tv PBS News Hour PBS August 17, 2017 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> sreenivasan: good evening, i'm hari sreenivasan. judy woodruff is away. on the newshour tonight, terror in barcelona-- a van plows through a busy tourist area in spain leaving more than a dozen people dead and 100 injured. also ahead, as the nation reels from charlottesville, city officials across the country grapple with what to do about confederate monuments now under renewed scrutiny. plus, the future of retail-- while more brick and mortar stores close down, can e- commerce make up for the loss of jobs? >> the rise of the fulfillment center jobs, is having the effect of reducing inequality, because what you're doing is you're talking about raising the wages for people with a high school education, by 30%. that's significant. >> sreenivasan: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour.
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>> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> sreenivasan: 13 dead, scores more hurt, two arrests: grim results of today's attack in barcelona, where a speeding vehicle vaulted a sidewalk and drove down its victims. it follows similar attacks across europe, and last weekend, in charlottesville, virginia. for more, we turn to max gayler, reporting for reuters in barcelona, and lorenzo vidino, who leads the program on extremism at george washington university. spain hasn't been the site of this attacks. we've seen a lot of focus on london and france. >> yeah, the last time spain was hit was in 2004 when we had the ma -- madrid bombings.
since europe has been i.s.i.s.ing linked, spain has not been touched by radicalization and attacks as some of the northern and central european countries have. >> sreenivasan: why is that? for a number of reasons but mostly mobilization in europe for i.s.i.s. has been a second generation phenomenon. the southern countries like spain and italy do not have a lot of second generation muslims, persons born and raised in those countries. so i'm not saying spain has not been touched by radicalization. we have problems. if you look at the spanish enclaves in moroccan territory where apparently at least one of the attackers came from, those areas had a lot of problems, but mainland spain has not been hit with the same intensity in terms of numbers of people radicalized and in terms of foreign fighters, let's say france, u.k., germany and belgium. >> sreenivasan: how good are
the security systems in place in spain with the individuals behind this? were they on the radar? >> since 2004, spain has increased its counterterrorism capabilities. this is a country that has been hit by another form of terrorism, the bosque national terrorism for a long time. so it has experience dealing with terrorism. obviously as with other law enforcement in the united states as well, they can't intercept or monitor everything. they have disrupted quite a few plots over the last few years, hundreds have been arrested, this, again, in a country that has not seen the levels of radicalization as other european countries. in barcelona as well, a plot was thwarted last year, pretty sophisticated one. having said that, it's the experience of everybody from europe to the united states that something always falls through the cracks. i think we'll see in the next few hours whether the individuals who carried out the
attack were known to law enforcement as is often the case, had not known what happened, and i think that's something we'll pull out to sea. >> sreenivasan: this area is popular with tourists. but the method of attack, using a car, a van, anything, it's almost unstoppable. >> it is. i think you've seen a lot of european countries have put barriers in pedestrian areas. to be honest, i'm a bit surprised the city of barcelona has not done that in an area that is hugely popular with tourists. i think barcelona is one of the top three destinations of tourists and las ramblas especially, any time day or night is flooded with tourists. i think that's something that will have to be discussed in the aftermath of the attack. but obviously you can't block city centers, you can't close down places like arenas, an
attack in manchester or any kind of social life. so, obviously, as any country and i think we've seen that in the states as well, certain precautions have been taken, but you cannot stop life, you cannot militarize. >> sreenivasan: what about the coordination between interpol, other european countries, are they sharing information fast enough between countries to say you might have a threat here, here are three or four people who just crossed our border into yours? >> it is much better compared to a few years back. it is not perfect. interposition does a good job. a lot of limitations in what can be done. i think you still have political dissidents, even some cases within individual countries, in some cases that may apply to spain, i'm not saying that's the case now, but political tensions between catalunya and the
spanish government. and that's counterintelligence and information sharing. information sharing is problematic. >> sreenivasan: lorenzo vidino, george washington university, thank you so much. >> thank you. >> sreenivasan: in a series of tweets, president trump condemned the attack and offered help to the people of spain and raised a claim that the u.s. army used bullets dipped in pigs' blood to quell muslim rebels in the philippines years ago. the story has been widely debunked. wall street plunged on news of the barcelona attack and worries about president trump's agenda. dow lost 274 points. nasdaq fell 123 points and the top u.s. diplomat insisted today that a potential u.s. military response to north korea is still on the table. that, after the president's chief strategist, steve bannon, had said there is no military
solution to the problem. secretary of state rex tillerson responded, after he and defense secretary jim mattis met with their japanese counterparts in washington. >> a threat of proportions that none of us like to contemplate, has to be backed by strong military consequences if north korea chooses wrongly. and i think that is the message that the president has wanted to send to the leadership of north korea. >> sreenivasan: meanwhile, the chair of the joint chiefs of staff, general joseph dunford, said it would be "unimaginable" to let north korea have nuclear- tipped ballistic missiles. in hong kong, three young activists were sent to prison for leading pro-democracy protests in 2014. a court sentenced joshua wong, nathan law and alex chow to up to eight months. they helped start the so-called "umbrella movement" against chinese curbs on elections. the three appeared outside the court before the sentencing and rallied supporters with a show of defiance. >> even nathan, alex and i will be the ones who may be sent to prison immediately for half to
one year. but what we believe is people united will never be defeated. our courage and determination to fight for free elections and democracy will continue in this long-term battle. >> sreenivasan: the activists originally received much lighter sentences, but the court overturned those and imposed harsher penalties. new warnings today about the refugee crisis in south sudan. the u.n. says one million people have fled to uganda, with 1,800 more arriving every day to escape civil war. video from the charity worldvision shows the largest refugee camp in the world, and officials say uganda is struggling to meet their needs. and, back in this country, drug maker mylan will pay $465 million to settle federal allegations of price-gouging for the epipen. the device can stop allergic reactions in emergencies. the justice department says mylan overbilled medicaid by more than a billion dollars, over a decade.
still to come on the newshour: we talk to leaders of two cities about the controversy of removing confederate monuments. what white house strategist steve bannon's recent statments reveal about the trump agenda. making sense of the retail industry's transformation. >> sreenivasan: now, to the fallout from charlottesville, and the spotlight it cast on confederate monuments. the president spoke out in their defense today, even as the campaign to clear them from public spaces intensified. statues of confederate leaders, in baltimore, removed in the night. a monument to confederate soldiers, in durham, north carolina, torn down by protesters monday. virginia governor terry mcauliffe joined in, on "cbs this morning." >> it's time for these monuments to come down, it's time for us to move together after what happened in charlottesville. >> sreenivasan: on twitter,
president trump lamented the loss of confederate monuments. "sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments..." -- he said. and he went on: "robert e lee, stonewall jackson - who's next, washington, jefferson? so foolish! " but in durham, protesters hundreds of people turned out today to show support for the people arrested in monday night's incident. and elsewhere: >> the reality is that it never should have been there and you >> sreenivasan: protesters rallied in tampa, florida, after the local government said residents will have to raise money on their own to remove a confederate monument there. the cries for action echoed in congress, with house minority leader nancy pelosi saying in a statement: "the confederate statues in the halls of congress have always been reprehensible." a spokesman for republican house speaker paul ryan said it's up to each state to decide whose statues will represent it in the capitol. back in charlottesville,
hundreds gathered for a vigil last night at the university of virginia. plans for the march were spread by word of mouth. the crowd walked the same route the white supremacists had taken. was a tragedy and we're here to take back the lawn for this student generation, all the previous, all the future generations of students who walked the lawn. equality, justice and freedom. >> sreenivasan: but governor mcauliffe suggested president trump should stay away from charlottesville. >> if the president wants to i do not want the president to come here to continue on with the speeches he's given for the last couple of days. >> sreenivasan: the president, in turn, denied equating white nationalists with counter- protesters, and he tweeted that the news media "totally misrepresent what i say about hate, bigotry etc." he also dismissed republican senator lindsey graham of south carolina, as "publicity seeking" after graham accused him of stoking tensions. but republican senator bob corker of tennessee went further today. he charged the president has not
demonstrated the stability and competence needed for the white house. >> sreenivasan: president trump decided to abandon a planned council of advisers on infrastructure. we turn to a closer look as challenges cities faced while trying to deal not only with controversial statutes but backlash that can bring protesters into the streets. we spoke to two people who deal directly with these issues. jim gray is mayor of lexington, kentucky, tonight the city council is debate hough to handle their confederate monuments. we spoke to the mayor before the council meet beg gan and lieutenant ryan lee is the executive officer of the police bureau rapid response team of portland, oregan where violent protests erupted earlier this summer. welcome to you both. jim gray, this is something your city may be facing tune. it's not exactly the same parallel but there are confederate monuments you've wanted to move and relocate and there's some tension about that. >> that's right, hari, and for
more than a year now we have examined this issue, and on saturday with the regrettable and tragic events in charlotte's, i made the decision to accelerate the putting before the city council a resolution to relocate these monuments, and that's because it was the right thing to do. it is the right thing to do. the monuments today stand on really -- what amounts to sacred ground, ground where slaves were once auctioned, were sold into slavery, men, women and children were sold into slavery. so this is the right thing to do to remove and to relocate these statutes in a place where the full context and the full story of the tragedy of the civil war could be shared and shared and taught. >> sreenivasan: mayor gray, staying with you for a second, how is your police department preparing for the possibility that people who want to tear the statue down want to make
lexington another example? >> our police department is disciplined and prepared, but let me tell you about the legal requirements. the law in kentucky requires that these statutes, any movement of these statutes first be put before what's called the kentucky military heritage commission. so within the law today, we are operating within that law. our police are prepared. we are a peaceful city. we are a city that's a giving and compassionate city, but we're also disciplined and prepared. >> sreenivasan: lieutenant ryan lee, your city faced some very difficult protests. how did you get through them? >> it's important for us when we're approaching these situations to understand that there is an exercise -- a lawful exercise of first amendment rights and while i may personally find the content of somebody's speech personally reprehensible, my role as a police officer is to facility at the time that lawful and peaceful expression of
somebody's first amendment rights, to try and help navigate for those people who wish to express recallly their free speech to give them a platform for it while at the same time weighing out the governmental interests to keep the peace, maintain law and order and meet the expectations of the police force. it's not an easy, one solution fits all. we reached out to a variety of organizers from all sides of the political spectrum, trying to get them to self-place, and developing plans in place to keep public order if necessary. >> sreenivasan: mayor gray, is that what your police department is doing? tell me about your strategy. >> sure, well, our police chief has reached out to charlottesville, to those responsible in charlottesville to try to gain lessons learned there. our police department is often set up as one of the finest in
the country, an example in the country for its discipline, for its preparedness, dealing with crises, dealing with demands routinely. so we're prepared. we're reaching out to state and federal and local jurisdictions who may provide help and they're doing a commendable job of preparing. but as the lieutenant said, this country -- one of its founding principles is the right to free speech. but when it extends into hatred and violent exregs, that's when we need to be prepared and we are. >> sreenivasan: mayor gray, where is the threshold? one of the most striking images of charlottesville were the police standing back and people fighting right in front of those officers. get involved when x or y happens? >> that's the responsibility of our police chief.
the command unit of our police. the lieutenant knows those protocols well. we expect to deal with these issues, should they emerge, we expect and will deal with them responsibly but effectively and in a disciplined way. >> sreenivasan: lieutenant, looking back at what happened in charlottesville, not asking you to arm chair quarterback, but if this happened in your city, what are the guidelines? what are the strategies? i know there are cas case by cae decisions the officers make but there seem to be different approaches the officers take to cordon off people into different spaces so they won't clash as easily, maybe use bicycles. what do you do. >> we try to cordon people off as appropriate. we can put in place time and space management restrictions. we have to allow for alternative
forms of expression. the ability to set opposing groups apart, whether through fencing, through physically locating officers between them, that's an option, it's a possibility. what is legally possible from state to state and city to city changes, so some of the things that may be both legally acceptable here in the city of portland and socially acceptable with the expectations of the public may vary from place to place. so the options on the table for charlottesville may not be the same for us. people see it as a dichotomy. they look and see what they think are homogenous groups. this represents one side, this another. but over the years, we've learned there are a variety of like-minded clusters that form out a plot point for a spectrum of opinion. it's recognizing those people in those groups that plot as
wanting to carry out a lawful expression of their first amendment rights, trying to communicate and coordinate with them and trying to get them to outgroup or excise those that really are seeking a violent confrontation. so if the police can address the conduct there and keep it safe for all parties to express free speech. >> sreenivasan: lieutenant lee, is it more complicated when groups of protesters are attacking each other versus one specific group you know that's out there? >> it makes the equation more complicated but, ultimately, when we're dealing with these violent protests, these violent confrontations, we're really looking at conduct, not content. it does change the equation that sometimes we'll have events where the animosity is focused towards the police and now we have to be concerned with sort of a third party in multiple different groups who are really, again, when we're talking about the conduct, there are those people in those groups who are
seeking violence and, unfortunately, there are times that violence can be directed towards somebody of an opposing political view or simply directed toward the police. it makes it a more complex equation to work through but ultimately we're dealing with conduct. >> sreenivasan: lieutenant lee of portland, oregan and mayor jim gray of lexington, kentucky, thank you for joining us tonight. >> thank you. >> sreenivasan: now to a man often at the center of controversy in the trump white house, whose outsized influence is often discussed, yet he is rarely heard from. our john yang is here to help fill in the picture. >> yang: thanks, hari. earlier today i spoke with a journalist who got an unexpected phone call from stephen bannon, president trump's embattled chief strategist: robert kuttner, who is the co- founder and co-editor of the "american prospect." he's also a professor of social
policy at brandeis university. we were also joined by joshua green, a senior national correspondent for "bloomberg businessweek," and author of the best-selling book "devil's bargain: steve bannon, donald trump, and the storming of the presidency." i began by asking kuttner about how his conversation with bannon came about. i got an email from someone at the white house who says that mr. bannon would like me to come into the white house and meet with him. so i double checked the email address which looked legit and called the guy and he seemed legit, and i said, look, i'm on vacation, but this is kind of a fast-moving story, so i would be happy to speak with him by phone if he would like to. what had happened, he read a column i had written the day before basically making the point that because we have been so passive in taking on illegal chinese trade practices that beijing now has a huge amount of leverage over us where we want
them to help us with north korea but the price for that is we've got to fold our hand in terms of taking a hard line with them on trade. so bannon read that and felt he had a soul mate and did not take the precaution of making clear whether we were on background or on the record and called me up and sounded as if we were soul mates and best friends, and it was like i was part of a private strategy session with stephen bannon, which was really quite bizarre. about two or three minutes in, i said to myself, oh, wow, he is not putting this off the record and i'm certainly not going to mention it if he doesn't. the ground rules are that when a government official calls you and doesn't say whether it's off or on the record, the default setting is that it's on the record. so 25 minutes later i have the astonishing interview which i
recorded. >> yang: this is the first time you ever talked to him? >> absolutely. he made it sound like he'd been reading my stuff for years and thought it was great, the usual flattery stuff. >> yang: you have been talking to steven on and often since 2011. does this ring true to you, joshua green? >> absolutely, i had written an article about sarah palin and i get a phone call from a staffer out of the blue saying i represent a guy named steve bannon which is a filmmaker infatuated is sarah palin and said mr. bannon read your article and would like to get together and talk with you. in this case it was at a movie screening for bannon's film. i met him and he's an interesting, smart, charismatic guy who had a distinct brand of politics that i thought was interesting and worth writing about. so i got to know him and
basically have been interviewing him ever since. >> yang: bob, you mentioned two bits. he talked about contradicting the president's strategy on north korea. he said until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that 10 million people in seoul don't die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, i don't know what you're talking about. there's no military solution here. they got us. what was your reaction when you heard that? >> well, i thought he was right on the merits, but the first thing i noticed was this is not exactly the administration's view, certainly not donald trump's view, so i said to myself, huh, he's being rather incautious and shows no need to defend his president and he's just speaking his mind and it certainly is not the president's view. >> yang: he also talked about ethnonationallism, he called them losers. it's a fringe element. i think the media plays it up too much and we have to help question it more. these guys are a collection of clowns. >> that was completely
disingenuous because he as much as anybody else in america is responsible for assembling this collection of clowns as a political force, and people like bannon and like trump, they say what they need to say, and if they contradict themselves today relative to what they said yesterday, well, that's how you do it, and if he's trying to ingratiate himself with somebody who's an editor of a liberal magazine, an american prospect, he's going to try to say what he needs to to try and persuade me he's not such a bad guy, but you have to take that with a ton of salt and i think it's the usual dog whistle stuff where the alt-right is not going to think steve bannon has somehow had a deathbed conversion and now thinks they're bad guys. >> yang: josh, what do you think was going on when help said those things? >> i think he was trying to express a credentialed journalist and somebody he admires. bannon and i had similar conversations in the research for my book and i asked him
because he's often charged with antisemitism and white nationalism and i said if you don't believe it why are you in these causes. he called people who marched freaks and goober, clowns to bob, were individually ridiculous people, collectively they represented a political force that he thought he could script into his larger america-first nationalism into trumpian politics and use them and essentially manipulate them as tools to carry out his political goals. >> yang: he ended the conversation with bob about saying he wanted to see you at the white house after labor day to continue discussion of china and trade. do you think that's going to happen, bob? >> i think as long as donald trump is doubling down on the
alliance with the far right, bannon's job may be safe because he needs bannon to guide him through that strategy. so i am certainly not going to predict whether bannon's job is safe, but i think the point is a lot of other people in the white house may be furious at bannon but there's only one person who counts and that's donald trump. >> i agree. if you listen to what donald trump had said in the wake of the charlottesville attack, it has been precisely the sort of thing that bannon says and believes, even though it's something that is galling to republican elected officials, to ordinary americans, to many advisors within trump's own white house who are leaking to reporters their dismay and disgust but don't have the courage to come out and say it publicly or do what they ought to do and resign from their position at the white house, if they don't agree with what
donald trump is saying. >> yang: joshua green, robert kuttner, you both have fascinating insights into this guy steve bannon. thank you for joining us. >> thank you. >> sreenivasan: stay with us, coming up on the newshour: why the u.s. has one of the worst maternal mortality rates in the developed world. a brief but spectacular take on writing compelling stories. and a world war ii veteran returns a japanese soldier's flag 73 years later. but first, as more and more shopping is done online, what will become of the 16 million americans who work in the retail industry? our economics correspondent, paul solman, takes a look. it's part of our series, "making sense" which airs thursdays on the newshour. >> this is a great, great, great basic black top. >> reporter: this summer jennifer richter opened her own clothing boutique, online. >> this is just the future of
retail. the brick and mortar stores, they're just going to keep trimming the fat and keep eliminating positions. >> reporter: richter speaks from experience. in january she was one of over 10,000 employees laid off from struggling department store chain macy's. >> it just spiraled out of control with traffic down, people not coming in, online sales going up. it just happened really fast. >> reporter: richter worked at macy's in manhattan as one of 14 regional directors for stylists. every one of her colleagues was axed. >> reporter: so far as you know, 12 out of 14 still looking for work, half a year later? >> yeah. and these, i was with macy's for two years, and the other 12 are 10 years plus. some of them had been with the company for 30 years. and when you get to the level we were at, it's harder and harder. it's scary, it really is. >> reporter: unable to find work at another retailer, richter is
going it alone. >> really just using instagram, social media to really market myself, and instead of fighting online like i did for so many years, i'm just embracing it and joining them in doing what i feel there's a need in the market for. >> reporter: as you've surely heard by now, the growth of e- commerce is wreaking havoc on traditional retail and its workforce. 5,300 store closings were announced in the first half of 2017, empty storefronts you've probably seen somewhere near you. more painful: the 64,000 job cuts said to be in the works. mark cohen runs the retail studies program at columbia business school. >> the retail worker is in a world of hurt. retailing employees, some 10% of the employed population of the united states. these are folks who are often tethered by way of employment to a shopping mall. there's no pathway from a part- time job in a mall, in a specialty store or department
store to some other form of employment that's local and available. >> reporter: official statistics show the retail sector shedding only 26,000 or so jobs in the past 12 months, but cohen says that may understate the case. >> i think it's going to be difficult to pinpoint the employment status of the folks being laid off. many of them are part-time employees, so they don't necessarily get captured in the employment numbers. >> reporter: malcolm skoop hovis worked at old-time retailer k- mart. >> kmart's got to compete with walmart, target, walgreens, with amazon doing deliveries now, too much competition for kmart. >> reporter: hovis was hired as a temp at this kmart outside washington months before it closed. >> half the store is empty. inventory is getting smaller. you can come in here and get little knick knacks. >> reporter: over 300 sears and kmart stores are scheduled to close this year. sears holding company, which
also owns kmart, has shed some 180,000 jobs in the last seven years. mark cohen was once a sears executive. >> i spent seven years at sears, both here in the united states and in canada. they are hanging on by a fingernail, at best. the genre that was legacy retail, is for the most part, in terrible trouble. >> reporter: the main reason will not surprise you. one eighth of all retail sales were transacted online last year, up 16% over just the year before. more folks shopping on computers and phones; fewer driving to the malls, some of which have literally gone to seed. there's another threat to retail jobs as well: automation, as in cashier-less convenience stores like those being tested in china. and closer to home. so toll the knell for jobs in retail?
not just yet. >> since 2007, we've seen about 400,000 jobs created in the e- commerce sector. >> reporter: michael mandel, chief economic strategist at the progressive policy institute, thinks online may spawn more jobs than it whacks. >> we've had a small decline in brick and mortar retail. we've had a large increase in e- commerce jobs. a lot of them are jobs in fulfillment centers. >> reporter: mandel argues that much of the growth in warehouse employment is actually tied to online retail. >> i've been able to track these jobs using government data down to the county level. you can see when a fulfillment center opens up in the county, you have a big jump in what the government classifies as warehouse jobs. >> reporter: on a recent morning in hot summer baltimore, thousands of job-seekers lined up outside an amazon fulfillment center for a one-day jobs fair
held at a dozen sites across the country to recruit 50,000 workers to pick, pack, and ship orders. >> reporter: amazon's lauren lynch. >> here in baltimore, we're looking to fill 1,200 roles. >> you know a few years ago we didn't have 70 fulfillment centers across the country. now we've got more than 70 and we need associates to help us fill those orders. >> reporter: okay, maybe every retailer now calls its employe"" associates" these days. but no matter what they do, more than 382,000 employees work for amazon worldwide and the number's growing. in january, the company promised to create 100,000 more jobs in the u.s. alone. >> i think amazon's going to rule the world, soon. ( >> reporter: single mom candace taylor got a job offer after almost a year of unemployment. >> i'm a little older, and for me to have a company that's stable and to have something that can become a career, is exactly what i need. >> reporter: also, the above- minimum-wage pay and benefits,
health insurance, retirement, are better than at the mall. >> they say they're starting off at 13 an hour. >> reporter: damion brown makes $10 an hour at walmart. >> eh, walmart, it's okay, it's not, i wouldn't say it's the best. you're not getting the pay, right? you might get the hours, you not going get the pay out that's great. you're not going to get paid time off. >> reporter: and michael mandel says it's right there in the data. >> on average, pay in fulfillment centers is about 30% higher than pay in brick and mortar retail in the same area. not only that, retail jobs, they tend to be part-time, maybe not paying benefits. the fulfillment centers have a lot of full-time jobs, have a lot of full-time jobs that have benefits. they seem to be better jobs, as far as i can figure out. >> reporter: d'angelo bryan, who's been packing shipments at the baltimore fulfillment center for a couple months now, even convinced his friends to apply. >> i got experience in just about a little bit of everything, and so far, i'd definitely say amazon is the
best job that i've had so far. >> reporter: but let's not romanticize here: the work is grueling. >> we're packing really, really fast because we have shipments non-stop. the first couple of weeks, it was like, "i don't know how people do it." being on your feet for ten hours a shift, 44 hours a week, sometimes 50. you know, after those first two weeks, it's like, whew. >> reporter: now, warehouse work is dominated by men while the retail economy is losing jobs that are mostly held by women. and fulfillment center jobs simply may not be feasible for laid-off brick-and-mortar workers for a host of reasons, among them, says cohen. >> these are folks who need flexible scheduling and are not able to commute 50 or 100 miles to an amazon fulfillment center, that's open somewhere in the vicinity. >> reporter: but to mandel, the net effect is positive, especially given america's ever- widening inequality gap. >> the rise of the fulfillment
center jobs, is having the effect of reducing inequality. because what you're doing is you're talking about raising the wages for people with a high school education, by 30%. that's significant. >> reporter: as automation takes over store jobs, though, won't robots eventually displace the pickers and packers too? amazon already uses robots to move goods around. not to worry, says amazon's lynch: the company will simply keep growing and have to add jobs. >> having robots in our fulfillment centers means that we can have more inventory, which means we need more associates to help us fulfill all that inventory, all those customer orders. >> reporter: but for how long will amazon and others rely on humans to pick and pack? and so we end with cartman, a robot built to pick and stow items in a warehouse. it recently won a robotics prize, sponsored by amazon. for the pbs newshour, this is economics correspondent paul
solman. >> sreenivasan: next week paul will look at how retailers both on and off-line are responding to shifting consumer habits. and on our website, the cofounder of eyeglass chain warby parker gives his take on the transformation of retail. that's at pbs.org/newshour. >> sreenivasan: now, a troubling trend in women's health. doctors and nurses have worked hard and successfully to reduce the u.s. infant mortality rate in recent decades. what's less known and less understood is the rise in maternal mortality-- mothers dying after pregnancy or from childbirth related causes. renee montagne of npr and nina martin of propublica have teamed up for a series of reports on the subject. their latest installments came out today. judy woodruff recently spoke with them both.
>> woodruff: renee montagne, nina martin, thank you very much for talking with us. americans think we have the best health care, medical care in the world. how can it be, renee montagne, that we have this problem? >> there are a lot of reasons. there are underlying reasons most people would recognize -- low-income women, women of color, women in rural settings have less access to the best possible medical care. but what we're finding and what the numbers are showing is this could actually happen to just about anyone. i mean, we're finding women who had -- who had what would have thought to have been the best of care. >> right, and that's part of the problem is that a lot of doctors, a lot of nurses, a lot of hospitals think that maternal mortality is something that happens in other countries. it's a thing of the past in the u.s. so basically two issues have arisen. one is that there's just a lack
of recognition, a lack of awareness about what life-threatening complications look like. >> on the part of doctors, hospitals? >> all of the above, nurses as well, and patients a lot of times because patients are not necessarily educated. we don't want to worry the patients. so when an emergency does happen, the next thing that sort of kicks in is that hospitals and doctors and nurses often are not prepared for the emergency, so there's sort of a denial and delay. >> there has been a lot of focus on making sure babies are worn. >> exactly. one of the things we came across in recent conversations, bill callahan of the c.d.c. who spent his life studying this, had an article from 1950 that declared victory over maternal mortality. women didn't die in childbirth in great numbers any more, they said. basically, that was -- you know, that sophisticated journal was
the beginning of an emphasis on saving babies. and, of course, babies do die in much greater numbers, they are more vulnerable, but basically everyone turned their sights to the wonderful ways you could save babies, new technology and focusing on neonatal units and the next 20 or so years became part of a good birthing center. >> woodruff: you both have done so much reporting on this. the series is running over many months. we have a clip now of the husband of a woman, she was a neonatal nurse, so she worked in health care, but she ended up with either a lack of diagnosis, the wrong diagnosis, and this is a clip, as i guess she's going into surgery, but where her condition has severely deteriorated. let's listen. >> so they took her to the operating room, and the neurosurgeon, after about four
hours, when he came out, he said that she's still alive, she's basically on life support, but she's brain dead. so, at that point, we decided to withdraw. >> woodruff: so this was lauren bloomstein, nina, a nurse in new jersey. they thought everything was fine, she delivered the baby and things went terribly wrong. >> lauren is the example of a person that everyone assumes does not die in childbirth or pregnancy-related causes in the u.s. she had great health care, she was a nurse herself, her husband larry was a doctor, with her in the delivery room. he never left her except to take the baby to the nursery. she came in with a condition called pre-eclampsia, which is pregnancy-induced hypertension.
she had not had it. she came in and her symptoms were not recognized from the moment she came to the hospital. >> woodruff: are there lessons learned, renee, by hospitals, by medical care providers around the country as a result of situations like this? >> there is something of a movement, in fact, among concerned medical professionals to actually address these problems, but the lessons in the individual situation often come from the mother dying, and then that hospital may re-think what it's doing, doctors may learn a lesson. >> reporter:. >> woodruff: so it's a lack of training? is. >> a look of training, education and recognition in some cases, but it's also a lack of having a set of protocols and standards in place for women where an emergency happens, a hemorrhage, for example, or in lauren's case
preeclampsia. there's a specific set of things that doctors, hospitals and nurses should start to do immediately as soon as they recognize the symptoms, but often those standards aren't even in place in very good hospitals until it's too late or until the next time. >> woodruff: again, it seems stunning. again, we think of the united states, renee, having the most advanced medical care in the world. how could it be that the medical team who are working with women giving birth aren't prepared to deal with all these circumstances? >> well, when you hear these stories, you actually ask that question every time. they're almost unbelievable. but the reality is hospitals have protocols, but they're not necessarily well practiced, they're not consistent, they're not lists for people to follow. when you see one thing, that means the other. you don't think about it. it's deeply embedded in the american medical system amongst obstetricians and obstetrical
nurses. smaller and rural hospitals are less likely to have these protocols in place. they're smaller, have less deliveries and are less likely toker a life-threatening complication, so that's another problem. >> woodruff: we started talking about whether there were other factors, socioeconomic status, where women -- whether this was a planned pregnancy or not, whether the mom took care of herself during the pregnancy. renee, race, age of the mother, are those not factors that -- >> what researchers will say is those are all factors and all there and to some extent they're recognized, women who have high-risk pregnancies, and that's recognized, if you're obese or if you have hypertensive -- some kind of hypertensive disease to begin with, those things are watched. if you're in a good hospital, of course, the american medical system is such that there are enough people not in good hospitals. so, yes, these are factors but
researchers will say they're not the reason women die. women die from these conditions, these complications. there is a c.d.c. foundation analysis that has it that 60% of all these deaths could be prevented. the underlying con -- >> the underlying conditions that women die from are not age, it's not being obese or being african-american, although african-american women do die at two to three times the rate of white women, it's heart disease, a heart-related condition, hemorrhage, pre-eclampsia, an infection that is not diagnosed or treated well. these are things they're dying of that they don't in all instances need to die of. >> woodruff: a wake up call in so many ways. renee montagne, nina martin, thank you very much. >> thank you. thank you.
>> sreenivasan: now to another in our brief but spectacular series, where we ask people to describe their passions. tonight, we hear from journalist and novelist calvin trillin. his book "jackson, 1964: and other dispatches from fifty years of reporting on race in america," became available in paperback last month. >> i was sort of between projects a little while ago and i thought, "this would be a good opportunity to re-catalog my collection of civil war artifacts, but i don't have a collection of civil war artifacts, or any other collections. this is time to put that harpsichord kit together um, i don't have a harpsichord kit, uh, i don't have a golf game to polish," so, i suppose it's just writing or sitting quietly in a dark room.
for 15 years, i did a piece every three weeks for the "new yorker" that was about 3,000 words. the "new yorker" didn't require what newspaper people sometimes call the nut graph which is the paragraph that tells you why this story is important. the billboard paragraph in some of my stories would have to say something like, "all over the country, disreputable people in small towns are killing each other" something like that, i mean, i didn't have one of those. so i was only interested in whether it was an interesting story. i didn't know much about the "new yorker" when i was a kid, i had one cousin who took the "new yorker", and she was considered rather strange. i definitely backed into journalism, i think most people of my era backed into journalism because they didn't want to go to law school or they were
trying to write a novel and couldn't figure out how to do it. i knew i wasn't going to do anything that required manual dexterity or mathematics skills. i've always said that mathematics was my worst subject, i was never able to persuade the teacher that many of my answers were meant ironically. i took a writing course in college that had those usual mottos, like, like "show, don't tell" all that sort of thing, and one of them was," individualize by specific detail". i thought that was the most useful one, particularly in attempts at humor. humor is sort of indefensible if the-- if the woman in the second row doesn't laugh, it isn't funny. that's one reason there's no way to sort of try to imagine your audience when you're writing, i think you could only satisfy yourself. my wife alice, who died in 2001,
was the person i showed rough drafts to, i guess, i think the only person. it's true, what all writers want to hear when they show somebody something is," brilliant, don't change a word." even if you know it's sort of rough. when alice died, i was going over the galleys of a novel about parking in new york, a subject so silly that i think- a subject so silly that i think i would've hesitated to submit the book to a publisher if she hadn't, somewhat to her surprise, liked it. when the novel was published, the dedication said, "i wrote this for alice, actually, i wrote everything for alice." my name is calvin trillin, and this is my brief but spectacular take on my life and writing. you can watch more brief but spectacular videos online at pbs.org/newshour/brief. now to our newshour shares, something that caught our eye that may be of interest to you, too. a 93-year-old world war ii
veteran traveled more than 5,000 miles from his montana home this month to return a treasured keepsake to a grateful japanese family. the newshour's julia griffin explains. >> reporter: warm temperatures and rainy skies greeted marvin strombo as he returned to japan this week for the first time in 73 years. during the war, strombo served as an elite sniper scouter with the second marine division. alone on the japanese line during the 1944 invasion of saipan, he came across the body of a dead japanese soldier. >> i saw this soldier, japanese soldier laying there. and i knew he was an officer because he had a sword on. >> reporter: but strombo also noticed something else. a customary flag the solider carried, known as a yosegaki hinomaru, that bore 180 signatures of his family and village members. strombo knew such flags were given to departing soldiers as a symbol of good luck and support.
>> i finally realized if i didn't take it somebody else would have and it would be lost forever. so the only way i could do that as i reached out to take the flag i made a promise to him that some day i would try to return it. >> reporter: for decades, the soldier's identity remained unknown. until five years ago, when strombo reached out to the obon society, a nonprofit that coordinates the return of battlefield souvenirs. the group identified the soldier as sadao yasue of higashishirakwa, japan. and on tuesday, strombo made good on his promise to return the ancestral heirloom, during an emotional ceremony with yasue's surviving brother and two sisters. >> it was a very emotional moment really. i saw that the mora that, the older sister and i saw her holding that flag about broke my heart. i've fulfilled a promise which
i'm happy about. i could see that it made them quite happy. that's the main thing. >> reporter: the poignant event, between one-time enemies and now friends, coincided with the japanese obon holiday, when families return to their hometowns to remember departed loved ones. for the pbs newshour, i'm julia griffin. >> sreenivasan: on the newshour online right now, a total solar eclipse will sweep across the entire continental united states on monday and anticipation couldn't be higher. if you plan to watch, wherever you are, we give you five things you need to remember. also, today on martha's vineyard, harvard university's hutchins center hosted a forum examining race and racism in the age of trump. coming after events in charlottesville and the reactions to it, republican political commentator, armstrong williams challenged the president. >> when you see what happened in charlottesville and clearly someone with arming and guns and batons there, and you know the
history of the ku klux klan and white supremacy, it's just common sense for any american that you would come together and you would condemn that in the harshest of terms and give no indication that whatever they're doing has any righteousness to it, any moral turpitude to it, and for the president to have taken three days i speak as a human being, not as a conservative and not as a liberal. it was embarrassing, it was not leadership, and the president should give no energy, no second thought to the fact that these neo nazis, these white supremacy have any place in american society, and what they represented, and what it represented for our history, whether you're african american, whether you're jewish, just plain common sense, the president needs to grow up and lead. >> sreenivasan: 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:
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this season of "martha stewawars cooking school" explores treasured recipes from an extraordinary part of the world -- the arabian gulf. join me in my kitchen as i celebrate its regional ingredients. we'll make rustic breads, mouthwatering desserts, and hearty stews with spices made famous by historic trade routes, learn new culinary techniques and creative tips for serving arabian gulf classics, from preparing small bites to showstopping dishes fit for any festive occasion. with its bold flavors and strong traditions, i've been inspired to get into the kitchen and add what i like to call a good thing to an already delicious cuisine. enjoy. "martha stewart's cooking school" is made possible by... ♪ announcer: al jazeera.