tv BBC World News America PBS October 6, 2014 3:59pm-4:31pm PDT
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>> hear, listen, feel, discover the best memories of your life. >> and now, "bbc world news america." >> this is "bbc world news america." reporting from washington, i'm katty kay. the black flag of islamic state is raised near the city of kobane, along the syrian and turkish border, they are running battles for control. in west africa's fight over ebola there is too much to do and too little time to do it.
we are in sierra leone. >> they are utterly overwhelmed but there are warnings things are going to get much, much worse. >> and gabrielle was a pioneer of mexican cinema. now his work is being celebrated by a whole new audience. >> welcome to our viewers on public television here in america and those around the globe. there are fears that the syrian town of kobane across the border of turkey could fall to islamic state fighters. a flag has been seen on the outskirts of kobane today, that is days after intense fighting. following this latest i.s. advance, turkish tanks are being move to descend the border crossing. paul adams is at the scene and he starts our coverage tonight.
>> a potent sign of looming defeat, a large islamic state flag flying where yesterday there was only fighting. after a three-week siege, the jihadists have entered the city. the fighting raged all day, plenty of explosions as the i.s. guns target the center of kobane but also the unmistakable sign of street battle. this is about as close as we can safely get to kobane, and as we can see and hear, the battle is raging on. we can also see islamic state fighters. in fact, on the hill over there we can see two islamic state fighters walking around close to a second i.s. flag. in recent days, the fighting has seemed more and more desperate, but the city's defenders, filmed here by their own cameras, say they relish the challenge of taking on the militants in their own street. >> kobane is not going to fall. kobane is going to resist and resisting will be for a long time.
you can fight in the streets of kobane. they know the geographic. they know how to fight in the streets and even tanks and other weapons will not work in these small and narrow streets of kobane. >> turkish tanks are lined up on the slopes overlooking kobane. their guns pointing over the border. but to what end? turkey has promised not to let kobane fall, but has yet to do anything to stop it. it seems the government wants coalition backing for a no-fly zone and focus on removing syria's president assad before committing its troops. and so for now they watch, decades of bloodshed between turkey and its own kurdish guerrillas have left bitterness and suspicion on both sides. in turkey's border towns, new refugees are doing their best to cope. many have tried to find relatives, others in camps, conditions bearable for now, but in kobane falls they will be here all winter.
evening came and the fighting, if anything, intensified. kurdish ambulances racing to and from the border. reports suggests a mass evacuation is also under way. once again, the turkish authorities drove onlookers away, using now-familiar volumes of tear gas. kobane is falling and they'd rather not watch. >> meanwhile, across syria's other border in iraq, the american military says it flew apache helicopters to hit islamic state targets for the first time today. for the more i spoke to the bbc's world affairs editor in baghdad a short time ago. john, we were hearing there about the failure of some of the turkish operations. what are you hearing in iraq how the american air strikes have been? >> oh, really quite successful around baghdad, certainly. if you remember, i mean, it's only really a few weeks that people were wondering whether
the islamic state would just come down the main highway from mosul and simply work their way into baghdad. actually, i don't think that ever was really very likely. nevertheless, it did see one of the possibilities. but careful use of their power and air strikes has managed now push i.s. back from the environs of baghdad and not very far yet but nevertheless the progress is in that direction rather than i.s.'s direction. and the key to the whole thing, really, seems to be the carefully selected targets from the air are then followed up by the iraqi army which hasn't been doing terribly well up till now as we know. pretty disastrous. but it seems to be getting its mojo back.
it seems to be working out ways which can be more effective and having its results. >> john, what's the speculation there in iraq about future u.s. involvement? of course here in washington there's been enormous debate whether ground forces will have to be used in greater numbers. what are you hearing there in baghdad about what the american commitment is going to have to be? >> well, there's no doubt, really, what the iraqi government would like and that's plenty of special forces of different kinds. nobody, i think, wants to go back to the idea of an army of occupation, which was pretty disastrous for this country and for america's reputation. but for the use of really effective, highly trained soldiers who know precisely how to fight a guerrilla war, that's something altogether different and that is what the
iraqis themselves would like. >> ok, john simpson there for us in baghdad. john, thank you very much for joining us. 120 people, that's how many died in sierra leone on sunday from ebola. the outbreak in west africa is killing more than 70% of those who get infected with the virus, and the numbers are rising at a staggering rate. our global health correspondent reports from freetown on sierra leone on the efforts to help those in need. >> this person has been sick for four days. his bloodshot eyes, a classic sign of ebola. his family has brought him to this treatment center, but it's full. he's told to go home, putting his family and his community at risk.
>> what is the government doing for us? we are dying. people are dying. what is the government doing for us, we don't know. >> his family is now potentially in grave danger. they have nothing to protect themselves. ebola has passed through close contact with infected people. their sweats and other body luids carry the virus. the family is leaving now. they're not sure where they're going to go to next. they are completely and utterly bewildered. they're told a health worker will come and see them and assess them in their house, but they are frankly very skeptical of that. they are afraid and they are heading towards a very uncertain future. medics here are having to turn people away every single day. it's a heartbreaking choice. >> of course for medical staff
it's not easy to say to a person, sorry, we cannot commit you. ebola, the safety of all national and international staff is the first priority that we think about. >> it may not look like much and staff have to work in extremely difficult conditions, but these centers are saving lives. every day medics carefully handle toxic blood samples. it's painstaking work. in the midst of all this frustration and sadness, a ray of hope. three girls have been given supportive treatment here and they've recovered. across town in the city's main cemetery, they scramble over fresh graves. hundreds of victims have been laid to rest here.
one of the latest is a man found dead on the street. no one even knows his name. 15 bodies have been buried here today alone. many of the graves are unmarked but some, as you can see, are marked by simple palm tree leaves. burial teams here are utterly overwhelmed, but there are warnings that things are about to get much, much worse. cases in sierra leone are rocketing. more than 120 deaths were recorded yesterday alone, making it one of the deadliest ays of this outbreak so far. tonight there's yet another death. his family called us this evening to tell us he has passed away. bbc news, freetown. >> one more victim of this terrifying ebola outbreak and today president obama announced that his administration is
working on additional protocols for screening airplane passengers to identify those who might have ebola. for more on the international efforts to stop the spread of this virus, i spoke a short time ago with nancy, the assistant administrator of usaid. she returned from liberia just a few days ago. nancy, we're hearing in that report something like 120 deaths yesterday in sierra leone alone. what is the scale now of this outbreak, and is the window to contain it closing? >> well, this is unprecedented. we have never had an ebola outbreak of this scale. as it's jumped borders and into urban borders, it's really escalated. what we've seen is that the cases are starting to almost exponentially increase, which is why having a coordinated full-throttle response is absolutely critical and why the u.s. government, the u.k. and others have mobilized at the
level we have. >> what's the time frame? how much longer do you have to bring this outbreak under control? >> every day counts, that's how we're approaching it. every week counts. we certainly hope that by the end of november, by the end of december that there are the kind of facilities in place through ebola treatment units, these community care centers that we've really blanketed the region. we're moving full speed ahead. the u.s. government has had teams on the ground with our disaster assistance response team since august and of course now we have the military on the ground to expedite the building of these facilities. >> you've just come back from liberia. >> yes. >> what do they need most? >> what they need most is for more trained health workers to be available so that you've got the right kind of people staffing these ebola treatment units and to oversee these community care centers that
we're putting up. >> right. trying to get qualified health care workers into a region that's very dangerous because they don't necessarily have the protective gear that they need, that's a big ask, isn't it? >> and this is why we've mobilized the u.s. military because of the size and the scale of this. we're able to bring their capabilities that are a lot of logicalal capacities so that you can -- logistical combat its so that you can set up a training system so that we can move people through the kind of training they need with the rigor and precision to do the kind of infection control that will keep them safe. >> you've been working in this field for a long time. we've reported on ebola on this program period of timically over the last four or five -- periodically over the last four or five years. in iffer instance it seems the ebola outbreak has been contained very quickly. this time is different. why? >> there have been ebola outbreaks for the last 40 years. my colleagues at the centers for disease control who have been at the lead on that,
they've been contained because they've happened in isolated, rural areas. the difference is that for the first time it has come into a region that's never experienced it before, so they had no preparedness, that were relatively recently emerged from devastating civil wars so they had no economic or health systems, and most importantly, it jumped into urban areas. so that combination of factors has taken this to a whole new level in terms of the scale. it also underscores how important it is to keep our eyes on fragile states and help them emerge because we live in an interconnected world. >> nancy, thank you. you're watching "bbc world news america." still to come on this program, discovering the brains in the g.p.s. that is what won the nobel prize for three people of medicine.
the next phase for the search of the malaisean flight mh-370 has begun seven months after the plane disappeared. ship equipped with phonotechnology has gone to west australia. the bbc reports now from sydney. >> far from australia's west coast, the hunt for mh-370 is going into a world of deep volcanos, plunging trenches. the phoenix, the ship provided by the malaysian government, has begun the painstaking task of scanning the ocean floor with sonar and video cameras. two other dutch vessels are expected to join the recovery effort in the coming weeks. the search for the passenger jet that vanished on march 8 has been on hold for the past four months to allow for detailed mapping of the seabeds. three dimensional images will
help teams to look at the extreme terrain far in the indian ocean. the new mission will focus on the seventh arc, where the last satellite contact was made with the plane. officials believe that somewhere in this often wild stretch of ocean lies the lost aircraft. it's almost seven months since the malaysian airline that went missing with 239 passengers and crew onboard. most were chinese, but this most baffling of disasters has touched families in more than a dozen countries, including india, indonesia and the united states. a massive air and sea and underwater search was carried out earlier this year but found no trace of the boeing 777. t simply vanished on a routine flight. bbc news, sydney.
>> these days most of us use g.p.s. to get from place to place, but long before modern technology it seems our brain had its own internal navigation system. that discovery has won three researchers the nobel prize for medicine. among them is john o'keefe who found the most component of the system more than four decades ago. our science editor has more. >> how do we find our way through a crowded world? how do we work out where we are and where we're heading? professor john o'keefe has investigated the brain and found an answer and now this scientist, who was born in new york, but has worked in britain for the past 50 years, has won a nobel prize. >> probably still in a state of shock. if i sound like i'm in a state of shock it's because i am in a state of shock. >> so we're actually seeing the particular cells -- in his lab at the university college london john o'keefe showed me
how cells in the brain light up when a familiar location is recognized. it's a process of navigation in one's segment of the brain. >> what we discovered was that this part of the brain which resides right inside the temples here contains cells and machinery for locating your position in the environment. it's line the brain's g.p.s. it's a position finder. >> possessor o'keefe monitored the brains of rats and identified a brain cell. he studied and found these cells fired up wherever the rats were in particular areas. this revealed that the brain builds up a kind of map. this is one of the first things that can go wrong in dimeantia. two of john o'keefe's former students, may-britt moser and edvard moser, a norwegian couple, have used rats and they share the nobel prize. it wouldn't produce cures for
dementia but could help us understand it. >> understanding the basics of the behavior will represent a key step on the journey to understanding what goes wrong when it is impacted by the disease processes that underpin dementia. >> the next stage of research will involve studying larger number of brain cells. to investigate how our mental navigation should work and why it sometimes goes wrong, a classic symptom of dementia is getting loss. it could in the end help us all. >> congratulations to all three of them. it is 100 years since the start of the first world war and we have all heard about how life was hard in the trenches. but some soldiers spent their time in underground caves. they left behind not just equipment and graffiti but also some striking works of art. now an american photographer has documented the hidden world of this underground war.
>> today it's peaceful farmland but for three years during world war i this was the front line. and below it was a hidden world. old limestone youries, refugees from the trenches, most are still hidden, known on to a few historians and local farmers. >> they were protected. they were better off than they would have been out in the cold. out here there was death. in the caves there was protection. >> and in this subterrainian orld are unexpected treasures, carvings, drawings, inscription. some are grotesque. you'll find them in caves and tunnels all along the western front. jeff has photographed scores of these secret sites and the momentos they contain. this former questionery was first occupied by french -- querry was first occupied by french soldiers.
locals still celebrates mass. soldiers were cut into the rosk. now these places are at -- cut into the rock. now these places are at risk. a soldiers carved to portray the symbol of the french republic, a few years ago the farmer discovered that they are trying to chizzle it out presumably to sell it. that's why this cave and many others like are now securely barred. 100 kilometers north there are similar caves under the town. in 1917 they housed a british and commonwealth harmy of 24,000 -- they housed an army black cat, and even charlie chaplain. >> they held onto their humanity while the world was falling apart above, they created a world underground that was human, that had feeling, that was full of
emotion and hope. >> his photographs report a subterrainian world where soldiers lived and looked for beauty even as they faced death. nick, bbc news. >> amazing. he work of gabriel figueroa, during the 1930's, his career spanned more than a decade and he became one of mexico yeas cinemaing to raffers. he died in 1997 but now some of his work has gone on display at the mexican culture institute in washington. his son has been talking about his father's legacy. >> gabriel wanted to make the mexican landscape more visually important, and he started experimenting with different filters, to darken the sky so that the clouds would pop up,
and that was more his signature of what's called figueroa sky. my name is gabriel figueroa flores and i'm the son of gabriel figueroa. i've been promoting and restoring his work ever since. gabriel figueroa was one of the cinematographers in the 1930's. he was a pioneer of the golden era of mexican cinema in black and white. this epic and romantic stories were told in a very dramatic way. i saw him work many times, and his style of lighting was very particular.
he would put main lights first and then start breaking up the light and put a little shadow in the scene so in that sense he was lighting with shadows. figueroa and other people in the industry in mexico created the image of a country that is fiction but the society still recognized it in these films as mexican so the mexican essence is there in those films. i think that's a classic work because it's a work that doesn't pass, it's always present. it's always recognized as something valuable, historically, aesthetically and i think that's his legacy.
>> remembering gabriel figueroa. before we go, today the eiffel tower has given tourists a new window on the world. the monument, see-through glass panels on the first floor. if you're afraid of heights, you need to be careful where you walk and exactly what you look at. i would not like that. i'm katty kay for "bbc world news america." thank you for watching. i'll see you back here tomorrow. >> funding of this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation, newman's own foundation, giving all profits to charity and pursuing the common good for over 30 years, kovler foundation, beijing tourism, and union bank.
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