tv PBS News Hour PBS March 15, 2017 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, the house intelligence committee chairman voices doubt that former president obama ordered wiretaps of trump tower. but president trump stands by his claim. also ahead this wednesday, malcolm brabant takes us to turkey where president erdogan is seeking more power during a time of political and religious tensions. >> the popularity and policies of president erdogan are about to be put to the test in a referendum to determine whether the country should have a united states style executive presidency, but without the checks and balances. >> woodruff: and, the possibilities of computer- connected brains-- how researchers are experimenting with implants to help people
with paralysis. >> its very liberating to be able to utilize a portion of my body that has not worked to actually cause and effect is great fun. >> woodruff: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour. >> 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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more information at macfound.org >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: short-term interest rates are going up again, for the second time in three months. the federal reserve announced another quarter-point increase today. policymakers suggested in a statement that economic growth is improving, and fed chair janet yellen said that makes it more likely there will be two additional rate hikes this year. >> the simple message is the economy is doing well. we have confidence in the robustness of the economy and its resilience to shocks. it's performed well over the last several years.
>> woodruff: the fed is predicting growth at a rate of 2.1% this year and next. president trump has talked of four percent growth. we'll have more on the potential economic effects of the rate hike later in the program. two russian intelligence officers and two cyber hackers now face u.s. criminal charges in a yahoo data breach that compromised 500 million accounts. the acting assistant attorney general, mary mccord, announced the action today. it's the first to implicate russian officials directly in cyber-crime. >> we will not allow individuals, groups, nation states or a combination of them to compromise the privacy of our citizens, the economic interests of our companies, or the security of our country. there are no free passes for foreign, state sponsored criminal behavior. >> woodruff: one of the hackers is in custody in canada. the others remain at large, and
it's not clear if they'll ever see an american courtroom, since russia has no extradition treaty with the united states. in syria, suicide bombers killed at least 31 people in twin attacks in damascus. this as the country enters its sixth year of civil war. the state news agency says the first attacker blew himself up in the main judicial building, as police started to search him. a second bomb went off inside a nearby restaurant. meanwhile, in afghanistan, the death toll from an assault on a military hospital rose to 50 today. the attack, a week ago, was claimed by the islamic state group. officials said a suicide bomber blew up his car, and gunmen disguised in lab coats stormed the hospital in kabul. investigators have detained 24 people, including medical staffers. a disaster at a landfill outside ethiopia's capital has now claimed 113 lives. the toll rose again today as search and rescue efforts
continued. the mountain of garbage collapsed saturday, and buried makeshift huts at the site. voting has ended in the netherlands, and exit polls show dutch voters have rejected a bid for power by an anti-islam party. geert vilders and his far-right followers did worse than expected against center-right prime minister mark rutte, who'd wrned against electing wilders. >> having a political leader wants to take away the koran from muslims in the netherlands, and to close our mosques. the wrong sort of populism is not addressing the real issues of the people, only making them bigger, instead of solving them >> woodruff: wilders acknowledged he'd lost, but vowed he'd be back. back in this country, the senate confirmed former indiana senator dan coats as director of national intelligence. he'll oversee 16 intelligence agencies, and could be a key player in probes of russian
meddling in the election. president trump moved today to dial back federal rules on auto fuel economy. just before president obama left office, the e.p.a. finalized a standard that auto makers reach an average of 54 miles a gallon by 2025. that's double the current standard. the industry strongly objected, and today, in ypsilanti, mr. trump said the e.p.a. is going back to the drawing board. >> the assault on american auto industry, believe me is over. it's over. not going to have it anymore. if the standards threatened auto jobs, then common sense changes could have and should have been made. >> woodruff: environmentalists have argued the higher standard would promote use of hybrids and electric vehicles and cut carbon dioxide emissions. the white house signaled again
today that it's open to changing the republican replacement for obamacare. a spokesman said the president is working with house speaker ryan and other leaders. there was also word that more than 12 million people signed up for coverage this year under obamacare and enrolled on federal and state exchanges. one of the president's income tax returns has surfaced, for the first time. the leaked document shows that for the 2005 tax year, mr. trump earned $153 million, and paid $36 million in taxes. he wrote off more than $100 million in business losses. the white house criticized the leak, but did not challenge its authenticity. in a tweet today, the president called it "fake news." reports of sexual assault rose at two of the three u.s. service academies this year. according to the associated press, they were up at the naval academy and the military academy
at west point. the air force academy saw a sharp drop. the a.p. says a separate, anonymous survey found sexual misconduct is actually rising at all three schools. and on wall street, stocks took the latest interest rate hike in stride. the dow jones industrial average gained more than 112 points to close at 20,950. the nasdaq rose 43 points, and the s&p 500 added nearly 20. still to come on the newshour: what lawmakers have and have not found in their ongoing russia investigation. a key u.s. ally, turkey, is set to decide whether its strongman president should have even broader power, and much more. >> woodruff: russia's role in last year's election, alleged contacts between the trump team
and moscow, and president trump's allegation that he was "wiretapped" by his predecessor were front and center on capitol hill today. john yang reports. >> i don't think that there was an actual tap of trump tower. >> yang: leaders of the house intelligence committee cast fresh doubt today on president trump's claim that then- president obama illegally wiretapped trump tower. >> president obama wouldn't physically go over and wiretap trump tower. so now you have to decide, as i mentioned last week, are you going to take the tweets literally? and if you are, then clearly the president was wrong. but if you're not going to take the tweets literally and there is a concern that the president has about other people, other surveillance activities looking at him or his associates, either appropriately or inappropriately, we want to find that out. >> yang: the committee gave the
justice department until last night to produce any evidence to support the president's claim. instead, the department got an extension until next monday-- when f.b.i. director james comey is to testify before the panel. adam schiff is the committee's top democrat: >> i do think it's incumbent that if we get to march 20th and we have the testimony i think we all expect from the director, that there was no substance to the allegation that barack obama illegally wiretapped trump tower, that the president explain himself. you can't level an accusation of that type without either retracting it or explaining just why it was done. >> yang: senator lindsey graham wants to know if a there's a warrant for a wiretap. >> congress is going to flex its muscle here. we'll issue a subpoena to get the information. >> yang: f.b.i. director comey was on capitol hill this afternoon to brief leaders of the senate judiciary committee. chairman chuck grassley and top democrat dianne feinstein want
to know about former national security advisor michael flynn's contacts with russian officials. flynn is one of several trump associates under scrutiny for dealings with russians during the campaign. one-time trump adviser roger stone said today he thinks a special surveillance fisa court warrant uncovered his contacts with a russian-linked hacker who claimed credit for the cyberattack on the democratic national committee. for the pbs newshour, i'm john yang. >> woodruff: and late today came word that in an interview to air tonight on fox news, the president was asked again about his wiretapping accusation, and said: "wiretap covers a lot of different things. i think you're going to find some very interesting items coming to the forefront over the next two weeks." back on capitol hill, lawmakers from both parties expressed frustration with f.b.i. director james comey, and what they say is an unwillingness to provide them with critical information.
joining us now, democratic senator joe manchin, a member of the intelligence committee. senator, thank you for being with us. are you getting the cooperation you need from the intelligence community? >> well, judy, first of all, it's good to be with you spp and we are going to be able to get that. we have been speaking to them. we've been out to the c.i.a. we're looking at all the documents, and they're providing those to us. the intele committee is able to get indepth, if you will, with all of our different intelligence agencies. i have great confidence in them, and we've got to get to the bottom. there's an awful lot that's going on here. flower two different paths. you have one with the russians involved in our election process. to what extent-- we know they made an attempt, they made more of an attempt this time than ever before. wean outcome of the election. they were not able to intervene or interfere with that or disrupt that whatsoever, but their desire was there. we must prevent that from ever happening again. and, also, to help our allies. then you have the other russian intervention, if you will, how
much of an association is there? is there any type of-- with associates, from president trump during the campaign, his people, himself, his family, whatsoever? and is there any intertwinement? so i think the american people want to know. we need to get through this and get-- come to the conclusion, and do the business of this great country. and right now, that's our-- that's the hot topic. >> woodruff: well, at this point, do you think you're any closer to knowing whether there was any as you call it intertwinement or collusion between the trump campaign and russian officials? >> i can only say what we have seen to date, i don't see any evidence of that whatsoever. but we're just in the start of this. so it would be premature for me to say anything definite, yes or no. we're going to look at everything. we're going to turn over every stone that we possibly can. we're going to make sure we interview and bring people in. names have been mentioned that you mentioned on your newshour, and we're going to make sure
that we get the facts. intelligence is to provide the fact be to us. the facts will usually take tout truth. and when we get to the truth we need to make the decisions and do what's best for this country. >> woodruff: ?aergt senator, lee stop you there and ask you, president trump saying in the interview that we just mentioned that we're going to see more, in his words, in next few weeks, come to the forefront about the wiretap that he accused president obama of being behind. what do you know at this point about that? >> well, the only thing i can discuss and what i know about that is what you all have been reporting on and what has been reported in the news today. jeff session said he didn't sales are and didn't say a thing about a wiretap and knowes of now of no wiretap, and there's no evidence of showing any wiretap to date. if there's other evidence to come forth, we'll be happy to look at that and evaluate it and investigate it, but as of right now it has not come forth.
>> woodruff: is it up to the white house, for the president, to provide whatever evidence he has? >> well, i would think that if he has evidence that the intelligence community does not have and it's not being brought forth and he wants to make sure that's considered into this whole process, then i would hope that they would. >> woodruff: let me turn you, senator, to the other issue that we're covering right now on the hill, and that is, of course, health care of health care reform. the republican relationship legislation, seems to be running into more opposition from republican members of the house and the senate. where do you think that stands right now? >> well it's over in the house, and i guess if they put the powive, they can push that out and send it over to the senate. i don't see a receptive audience. i don't know of one democrat that would vote for the process they're sending over for the piece of legislation. i'm not voting to repeal, judy. i've been very clear. i'm told president trump this many weeks ago. there's no way i can vote to
repeal and throw people off when i know the political toxic atmosphere that we have in washington, thinking that we can come back and repair it. they can get rid of it with 51 votes. they don't need a democrat. but they can't fix it unless they have eight of me, eight democrats who are willing to sit down and work and fix some of the market dhans we have that make it so really costly and very hard-- very much a hardship on a lot of people that did not get the expansion or the subsidies or any of that. so i understand where the problems are. but no one seems to want to fix it. so i said this. i said why don't we vote and sit down, have a work group voting on the market repairs that we could do, and see if you can get 60 votes before you throw the baby out with the bath water. >> woodruff: and have they responded affirmatively to any-- to your suggestions or anything like it? >> i've only had one-- one of my colleagues, republican senator, bill cass deerks has come over
and see wee sat down twice to see if there was a pathway frpd he had a piece of legislation. we looked at it. we told him our qrnz it, but we had a dialogue going. but basically, the house has gone off on their own, and the things we, bill and i, were talking about, didn't materialize so nobody seems to want to do anything. >> woodruff: i'm sorry to interrupt, but just quick leash at this point where do you see the legislation headed? >> i don't see it moving on this side, i really don't, on the senate side right now, unless there are some tremendous changes made. judy, let me just tell you, state of west virginia, 172,000 people got expansion. that means the people that were not on medicaid but within the 139 percentile. 172. another 36,000, 38,000, got basically subsidies. that means because of their income they were subsidized by $388. we had the donut hole fill for our seniors. we have a poorer population. all of a sudden now, all of of a sudden, they're going to give
the wealthiest of the wealthiest in the country $575 billion tax credits, $575 billion dollars. and that's going to be on the backs of the poor, the elderly, and those who have been addicted and in treatment centers or being able to get treated for addiction, which is a horrible problem for my state. so i get hit three ways. the poor get hit harder, the elderly pay more, and the people that are addict read not gog get treatment that's needed. >> woodruff: senator joe manchin of west virginia. we thank you. >> thank you, judy. >> woodruff: for more on questions about the trump campaign's connections with russia, the battle over healthcare and the president's newly leaked tax return, we turn to matt schlapp. he is chair of the american conservative union. and karine jean-pierre, she was a senior adviser to moveon.org
during the 2016 elections. and we welcome both of you to the program. matt, i'm going to start with you. it's been more than 10 days, i think, since president trump tweeted that president obama had wire tapped him. >> right. >> woodruff: during the campaign. so far, no evidence of this, investigation's under way weapon where does this stand? >> well, first of all, this term "wiretap" is kind of an old-fashioned term. what we have been readin read an most of the respected newspapers across the country, back before want election, through the inauguration, and afterwards, was that there were people in the trump team, on the trump team, who were under investigation for inappropriate ties with russia. there were phone calls that had been intercepted. all of this was reported. the question is was something done inappropriately? and i think that's what inge that's what the president wants to know, and i think a lot of other people want to know as well? >> woodruff: how much urgency is there around this question, karine? >> i think there should be a lot
more urgency than we're currently thinking. i think at this point it's up to the f.b.i. to step in and let us know what is really happening? i think one of the issues we're seeing here is donald trump is not being presidential. he tweets without understanding the consequences of his tweet. there's no measurement of what he's saying. and it's incredibly dangerous to accuse yurm predecessor of potentially break the law. and i think at the end of the day, we have to-- we have to really look and ask the question, "what happens if there is a true, actual national security crisis? are we going to believe donald trump?" >> woodruff: how much does it matter, matt, that we get to the bottom of this? >> it matters to me a lot because i actually think that if the obama administration was investigating the trump campaign, that is something we have not seen before. that is historic. and i want ton why. if that did happen, i want to know why it happened. and i think there's some explaining to do to the american voter. >> woodruff: and if it didn't happen, then the question goes
to why did president trump make this allegation? >>, of course, i think it's fair to say that people want to hear from the f.b.i., but this might shock of two of you-- there are a lot of us who have lost a little confidence in jim comey over the years. we probably want to hear from more people than just jim comey. >> woodruff: and that calls to mind, karine, there is this wider investigation going on into connections that matt alluded to a moment ago between the trump campaign and russian officials. we don't know where that stands. >> right, and we need to have a full, thorough investigation on that. clearly, there is serkial evidence that shows the trump organization has had some sort of contact with russia, and we really need to get to the bottom of it. yes, there should be a special prosecutor, but i also think there should be an independent bipartisan commission to really get down to the bottom of it, so we know that that commission has jurisdiction, that they could have spp power, and also that it's public, so we know, the american people know what's
going on. >> woodruff: right now you have all these investigations under way. >> step by step. we haven't even filled the senate-confirmed positions at the department of justice. both the house committees with jurisdiction need to do a full investigation, and then we can draw conclusions of what needs to do done after that. >> i think we could do all three. i don't think we have to do one or the other. >> don't we just want the answers? what does it matter what way you get the answers? >> why not give it to the public? why not show the public what's going on? >> woodruff: i want to turn you both to something that he was we're watching very closely and that is health care repeal and replace, the american health care act, matt. we are now seeing more and more republicans-- >> right. >> woodruff: saying they can't support the republican leadership bill that the white house signed on to. where is this headed? >> what they decided to do was just roll this out and jam it through. and in 21st century american politics that is a very difficult path to take. they would be smarter to bring people in. nothing, it seems, judy, gets people more passionate than the idea of their health care and
their very life, and they want to make sure we get it right. and i think jamming through a piece of legislation was the wrong way to start. they're now bringing people in. the president is bringing people in. i think that's going to give it a better chance of passage, but it's not there yet. >> woodruff: ithis is truly in trouble, karine, where do you see this going next? >> well, what they've presented, the republicans, with trumpcare, is it seems to be a plan that's more the survival of the fittest. like you were saying, alluding to, health care is incredibly personal. and the republicans had seven years, seven years to come up with something that would work for everyone. and they jammed this thing through, as you mentioned. they introduced it on march 7. they want to have a vote on it on april 7, and, of course, republicans are very upset about it. this is an assault on speernz you have costs going up, premiums going up, for people who really need it, as they're getting older. >> woodruff: so if this version doesn't work, we're going to look at some changes coming. >> if republicans don't pass a
replacement for obamacare this year, they are going to be nay world of hurt. now maybe i could expand it and say by the midterm election. but there has to be a plan that's put on place that pass so they have to figure out a way to go forward. i think they started off in the wrong way. but i think much of what's included in this plan does represent what needs to be done to fix the incredible mess obamacare left us in. >> woodruff: two pages of donald trump, president trump's tax returns from 2005. he paid a quarter of his income in taxes. how much have we really learned here? >> i think it brings up more questions than answers. it's unfortunate that we have to play this cat-and-mouse game just to get the president's tax returns. we still don't know who does he do business with? who does he owe money to? we know he's in debt. which foreign banks does he owe money. to? and i think all of these things are important ton because pease putting forth foreign policy and domestic policy, and we just don't have those answers yet.
>> woodruff: matt. >> he complied with the law. he had to give thorough financial disclosure documents to want s.e.c. people can go right now online and get those documents. i think what we learned on this rather ridiculous television show the other day with this leaked tax return is this ridiculous concept that he didn't pay taxes for the last 10 or 20 years was wrong, and actually, when you look at this year, he paid a higher percentage of thiz hiz taxes or his tax rate was higher than president obama, than bernie sanders, than mitt romney, than a lot of the people who have been criticizing him. >> woodruff: we'll have to leave it there. obviously a lot more to talk about. matt schlapp, karine jean-pierre, thank you. >> great to be with you. >> thank you. >> woodruff: stay with us. coming up on the newshour, what's behind the fed's interest rate hike. computers and brain implants that restore want ability to communicate. and the artistic process of
putting a face to fossils. but first, citizens of turkey vote next month in a referendum that could grant president reegypt edjuan controversial new powers. erdogan's push led to a showdown this week with dutch leaders, who denied two turkish ministers permission to rally support among turks in holland. and it comes amid an ongoing purge of tens of thousands of turkish state employees, as special correspondent malcolm brabant reports from istanbul. >> reporter: we won't shut up, we're not afraid, we will not obey, they chant. turkey's new outcasts are daring to protest, despite being labeled as enemies of the state in the great purge following last july's failed coup attempt. tens of thousands of teachers,
academics, judges, police officers and civil servants have been dismissed from their jobs and stripped of their passports. derya keskin, an assistant university professor was purged last september after she signed a petition calling for peace in turkey. >> well we can make a comparison between the mccarthy era and turkey right now. but this is, i think, worse. there are similarities, i'm sure but this is worse. it's just a pretext to get rid of all leftie people, all democrats, even liberals, it is expanding to the liberals actually. >> reporter: the blanket allegation made by the government is that the purged are followers of this man, fethullah gulen. a supposedly moderate muslim preacher, gulen is a former ally of president erdogan, who runs islamist schools and has a fervent following. the government alleges he runs a terrorist organization called feto, accuses him of
orchestrating the coup attempt and is demanding that the u.s. extradites him from exile in pennsylvania. are you a gulenist, are you a terrorist? >> i'm not a gulenist, i'm not a terrorist. i'm against all kinds of violence. i condemn every kind of violence, that's why i signed the peace petition. >> during the mccarthy era and during the stalin era, the historical circumstances were totally different. >> reporter: political scientist ahmet kasim han says turks traditionally favor stability over liberty. and suggests there is some merit in the government's depiction of fethullah gulen as a dark force trying to destabilize turkey. >> in turkey there is an issue which is very hard for the western mind to grasp. turkey has really gone through a very aberrant coup attempt which has unfolded a series of events that has even made the most informed turk surprised to the
level of infiltration of the gulenist movement to the state. >> reporter: if politics is a source of division in turkey, then so is religion. almost all of the roughly 80 million turks are muslims. but opinion polls suggest around half the population opposes the growing islamization of the country under president erdogan. since 2002, when he became the dominant figure in turkish politics, the state has built an estimated 17,000 mosques. this small traditional mosque will soon be dwarfed by minarets of a new islamic landmark slated for taksim square in the secular heart of istanbul. hassan kara is the chief imam of sultanahmed, istanbul's blue mosque. >> ( translated ): because recip tayyip erdogan is a muslim, a
man of character and brave, who speaks out fearlessly, the public have taken to him as a man of the people and view him as an idol and role model. >> reporter: what worries tens of millions of turks is that the vision of kemal ataturk, the father of the modern nation, is more seriously under threat than ever before. ataturk revolutionized turkey in the 1920s by realigning it away from the eastern world towards the west, and enshrining secularism in the constitution. ataturk's legacy was at the heart of this campaign meeting to fight against erdogan's education policy, whereby state schools are transformed into overtly religious institutions, and creationism is promoted over evolution. aysel celikel heads the society for the promotion of contemporary life. >> ( translated ): this situation is of course worrying us because the political powers have said they want to raise a religious generation. with all these prayer rooms and small mosques opening up at
schools with the kind of education on offer, they are really pumping this idea of a religious generation. >> reporter: this is fatih, a traditionally conservative district of istanbul, where the majority of women cover their heads. we've come to meet ihsan eliacik, a renowned muslim theologian and writer. he worries the turkish leader might not be able to control more radical islamists within the country. he's concerned about home grown extremists as well as islamic state militants, who, earlier in the syria conflict, enjoyed fairly free movement in turkey. >> ( translated ): there might be a danger of conflict because with the ruling party, islamic extremists became too powerful. the ruling party unwittingly helped them flourish and especially because of the syrian conflict they grew stronger, they got hold of weapons and they got organized, they thrived. so it will take time to eliminate them and to neutralize them. >> reporter: president erdogan inspires adulation and disdain in fairly equal measure. he argues that changing the
constitution will help make government more efficient. >> ( translated ): turkey has come to a crossroads on changing the system of government. the process has started. >> reporter: the popularity and policies of president erdogan are about to be put to the test in a referendum to determine whether the country should have a united states style executive presidency, but without the checks and balances. if erdogan wins, he will have much more power, enabling him to get rid of the prime minister. the role of parliament will be much reduced. his opponents fear that victory would turn an already authoritarian leader into a fully fledged dictator. the changes could enable erdogan to stay in office until 2029. this pro government rally was addressed by the prime minister, who was effectively campaigning for the president to make him redundant. >> ( translated ): these reforms are a historic opportunity for our country. with a strong presidency, military authority, military coups and elite groups will be history. nobody will try to interfere in
the business of people and politicians elected by people. >> ( translated ): i am here for the unity of our country and for sake of our youth's future. >> reporter: we don't want to be in chains. we won't allow anyone to lord over us, cry the no campaigners. president erdogan's opponents fear that his victory on april 16th will accelerate turkey towards becoming a theocracy or religious state like iran. that's why turkey's nato partners will be watching this historic vote with keen interest. for the pbs newshour, i'm malcolm brabant in istanbul. >> woodruff: after years of holding interest rates at a near zero level, the fed has raised its benchmark rate again and seems to be moving toward a more regular rise in rates.
jeffrey brown looks at how the fed has changed its outlook for the economy, and the path ahead for policymakers. >> brown: in the past, federal reserve chairwoman janet yellen has expressed concerns about the strength of the recovery. but today she told reporters, "we have confidence in the robustness of the economy and its resilience to shocks." david wessel is the director of the hutchins center on fiscal brookings institution, and contributing correspondent to the "wall street journal." david, a largely positive message, right, the sustainable growth continues and can continue. what is the fed seeing? >> well, the fed is seeing that unemployment has come down to the level that they consider full employment. they seem to have a great deal of confidence that the economy has finally got some momentum. janet yellen cited the confidence of the business community and consumers showing up in surveys. so-- and she was very, very upbeat, i think. >> brown: slightly higher inflation but at a reasonable level, right? so they're not worried about overheatath this point.
>> they're finally getting to their goal of getting inflation close to 2%, getting unemployment down. she noted that the labor force participation rate, the fraction of people work orglooking for work seems to be going up a little bit, even though we have an aging population. so she seemed to be very happy with the way the economy is going. >> brown: but clearly signaling that this is the trend, right, that there will be more hikes to come? >> this is the trend, but gradual. there was a lot of talk about gradual. if you look at the forecast that the members of the fed's policymaking committee said, they're basically seeing a couple of interest rate increases this year. that would still get ug to, like, maybe 1.5% by the beginning of next year, still very, very low. >> brown: so you put together today and this kind of trend. what impact on consumers? >> well, this will mean that people are going to pay more to borrow. mortgage rates have already gone up. they're around 4.2% fair 30-year mortgage. they were below 4% just a few months ago. people who borrow on their credit cards will see more.
and eventually-- although it use takes a long time-- people who have money in the banks, savings accounts, certificates of deposit, will see those rates creep up. >> brown: there has been a lot of discussion in recent weeks as the fed raises the rates, versus this-- with a steady growth in mind-- versus the president, who talks about a real push forward, right? >> right. >> brown: and really getting the economy going. >> i think what the fed fears is that if donald trump gets big tax cuts and big spending increases that take effect right now, when the economy is close to full employment, they'll have to raise rates more rapidly. but janet yellen made clear they're raising rates now without much anticipation of a big fiscal move. if they get one, i suspect they'll raise rates more rapidly. she did make the point if congress and the president could agree on things that get the long-term growth representative up-- the rate of productivity growth or bringing people into the workforce-- that's something the felled would applaud. >> brown: she was scaid little bit about relations with the new
administration. it's always a little dellicate dance a bit, right. >> i think she was prepared for the question. >> brown: clearly. >> she said wonderful things about the treasury secretary. she said she had met donald trump. i think her attitude is going to be we have an independent central bank fair reason. i'm going to do what i think is right. and i suspect the people at the fed realize at some point they're likely to be the target of an angry donald trump tweet when he thinks they're raising rates too fast. >> brown: very quickly, in the meantime the stock market keeps going up, even with the rates going up. that doesn't seem to matter. >> the stock market was relieved the fed didn't sound tougher today, and the stock market figures everything they like about crump will come true, and everything they're afraid of about donald trump will not come true. >> brown: david wessel, thank you as always. >> you're welcome. >> woodruff: for decades, researchers have worked to create a better and more direct connection between a human brain
and computer to improve the lives of people who are paralyzed or have severe limb weakness from diseases like a.l.s. those advances have been notable, but now the work is yielding groundbreaking results. special correspondent cat wise has the story, for our weekly segment about the "leading edge" of science and technology. >> reporter: dennis degray is a 64-year-old quadriplegic who is writing a sentence on the computer screen in front of him using only his brain. a former volunteer firefighter, degray had a bad fall 10 years ago which severed his spinal cord. as part of an early stage clinical research study led by stanford university, degray and two other volunteer participants with a.l.s. had small sensors implanted in their brains in an area called the motor cortex which controls movement.
even though degray can no longer physically move his arms, the neurons in that part of his brain, and in the brains of many other paralyzed individuals, remain active. the sensors in degray's brain listen in to those neurons which emit different electrical signals depending on the direction degray thinks about moving his hand. >> to move the pointer around. i imagine a ball lying on a table and with my hand lying on the ball. and as i roll the ball forward the pointer goes up, and as i roll the ball back toward me the pointer goes down. and of course left and right correspondingly. >> reporter: the neural signals are transmitted to the computer through two devices that screw into small pieces of equipment called pedestals protruding from degray's scalp. in the computer, sophisticated algorithms turn the movements in his mind into cursor movements on the screen. >> to be able to utilize a
portion of my body that has not worked to actually cause and effect is great fun. just great fun. >> if you'd asked me five years ago if i thought i would see these types of systems becoming available anytime within my lifetime, i would have been pretty skeptical. but i would say now that within the next 10 years or so, we will probably begin to see systems that can restore function to people with paralysis. >> reporter: dr. jaimie henderson is a professor of neurosurgery at stanford university. he implanted the sensors in degray's brain, and he is one of the leaders of a scientific team, from several universities around the country, working on the technology called braingate. >> the principles by which we're reading out brain signals are well established. the research advance is using the computer algorithms to figure out what the brain is doing. an operating system that can
read out signals on millisecond timescales and feed that back to the user so that they can be in very tight feedback loop with the machine and use it more efficiently. >> reporter: that improved efficiency in the braingate operating system, which has been in development for more than a decade, is at the heart of a new research paper dr. henderson and his colleagues released. the study, which was funded in part by the national institutes of health, also a newshour funder, highlighted the typing results of degray and the two others in the study. >> our participants in this study were able to type at anywhere between 20 to up to almost 40 correct characters per minute, which translates to somewhere between four and eight words per minute, which is the fastest typing now demonstrated in people with paralysis by a factor of anywhere from two to four. this allows you to type at speeds that are now approaching what you can use on a cellphone. >> reporter: surveys of those with paralysis show that speed of communication is important to them.
that's one of the frustrations with current systems that track eye and face movements. one of the goals of the research now is evaluate the safety of brain-computer interfaces, but there are still a lot of questions and concerns about connecting brains to computers. it's a debate the stanford team embraces. >> over the past few decades we've become increasingly comfortable with having various devices implanted in our bodies. >> reporter: study co-author krishna shenoy says his broader research with neural prosthetics shows people are comfortable with much more now than just knee replacements. for example, electrodes to control parkinson's tremors. >> 15 years ago society started to become comfortable with deep brain stimulators. when you turn the system on, the tremor essentially stops. it's like magic. tens of thousands of people are walking around every day with these electronic systems in their brains. so the question is, is there
something sacrosanct about the brain, that we shouldn't go there, this is extremely important to be guided by bio- ethics, neuro-ethics, but this is a case where we can do tremendous good if this is developed and deployed correctly. >> reporter: dennis degray says that while he's able to utilize a range of communication systems, he's participating in the trial to help advance a technology that may benefit those who don't have as many options. >> what we're performing here is basic science. we're building a foundation upon which the roboticists, the communicators, the mechanical engineers, medical prosthetic device manufacturers, all of them will be able to utilize the controls that we are learning about at this point. >> we've i think made slow but steady progress, and are getting to the point where we can now really imagine systems that can be fully implanted, wireless,
able to be used 24 hours a day without calibration. i think we're still a ways away from that, but we're getting closer. >> reporter: the stanford research team hopes to enroll another trial participant in the next year or two. and they are now exploring ways to connect people, and their brains, to new devices. for the pbs newshour, i'm cat wise in palo alto, california. >> woodruff: and we'll be back shortly with a look at an artist who brings dinosaur fossils to life. but first, take a moment to hear from your local pbs station. it's a chance to offer your support, which helps keep programs like ours on the air. >> woodruff: for those stations still with us we take a second look at an effort to combine sustainable agriculture with entrepreneurship in developing countries.
special correspondent fred de sam lazaro reports from earth university, a campus in costa rica that aims to do just that. this story originally aired last fall. >> reporter: it is quite likely is the only university in the world where traffic stops for bananas: millions of them wrapped tightly in blue plastic. earth university actually was a commercial banana plantation before being converted in 1992 to a university to train students from developing countries grappling with climate change and growing populations. funds came from the u.s. and costa rican governments and the michigan based kellogg foundation. >> when we first came to this property, the whole river was contaminated with the blue plastic bag. that also have chemical inside to protect it, to protect it from insects. and when the first group of students came, we brought them here and we started to pick all
the plastic. >> reporter: today, university co founder joze zaglul says the blue plastic bags are recycled and tons of plant waste-stalks; fruits that don't make the grade-- things that used to be discarded-- are collected and fed to livestock. >> so we don't use chemicals in the bags. and we also are using an organic fungicide. >> reporter: these bananas are labeled as "responsibly grown" and sold across the u.s. in whole foods stores. the enterprise supports dozens of local jobs and scholarships >> that girl over there, she's from panama. that guy is from brazil. she is from ecuador. that guy you see, he's from somaliland in africa. >> reporter: 43 countries are represented here; a majority of the 400 students depend on financial aid. from 1,600 applications, about 110 are admitted each year
>> what we attempt to discover their interest to go back to the countries, because we are about forming leaders, and individuals that really overcome barriers. >> reporter: yves rusanganwa is a first year student from rwanda-born soon after that country's genocide. >> i grew up hearing about hunger, hearing about poverty, hearing epidemic diseases, i grew up in that environment so as i was growing up i grew up a passion inside me of doing something in this world and try to change that history. >> reporter: many students say a lack of knowledge hinders productivity and keeps most farmers in their homelands in poverty. jose zaglul says doing agriculture on small land- or even no land-is an important part of the curriculum.
>> at home, in the schools, on rooftops in the cities. and you don't have to utilize so much energy and fossil fuels to transport them. >> reporter: across campus, fruits and vegetables are grown in unlikely containers, with unlikely tools. >> all the bottles that you see there, its like drip irrigation. >> reporter: the campus tries to model the ideal, carbon neutral world it wants its graduates to help create. zaglul says that's sometimes involved taking risks-like the decision at the start to keep producing bananas >> it used to cost us 25 cents more per box to do all this sustainable practices, and nobody would pay us for that. i tell you we were losing money, but we had to show the students that it is possible to do sustainable business. >> reporter: possible, he says, because over time recycling and not using pesticides save money. then came the right large
customer: whole foods. besides the classroom and field emphasis on sustainable practices, students are encouraged to develop business ideas. 23-year-old senior diderot saintilma plans for when he returns to his native haiti. >> ( translated ): where i come from there are a lot of peanut farmers. they don't do very much post harvest processing. so i'd like to start an association or cooperative of small peanut farmers so they can get added value for products. >> reporter: many graduates have taken ideas from here to the business world. for costa rican joaquin viquez, it was animal waste recycling-- solids are separated to make fertilizer while large bladders or bio-digesters break down liquid wastes to capture methane, or biogas. its not new technology, he says, it simply wasn't commercialized for farms in developing countries
>> there was no one you could call or no store you could go and say 'hey i want a digester.' and so we made it technically accessible and we do a lot of efforts to make it economically feasible for the farmer. >> reporter: on this day, they were installing a digester at the calderon family farm, with about 100 head of dairy and beef cows. >> ( translated ): i took a course recently at the national institute of learning and they talked about global warming and hygiene and i really came back wanting to have a clean farm, so i contacted a microfinance agency, talked to my husband, used our savings to do this. >> reporter: viquez says not only will this family be reducing greenhouse gases emitted by unprocessed animal wastes but their energy savings over time will more than cover the digester's $3400 cost >> they're not going to have to use any firewood or propane for the cooking.
they're going to have a surplus >> reporter: viquez is one of about 2,000 earth university alumni, jose zaglul says each on average has created four other jobs and their influence has spread in other ways. many commercial banana producers have adopted practices that began here, he says. for the pbs newshour, this is fred de sam lazaro in guapile, costa rica. >> woodruff: now to our newshour shares, something that caught our eye that might be of interest to you, too. nothing captures the imaginations of children and adults alike quite like dinosaurs. but for one artist, a childhood love of prehistoric creatures inspired a unique, and prolific, career. special correspondent david biello explains. >> reporter: julius csotonyi
draws dinosaurs, for a living. csotonyi is a paleoartist. his job is using his artistic skills to bring fossilized bones back to life. >> we can't go out and photograph it anymore. this is why paleoart is crucial to communicating certain aspects of the science. >> reporter: csotonyi's skills are highly sought after by paleontologists such as michael ryan, the curator of vertebrate paleontology at the cleveland museum of natural history. >> it takes our research one step further than we could do it on our own. >> reporter: ryan's specialty is horned dinosaurs, called known as ceratopsians, of which triceratops is the most famous example. when ryan discovers uncovers a new ceratopsian, he often calls on csotonyi to introduce it to the public bring it back to life. >> julius is one of the best of the current crop of new dinosaur artists. he did a beautiful piece when we named a new horned dinosaur from southern alberta called xenoceratops. >> reporter: just before the published, when a new dinosaur is identified, csotonyi and ryan discuss its major anatomical features, and what it's living
environment may have been. then csotonyi gets to work. >> i mostly start at the head. over several rounds of revision and review, we come to a rough sketch that is agreeable to everybody and then i start to add the color layers to it. >> reporter: the final piece shows what a dinosaur like xenoceratops might have looked like in real life. >> we're trying to get our research out to the public. we can do that by writing scientific papers, we can put the bones that make up those fossils on display in museums. >> people visually cue off a nice, colorful painting of a dinosaur. >> reporter: every year, millions of people see csotonyi's work in books, in magazines, and at more than 20 museums around the world. >> i would be doing it in my free time anyway, even if it wasn't a job. i do my best at visualizing what these looked like when they were actually alive and to try to take people through this world that is no longer accessible to us. >> reporter: for the pbs newshour, i'm aaron martin in cleveland, ohio. >> woodruff: late breaking news out of hawaii. a federal judge there has
granted a temporary restraining order blocking presiden trump, s revised travel ban from taking effect nationwide. the ban was set to take effect at midnight. it temporarily barred travelers from six muslim-majrity countries and most refugees from entering the u.s. >> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us online, and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you and see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> it's hard not to feel pride as a citizen of this country when we're in a place like this. >> supported by the rockefeller foundation. promoting the well-being of
humanity around the world by building resilience and inclusive economies. more at 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. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org