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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  November 16, 2016 6:00pm-7:01pm PST

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captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> sreenivasan: good evening. i'm hari sreenivasan. judy woodruff is away. on the newshour tonight, president-elect donald trump denies reports of a disorderly transition as he begins shaping his new administration. also ahead this wednesday, as protests against the dakota access pipeline grow, we talk with the c.e.o. of the company trying to move the oil. >> sreenivasan: and, we head to the frontlines in the battle against isis, where iraqi forces try to take back the key city of mosul. >> this is as far as the frontline comes in mosul, in this neighborhood. just a pile of rubble, and beyond it, isis fighters. >> sreenivasan: all that and
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more, on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> ♪ love me tender ♪ love me true we can like many, but we can love only a precious few. because it is for those precious few that you have to be willing to do so very much. but you don't have to do it alone. lincoln financial helps you provide for and protect your financial future, because this is what you do for people you love. lincoln financial-- you're in charge. >> bnsf railway. >> xq institute.
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trump tower in new york, on down, the message today was emphatic: there is no turmoil in the transition. news accounts told of more moderate figures being "purged", of advisers "fighting for power", and of foreign officials unable to reach trump aides. the president-elect denied it all in a series of tweets. instead, he wrote, "it is going so smoothly"-- and his spokesman echoed the claim. >> inside, there's a very solid plan, there's a methodical approach to all this being put together. i've read news reports, all sorts of descriptions. it's very calm, very structured. and anyone saying anything else a, is bitter they're not on inside, or they're someone who's just bitter because the election was last week, and they didn't get the result that they wanted. >> sreenivasan: meanwhile, in washington, vice president-elect pence met with vice president biden, who said he's confident "everything will be in good hands" on day one of the new administration. but house democrats formally
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asked that steve bannon as a be made senior advisor be rescinded. they cited allegations of racial bigotry and anti-semitism, which bannon denies. president obama also offered reassurance about the political transition on his farewell tour of europe. mr. obama visited the ancient acropolis in athens, greece, the cradle of democracy. and, in a speech, he again promised a peaceful handover of power. >> as you may have noticed, the next american president and i could not be more different. we have very different points of view, but american democracy is bigger than any one person. >> sreenivasan: from greece, the president flew on to germany. the president of turkey today criticized anti-trump protesters in the u.s. recep tayyip erdogan said his message is "show some respect," and wait to see how he actually governs. and in a tv interview, syrian president bashar al-assad praised mr. trump's campaign comments on fighting islamic state forces in syria.
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>> ( translated ): if-- i say if-- if he is going to fight the terrorists, of course we're going to be ally, natural ally in that regard, with the russians, with iranians, with many other countries. >> sreenivasan: the president- elect has said he would prioritize fighting isis over regime change in syria. in russia, the supreme court has overturned a criminal conviction against opposition leader alexei navalny. he was convicted for embezzlement in 2013, but in february, the european court of human rights ruled his right to a fair trial had been violated. navalny will now get a new trial, but that could still hinder him from running for office again. back in this country, a minnesota policeman was charged today with second-degree manslaughter in the killing of philando castile during a traffic stop last summer. officer jeronimo yanez has said he opened fire, after castile said he was armed and appeared to be reaching for something. the aftermath was streamed live by his girlfriend and triggered protests. a prosecutor said today the shooting was totally unjustified.
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>> to those who may say that this incident was philando castille's fault, i would submit that no reasonable officer, knowing, seeing and hearing what officer janez did at the time, would've used deadly force under these circumstances. >> sreenivasan: yanez could be sentenced to up to ten years in prison if he's convicted. republicans and democrats in the senate picked their leaders today. kentucky republican mitch mcconnell was re-elected to serve as majority leader. new york democrat chuck schumer will take over as minority leader, replacing the retiring harry reid. both men talked of looking past the election, and cooperating where they can. >> we're going to address the real concerns of the american people. not go back and re-litigate what anybody n either side said during a very hotly contested presidential race. >> where we can work together, we will. but i've also said to the
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president-elect, on issues where we disagree, you can expect a strong and tough fight. >> sreenivasan: the democrats' new leadership team also includes former presidential candidate bernie sanders. it's been another long day for crews trying to douse flames in seven states across the south. wildfires have burned roughly 128,000 acres in woodland areas, much of that in north carolina, and fueled by drought conditions. more than 5,000 firefighters are on the job. officials say heavy smoke from the fires is causing breathing problems in a number of communities. on wall street, bank shares gave up some post-election gains, and stocks finished mostly lower. the dow jones industrial average lost nearly 55 points to close at 18,868. the nasdaq rose almost 19 points, but the s&p 500 slid three. and president obama has named 21 recipients of the presidential medal of freedom-- the nation's highest civilian honor. the list includes singer- songwriter bruce springsteen, actor tom hanks, philanthropists bill and melinda gates, basketball great michael jordan,
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and mathematician and computer scientist margaret hamilton, among others. they'll be recognized in a white house ceremony on tuesday. still to come on the newshour: potential conflicts of interest between the president elect and his business ventures; the c.e.o. of the controversial dakota access pipeline, on the project's opposition; the long, hard fight for the iraqi city of mosul, and much more. >> sreenivasan: the people a president surrounds himself with says as much about his goals as any policy statement. president-elect trump is in the process of deciding who will fill critical national security and diplomatic posts. these decisions could shape the direction of his presidency and the country. for more on who's in the running for these jobs, and the reaction from allies and others overseas, i'm joined now by newshour chief foreign affairs correspondent
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margaret warner. there are a lot of important national security jobs, foreign policy positions. what's the latest. >> the latest is, hari, that to experience foreign policy hands, the process looks chaotic. you have names being raised-- for instance, let's take secretary of state. you have john bolten, the former u.n. ambassador, very kind of aggressive, you would call a neoconservative. then you have senator bob corker, who is considered sort of middle of the road and conservative. and then you have rudolph guilliani, of course, the former new york mayor. a few other names have surfaced-- kelly ayotte, nikki haley, the south carolina governor. but what troubles those who are really observing this process is there seems to be no rhyme or reason. and what you've got are people who don't share the same views. some don't share the views that trump einencated during the campaign. now, people close to the trump organization say, look, we honestly didn't expect to win.
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so they didn't have a big structure set up, as hillary clinton did with somebody like a former national security adviser in charge of this parliament parent of the transition. but i think it is also keeping with the way he ran his campaign, which was free form and competing centers of power. and also, finally, the first time he's having a baptism by fire in managing this chaotic-- or i would say diverse republican coalition. john mccain lecturing him yesterday about don't get too close to putin. u.s. senator rand paul shooting bullets at both bolten and giuliani, saying we don't need a hot head in these jobs. so i think everybody will settle down once you've got these top jobs filled. >> sreenivasan: meanwhile, president obama overseas, trying to reassure the e.u., different countries that president trump will honor his commitment to nato. how do the europeans see this.
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>> one ambassador said to me very reassuring words, but we want to hear them from president-elect trump. as you said, president obama will be meeting with chancellor merkel tomorrow. they have private meetings before meetings with other nato allies. what concerns the europeans deep lelee are two things donald trump said during the campaign. one, was he questioned the whole rel vanls of the nato alliance and in fact some of our alliances overseas. the burden that the united states pays to support them. and he actually suggested that maybe nato would not come to the rescue some of country if it-- under article 5 if it hadn't been paying its full fair share, which is supposed to be 2% of g.d.p. so wolfgang ishinger, who used to be the german ambassador here, and i spoke to ambassador ishinger last night, and he said these are dangerous times for europe. we have the migrant crisis, britain leaving of e.u., the rise of populist nationalist
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parties with ugly aspects to them. and if we start to feel the united states is not really a reliable partner, ally, and anchor, it's going to get worse than dangerous. >> sreenivasan: and finally what, about the relationship between president-elect trump and putin? how are europeans concerned about this? >> that's a big part of it, hari. there was actually an interesting conference call yesterday with two former secretaries general of nato and i was surprise they had spoke so bluntly. there is concern-- it didn't go unnoticed that president-elect trump called vladimir putin before he called some nato leaders, and they are concerned that he will be open to cutting some separate deal with putin. some sort of trade-off between syria and the ukraine without getting into all the details. and they said that would really be very, very dangerous. it would send the message that taking-- you know, crossing borders and taking territory by force is okay. >> sreenivasan: margaret warner, thanks so much. >> thank you.
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>> sreenivasan: donald trump will be sworn into office on january 20 with more business holdings than any previous president. john yang has more on the questions that are being asked. >> yang: the trump organization has a variety of assets and arrangements that span the globe. and as president, trump will have the authority to appoint people who will make decisions that affect those businesses. here to discuss the potential for conflict is robert weissman, president of nonprofit public interest group public citizen; and susanne craig, a "new york times" reporter covering this story. welcome to you both. susanne, let me start with you. this is a very complicated story. there are a lot of parts to president-elect trump's business holdings. but i think the easiest example is the trump international hotel here in washington, d.c. walk us through the potential for conflicts with that hotel.
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>> it's really interesting. this is a hotel that just opened, and it's been-- it's been in progress for a few years, and it's on the site of the old post office, which is a government property. and donald trump has a ground lease for 60 years, the trump organization, for 60 years, to run the hotel out of that. so there's an arrangement between the federal government, an agency called the g.s.a., and the trump organization, and in the of the president has the power to appoint the head of the g.s.a. so it's just this incredible situation where you've got a private company that will now be-- that is owned by soon to be the president that will be negotiating with a government agency where the head of that agency is appointed by the president. so just the potential there for conflict, you can just see it coming 100 miles away. and the g.s.a. said they are preparing for it and looking at
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it. imagine that situation multiply is it by so many when you look at all the different things that could happen with the various companies donald trump owns and the business interests he has. >> yang: also, susanne, in that hotel are workers who might want to of to unionize. >> who might want to unionize. and the situation's actually been playing out in las vegas, where he co-owns a hotel in las vegas, and that hotel has-- the workers there have tried to unionize, and the national labor relations board, which has got a presidential appointees on it, has actually-- the board has ruled against donald trump even in the days before the election. so yet another example playing out in real time already where you've got conflict between the private-- the private holdings and now government agencies that will have presidential appointees on them. >> yang: robert weissman, who picks the spokesperson for president-elect trump, says that mr. trump will comply with all applicable rules can and regulations. what are the rules and
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regulations in this case? >> almost none. >> yeah. >> there are a lot of rules, ethics rules that apply to government employees, to members of congress. as regards this set of issues, there's really not too much that applies to the president, except some issues about taking gifts from foreign governments. >> yang: and so there's no law-- there's nothing that says he has to do anything with his personal assets? >> there's no law. there is common sense. what we're looking at is an unprecedented set of conflicts of interest, and common sense says the president has to divest himself of these business holdings to avoid these conflicts, which will be legion, covering everything from worker health and safety issues, worker rights that you were discussing, treatment of government contractors, to consumer protection, how the civil justice system works, bankrupt law, tax policy, even the-- even the conduct of foreign policy. it's a staggering set of potential conflicts of-- actually, conflicts that will
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emerge, unless he divests. >> yang: he says he's going to hav his children running the business and rudy giuliani says you have to have some confidence in the integrity of the president. i don't think there's any real fear or suspicion that he's seeking to enrich himself by being president. how do you respond? >> well, february if the president-elect operates in good faict as president, the conflicts are still present. they are unavoidable. >> yup. >> and it makes no difference if he maintains ownership of the trump organization business and lets his children run the businesses. at the same time, those children are plainly going to be centrally involved in administration and policy making. >> yang: susanne, we talked about the specific example of that hotel. he's a real estate businessman, he relies on low interest rates from banks to prosper. he says he won't release his tax returns because they're being audited. but talk about the nexus of his role as president and those issues as well. >> well, the thing is, sometimes
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it's-- these conflicts and potential conflicts exist. and it's simply that you don't know a lot of conversations that are going on, which is why there is a call for him to divest the assets. i mean, you can't-- you can't have your children run them and then not know what the assets are. and especially in the case of real estate. these are fixed assets. he knows the financials of them. so unless there's a full divestiture, there's no way that these-- these either real conflicts or potential conflicts come up. and the other thing that's of concern is he hasn't released his taxes. we don't have a full picture of his financial situation and foreign holdings. there's so much going on here, and it's just-- sometimes we're just never even going to know if stuff happens because we don't even know, you know, that there is even a conflict. i did a story earlier this year, and he had-- he had released a number of his lenders. and it turns out he'd only released loans in which the
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trump organization, in which there was 100% ownership of the property behind it. we found loans of partnerships that weren't disclosedded. it was mind-boggling when i started doing this, this summer what wasn't there and what we were finding. and this is a situation where i just don't think we're ever going to be sure unless there is a divestiture, that there isn't something going on or there is the potential for something to go on. it's troubling. >> yang: robert, we have a brief amount of time left. what can be done? and what do you want to see done in this case? >> well, there's just no way to square the candidate's promises to deal with corruption in washington, to ende ended inner dealing and his maintaining these business interests. so he's going to have to sell them off, unless he's going to discredit everything he ran on. >> yang: robert weissman, susanne craig, thanks very much for joining us. >> thank you.
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>> sreenivasan: the struggle over the dakota access oil pipeline intensified this week, with protestors in a number of cities joining the native tribes who are opposed to the project. meanwhile, the company building the pipeline is pushing back, filing suit in federal court yesterday to get its last permit issued. william brangham continues his reporting on this legal and environmental standoff. ( chanting ) >> brangham: from new york... to chicago... to los angeles, protests against the dakota access oil pipeline have spread nationwide this week. opponents say the last remaining section of the pipeline would threaten the drinking water and cultural lands of the standing rock sioux tribe in north dakota. >> they're threatening millions of people in the entire region and threaten ultimately the climate of the entire planet. >> brangham: the 1,200-mile-long pipeline would carry up to 500,000 gallons of crude oil every day from north dakota, through south dakota and iowa,
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to a shipping point in illinois. but since august, hundreds, sometimes thousands of members of various native american tribes and nations have gathered at a camp near cannon ball, north dakota to try to stop construction. they're drawing support from outside figures as well, including robert f. kennedy jr., who visited yesterday. >> i think they have a lot of courage. i think they're standing up for america, they're standing up for american democracy. they're standing up in the face of a bully. >> brangham: elsewhere, dozens of people were arrested yesterday near mandan, north dakota, for blocking railway tracks near a pipeline work site. meanwhile, a court fight looms. the u.s. army corps of engineers granted construction permits back in july, but two months later, stopped work and called for further review. and then on monday, the corps announced a further delay. now, the pipeline builder, texas-based energy transfer partners, is asking a federal judge to give the remaining construction the go-ahead. in a statement tuesday, the company decried what it called "the obama administration's political interference..." and its "flagrant disregard for the
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rule of law". the company also disputes claims for moreon this ongoing fight, i'm joined now by kelcey warren. he's the c.e.o. of energy transfer partners, the company that owns and is building the dakota access pipeline. mr. warren, thank you very much for being here. >> thank you. >> brangham: let's talk about the over-arching fight going on here. as you well know, the standing rock tribe has two standing arguments. one, the construction of this pipeline is going to damage ancestral sitees of theirs. and, two, if the pipeline is built and goes under the missouri river, it is going to, if it were to leak, potentially contaminate their drinking water. i wonder what your response to those concerns are. >> yes. well, first of all, i think this is well known by now. we're not on indian property at all. native american property. we're on private lands. that's number one. number two, this pipeline is new
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steel pipe. we're boring underneath lake owahe. it's going to go 90 feet to 150 feet beloat lake surface. it's thick-walled pipe-- extra thick, by the way, more so than just the normal pipe that we lay. also, on each side of the lake, there are automative valves that if in the very, very unlikely situation there were to be a leak, our control room shuts down the pipe, encapsulates that small section that could be in peril. so that's-- that's just not going to happen. number one. we're not going to have a leak. i can't promise that, of course, but that is-- no one would get on airplanes if they thought they were going to crash. and number two, there is no way there would be any crude cocontaminate their water supply. they're 70 miles downstream. >> brangham: one of the things that really seems to irk the people out there at the standing rock tribe is the pipeline was originally scheduled and slotted to go
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north, just north of bismarck. and after there were concerns about endangering the water supply there, the pipeline was rerouted south next to the standing rock tribe. and their belief is why were the concerns of bismarck reads given greater weight than the concerns that we have? >> well, they certainly were not energy transfer partners. we're vulnerable to these routings, too. the army corps of engineers weighs in heavily. they asked for input from all concerned. they get that inmutt. and then they suggest to us what deviation in the route should be taken. keep in mind, energy transfer, we're laying a pipeline that have minimal impact to-- to all people concerned, and with great input from our government. so this route was not just something that energy transfer said, "hey, let's build it here." this was after great consultation with the army corps of engineers. the offering up for consultation with also the standing rock sioux, which they didn't choose to do.
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displil you say that-- >> brangham: you say that it's very unlikely or very rare that this pipeline might rumpt of rupture, but some company's pipelines may spill more than otherothers and your subsidiary, sunoco, has a poor record record. sunoco logistics spills more crude than any of its competitors, 200 oil leak in addition the last six years." doesn't that safety record indicate that the concerns of the standing rock tribe ought to be listened to? >> i disagree with that statistic about sunoco logistics. but everybody should be concerned about that. but keep in mind, there's a difference here. this is a body of water. this is a pipe that's been designed specifically to fit into a bore underneath the riverbed. this is very thick-walled pipe. it's brand new steel. any reports they're talking about with sunoco-- sunoco is one had been-plus-year-old company and there is some very, very old pipe--
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>> brangham: we have seen ruptures in very recent newly built pipes. your permian pipe in texas was a brand new pipe upon. it spilled eight billion barrels. it just seems like the concerns of the standing rock tribe are not based on nothing. >> you know, again, like i said, everybody should be concerned about spilling oil on the ground or gasoline or any hydrocarbon or any contaminant for that matter. energy transfer is doing the very best we can. we're complying with all the laws, all the rules, and we're over-designing. this pipeline is being built to safety standards that far exceed what the government requires us to do spp and i just think the likelihood of a spill into the lake is just extremely remote. >> brangham: what about the other concern that the tribe brings up, that the construction of this pipeline is damaging sacred sites of their. that your bulldozers have already damaged it. they also are very upset with
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the fact that your company apparently discovered historical artifacts anartifacts and dragg, according to them, in reporting those to authorities. >> those arealize, complete lies. >> brangham: no basis in fact? >> not at all. let's go to the real facts. the fact are we work with the state of north dakota, we worked with the federal government to assure us that we were not disturb anything historical sites. we hired archaeologists. the state of north dakota concluded that the-- the army corps of engineers concluded we have not damaged any historical sites. >> brangham: last question for you. president trump, president-elect trump is-- i know he holds some stock in your company reportedly, and i know you're a big supporter of his. do you think when he becomes president that he will simply authorize the construction of this pipeline? >> well, i don't think-- i don't think a president actually authorizes an easement. i think he alowlz the rules, procedures and laws-- >> brangham: but you think it will happen when he takes over. >> i do, yes. >> brangham: and what happens
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to the protesters at that point? i mean, the ones that i've spoken to said they are not going anywhere and they're building shelters for the winter and will wait this out. >> the people of north dakota are generally wonderful people, law-abiding, nonviolent people and they're going about their lives. this has been a disruption to their state. this is not a peaceful protest. they want to stick around and continue to do what they're doing, great, but we're building the pipeline. >> brangham: kelcey warren, c.e.o. of energy transfer partners, thank you for talking with us. >> thank you, sir. >> sreenivasan: stay with us. coming up on the newshour: a rare look into an astronaut's adventures in space; and, in remembrance of gwen ifill, we explore the battle against gynecological cancers. but first, it's been more than five weeks since iraqi forces, backed by airstrikes from the
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u.s.-led coalition, began the campaign to re-take mosul from isis. the city is the largest in either iraq or syria still held by the militants, and the fight for it has been vicious. special correspondent jane ferguson and videographer alessandro pavone have spent the last several days with iraqi special forces inside the city, and sent us this report. >> reporter: searching for enemy movement, major ziad leads his team of snipers. on the radio, reports that several isis fighters are rushing this frontline position. his men are ready. they have pushed this far into mosul city, and from a mosque, iraq's special forces fight off counter attacks. >> you see these guys? >> reporter: "a fighter just blew himself up just over there," he tells us. this tangle of wreckage is all that separates his soldiers from the suicide bombers. this is as far as the frontline comes here in mosul, in this
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neighborhood. just a pile of rubble, and beyond it, isis fighters. taking mosul from isis is the toughest mission these men have ever faced. brutal street-to-street fighting pushed the militants from this area just days go. the fighters here tell us that there was a heavy battle with isis fighters here. their bodies are still strewn around the area. iraqi forces are facing an enemy that embraces and celebrates death, and in a nearby house, we are suddenly told more isis fighters are approaching. major ziad orders his men onto the roof, and the fight begins. isis fighters are just in the house right next door.
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the special forces are exchanging fire with them. this kind of fighting on the front line is happening every day right now in mosul. "in the neighborhood in front of us, there is a group of isis fighters, plus a car bomb. they always try to send car bombs." when the fighting eases, civilians appear from their houses on the street outside. one soldier proudly shows us loot he's poached from isis: uniforms and memorabilia of the islamic state. further down the street, major ziad sees more isis fighters. he calls for a mortar strike. on this tablet, they can pinpoint targets in the city. with so many civilians still in their homes, there is no room for error. they then race to the roof to get a better view. the front line snakes through the streets around us.
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isis fighters can come from many sides. two mortars hit buildings nearby. afterwards, i ask major ziad what the greatest threat is to his men. >> car bombs. >> ( translated ): the most dangerous thing isis is using is the car bomb. also they have a new style, using drone-carried bombs. they can control them with the remote. they use a small amount of explosives. they target our cars and groups of us. >> reporter: isis had two years to plan its defense, and the group spent that time innovating its tactics and weapons thick armor envelops car bombs. bullets cannot penetrate them, so suicidal drivers tear towards iraqi fighters, seen here in an isis propaganda video. few have time to call in an
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airstrike. in this urban environment, cars can appear from around corners just yards away, so crude barricades have been erected, and civilians banned from driving. if any car approaches, these soldiers shoot. and isis is not only deadly aboveground. an elaborate network of underground passageways allow their fighters to creep up behind advancing forces and shoot at them. hidden below, they can hide from u.s.-led coalition airstrikes. during the battle, isis fighters wouldn't just move around through here. they could also live in these tunnels. you can see they have been sleeping all along this one. they even have gas lanterns left and uniforms here. improvised digging machines, like this one captured by iraqi forces, are what isis is using to make the tunnels, giving themselves an advantage in the urban environment. even after their retreat isis are able to inflict casualties. they rig houses with booby- traps, and leave hidden bombs
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across this city, causing devastating injuries to soldiers and slowing the army's advance. abdullah's job in the bomb disposal unit just cost him his eye. an i.e.d. exploded on him last week, when he opened the front door of a house. >> ( translated ): isis planted it in the house. i tried to clear the house so a family could return to it. and then i got hit. >> reporter: outnumbered and outgunned, isis's bomb-making tactics are a way to compensate. >> ( translated ): of course, isis's main plan is to use bombs and car bombs, and i.e.d.s. they don't have military power, so they depend on them. >> reporter: the people living in mosul are also used by isis as cover. around a million are still in the city, on the front line of a war that rages around them. and with so many families still sheltering inside their homes, airstrikes risk killing the innocent. while the iraqi army battled isis fighters in these streets,
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the people here waited and prayed for days for it to be over. >> ( translated ): we were scared. >> reporter: food finally arrived with these government hand-outs, and residents poured into the streets to get help. there is a steady stream of civilians fleeing the city, with nothing but home-made white flags as a flimsy signal that they mean no harm. some are loaded onto trucks bound for refugee camps. others simply walk, hoping to find help. it's a treacherous journey. villages like this outside mosul have now really just become transit points. others, fleeing from further inside the city move through here to make it to camps. ( explosion ) there is still fighting on-going
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even out here on the outskirts of the city. american involvement in this war is not so visible in mosul city, but it is hugely significant. over 5,000 u.s. troops are present in iraq, training and advising iraqis. u.s. airstrikes, artillery and rockets are giving crucial support to the army's advance. in control and command centers, american and iraqi military leaders monitor the battle together. colonel sylvia is the american at qayarrah. >> progress was very fast in being able to get to mosul, and predictably it slows down when you hit this dense urban area. but still, every single day they make forward progress, regardless of how long it takes. it's not a question of if mosul will be liberated, but just a question of when. >> reporter: the american military is giving them as much of a battleground advantage as
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they can, but iraqi soldiers will still have to fight their way through the city's treacherous streets. men like major ziad and his troops have a long and dangerous battle ahead. for the pbs newshour, i'm jane ferguson in mosul, iraq. >> sreenivasan: now, some lessons from time spent in space, from a man who seemed like a most unlikely candidate to become an astronaut. miles o'brien has a conversation about a most unusual career, part of our weekly series on the "leading edge" of science and technology. >> reporter: mike massimino went to low earth orbit twice aboard the space shuttle, both times to repair the hubble space telescope. in his new book, "spaceman," he details the long and difficult
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journey he took to become an astronaut. so, you're afraid of heights. >> yeah, i still am. i don't like this right here, miles, i'm a little worried. >> reporter: you don't swim very well. >> no. the hardest thing for me as an astronaut was to improve my swimming skills. >> reporter: vision was a problem. that was a real problem. >> no, nearsighted, i might be disqualified because i cannot see well enough. >> reporter: and you barely got through the program at m.i.t. >> yes. yes. >> reporter: really, it's completely improbable that you became an astronaut. >> yeah, i would say so. absolutely, yes. >> reporter: we met beside the shuttle enterprise display at the intrepid sea, air and space museum in new york city, his hometown. it occurs to me though, that the lessons you learned all along the way then, dealing-- coping and dealing with those setbacks, those failures, the resilience are exactly what you need to go through to become an astronaut. >> now we're getting at something. i think you're right, yes. it's not a question of being the best at something or if things come easy to you, but it's being a person that can work with others and not give up. and for me, that was part of it
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too. every step of the way when i had trouble, there were people that came into my life, that helped me. it's important to go seek help when you need it, and to give help when other people need it, and that is really more important than coming in with gigantic brain into the astronaut program. >> reporter: that's an important lesson for all of us, i think. >> i think so. especially when doing things that are really hard. >> reporter: it occurs to me that this book-- you know, obviously, to some degree, it's about space. but space is almost a backdrop for a completely separate story. is that the way you view it? >> i applied to be an astronaut four times. i was rejected three times before i was accepted. it's about that, following your dream and not giving up. >> reporter: if you hadn't persevered and become an astronaut, what would you be doing today? >> i'd probably be working on my next astronaut application. i think-- that's what i think. >> reporter: you always made an effort to connect and try to relate the experience to others. but i don't think i've ever heard any astronaut put words to that experience that really do it justice. is it possible to explain
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especially what it's like when you're on an e.v.a., on a space walk? >> it's very emotional. the way i try to describe it is what i was feeling and viewing our planet was so compelling. words like beautiful and awesome just don't do it justice. i felt that i was looking at a paradise. i was looking at heaven. i can't imagine any place being more beautiful than our planet and how lucky we are to be able to live here. that's what i felt. that's what i was thinking at the time, which i think is a better way for me to explain it than trying to think of words that don't exist to explain to people just how beautiful it is. >> reporter: that's pretty good. not bad. >> well, thanks. >> reporter: there was a moment on that flight where you might have ruined your "stop and smelled the roses" moment, and that was when you almost broke the hubble. >> we were trying to do a repair of the space telescope imaging spectograph, but before we could do that, we had a very easy task, which was to remove a hand rail with big bolts on it.
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but i went and stripped one of those bolts. so, the solution that came up, to take the hand rail off, was to see if i can just tear it off the telescope. i don't know if that would ever have crossed my mind-- this was sort of counter to the way we do things. but luckily, we had smart engineers that thought of it on the ground. i'm inside the hubble space telescope doing this million dollar repair on this billion dollar telescope. i grabbed that hand rail and i gave it a couple of tugs and "wang," it came right off. >> reporter: final thought. think about how fortunate we were to be alive on that day in 1969 when they walked to the moon. we were kind of sprinkled with moon dust, our generation. >> yeah, we're very lucky. >> reporter: it inspired a whole generation of astronauts of your generation. >> right. >> reporter: do you worry that young people today don't have a similar inspiration? >> i talk to a lot of high schools students around the country and they still have that same interest, but it's just different. it's not like we had. it's a way that what was given to us was different.
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now we can engage with the astronauts that are in space. i was the first person to tweet from space, but now every astronaut tweets from space and does instagram and snapchat and facebook going in. i think it's more of a personal relationship they have with space now. they see it as more obtainable than me watching my super-heroes neil armstrong and buzz aldrin walking on the moon. i was like, "there's no way i can do that." i think they can see it as something that they can engage. i think it is more engageable and it's just different than what we had. but they still think it's very, very cool and i don't see that interest waning. i see this growing. >> reporter: all right, mike massimino. thank you very much. >> thanks, miles. >> reporter: i enjoyed it. >> sreenivasan: online, find a review of "mars," a new six-part miniseries that premiered monday on national geographic channel. that's at www.pbs.org/newshour.
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>> sreenivasan: finally tonight, the battle against cancer-- specifically, gynecological cancers. gwen died on monday at the age of 61, after her fight with endometrial cancer, also referred to as uterine cancer. it is one of several gynecological cancers women face that sometimes get less attention. more than 50,000 women in the u.s. are diagnosed with uterine cancer each year, and more than 9,300 die from it. ovarian cancer is better known. about 20,000 women are diagnosed each year, and more than 14,000 die from it annually. cervical cancer's death rate has dropped dramatically. roughly 12,000 are diagnosed with it annually. more than 4,000 die from it. let's look at the latest in the effort to diagnose and treat these cancers. dr. karen lu is an expert in this field at m.d. anderson cancer center; and dr. angela marshall is an advisor to the black women's health imperative. she is in private practice in
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maryland. dr. lu, now that we've set the table a little bit, let's add a little context to this. in relation to other cancers, how prevalent are these? >> so all together, as you said, almost 100,000 women this year will be diagnosed with a gynecologic cancer. and importantly, with uterine cancer, it's on the rise. >> sreenivasan: and put that in perspective. compared to--, you know, there's a horrible reality in the cancer marketplace that some cancers get more attention than others, and the more attention they get, the more research funding they get as well. so how do these cancers compete and fair when we think about all the other cancers out there? >> there definitely is less attention, even though there's such a high number of women with these cancers. and i think the breast cancer community has done a fantastic job about demystifying and being open about talking about breast cancer, about risk factors, about what early signs are.
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and i think when we're talking about gynecologic cancers-- so that's cancer of the uterus, the cervic, and the ovaries-- we're a little bit more-- maybe perhaps embarrassed to talk about it, and that, that goes towards individual women and the impact that that may have in terms of them thinking about symptoms that they may have. and also kind of on a broader scale in terms of really garnering interest and increasing research funding for the diseases. >> sreenivasan: dr. marshall, i've heard them described as below-the-belt cancers. is there a stigma attached with discussing this openly, compared to breast cancer which, sadly, we have no problem talking about? >> i think there is. but i think more importantly, i think this is a good time to talk about the importance of women and self-care, and by "self-care" i mean the importance of getting screening tests. and screening tests are tests that we do when people are having no symptoms. so when we do mammograms, we're
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screening for breast cancer in women who have not symptoms. however, for uterine and for ovarian cancer we don't have adequate screening tests for those. so those are tests that rely on women reporting symptoms before we do any kind of work-up. so i think it's important to get the word out. i think education is extremely important. people need to know what the symptoms are, and they need to know what tests to be requesting from their health care providers. >> sreenivasan: dr. lu, is there a gap in women seeing symptoms but not necessarily reporting them, or not even knowing there are symptoms? >> i think there are two gaps. i think there's a gap where women don't know that there are early symptoms of these cancers. and so don't recognize them. and then there's also a gap when they report these symptoms. sometimes they can be nonspecific, and certainly with ovarian cancer, women will present with bloating or their bellies will be bigger, very
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nonspecific pain. and sometimes physicians will dismiss these symptoms and not fully work up and think about ovarian cancer or other gynecologic cancers as a cause. >> sreenivasan: dr. marshall, i see you nodding your head in agreement here. is this also the case? and does it disproportionately affect women of color and in the african american community? >> it does. i think for african american women it's important to have health care providers we trust, because there's historically been some distrust in the african american community. it's also important to have good access to health care and it's important for to us have access to health insurance plans that aren't high deductibles. you know, some women are forced with making a decision to put food on the table versus paying for expensive diagnostic testing. so sometimes it boils down to an economic issue. >> sreenivasan: sometimes it's the infrastructure that's influencing whether or not they get the care. >> exactly. >> sreenivasan: dr. lu, if a patient gets one of these diagnoses, what should they
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start thinking about? how should they look at this? >> that's a great question. you know, there's so much information available on the internet, and we say that's good and bad. but i do, overall, think it's important for women to arm themselves with information when they go seek health care. i think the second thing is to really seek a specialist. there are-- we are specialists, gynecologic oncologists who focus on treating these cancers. and it's really important that women who are diagnosed with uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, cervix cancer have, a specialist who can take care of them. >> sreenivasan: dr. marshall what about those cases if you don't have the expertise of a dr. lu, you don't live in houston, you don't live near a major cancer center or medical center, highway hard is it for someone to lobby, basically, for themselveses, or advocate to get that extra level of care and expertise? >> i think it starts with having
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a health care provider that you trust. and so often we don't, especially among african americans. and so i think your primary care doctor is a great resource, and i think you should be an advocate for yourself. and help-- have them help you with the referrals to the specialists. >> sreenivasan: dr. lu, where does the research stand in all of this? including pharmaceutical companies because they're crucial in the treatment part. >> absolutely. research is really important. and it's a great time now. there's a lot of exciting research going on. so i like to think about it for early-stage cancers we're really focusing on minimizing treatment in some ways. so we're seeing younger women who are diagnosed with uterine cancer-- uterine cancer is very tightly linked to obesity. as we see an obesity epidemic, we're seeing more and more younger women, women in their 40s, and sometimes even in their 30s, with uterine cancer. we're thinking about can we think about treatment where's we can preserve the uterus?
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even with cervix cancer, we're thinking about are there options for women to be able to have the option of child bearing. so that's for early stage. for later stage cancers, there's a lot of emphasis on understanding the very basic molecular kind of d.n.a. genes that contribute to the cancer cells. once we understand that, we're tiebl bring in some of these new targeted therapies, immunotherapy. so it's an exciting time, but it requires-- it requires resources. it requires women to be open to clinical trials. and i really want to stress that. because i think that if we're going to make advances-- and we need to, especially for women who have advanced-stage disease-- we're going to really need to encourage women to participate in clinical trials. >> sreenivasan: consider dr karen lu, dr. angela marshall,
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thank you for what might be the first of many conversations on this topic. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> sreenivasan: now to our "newshour shares:" something that caught our eye, that might be of interest to you, too. in 2013, major repairs got underway on the dome atop the u.s. capitol. yesterday, those much-needed renovations officially wrapped up. the newshour's julia griffin filed this report from capitol hill. >> good morning, everyone. >> reporter: architect of the capitol, stephen ayers, stood before washington's iconic landmark to declare its latest renovation complete. >> the a.o.c.'s motto is to serve, preserve and inspire, and do so every day across this capitol campus. but this one project was the most visible of all. the symbol of america's democracy and the beacon of hope
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for millions around the world, and we delivered. >> reporter: the current dome was added to the u.s. capitol in the 1860s, even as the civil war raged. ever since, its nearly nine million pounds of cast-iron have stood tall amid political storms, and literal ones. the dome last saw major repairs in 1960, when rust-prohibiting paint turned it temporarily red; but 50 years on, the capitol's main attraction had deteriorated once more. surveyors found cracks and peeling paint that were allowing moisture to seep in, threatening infrastructure, art work and people inside. >> we determined that it was time to intervene. we were losing too much historic and original material of the dome. >> reporter: so the latest, nearly $60 million facelift got underway. for nearly three years, workers stood on 1.1 million pounds of scaffolding, to repair more than 12,000 inches of cast-iron cracks. the team restored the dome's
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decorative ornaments and cupola windows, and placed white draping inside to protect the rotunda below. that "dome donut," as it was affectionately called, allowed interior repairs to go forward, while still giving the one million visitors-per-year a glimpse of the historical fresco above. but this summer, as temperatures went up, the scaffolding started to come down, and workers applied more than 1,200 gallons of paint-- appropriately named "dome white"-- as a finishing touch along the way. >> its so important for us to have this grand capitol building to look magnificent and to truly be our nation's stage. >> reporter: ayres now turns his attention to the next big event on capitol hill: the inauguration of president-elect donald trump. for the pbs newshour, i'm julia griffin in washington, d.c. >> sreenivasan: on the newshour online right now, our video on the physics of how smells move in our environment, the winner of the 2016 science journalism digital short award. you can watch that video on our website.
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all that and more is on our website, www.pbs.org/newshour. and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm hari sreenivasan. join us online, and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us 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.
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>> lincoln financial-- committed to helping you take charge of your financial future. >> xq institute. >> supported by the rockefeller foundation. promoting the wellbeing of humanity around the world, by building resilience and inclusive economies. more at www.rockefellerfoundation.org. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and individuals. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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♪ this is "nightly business report" with tyler mathisen and sue herera. streak snapped. the dow's red-hot run comes to an end as the post election rally cools off. buyer beware. shipping stocks are surging, but investors are advised to proceed with caution. well, it definitely has affected our business. >> ripple effect. as coal jobs disappear, entire towns feel the impact. tonight, we hear the stories from ohio. those stories and much more tonight on "nightly business report" for wednesday, november 16th. good evening, everybody. welcome. i'm sue herera. tyler mathisen is on assignment. an unusual thing is happening in the stock market, and it is raising some eyebrows. shares of shipping stocks,

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