his classic novel about the he can sec trick night don quee haute yeah. on wall street today, the dow jones industrial average gained
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87 points to close at 16,448. the nasdaq fell a point to close at 4074. and the s-and-p 500 was up 6 to finish at 1869. still to come on the "newshour"... the south braces for more twisters after a night of destruction; white house adviser tony blinken discusses the new u.s. sanctions against moscow; plus: charges of racism against an n-b-a owner... searching for new ways to measure the nation's and fresh evidence that high school graduation rates are on the rise. severe storms lined up again this afternoon across the south, and a tornado damaged some homes in tupelo, mississippi, but there were no initial reports of injuries. that's after at least 16 people were killed in three
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states on sunday, 14 of them in arkansas... >> oh wow, guys. >> woodruff: the sky over mayflower, arkansas, went from light to dark in an instant last evening. these storm chasers got too close for comfort to a half- mile-wide tornado. >> my ears are popping, we're in it right now, we're in the tornado" >> woodruff: from there, the twister moved down the road to nearby vilonia, north of little rock. >> as i was driving back i saw nothing but black, it was huge and i saw the rotation. >> woodruff: the tornado touched down off-and-on for almost 80 miles, leaving destruction along an already well-beaten path. >> three years and two days ago we were hit by an ef2 tornado, practically the same path, in fact this ran right along the side where the other one came, cut about 6 1/2 miles long >> woodruff: this morning, in the light of day, the scope of destruction came fully into view. metal wrapped around tree limbs that had been hacked off in the high winds; homes left with no rooftops;
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cars twisted and bent; and amid all this, rescue teams, searching the wreckage for survivors. >> we've got people and dogs going through the rubble and trying to find whoever we can and whatever we can. >> woodruff: the national guard and the federal emergency management agency were on the ground to assist, and president obama pledged more federal help. governor mike beebe sized things up after getting a first-hand look. >> we've obviously got a lot of experience with tornados. any tornado is bad, particularly if it's a direct hit on something but looking at the damage this may be one of the strongest that we've seen. >> woodruff: in fact, forecasters said the arkansas tornado was likely the strongest anywhere in the country this year. another twister tore through quawpaw, oklahoma and killed one person. this man said there was no warning. >> no sirens or anything went off there, and i felt the house shake a little bit, and i heard
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wind like you would not believe. so i got up off my chair and looked out my front window and about the time there we saw the twisting action right here, all this devastation here coming up. >> woodruff: the fatalities from these storms mark the first of the 2014 tornado season. >> woodruff: as we said, governor beebe visited the affected sites today. he joined us from little rock a short time ago. governor mike beebe thank you very much for talking with us. first of all we're so sorry for the loss of life. >> well, thank you, judy. it's a tragedy any time you see these disasters, but i assume you have seen a number of pictures of the damage. and basically it's a surprise that we don't lose more lives. i think it's a credit to a lot of folks, including the news media wroacts, the weather service that broadcasts the warnings as well as sirens and people being more alert and more
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aware. >> woodruff: based on what you were able to see today, how bad was this storm? >> we've seen storms that covered more area, we've seen storms with greater coverage in terms of destruction, but in the areas where this particular tornado hit, i don't know that i've ever seen anything that was as strong. we saw steel beams that were twisted and torn. in one area, we saw a steal beam anchored in cement as an anchor for the building and the cement and the anchor, all of it, was actually pulled out from the ground and twisted. the devastation in terms of the violence of this tornado probably is as bad as i've seen. >> woodruff: you mentioned the advance warning people had. what would people have had to do in the worst hit sections understood to -- in order to stay safe? >> well, those that had the safe rooms, and in one community this
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was the second time that community was hit. so that community was more attuned to safety precautions, and a lot of them have safety rooms. there were also safe shelters you could get to with sufficient warning. and absent that, the intear portions of their -- interior portions of their homement we heard a man with three daughters and they got in the bathtub and the entire house was in shambles, nothing standing in the house and they all sure viefd because the bathtub was picked up and turned over. it was sufficient protection that they only had minor scratches. on the other hand we had a situation where a lady built an actual tornado structure safe room in the home. the home was gone, the only thing left standing was the safe room but she perished. the reason apparently was that some debris hit the door to that safe room and came on in.
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>> woodruff: are people getting the help they need from local, state and federal agencies? >> yes, yes. we're resilient people. i think most states. i like to brag but i suspect most states follow the same pattern. neighbors and friends and volunteers and loam law enforcement as well as state agencies, state police, the various state agencies that have heavy equipment that can move debris out of the way, certainly the national guard, and all the other agencies such as forestry and highway department and certainly game and fish and parks and tourism. they all band together, they are well coordinated and on the second base very, very quickly. in this -- on the scene very, very quickly. in this case it happened during the nighttime hours and it was difficult to see, so they all worked together to try to first clear the way so that rescue and emergency responders could get into the areas, and then
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secondly be able to do the search and rescue. >> woodruff: finally governor we know there are more tornadoes reported today, that touched today in the southeast. more warnings posted for tomorrow. what sort of preparations are in place moving forward? >> well, of course, the good news for us is that most of this bad weather pattern has passed east of us. bad news is, as you pointed out it's going to hit other states. our sister states east of us have suffered significant tornadic activity. what they need to do is the same thing that they always know how to do and the same thing we do, monitor the weather, pay attention to the warnings, take shelter when they tell you to. don't try to be something you are not in terms of riding out a storm. take it seriously and move to places of safety when at all possible. >> woodruff: good warning for everyone to keep in mind in the path of these storms.
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governor mike beebe of arkansas, we thank you. >> you are more than welcome. >> ifill: tensions in eastern ukraine spilled over into more violence today. as the obama administration announced additional sanctions on russian leaders and companies with close ties to president putin. lindsey hilsum of independent television news has this report. >> reporter: tonight those who support ukraine held a march in the eastern town of donetsk, protected, supposedly, by the police. but pro-russian thugs soon disrupted the rally, beating up demonstrators with batons and stones, several were injured, and the demonstrators forced to flee. those agitating in favor of russia deny they're doing moscow's bidding but the us government sees president putin's hand and today imposed further sanctions on some of the
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russian leader's closest friends. 17 companies are sanctioned including some controlled by putin associates: gennady timchenko, a billionaire; and arkady rotenberg, his judo d friend. amongst the seven individuals sanctioned are: dmitry kozak, deputy prime minister of the russian federation; igor sechin, the president of rosneft, the world's largest traded oil company. sechin, one of president putin's closets advisors, is sanctioned as an individual but it's hard to separate the man from the company, rosneft. here he is a year ago with the head of b.p., bob dudley. >> ladies and gentlemen, it's great for me to welcome igor ivanovich here at b.p. today. i think this is the beginning today of a great partnership between b.p. and rosneft.
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>> reporter: b.p. has a 20% stake in rosneft, to which it said today it remained committed. rosneft said the sanctions wouldn't affect cooperation with its partners, but the company share price dropped as did its credit rating. in the city of kharkiv today, the deputy mayor was shot in the back, as ukraine grows more lawless the e.u. is to announce further sanctions on russia tomorrow. europe is one step behind the u.s., because of its closer economic ties to russia, but they're trying to give an impression of unity. earlier today there was another town to join the republic as prorussian demonstrators took over the local administration building. western sanctions may be hurting some russian individuals, but there's no sign that they are deterring president putin from continuing to stir it up in ukraine. >> ifill: now for more we turn to white house deputy national
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security advisor tony blinken. welcome. is the goal here to isolate russia economically, or politcally or both? >> the goal is to impose a clear hois on president putin. either choose a diplomatic path to resolve this crisis in ukraine or face increased pressure on the russian economy. we've seen significant impacts from the pressure we've exerted to date. financial markets down 22%. ruble at all time lows. investment drying up, capital flight, downgraded credit ratings. if president putin wants to continue to deliver growth for the people, which is essentially to their support he has to make that head choice. >> ifill: part of it is to sanction government officials. what is the point of that? >> we have designated government officials before and significantly we have two individuals at the very heart of
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the russian economy and of the support system for president putin. mr. session and and another. he controls the largest energy company in the world. that was not designated itself. we've seen an impact on the company itself. it's credit rating was dropped to near junk status. and we have seen its stock price take a dive as well. it's having a clear impact and forcing a clear choice. >> ifill: why sanction individuals and not the company if what you are after is the company? >> we're looking to do this in a deliberate way, to do it in coordination with our european partners. because when we act together the impact is greater and stronger. so the president has been extremely focused on making sure that we have the europeans with us. while he was in asia he convened a conference call with the senior european partners on friday. when it became clear that unfortunately russia was not
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living up to the commitments made in geefa. there was an agreement made to have the g-7 pronounce itself on the need for additional pressure and following through today. >> ifill: if you were to sanction the companies themselves, would that have an immediate impact on sate u.s. partners. exxon mobile is in partnership with them? >> what we're focused on is making sure we maximize the pressure we're exerted on russia and minimize the impact here in the united states and in europe. that's why we've done it in such a deliberate and careful fashion. that is the result to date. >> ifill: i couldn't tell whether it was the answer to my question or not. you are saying the step-by-step process is in part to insulate american companies? >> it's focused on exerting pressure on russia and minimizing any impact or consequences on american companies or european companies. look, the longer this goes on and we've held various sanctions in reserve, if this does
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continue, there will be spill over and an effect, unfortunately, on companies here and in europe. the over riding and overwhelming impact is on rush shasm we have no desire -- russia. we have no desire to do this and unfortunately we're forced to do it by russia and president putin's actions. we hope he will reconsider. >> ifill: among the individuals you are sanctioning do they have assets in the u.s. frozen as a result of this? and do we know what that adds up to? >> some of them may well have assets in the united states. we're looking at that. they'll be prohibited from traveling to the united states. most significantly of all u.s. persons and u.s. companies are not able to do business with them in their individual capacities. it's significant because not only does it mean that their ability to do business with and in the united states is cut off but it's an chilling impact on their ability to do business elsewhere around the world. we think this will be very significant in terms of individuals designated inch one of the things you --
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>> ifill: one of the things you suggest that if russia decides to cross the border to ukraine robust secretary toral sanctions will follow. request not impose them now if it's meant to deter bad behavior. >> the president put in place a way to target large sectors of economy and companies within those sectors like energy, like the financial sector, like mining. the very fact we established that mechanism, the president put it in place we believe will have a deterrent effect. the president is clear we need to hold options in reserve if russia persists in actions and takes additional actions. that's what we have. having those in place with russia knowing we're able to, if necessary, take those actions will hopefully have a deterrent effect on what they do and focus them on what they agreed to do already which is to find a
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diplomatic resolution, deescalate the crisis. >> ifill: the actions being held in reserve for further punishment? >> i'm not p getting into specific companies or individuals going forward but we've seen the impact going forward. you can imagine going forward, if necessary will have an even greater impact. >> ifill: it could have been you today talking to reporters referring to it as the bermuda triangle of eastern ukraine. what does that mean? >> you've seen the images of what is going on in eastern ukraine. unfortunately these pro-russian groups of accept operatives are small in number but doing everything to destabilize the ukraine with russia's support. we believe they are trying to delay or delegitimatize the elections scheduled for may 25.
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the ukrainian people should choose their own future. not us, not russia, not europe the ukrainian people. that's why the electrics are so important. we're supporting the elections. we would expect russia to do the same thing. but unfortunately, russia and the groups its supports are trying to do just the op sis. >> ifill: deputy national security adviser tony blinken, thank you so much. >> thank you for having me. >> ifill: for a fuller picture of the history of tensions between russia and ukraine, our team at pbs newshour weekend traced the centuries-long relationship. you can watch that full report online. >> woodruff: the national basketball association said it will make an announcement tomorrow about its investigation of the owner of the los angeles clippers, donald sterling, and the racist remarks attributed to him. the league, the rest of its owners, the team's coach and players are all figuring out what to do next, as the clippers get set for a play-off game back in los angeles tomorrow night.
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>> woodruff: word of tomorrow's statement comes amid mounting pressure on the new n.b.a. commissioner adam silver to take strong action against sterling. audio clips released by websites t.m.z. and deadspin purportedly capture the clippers' owner arguing with a then-girlfriend, identified as v. stiviano. she defends being seen with former los angeles lakers great magic johnson at a clippers game. >> woodruff: it doesn't stop there, as stiviano, herself of mixed black and latino heritage, challenges sterling, and he goes further.
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>> woodruff: this isn't sterling's first brush with accusations of racism. in 2009, former n.b.a. star and clippers general manager elgin baylor filed a wrongful termination suit, alleging age and racial discrimination. a jury ruled in favor of sterling. the clippers owner and real estate magnate was also sued twice for housing discrimination. the cases were settled out of court. but the recordings have sparked a firestorm. magic johnson announced he won't attend any more clippers games while sterling remains the owner. >> he's got to give up the team. if he doesn't like african americans and you're in a league that's over 70% african american. ding ding ding!
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>> woodruff: charlotte bobcats owner and former superstar michael jordan weighed in, saying: >> woodruff: from malaysia, president obama condemned the comments as "incredibly offensive." >> when ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don't really have to do anything, you just let them talk and that's what happened here. >> woodruff: and across the n.b.a., current players spoke out. miami heat forward lebron james: >> there's no room for that in our game. we've found a way to make this the greatest game in the world and for comments like that, it taints our game and we can't have that. >> woodruff: the clippers made their own visual statement, shedding their shirts to reveal inside-out warm-ups, hiding the team's logo, before sunday's playoff game with the golden state warriors.
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l.a. lost, 118-97. head coach doc rivers conceded the furor could have affected his club. >> you know like i said before the game, they're getting pulled in so many directions, so you know we have to figure how to pull them in one direction and then we'll be back in the series. >> woodruff: other teams organized their own silent protests, wearing black socks in some of yesterday's playoff games. there was more fallout today. the n.a.a.c.p.'s los angeles chapter canceled plans for a lifetime achievement award for sterling. and used car chain carmax became one of several companies to drop its sponsorship of the clippers. >> woodruff: so what are the next steps for the n.b.a. and donald sterling? for that and more i'm joined michael mccann. he is director of the university
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of new hampshire's "sports and entertainment law institute," and legal analyst for "sports illustrated" magazine. and kenneth shropshire is director of the wharton sports business institute at the university of pennsylvania. shropshire we welcome you both to the newshour. both of you have followed the business of sports for a longtime. how do you, what is your reaction to what donald steriling is alleged sterling is alleged to have said. michael mccann, you first? >> at a starting point, it's outrageous that someone would hold these views in 2014, really anytime but particularly these days, it's a matter the nba has to address seriously. i would not note it's not an easy process to reconcile. i say that because the nba has to approach this under the rules of the league in ensuring that it doesn't take any steps that prove to be record. the recording itself. the nba wants to be sure it's authentic and it hasn't been
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tampered with or spliced in anyway that is inaccurate. the league wants to approach it cautiously but issue an appropriate sanction to reflect what was said. >> woodruff: i want to ask you about that in a moment but ken, your reaction? >> it's not surprising. if you follow donald sterling's history this is something that is not new. what is important is for the league to recognize that this is a moment in time where they have the opportunity to make the rules right. if michael said it's difficult for them to do the right thing. there should be a morals clause for owners as well. there should be a way to move somebody out that expresses and delivers that actually acts in this type of way. but it's proven to be true. it's been said that the nba is handcuffed in how rapidly they are moved to encourage the deinvestment -- devestment of
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his -- >> woodruff: i apologize. there's an audio issue. maybe we can get the mieb phone closer to your -- microphone close hadr to your mouth. we know doc rivers, the clippers coach, said today he thinks there's a strong message coming from the nba. what do you expect them to do. you said it's complicated. what can they do? >> well there's different options on the table. one is to fine donald sterling. issue a sanction where he could be find up to $1 million. it's a lot of money for almost all of us but donald steriling is reportedly worth in the ballpark of $1.9 billion. i don't they if a million dollar fine is going to have the impact that is necessary. the league could also suspend him for some period of time, a year perhaps, during which essex
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communicated from the franchise. he couldn't be able to have communication with the players staff, coaches, wouldn't be able to go to practices or games. it's like a restraining order. costill make money off the team. the league could pursue a more radical approach by trying to first him to sell the treat but the league constitution doesn't likely give the nba that authority. if it were to pursue that path done yld sterling could -- donald sterling could sue the nba and not be leaving any time soon. i think the league will say donald sterling won't be around the rest of this season and after which the league will make a more determineative decision. >> woodruff: what would be involved in ending his ownership which we heard magic john johnson calling for? they said they won't go to the
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games if he is the owner. >> it's a difficult process but not one that is impbl. if you look back at the history of league there's a case that focused on the idea who was can become an owner. the courts expressed the idea that as an exclusive club. there's only 30 people part of this club. you can choose your partners carefully. we don't have strong case law talking about how to unravel that situation. that's the decision the league would want to make to take those steps. it's new territory. don't express a manner other than for economic reasons. this is the challenge that adam silver is confronted it. with. it could be the path take season one of a series of suspensioned. everybody is not with us forever. sterling is not a young man. so in a matter of time, the situation will change. as i said, this is not the important issue. the issue is how are you going to deal with this going forward. >> woodruff: in the short term, i understand in the longer
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term something else could happen. michael mccann what steps could the league take if it decides suspense and a fine are not enough? how would it technically legally move forward? >> as ken noted it's a difficult situation for the nba to literally force him to sell the team. the league would have to argue that under the constitution which takes about, from when we know shall it's a confidential document forces an owner to leave when he is in financial trouble, not able to pay bills. you could take an expansive view of lange by saying sponsorrers are cutting deals with the clippers. that is threatening the clippers ant nba indirectly. if it goes down this path it's unprecedented and uncharted and the language in the constitution doesn't appear to authorize it.
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will he sue? will he file a defamation lawsuit or brech of contract or antitrust lawsuit saying the nba and others have joined hands to force me to sell my team at below market value. i lost hundreds of millions which under antitrust laws would be trouble. if the goal is to remove donald sterling forcing him out may have the opposite effect. >> woodruff: we're into speculation territory here because we don't know what the league is going to do. ken shropshire back to you, the advertisers not just carmax, mercedes-benz, car dealers and others are cutting or suspending their relationship with the team. could that economic effect more donald sterling to take a step and separate himself? >> well, the immediate economic effect on the team will be
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negligible. the idea that it could last for the long term that that could be pointed to as a reason to move forward and try to divest this ownership interest. i think realistically what is happening now is more of a conversation with sterling in an attempt to have a rational conversation to point to him, look, this is where this thing is going to end up. we can do this gracefully or it will take a long period of time where there's a lot of discomfort and people will lose a lot of money in the process. >> woodruff: you believe that is what is going on behind the scenes right now? >> that would be my belief. that would be the most logical step for all the parties to take in this instance and as part of diligence process, i'm sure that's what silver is up to. >> woodruff: ken shropshire and michael mccann we thank you both. >> thank you. >> ifill: what's the best way to measure a country's economic growth, and the prosperity
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of it's citizens? some think the u.s. government is using the wrong yardstick, particularly amid concerns about income inequality and other quality of life issues. our economics correspondent paul solman takes a look at alternatives to the quarterly report known as g.d.p. but first he had to penetrate a batch of confusing initials. it's part of his ongoing reporting: making sense of financial news. >> reporter: in 1968 then- presidential candidate robert kennedy blasted our country's main measure of economic progress, called g.n.p., in those days. >> it counts napalm and the cost of a nuclear warhead, yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. >> reporter: these days we rely on g.d.p., gross domestic product, g.n.p.'s near proxy, which measures the total dollar
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value of goods and services sold in the u.s. in a year, plus exports, minus imports. the measure still leaves out the things kennedy emphasized but that's because they're just too tough to measure. >> they're very large and they're quite uncertain in their magnitudes. >> reporter: landefeld runs the bureau of economic analysis, which tallies the g.d.p. and the data has become fundamental. >> it is used by the federal reserve board for economic policy, our consumer inflation rate comes from this. the entire federal budget is based on the baseline that comes out of b.e.a.'s data. >> g.d.p. has become the king of all statistics. >> reporter: the king for almost all countries, adds economics writer zachary karabell. >> governments rise and fall on their ability to say, "i enhanced g.d.p.," or the populace's ability to say, "no
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you didn't, and you know, g.d.p. went down under your watch." >> reporter: but how does g.d.p.'s still-lofty status square with robert kennedy's 1968 critique? or with more recent evidence of its limits, which nobel economist joseph stiglitz has pointed out. >> thirty years ago, we weren't talking about climate change. environmental degradation was not as important as it is today. >> reporter: in 2009 stiglitz chaired an international panel tasked with finding better measures of progress that included the environment and inequality. >> g.d.p. has been going up per capita, but most americans are actually worse off, so median household income is actually falling. >> reporter: like them or not, better prosperity gauges are hardly a novel innovation. since the 1970s, for example, in the himalayas, the buddhist kingdom of bhutan, with g.d.p. per person less than the congo, has used gross national
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happiness. it's g.n.h. score turns out to be as elevated as its location. and down here at sea level, there's the g.p.i. >> it simply takes into account not only our economy, but the health of our environment, the health of our society. >> reporter: dave goshorn works for maryland, the first us state to adopt a metric called the genuine progress indicator, made up of 26 different factors, nine of them environmental. he walked us around annapolis to explain >> when we cut down an acre of trees and put a strip mall in, that strip mall puts people to work, to our economy, our tax base. all those are very good things. >> reporter: and it's g.d.p. going up as a result. >> exactly. at the same time, it is costing us to clean up the water that is degraded as a result of taking away those trees.
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we as a society recognize that but we don't account for that in g.d.p. g.p.i. is a way of doing that. >> reporter: the g.p.i. does it by subtracting an estimated value of water pollution from total economic output. also subtracted: the presumed costs of climate change. >> in maryland we have sea levels resulting in part of climate change is increasing considerably, a foot over the past century. >> reporter: a foot right here, you mean? this is a foot higher than it was a century ago? >> yes, and the best projections are that that rate will increase over the next century, faster than a foot. that has major impacts to a lot of our low lying land, islands, shorelines where people live. farm fields that are now inundated with salt water that can't produce crops. >> reporter: and how do you put a number on cropless fields or polluted water? >> economists have gone out and surveyed the general public and asked them questions such as: what would you be willing to pay to bring your local river up to
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a state where you could swim in it? >> reporter: in a national comparison of the measures, gpi and g.d.p. grew together until about 1980 when g.p.i. flatlined. in maryland, g.p.i. has risen modestly since then but it still trails g.d.p. growth. >> i hear on the news all the time, people comment about what the economic indicators are looking up or coming out of the recession. you frequently hear people comment: but i don't feel any better. i think this is a reflection of that. >> reporter: and that in turn may hinge on another component of g.p.i.: social well-being. annapolis being the landing place for the hero of alex haley's "roots," we took a seat next to the author to probe the value of leisure. how do you calculate the value of, say, alex haley reading to these kids? >> if it counts as education, the value of an education's
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included in the g.p.i. if you count it as leisure time, not having that leisure time counts as a loss in the g.p.i. and we also have the value of house work which includes things like cleaning the house and dusting, but also interacting with our children. that's a value that's in the g.p.i. >> reporter: what about air pollution from cars, or the amount of time it takes you to commute to work? >> cost of commuting is considered in the g.p.i. and that is one that's hurting maryland, because here in maryland we spend more time in our cars commuting to and from work than most states in the nation. >> reporter: but people will tell you, a great radio show comes on and they go: wait a second, i'm listening to n.p.r. and loving my commute. >> right, exactly, to some degree, what we do with the gpi is putting a price on the unpriceable. but at least we're being consistent and seeing whether they go up or down. >> reporter: maryland's g.p.i. is boosted by a highly educated population but, remember, even here, g.p.i. hasn't gone up as much as g.d.p., for years. why? goshorn says a big reason is
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what joe stiglitz highlighted in 2009: rising economic inequality. >> the same amount of money spent by a few very wealthy people would be attributed differently to the g.p.i. than an equal amount of money spent a little bit by a lot of people. >> reporter: so imagine, in the extreme, that one marylander earned most of the state's money, and amassed a fleet of fully loaded mercedes she never drove while the rest were reduced to commuting by bus. in that case g.d.p. might rise, since car sales boost the value of total output, but overall welfare wouldn't. it's a subtle point, a debatable one. but even the b.e.a.'s steve landefeld agrees. >> distribution of income may be the answer to me of this problem of the disconnect between g.d.p. and g.d.p. per capita going up, and most americans feeling down. >> reporter: but landefeld has serious reservations about alternatives like the g.p.i..
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>> the subjectivity is the achilles heel of it. how much do i subtract for the commuting time? and if i enjoy my commute, maybe it's one thing; maybe not. they end up being systems of indicators that are troubling for an economist who's trying to put together objective accounts, or at least not make normative judgments about what should be. >> reporter: then again, all economic indicators involve some subjectivity, says zachary karabell >> one synthetic number that purports to describe lived reality with an average, has to make choices about what you include, what do you add, what do you exclude, because you can't include everything. >> reporter: and so long as you don't, you can't really quantify human well-being. especially if there's any truth to the maxim, that the best things in life, are free.
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>> ifill: the g.d.p. report for the first quarter of 2014 is due wednesday. read paul's extended conversation with author zachary karabell about how relying on an outdated, short-term measurement will reduce prosperity over the long term. that's on making sense. >> woodruff: some good news to report today from the world of public education: for the first time in recent years, american high schools have cracked a milestone on graduation rates, reaching 80%. jeffrey brown has the story, as part of our american graduate project, a public media initiative funded by the corporation for public broadcasting. >> brown: in fact 81% of american high schools graduated on time in 2012. that is up from 73% six years earlier. the report is based on statistics from the u.s. department of education and complied by a coalition called
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america's promise alliance. joining us now is john bridgeland president and ceo of civic enterprises, one member after this group and awnlor of today's report. he has been advisor to the american graduate project. wewelcome to him. >> thank you. >> brown: what is driving got news? how did we get there? >> the significant gains in graduation rates have been among hispanic students and african-americans since 2006. these students, half african-americans and 40% of hispanics were trapped in the dropout factory schools where it was 50-50 proposition where whether you graduated or not. >> brown: you use the term dropout factory? >> we did. it's a tough term but i think it's appropriate. you go into these places and half of classmates are not finishing school. >> brown: give me an example of a place or two that you saw the difference. >> new york city had the large
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urban school districts. they broke them up to smaller learning communities. schools within schools, ninth grade academies. made them more personalized learning environments, where young people could connect to learning in ways that showed relationships of what they were learn flg school and what they wanted in life. we had done a study called the silent epidemic listening to the perspectives of dropouts across the united states. they told us the reason they left is because they didn't see the connections between career dreams and class room learning. >> brown: that is good news but it still means one in five is not graduating? >> there is still work to do. the gaps of low income students and middle and higher income peers up are to 30 percentage points in some states. the graduate in nevada is 24%. in kansas s can and montana are 77% and 81% respectively. we have huge gaps between
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students with different needs and abilities. >> brown: what are you the main factors of students in schools? you look at your report and there are some places approaching the 90% mark or above it and then others below 60%. >> one is the awareness of the gaps between the populations. we can predict as early as late elementary school and middle school the early warning indicators of chronic absenteeism, poor behavior, course performance in reading and math. when the young people are falling off track we can get them the support they need. we're seeing large systems reform and be redesigned in ways that they become more personalizes in engaging to the students. teaching social and emotion skills, things like persistence and grit and the very skills employers are looking for. >> brown: i know it's been an
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effort for a long time, and i read in your report it's been undertaken by four presidents? >> true. >> brown: why has it taken so long? >> four presidents had the same graduation rate. we've had flatlining graduation rates. in the last decade we increase add wearness. people understood who the young people were, why they dropped out from high school and that 50% of the dropouts were only found in 15% of the schools. so it seemed like a targeted fixable problem. also a civic marshal plan emerged. general powell assembled a group and said let's take the goal seriously. the class of 2020 is in third grade today. what does the evidence tell us about what we can do to keep those u.n. people on track? all these organizations are aligning against the campaign and plan of action bronchts i
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wonder. >> brown: i wonder now looking ahead two things. one, is there any sense that the easy part has been done, from here on it gets harder and the factor we reported on common core, a lot of changes introduces into the curriculum in high schools around the country. >> right. the good news is that the most progress since 2006 was right during the period when graduating from high school became more complicated, more difficult, more rigorous, more ap courses, more courses required to graduate, exit exams to graduate. so schools and districts are rising to a standard of excellence. the common core will usher in an era of learning and accountability in ways where we'll know that young people whether they are in akron or albuquerque or anywhere in the country are learning to a high standard. >> brown: that goes to not
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only the numbers but the quality of education which is still on the table. >> yes. >> brown: john bridgeland thank you for joining us. >> nice to be you with you. >> woodruff: that's on the education page. again, the major >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day. a tornado damages homes and injured several people in tupelo, mississippi, a day after another storm blasted vilonia, arkansas, killing 15 people. the obama administration announced new sanctions on russian leaders and companies, amid new violence in eastern ukraine. and the national basketball association said it will make an announcement tomorrow involving los angeles clippers owner donald sterling and racist remarks. >> ifill: on the newshour online right now, american history in 17 syllables and 140 characters. that's the ambitious project of author and historian h.w. brands. he's taken to twitter to recount
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everything from the louisiana purchase to the civil war. in what he calls "history in haiku." you can listen to jeff's conversation with him on art beat. all that and more is on our web site, >> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonight. on tuesday, we'll look at recommendations from a white house task force on how to curb rape and sexual assaults on college campuses. i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill, 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:
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this is "nightly business report" with matyler mathison a sarah gharib. >> the multimillion dollar portfolio she manages with jim cramer. blockbuster deal, pfizer often to buys astrazeneca for about $100 billion a price tag that puts the deal near top all time. >> the deal raises tax questions. will america's largest drugmaker move the base of the operation to tuck to take advantage of lower taxes, and is our tax code driving american companies away? >> news drove


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