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tv   BBC World News America  PBS  April 6, 2017 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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>> this is "bbc world news america." funding of this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation, newman's own foundation, giving all profits from newman's own to charity and pursuing the common good, kovler foundation, pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs, and aruba tourism authority. >> planning a vacation escape that is relaxing, inviting, and exciting is a lot easier than you think. you can find it here in aruba. families, couples, and friends can all find their escape on the island with warm, sunny days, cooling trade winds, and the
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crystal blue caribbean sea. nonstop flights are available from most major airports. more information for your vacation planning is available at aruba.com. >> and now, "bbc world news." tim: this is "bbc world news america." reporting from washington, i am tim willcox. the language hardens, but how will washington retaliate after the chemical weapons attack in syria? >> it is a serious matter that requires a serious response. tim: warm weather but cooler s ahead forn president xi jinping as he arrives in florida for his meeting with donald trump. what do many great leaders have in common? they are great readers. the books that have gone to the top.
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♪ tim: hello, welcome to "world news america." after the horror of tuesday's chemical attack in syria, a tangible sense in washington tonight the mood and potential literary response to president bashar al-assad -- potential military response to president bashar al-assad is hardening. president trump has repeated his moral outrage at the attack that left 70 dead as has secretary of , state rex tillerson. could a immediate military response be in the cards? reporter: yesterday we saw him grieving for his twin children poisoned in the attack. today he suffered the further , agony of burying them.
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often the images we see from syria are of helpless victims caught in a spiral of violence they had no way of controlling. but today these syrians became , activists. doctors, rescue workers, children, a silent protest, expression of dignified rage, act of self-preservation. they are demanding punishment for the assad regime and protection from the international community. growing signs tonight both could come from the trump administration. its top diplomat confirming a military response is being considered and say president assad will have to go. secretary tillerson: we are considering an appropriate response for this chemical weapons attack from which violates all previous u.n. resolutions, international norms, and long-held agreements between parties, including the syrian regime, the russian government, and all other members of the un security council. it is a serious matter. it requires a serious response.
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[applause] reporter: today america's commander-in-chief honored wounded warriors from past conflicts. this has been a big stress test of his america first approach, in which exercising moral and humanitarian leadership was not considered central. but the chemical attack has clearly altered that thinking. as he indicated tonight aboard air force one. president trump: what assad is terrible. i think what happened in syria is one of the truly egregious crimes. and it shouldn't have happened. it shouldn't be allowed to happen. reporter: the diplomatic battleground in this conflict has long been the united nations security council. it has seen a struggle primarily between united states and russia, and they clashed again over the wording of a draft resolution responding to the. attack. the british and the french drafted this resolution, and the americans inserted much stronger demands. they are insisting that the syrian military hand over all
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the flight logs for the day of the attack, and also give international investigators access to its airbases. the russians say that is unacceptable. the americans are refusing to back down. the syrian government continues to claim it wasn't responsible for the chemical weapons attack. >> our army has never used chemical weapons and will not use chemical weapons, not only against our civilians, people, but also against terrorists. reporter: the international investigation is now underway as victims of the mess closings -- math poisonings being treated in hospitals providing major clues. samples taken from them and postmortems carried out on the dead have left the turkish government in no doubt the assad regime carried out the attack. >> unfortunately, it is very clear to us that the assad regime has no hesitation using chemical weapons. they attacked with chemical
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weapons. reporter: the gruesome images from syria do appear to have stirred a visceral response from donald trump. he often react to what he sees on television. there is increasing indication his outrage will be expressed in some kind of military response. nick bryant, bbc news, new york. tim: for more on what that response should become i spoke a short time ago to admiral james stavridis. i asked him what he thought should happen now. admiral stavridis: i think in syria today we should launch a series of strikes against the aside's air force, sending a signal that he has used the aircraft to deliver chemical weapons, sarin gas, a complete violation of international law. it is time to punish him for crossing a redline that we supposedly set back in 2013 and now is the time to launch those strikes. i think you'll see that.
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tim: how do you keep russia on board? adm. stavridis: i don't think we are going to keep russia on board, other than to say your partner, your patron is violating international law, do not get in the way of our strikes. and i think russia will respect that, to be honest with you. tim: the thoughts of admiral james stavridis. we will be hearing more from him later in the program. there has been high political drama on capitol hill. first, the chair of the house intelligence committee announced he is stepping down from the panel investigation into claims of russian interference in the american election. then republican senators took what is being called the nuclear option to smooth the way for president trump's supreme court nominee neil gorsuch. with devin nunes, it seems like the obvious thing to do. why did it take so long?
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nuneshink chairman thought he was safe. the more revelations that came out about his going to the white with, and with meetings white house officials, fed into the narrative that mr. nunes was covering for the president. tim: recusing himself now will not go down very well with donald trump. >> if i was the president i would think nunes had my back. if i donald trump, i would say, am why do we need to bring these other folks in? i had every confidence that nunes would do the right thing. tim: on to neil gorsuch -- as predicted, the nuclear option. what does that mean for the future lack of bipartisanship, perhaps in the senate, and what , this will mean in years to come? >> we have to go back to 2003 to see what this means for future events.
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in 2003, then majority leader harry reid changed for lower courts, inferior courts, to say you do not need a 60 vote threshold anymore. you can do it with a simple majority. fast forward to where we are today. gorsuch has support from republicans but there is fear among democrats he is out of the mainstream. what we saw today was a changing of the rules, lowering the threshold to simple majority of 51. what does that mean? toxic for the senate. you will see supreme court justices being chosen for their ideological perspective rather than being honest jurists. tim: was that a difficult decision for the democrats to force this one through? long-term it will create problems. >> extraordinarily difficult. you have to recognize, we have not done this since 1789, requiring a filibuster for the supreme court justice. now that the democrats have played that filibuster and republicans change the rules, relations between the parties
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will be very toxic. tim: overshadowing all of this is the hardening rhetoric on syria. i mean that will be tough call , come with donald trump and xi jinping in mar-a-lago at the moment. >> the optics of this cannot be more significant, and they could not be anymore serious. you have an atrocity going on, human rights violation going on with chemical weapons. president trump said he would be for syphilis and act swiftly if something happen, and out -- now something happened. tim: and when i say redlines from these are red lines. >> the we need to make sure we are acting to save people and not projecting power for the sake of power. donald trump has to be very careful in using that power to assure allies we are protecting innocent lives while not provoking the russians. tim: ron christie, good to see you. you are watching "bbc world news america."
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as we discussed xi jinping as with president trump at the moment. they are sent to discuss trade, and also the threat from north korea. first, our north america editor. >> president trump in the first lady arrived in florida a short time ago or what promises to be the most consequential meeting of his presidency. just a moment before xi jinping arrived. there sharply different visions. rippedgetting absolutely by china. we cannot continue to allow china to rape our country. travel down the coast from here to the port of miami and you can he with the president is talking about. farmer goods are coming in from china pan american product's going the other way. it is a massive imbalance, it could spark a trade war.
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like toresident would see more of a balance in the exports and imports, but i don't not think where going to get into a trade war with china. it would not be good for the united states and not good for china, either. jon: and a picture is more complex than the campaign rhetoric. take apple iphones. this is an american company that chooses to manufacture in china. in total, u.s. companies account for 40% of the imports coming in from the asian superpower. within america, there is more and more chinese investment, like this facility in ohio creating tens and thousands of jobs. this is the number one foreign policy concern of the trump administration, frustration that china hasn't done more. and donald trump has threatened to go it alone. a bad idea says this north korea expert. >> we would do better at it if we were doing it in conjunction with china and the republic of korea than separately.
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jon: they are unhappy about chinese expansionism in the south china sea. that issue might get touched upon, but it is not central to the concerns today, where the focus is on trade and north korea. jon sopel, bbc news, palm beach, florida. carrie: president xi likes to play the strong man. every appearance choreographed, every meeting scripted. he doesn't do risky blind dates. but in florida, he hopes to seize the day and shake president trump's china policy in a way that suits china. last time president xi visited the u.s., he made the point that companies like boeing earn good money in china. but with economic growth slowing at home, he can ill afford a
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trade war with his biggest market, and he will have to offer help for u.s. exports and jobs. >> he can promise enormous investment in areas of the united states, and in a sense, allow president trump to claim that he is bringing jobs back from china to the united states. carrie: 90% of north korea's trade goes through china, which does give president xi leverage. he has already stopped pyongyang's cold marches and -- hold barges, and do more to may discourage kim jong-un's nuclear program. he doesn't trust him, but he trusts the u.s. even less. >> china believes the u.s. is using north korea as an excuse to deploy aggressive strategic military assets close to china. and he is using this military
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assets to contain china militarily. carrie: there will be no golf to build rapport, but if mr. xi can head off a trade war and temper mr. trump's tweets on north korea, he will call this florida summit a triumph. carrie gracie, bbc news. tim: you are watching "bbc world news america." still to come on tonight's program with the former favorite , in the french presidential elections caught up in a cloud of corruption allegations, how radical will the country be under the two new front runners? in just over a week, turkey will hold a referendum on whether to grant -- powers making him head of the government executive as well as out-of-state.
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our correspondent, mark lauren has been to his hometown. >> through the haze above theey's black sea coast, president's family hails from this region. rizzo is the heart of turkey's tea growers. like this man he will always back a local boy. >> he is one of us. other parties were bourgeois, but he speaks our language. he gets aggressive like we do, and tells the world what we want to say. that touch, his o'reilly's now separate men and women.
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separate men and women. he plans to scrap the prime minister, choose the cabinet , and issue decrees. the blacks the boy has risen to the top, but to become all-powerful he needs to consolidate his support days. that sets his voters against his opponents internal and external, classic divide and conquer. champion of muslims, builder of infrastructure, president one is revered and reviled. news.owen, bbc tim: they first round of the french presidential election is
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just two weeks away. formerfrancois fillon, a favorite to win was flower bombed as he campaigned in strasburg. -- net net with marine le pen. she found voters in a distinctly and to establishment mood. reporter: sun, song, and provincial charm cascade through the streets of the market. like much of france, so appealing on the outside, but bubbling with resentment on the in. "we need radical change," he told me. "our politicians line their pockets while we struggle to make ends meet." she said her country was beautiful but governed by crooks. this strong antiestablishment
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feeling plays into the hands of far right presidential hopeful marine le pen, the outsider in french politics. le pen activists were campaigning hard today. >> i work for a patriotic program, a complete change of -- for france and the people say , they are with us. reporter: the le pen campaign casts a wide net. marine targets angry low-income workers in the north. both are anti-immigration and anti-globalization. but now there is a rival antiestablishment kid in town, liberal rebel emmanuel macron. back in the market, team macron was on a charm offensive. >> with emmanuel macron, we have
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a choice to help someone who is defending our convictions. we are not against free trade or globalization or immigration. [laughter] reporter: the macron appeal is he is an insider outsider, traditional political background but useful, unconventional. he is chatting to schoolchildren about his vision for a new france, neither right nor left wing. but it is not only the future of france riding on these elections. france is and eu heavyweight, historically, politically, and economically. but the leading presidential candidates here want to pull the country in different directions. in deep with emmanuel macron, who even campaigns with eu
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balloons, and marine le pen wants out of the euro and possibly the union altogether. but could the you survive frexit? hardly, say even brussels insiders. >> it would be a disaster for europe if le pen won. after brexit, if france goes, the eu would have no military poweranymore, no nuclear compared to china or russia or , america. the eu would be nothing anymore. reporter: but many are unmoved by the drama. the number of abstentions and a voters last-minute voters is is expected to be high here. it could decide the direction of france and beyond. bbc news, south of france. tim: it is often said a person of wide reading is a person of culture.
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military leaders throughout history have also learned wisdom and humanity from great works of literature. but what are the key works that have shaped the views and provided the greatest lessons for modern political leaders and warriors? it is a question that the former nato supreme allied commander james stavridis set out to answer in his new book. we heard from him earlier and here is our discussion. lessons in leadership -- how and why? adm. stavridis: first and foremost, the world is so turbulent that we need to think more consciously about how to produce better leaders, and you become a better leader not only through your experiences, not only through the gifts you are given at birth, but through self-study and reading. and so the idea is to produce a , book that would help anybody be a better leader. tim: how much leadership can be learned by books alone? adm. stavridis: i think a significant amount, and i will tell you why.
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because a book is like a simulator. it allows you to plug yourself into a different situation, different time, different culture, and see how others have taken on the challenges of leadership and imagine yourself in that world. and i think that is a profoundly impactful way to become a better leader. tim: what interested me was this idea of warrior bibliophile dating back to caesar, who carried around a library with him. napoleon as well. just explain more about that and the context, the historical references they were looking at. adm. stavridis: indeed. leadership is fundamental to all military activities. so, it shouldn't be unusual when we think of great military leaders who are also great readers. secondly, militaries rely on tradition and history to help create their ethos. and thirdly, military leaders need to understand geography. they need to understand history. they need to understand context. all of that comes from reading,
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and thus, if you look at the reading lists or the war chests of books that people like napoleon carried into the the battlefield, you can learn a lot about being a better leader. tim: you are reading daily even when you were supreme allied commander of nato. i mean, it defies belief. how do you have time to do your day job? adm. stavridis: first of all, i think sleep is highly overrated. you have got to stay up and read. secondly, i think it is important to find spare corners of time in your life, and one of the things that is certainly true for me as the supreme allied commander of nato was i was traveling constantly. so, instead of having a glass of scotch and watching a movie on an airplane, i would take a book and read, or even in a car, find time and space to read. and then thirdly, in today's electronic world, your whole library is with you everywhere you go -- on your kindle, even your iphone.
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tim: and just compare and contrast recent presidents and political leaders, those who read a lot and those perhaps who don't. adm. stavridis: indeed. our previous two presidents, both barack obama and george -- both enormous readers. i would exchange book ideas with them. president trump, on the other hand, very famously is not a reader of books. i think he should be. there are a number of books in "a leader's bookshelf" that would be incredibly instructive for president trump to be reading. so, it varies, but the constant is that you can learn from books to be a better leader. tim: admiral stavridis, thank you very much for joining us. adm. stavridis: thanks a lot. tim: just before we go, some sad nose about comedian and actor don rickles has died at his home in los angeles. he was 90. he will be remembered by many
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for his fast-paced comic insult and sarcasm delivered without fear or favor, he was known affectionately as the merchant of venom. farewell, don rickles. more about that on our website. for me, tim willcox, see you soon. >> make sense of international news at bbc.com/news. >> funding of this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation, newman's own foundation, giving all profits from newman's own to charity and pursuing the common good, kovler foundation, pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs, and aruba tourism authority. >> planning a vacation escape that is relaxing, inviting, and exciting is a lot easier than you think. you can find it here in aruba. families, couples, and friends can all find their escape on the
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island with warm, sunny days, cooling trade winds, and the crystal blue caribbean sea. nonstop flights are available from most major airports. more information for your vacation planning is available at aruba.com. >> "bbc world news" was presented by kcet, los angeles.
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captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight... >> you change the nominees, you don't change the rules. >> if they won't confirm gorsuch, they won't confirm any nominee of this president. >> woodruff: in a historic move, senate republicans invoke the so-called "nuclear option" to clear the way for president trump's supreme court nominee. then, as the president hosts china's leader in florida at his mar-a-lago resort, a look at the cost of protecting the commander in chief, his family members and their residences. and, with republicans aiming to loosen or undo strict obama-era banking regulations, we sit down with an outgoing federal reserve bo

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