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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  October 11, 2017 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT

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captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight: a rising death toll, as california's wildfires rage on. flames stretch down the state, forcing more evacuations and leaving more than 140,000 acres of scorched land. then, two views on the fate of the iran nuclear agreement. we go on the ground in tehran, and i talk with the head of the european union's foreign policy about the consequences if president trump changes the u.s. position. >> it is in the interest of america administration to show that you can trust the administration, you can trust america. >> woodruff: and: >> it is manufactured death. >> woodruff: our "america
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addicted" series continues with a look at the devastating rise of one powerful synthetic opioid and how it is driving overdose deaths. >> if anything can be likened to a weapon of mass destruction and what it does to a community, it's fentanyl. >> 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.
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bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> collette. >> supporting social entrepreneurs and their solutions to the world's most pressing problems-- >> the lemelson foundation. committed to improving lives through invention, in the u.s. and developing countries. on the web at >> supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information at >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting.
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and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: nearly 8,000 firefighters are struggling against wildfires across northern california tonight, as winds kick up again. officials report more than 20 fires have left at least 21 people dead and consumed at least 3,500 homes and businesses. we begin with a report from mina kim of pbs member station kqed. >> reporter: as the sun rose today, sylvia parkinsons, surveyed the ash and burned metal that was once her home in santa rosa. >> nothing left. there's my steps coming right through my front patio. you can see my fireplace. it's just amazing. there's nothing left. you know what i did save?
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i saved our wedding rings. it's the one thing i grabbed. >> reporter: dozens of homes in parkinsons' coffey park neighborhood were swallowed by the fast approaching fires that broke out sunday night. and today, sonoma county officials ordered new evacuations. >> if you have a place to go, go. the less people here, the less we will have to evacuate. >> reporter: yesterday, winds from the south spread the flames north, but the winds shifted today and turned gusty again, pushing the fires south. in nearby napa county, officials ordered evacuations for nearly half of calistoga, a town of 5,000 people. firefighters there say they, too, are bracing for windy, low humidity conditions that fuel fires. >> we are expecting some extreme fire behavior and growth of our incidents, currently. and that is going to lead us to challenges. >> reporter: all told, more than 20 fires are burning across northern california. none are close to being contained, and most, if not all, are still spreading.
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back in coffey park: >> there had been this pile of drop cloths, because my son was going to paint the house, over there, that's no longer there. >> reporter: steve smith and his wife also evacuated sunday night, after waking to the smell of smoke. they came back today to find their home spared, only because a passerby had stopped to hose it down. ten minutes down the road, at the benovia winery, co-owner mike sullivan was trying to keep things running. that's your home? >> yeah. >> reporter: oh my gosh. it's not even recognizable, as a home? >> no, it's not. >> reporter: he's staying at the vineyard, after their home just up the hill was burned to the ground. >> just this incredible noise that was nothing-- it had to be fire. and so i ran back to the house, i woke up the kids and we left. we left within three minutes. >> reporter: many others among santa rosa's 175,000 residents are now staying with friends and family, or at shelters. >> i don't know how long i'm going to be here or what's
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happening at home. that's what i'm starting to think about now is, am i going to have a home to go back to? >> reporter: desperate family members and friends are also searching for loved ones -- with hundreds reported missing. >> we think some of those 670 are just new evacuations and relatives trying to find people, and our information line is working. >> reporter: in southern california, another big fire has been burning near anaheim since monday, but improved conditions have allowed 1,600 firefighters to contain just under half of the blaze. governor jerry brown surveyed the overall situation today from the state's fire operations center. >> this will be tens of billions. so we've got to get ready to deal with this situation, and then prepare for others that will follow in the years to come. >> reporter: and in washington, california congressman kevin mccarthy, the house majority leader, promised action on additional disaster funding. >> tomorrow we'll take up the it'll take time to control these
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fires. but we'll begin to rebuild. >> reporter: meanwhile, as the fires continue to burn, there are growing health concerns. officials warn that heavy smoke and ash could trigger asthma, bronchitis and other breathing problems. they're advising people in affected areas to stay inside when possible. >> woodruff: i spoke to mina kim a short time ago, and began by asking about concerns over the number of people who are missing. >> sheriff giodano said there are about 380 people unaccounted for after they were able to locate 150. but there seems to be some confusion with the numbers because earlier this year the sheriff reported 670 were missing. so the sheriff acknowledgd the discrepancy in the numbers and said that he was going to try to clear that up at the next briefing. he does remain hopeful that a significant number of those who are missing, it's because they are unable to communicate with loved ones that they are safe because of the limited cell
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phone service here and thousands still remain without power. >> woodruff: we know the toll is very serious and you were telling us you were there when they discovered someone who had not made it. >> reporter: yeah, so we were at a mobile home park here in santa rosa called journey's end and police started cord upping off one of the burned mobile homes and it was because they told us they believe a body was in the rubble. so while, you know, law enforcement officials are optimistic that it's related to communication problems, there will definitely be some who are missing because they were unable to survive this fire, judy. >> woodruff: finally, mina, this hits close to home. you have your own home in nappa county, and the fire, you were telling us, has gotten very close to you. >> last night was a tough night for nappa county especially in the area west to have the city of napa, they had to expand the
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evacuation zone there significantly because the winds have shifted. as you can probably tell now, the winds are picking up in sonoma county and it underscores the volatility of the situation here. this fire is very far from being under control and in fact the sheriff's department has stopped limited escorts they were doing earlier today to allow people to retrieve medicines and other critical provisions because they're just too worried it's getting too dangerous now with this wind. >> woodruff: clearly a long way to go before this is resolved in any way. mina kim, thank you very much. >> reporter: you're welcome, judy. >> woodruff: in the day's other news, the white house announced president trump is nominating kirstjen nielsen for secretary of homeland security. she is currently deputy chief of staff in the white house. nielsen worked for then- secretary john kelly at homeland security, and moved with him when he became white house chief of staff. north korea fired off a new verbal assault against president
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trump. the country's foreign minister charged that the president has "lit the wick of war." ri yong ho told a russian news agency, "we need to settle the final score, only with a hail of fire, not words." meanwhile, u.s. b-1 bombers flew new drills with south korean warplanes, over the korean peninsula. china is vowing to protect its territorial claims in the south china sea, after a u.s. warship sailed near disputed islands. the destroyer u.s.s. "chafee" passed close to the paracel islands yesterday, to assert freedom-of-navigation rights. in beijing, the foreign ministry dnounced the move as a violation of china's sovereignty. >> the relevant u.s. warship's actions violated chinese laws and related international laws, seriously undermined china's security interest, and endangered the lives and safety of the personnel of both countries on the front line. the chinese government will continue to defend its interest
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with firm measures. >> woodruff: china claims almost all of the south china sea and the islands there as its territory. a scandal engulfing japan's kobe steel deepened today. the company has admitted falsifying data about the quality of its aluminum and copper products. now, the japanese government is urging kobe to clarify just how far the problem went. general motors, nissan, toyota and boeing, among others, say they're investigating if the materials pose a safety risk. the prime minister of spain demanded today to know if the region of catalonia has proclaimed its independence. last night, catalan officials signed what they called a declaration of independence, but the catalan president said that it won't take effect for several weeks. today, addressing spain's parliament, prime minister mariano rajoy again rejected any
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talk of secession. >> ( translated ): ladies and gentlemen, on october 1, the government of catalonia wanted to carry out an illegal referendum. it was the last chapter in a political strategy devised to impose on catalan society and all spaniards, an independence that few want and is good for nobody. >> woodruff: rajoy went on to say, "there's no constitution in the world that recognizes the right to self-determination." in kenya, new confusion, and protests, over a re-run of the presidential election. police in nairobi fired tear gas today to disperse more than a thousand opposition supporters. they were demanding election reforms. opposition leader raila odinga is boycotting the election unless he is guaranteed a fair count. but parliament today declared president uhuru kenyatta the winner. back in this country, police in baton rouge have arrested ten people in a fraternity death at louisiana state university.
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18-year-old maxwell gruver died last month after a night of drinking. his blood-alcohol level was more than six times the legal limit. eight of the suspects are l.s.u. students. all of them face misdemeanor hazing charges. one is also charged with negligent homicide. president trump today threatened tv broadcast networks over their news coverage. it came as he denied an nbc report that he'd wanted a nearly ten-fold increase in the u.s. nuclear arsenal. defense secretary jim mattis also denied the report. the president condemned what he called "fake news" and suggested it is time to challenge the networks' licenses for broadcast stations. on wall street today, the dow jones industrial average gained 42 points to close near 22,873. the nasdaq rose 16, and the s&p 500 added four. still to come on the newshour: the boy scouts opens its doors to girls. the e.u.'s foreign policy chief
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on the iran nuclear deal that president trump could scrap. an opioid linked to thousands of overdoses. and, much more. >> woodruff: big changes are coming to an american tradition: the boy scouts. the scouting board voted unanimously today to admit girls into the century-old program, and to permit them to earn the coveted rank of eagle scout. john yang has more. >> yang: thanks, judy. beginning next year, the boy scouts will allow young girls to become cub scouts. and then in 2019, they'll begin a program for older girls that will allow them to earn the rank of eagle scout. here to help explain what's behind this historic change-- and what it might mean for the girl scouts-- we're joined by associated press national writer
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david crary. david, thanks for joining us. >> a pleasure to be here. >> yang: why are the boy scouts doing this? >> you know, they have been looking at their membership numbers for quite a while. they have been going down over the last couple of decades. they've stabilized the last year or two, but they have been looking for ways to grow and it's not an easy task in this day and age where these youth organizations are all struggling to keep their ranks full. so i think the idea was if we want to grow let's let girls in. this could be a huge increase, hundreds of thousands of girls over the next few years, it would help them get more revenue and really change the way the demographics of the boy scouts work. >> yang: in their announcement, they also talked about demographic changes in society overall. >> well, it's been tough for all of these youth groups, the boy scouts and the girl scouts,
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because there are so many -- there are single-parent families now, families where both parents are working. it's tough for the parents to find the time to take their kids to and from these meetings and activities. i think the boy scouts are hoping that parents will see this kind of one-stop shopping now where they can have the girls and boys in the same organization maybe make things more efficient for themselves. >> yang: the boy scouts have already had co-ed programs for older girls now. what's the significance of this new program for olders girls that will start in 2019. >> yeah, they're pretty fa fascinating. that one they say will still be single sex, will be the boy scouts, and then a mirror program for girls of that age, 11-14 years old. it will be fascinating how much they interact with each other.
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co-ed camping is not on the cards still. so it's almost like two parallel groups and the odd entity out is the girl scouts who think their mission has been encroached on. >> yang: have the girl scouts had anything to say today? >> i asked girl scouts for comment midday when the story broke. five hours later, no comment. i'm guessing they are upset. i'm sure they are. it will be interesting perhaps tomorrow to see how they phrase their announce with this and their idea for how to go forward. >> yang: they had been talking about their annoyance with this earlier in the year when they heard about the plans for this, didn't they? >> they have been very outspoken. they said this was covert recruiting of girls. they've implied that the boy scouts are doing this out of financial distress. they've hackerrenned back to decades ago, these sex abuse
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cases of the boy scouts implying that this is the last thing the boy scouts should be doing is bringing in girls. it's been pretty nasty and i think a lot of people have been surprised these two organizations that have been kind of buddies for so long are now at odds with each other. >> yang: in the recenyears, we've seen the boy scouts open up to first gay scout leaders then gay scouts then transgender scouts. what does this say about the scouts and how they're trying to change or keep up with the times? >> well, i think it shows that they take their livelihood, their viability seriously. the other three changes you mentioned were all the result of a lot of pressure -- big business, gay rights activists were saying, hey, you've got to be more tolerant, you've got to let these people in. eventually the boy scouts did acquiesce. this one, they haven't been getting outside pressure, so it's a little different in the sense that they've figured out for themselves i think in a very
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entrepreneurial way this is what we've got to do to be viable financially. >> yang: david crary of the associate press, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: a new deadline looms this weekend for president trump to certify whether the 2015 nuclear agreement with iran is in the interests of the united states, and if iran is or is not complying with it. but how do iranians see this deal, and president trump's tough words for the islamic republic? from tehran, and in partnership with the pulitzer center on crisis reporting, special correspondent reza sayah reports. >> reporter: ashura in tehran. one of the holiest days in shia
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islam. thousands mourn the death of imam hussain, the prophet muhammad's grandson, a seventh century figure who stood against injustice and oppression. many here say it's time to stand against what they see as the injustice of u.s. president donald trump. >> ( translated ): he's insane. he's an insane person. we have to stand up to him. >> reporter: but iranians are not just religious conservatives. millions of young liberals live here too. many, shaped by american culture. they too have an opinion on president trump. >> ( translated ): trump just forces his way on everyone. >> ( translated ): he's a crazy person. ( laughs ) >> ( translated ): now we're going to get ourselves assassinated tomorrow. >> reporter: liberal and conservative iranians alike don't care much for president trump these days, because he says he wants to scrap the
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nuclear deal. the agreement, signed in 2015 under then-president barak obama, was a rare occasion where diplomacy appeared to resolve a crisis in a region plagued by war. the u.s. and world powers agreed to lift economic sanctions against iran. in return, iran rolled back its nuclear program, deemed a threat by the west. like many iranians, artist mariam mikhatami hoped the deal would help iran's struggling economy and improve relations with the u.s. now, she's worried again. >> ( translated ): of course, everyone gets worried. it feels like something big is about to happen again. things could get worse. we have to be ready for it. >> reporter: ready for the possibility of change. the iran nuclear deal has been in effect for nearly two years. during that time the i.a.e.a., the u.n.'s nuclear watchdog, has
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reported eight times that iran is abiding by the terms, the world powers say the deal is working. even president trump's own defense secretary says the us should stick with the agreement. but president trump has repeatedly said the deal is no good. frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the united states. >> trump says the agreement doesn't address what washington calls iran's destabilizing actions in the middle east. >> this is exactly all criticism from the united states. >> iran political analyst says iran's conduct is purely reaction to u.s. policy that has long sought to isolate and weaken iran. >> our behavior in the region is exactly in accordance to the united states' behavior. >> if the united states doesn't want to disestablish my count, if they don't want to collapse the regime, they don't want to disturb us, you will see that the behavior of tehran will be absolutely something else.
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>> reporter: after the magazine covers social and cultural issues in iran and the journalist says washington has always vilified iran, president trump is no different. >> i don't know how americans can believe trump. has there ever been an iranian who fired a shot in america to be called a terrorist? has there ever been an iranian anywhere in the world who beheaded anyone? it was saudis who destroyed the twin towers. i've never been to america, but i've met a lot of americans who visit. all of them see within a week that this image of iran created by american media is not real. >> reporter: the current deal doesn't address iron east ballistic missile program, another reason president trump doesn't like it. the world's powers objective was to resolve iran's nuclear issue with this agreement. trump says the deal should have demanded restrictions on iranian missiles that threaten u.s. interests.
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iran's foreign minister says iran is entitled to a missile program as a means to protect itself after the world failed to stop iraqi dictator saddam hussein from bombing iran with chemical weapons. >> our people within being bombed by missiles. we didn't have a single missile to defend ourselves. we didn't have a single missile to use as a deterrent. aren't we obliged to our citizens to defend? >> reporter: today, tehran's peace museum is a reminder of iran's toxic bombs and support for saddam hussein during the iran-iraq war which lasted from 1980 to 1988 killing more than 1 million people on both sides. in a display case shows a picture of the iraqi dictator shaking hands with donald rumsfeld then advisor to president ronald reagan. >> in recent reports that iron
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is willing to discuss the missile program to ease u.s. concerns but many say making additional concessions won't make a difference because what washington is really after is regime change. many iranians view this as an ultimate motive of u.s. policy that's been in place since the 1979 islamic revolution. >> this is the reality, they're after regime change. does anyone think otherwise off? >> i think, yes, this is on their agenda. >> reporter: zanagenda. >> reporter: zanea is a professor. she says presidential elections reelecting rouhani a champion of the deal indicates a popular lack of support for regime change. >> you don't have internal support, then you have to bring other, you know, things into it like putting sanctions on the country and making it weaker and weaker. >> despite the nuclear agreement, the u.s. imposed new
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sanctions against iran unrelated to its nuclear program. analysts say the sanctions continue to deter foreign investment and cripple key sectors of the economy. apple and google cited u.s. sanctions when they banned iranian apps and service force iranian users. it was a huge blow to a high-tech industry depending heavily on the benefits of the nuclear agreement. >> the of course, this is discouraging for a young generation that was eager to start working in the tech industry. i think they were 100% dependent on the nuclear deal and now they've lost that hope. >> reporter: iranian leaders say if president trump decertifies the deal and the u.s. reimposes nuclear sanctions they may revive their nuclear program. many iranians expect tough times ahead but hold out hope that the international community will help keep the agreement in tact. >> when you have something called the u.n. and they're
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doing their job, then they have to defend the deal. if they don't then there's nothing we can do. >> reporter: many here say regardless of the outcome, president trump's handling of the nuclear deal proves what iran's hard liners have said all along that washington can never be trusted. for the pbs "newshour", i'm reza sayah in tehran. >> woodruff: from tehran, we turn to brussels, and federica mogherini, the european union's high representative for foreign affairs and security. she was the chief negotiator among the u.s., five other world powers and iran when the nuclear agreement was signed in july 2015; the united security council endorsed it days later. when i spoke with her earlier today, i began by asking her whether the deal could still hold up if, as it has been widely reported, president trump does not re-certify. >> first of all, let me remind us all that the atomic agency,
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the i.a., has certified eight times that iran is compliant with all the commitments included in the agreement. eight times. last time just a few weeks ago. we have the international community strongly behind the full implementation of the deal that has prevented iran from developing a nuclear weapon. so the deal not only will hold but the deal doesn't belong to one country or another. it's a u.n. security council resolution and the entire international community from russia to china to japan to latin america to europe and the european union will continue to guarantee that the deal will hold is implemented and that the iranians will continue to stick to their nuclear commitments. >> woodruff: if he were to take the step to say that iran was not in compliance, what would it mean for the european union and the other u.s. allies in europe? >> the rest of the international community will continue to stick
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to the agreements as we've done so far. let me also say something that is very important and i think the american people understan3 this perfectly well, we are living in a moment of tensions and growing risks on the nuclear site. we're seeing threats coming from the d.p.r.k. and, there, we see regrettably that there is no mechanism still in place to avoid a nuclear proliferation. we have one agreement that nuclear related issues has worked now two years consistently. this is definitely not the right moment to dismantle a piece of nuclear nonproliferation arrangements that is currently working and showing also in this way the good example for the rest of the world. >> reporter: it's being reported here president trump is doing this because he believes this is going to give him more political leverage over other co-signers to renegotiate the deal. do you agree that it would
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create pressure on you and the others to renegotiate, that it could change the circumstances? >> no, this deal has been negotiated for 12 years and has put together major world powers and has been, as i said, unanimously voted by the u.n. security council. 12 years of negotiations, 102 pages of clear details on extremely complex nuclear-related aspects. it's not a deal you can easily open or renegotiate. there is no technical or political space to renegotiate this deal. i can tell you something, already in other cases the united states decided to step out of an agreement, the rest of the world sticks to it. i i think of the paris climate agreement for instance. what will happen is an agreement that could not and should not be negotiated because it's working and proven to be working, what will happen will simply be that
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the united states will contravene an international security council resolution and the rest of the world will stick to it. >> woodruff: given that if president trump does go ahead and declare iran is not in compliance, what will you and the orthosignificance -- other signatories do about it? >> whatever the president does, it will be up to iran to make its own decisions. this is not a treaty or an agreement that the united states and iran stipulated amongst themselves. we are talking again here of a u.n. security council resolution that is and will remain valid whatever decision the united states will take. >> more broadly there have been disturbing critiques president trump made recently by the chairman of the senate foreign relations committee bob corker. among other things he said the secretary of state, secretary of defense and the white house chief of staff are "all that's separating us from chaos." he also said president trump is
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making reckless threats toward other countries that could set the nation "on the path to world war iii. i want to ask you as the leader of the european union, how do you view president trump's actions with regard to world affairs since he's taken office? >> it is true that with the united states we have long-standing friendship, a strong partnership. many things we continue to do together, but also some points of difference, when it comes to some of the foreign policy or security policy approaches that this administration or president trump rather personally is taking. i would like to stress this once again. we are living in dangerous times in the world. for once that we have an agreement that is functioning, that is working, that is delivering, the worst thing you can do is trying to dismantle it, also because you would show the way to others that making deals actually is not worth it. because the message that america would send to the rest of the world is that america cannot be
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trusted upon because a deal that america voted for just two years ago in the u.n. security council with a resolution unanimously adopted, a deal that america helped to shape enormously, would be rejected by the same country. if we pass the message that every change of administration in washington or elsewhere deals are thrown away and renegotiated, no one would negotiate with any administration ever and any deal would be exposed to be renegotiated every term. this is not a way of making deals, not in foreign policy, not in private businesses, and i think president trump understands this perfectly well. >> woodruff: high representative federica mogherini, thank you very much for talking with us. >> thank you. >> woodruff: stay with us. coming up on the newshour: a nation divided.
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opposing views on the trump administration's latest moves. but first, the drug crisis in america today is killing more people each year than aids, gun deaths or car crashes did at their peaks. tonight we look at the role of fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid increasingly driving that high mortality rate, and pushing law enforcement, health professionals and lawmakers to search for new solutions. william brangham visited boston, massachusetts, a state that's seen a dramatic rise in opioid deaths, more than 2,000 people last year. it's the focus of our weekly segment on the "leading edge," and part of our series, "america addicted." >> knowing that that next bag is going to kill you, it doesn't matter, because you're addicted. it certainly didn't stop me. >> brangham: kelsey, who asked we not use her last name, began shooting heroin 12 years ago, when she was just 15.
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earlier this year, she overdosed here in the bathroom inside boston's healthcare for the homeless, which sits on the city's south end, an area known as "methadone mile" for its cluster of treatment centers. >> one afternoon i was walking along and i looked on the ground and i found a bag, and it had six bags of dope bagged out. i was like, oh, cool. i did it, and all of the sudden, the next thing i know, i'm waking up in the ambulance. >> what's your name? >> brangham: her story isn't unusual. just a few miles away, a man is found unresponsive. he's revived using naloxone, the drug that reverses opioid overdoses, until paramedics arrive. in the past few years, it's become a daily scene here for boston's emergency services, says deputy superintendent leonard shubitowski. >> there were about 100 narcotic related deaths last year.
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we're on a pace to certainly exceed that by a fair number this year, although the actual number of cases is only up by about 125. so incidence hasn't really increased, but mortality has. >> brangham: what's driving that higher mortality rate is a drug called fentanyl. it's a synthetic opioid that's roughly 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. it was found in about 80% of autopsies the state did on overdose victims earlier this year. >> we're talking about a substance that is poison. it is manufactured death. >> brangham: michael ferguson is the top official in new england for the u.s. drug enforcement agency. >> just here in the commonwealth of massachusetts, six individuals a day are dying from an opioid death. it's alarming, and it's happening, and it's not unique to massachusetts. it's happening all over new england. it's happening all over the country. >> brangham: for decades, fentanyl has been used in hospital settings as an anesthetic and to treat severe
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pain. but starting around 2013, the d.e.a. began to find illicitly manufactured forms of the drug much more often in drug seizures. it seems dealers were using it as an additive to heroin, a cheap way to boost its potency. >> so the deadly combination is high-purity heroin. and i'm talking about heroin that is 50%, 60%, 80%, up to 94% pure. that in itself will kill you. now, you add in fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50 times more potent than heroin, 100 times more potent than morphine. if anything can be likened to a weapon of mass destruction and what it does to a community, it's fentanyl. >> brangham: according to the centers for disease control and prevention, last year more than 64,000 people died from drug overdoses across the nation. that's a higher rate than deaths from aids at the peak of that epidemic. fentanyl was involved in more than 20,000 of those fatalities, more than heroin or prescription
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pills. and in fact, fentanyl related deaths have risen 540% since 2013. many current and former users told us they only found out they had taken fentanyl after they overdosed. >> you don't know what you're getting when you b something. you don't know how strong it is. you don't even know what drug you're buying, half the time, when you're getting something. so you're really playing russian roulette with your life. >> yeah, we're all afraid of it. we've watched-- me and my husband have watched a lot of our friends pass away. a lot. >> brangham: that tiny bit of dust, of powder in there, is what's considered possibly a lethal dose? >> right. so, it's a very small quantity. >> brangham: jill head runs the d.e.a.'s special testing lab in northern virginia, where samples of seized drugs from around the country are sent for analysis. here's a fatal dose of fentanyl, two milligrams, shown next to a penny for comparison.
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>> these tablets, which are made to look like a pharmaceutical preparation, or a pharmaceutical drug that's supposed to contain oxycodone, actually contains about 1.7 milligrams of fentanyl per tablet. >> brangham: in addition to finding fentanyl in knock-off prescription pills like these, sold on the streets to users, as well as in cocaine and methamphetamines, in the past year her team has identified 20 new synthetic opioids developed not just for their potency, but to stay ahead of law enforcement. >> so if i make a change here, i can create acetylfentanyl. if i had a chain of carbons here, i can make... >> brangham: they've also identified carfentanil, a large animal tranquilizer that's used on elephants and rhinos. it's 100 times stronger than fentanyl. special agent ferguson has been tracking how these synthetic drugs get into the u.s.
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he says the ingredients used to make them most often come from china, in labs like this one. they're bought by cartels and shipped to mexico, where the it's estimated that about 80% of the u.s. supply is processed. >> at those locations, they can lace the heroin with the fentanyl, or, increasingly what we've found over the past year now, is kilogram quantities of just fentanyl. >> brangham: the drugs aren't only coming in through smugglers. they're also coming in via the u.s. mail and private carriers, often purchased online directly from operations in china. so as simple as me buying something on amazon, you could buy some of the drugs to make this on the internet. >> right. it would be easy for somebody to purchase them from their home computer and have it shipped to their address. >> braham: after years of pressure, the d.e.a. says chinese officials are now cooperating to crack down on these suppliers. but ferguson admits, enforcement alone will not stop fentanyl
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from entering the country. >> we can point fingers all we want at other people, but this is america's problem. this is our problem. as long as there's a demand and there's money to be made, this stuff's going to get into the country. >> fentanyl really is at the forefront, it defines the epidemic, right here, right now. >> brangham: back on methadone mile, one woman trying to solve this problem is dr. jessie gaeta. last year, she opened what's known as the spot clinic. it stands for "supportive place for observation and treatment," at boston's healthcare for the homeless. she's the chief medical officer there. >> about three years ago, we started to have between two and five overdoses every single week in the building where we work. i mean, i thought, first of all, my gosh, we're having so frequent overdoses that we actually need to build some infrastructure to even manage the response to them. >> brangham: today at spot, only after using their drugs, people
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can come to this small room to ride out their highs in one of these nine chairs, all under the watchful eyes of medical professionals. vitals signs like pulse, blood pressure and breathing are monitored for any signs of distress. >> the people walk in, and usually they can still walk and talk when they come in. typically they'll say, "look, i've used a little bit more today, and i'm worried about what's going to happen. do you mind if i stay here for a little while?" >> brangham: dr. gaeta says it's about giving people in the throes of addiction a place to go, before they find themselves in a full blown overdose and in need of an ambulance. kelsey first came to spot last year. today, she says she's alive and in treatment because of this place. >> they have been there for me through everything that has ever gone wrong in my life. i could tear up right now talking about it. i have literally picked myself up off the street, after some pretty ( bleep ) things have happened, and walked in there and they have always been there for me.
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>> brangham: dr. gaeta, though, knows her work is far from finished. with limited space, and the dangers of fentanyl lurking in possibly every batch and pill, she says people are still overdosing and dying before they can get to spot. >> it's onset of action is very quick. what that means on the street is that i'm seeing overdoses happening literally at the moment of injection. sometimes the needle is still in the arm when someone stops breathing. >> brangham: that fast? >> that fast. that's pretty terrifying, if you think about it from a public health point of view, of how to prevent that death. >> brangham: she thinks the country needs to go a big step further, opening what are called supervised injection sites, like this one in vancouver, canada. here, users can come in and inject their drugs under the care of nurses, using clean needles and with naloxone at the ready. it's controversial, but fentanyl is now forcing the debate. in june the american medical association endorsed the idea. king county, washington, which includes seattle, is moving
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ahead to open supervised injection sites, as is san francisco. and there's at least one safe injection site already running underground in the u.s. >> at this point in the epidemic, we need to be thinking differently. what we're doing so far is not nearly enough. if we do not create and build programming for people who are actively using right now and not entering these other systems, i'm afraid that we're not going to really be able to bend this curve down. >> brangham: while cities and some states press for these reforms, safe injection sites are prohibited by federal law, which says you can't allow illegal drug use on any property. whether the federal government chooses to fight these efforts remains to be seen. from boston, i'm william brangham for the pbs newshour. >> woodruff: online, you can find much more from our series, including an explainer video that breaks down the science of addiction. humans have coveted the pain
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relief provided by opioids for thousands of years. but what actually goes on in the brain? you can watch that at >> woodruff: twitter remains president trump's preferred platform to vent frustrations. this week's targets: the n.f.l., a high-ranking republican senator and claims of fake news. they speak to, and in some cases, fuel debates that divide the country. more on that now with karine jean-pierre. she's a senior adviser to, a contributing editor to bustle, an online women's magazine, and a veteran of the obama administration. and, matt schlapp. he's the chairman of the american conservative union and the former white house political director under president george w. bush. welcome back to both of you. so i was going to start with the
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exchange of insults over the last few days between the president, senator bob corker, but in the last few days, matt, the president seems to have found somebody else to single out and that's nbc news because they've reported in the last day or so that this summer the president said he wanted to dramatically increase the u.s. nuclear arsenal ten-fold. the president says that's not true. he's been backed up by the defense secretary james mattis. now the president is saying he wants to look at nbc's license. is this a good move for the president to be making? >> well, i don't think it's necessarily a great week for nbc. they didn't go with the harvey weinstein story, decided to take a pass, and then this story that donald trump went to the department of state or the pentagon and had a wide-ranging meeting with foreign policy advisors and asked very basic questions about our nuclear arsenal and the use of our
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nuclear arsenal, the contents of that meeting or what someone thought they heard gets leaked and a news outlet goes running with the fact that the president wanted to increase our nuclear arsenal ten-fold, this is kind of -- this is when i think people get frustrated with the news media. i think a president should be able to sit with his foreign policy advisors and ask all kinds of questions in confidence and get direction from them, and i don't think those very same career foreign service or career military people should leak those conversations. it breaches their duty. it's against the law to try to weaken this president. i think it's a big mistake. the president was left with a terrible problem in north korea and in iran. he's got very few good choices and he's trying to figure out what he can do. >> woodruff: is this more about leaks, karine, than fake news? >> we should be concerned someone at a high level is leaking. this why is that? why are they so uncomfortable
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they have to leak these interesting tactical decisions the president is going to make? it's because they are concerned about the president's behavior, about how far he wants to take, how aggressive and bombastic he is. basically, they're showing us what we see him talking about on twitter, he's actually seriously talking about it, you know, at the resolute desk or oval office or in these meetings. the thing is this is the type of dictatorship, authoritarian regime we're seeing from this president. he has to understand john kelly has to slap the constitution on his desk and tell him to read it because he clearly has not read it. you cannot get rid to have the freep. it's part of our democracy. it's what our country is about and these are the things he continues to do. this is not the first time we heard him talk about the press andfake news. >> can we go on about what the president inherited. i didn't take the president comments as somehow he wants to chill the first amendment.
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i think what he's saying to members of the press is just because you have a source, and you're a respected journalist, just because you have a source and a source is telling you the story, it doesn't mean the source is right and it's the job of the journalist to ferret that out and to only print what they can use with their best judgment to be accurate. i think when it comes to questions about nuclear weapons and the nuclearized world, the president is in a terrible position where we have north korea with the ability to strike hawaii, japan, california, what are we going to do? there is a more serious policy question here than just people's dislikes with how donald trump talks. >> but he's the president, we have to listen to how donald trump talks. >> reporter: he is president. and he is incredibly dangerous in the rhetoric reuses. he created the situation, we're not -- >> he inherited these two nuclear situation. >> i'm not saying he didn't but his behavior is not helpful. >> woodruff: i want to write up what i said i was going to mention to begin with and that was the comments on the chairman
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of the foreign relations committee announced he's not running for reelection but he's in a pretty significant position in the congress. he said in the last few days that the only things separating the country from chaos are the people around the president, secretary of defense, secretary of state, white house chief of staff. he went on to tell the "new york times" that the president's rhetoric could possibly lead to something like world war iii. i mean, this is not a right statement. >> what could possibly lead to world war iii is the idea that bob corker and friends thought it was okay to allow iran to get a nuclear weapon and to not force that agreement to go through the senate as a treaty where it would have had a tougher time becoming the law of the land. that is what the president has inherited. so i think bob corker is trying to rewrite history to make it seem like the president is being reckless. he has inherited an absolutely terrifying situation with a nuclearized iran soon to be and
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a nuclearized north korea. it's all of these folks who have been around for the last decade who didn't take the steps previously to prevent this problem that we have today. >> woodruff: are we just looking at it the wrong way? >> no, i think we're looking at it exactly the way it is. one week we have dotar, then moron, now unfit to be foreign relations chair. corker is not running anymore. >> because he would not win the primary. >> let me finish -- because he is free to say upwhat he believes. he is the chair of the foreign relations committee. he knows exactly what's going on. the problem with donald trump is that he's not used to people hitting back, and corker gave him a knock-out punch. >> and the voters of tennessee have given bob corker a knock out punch. if you look at the polls, he would have gone down in the primary. >> you know this better than i
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do. this is not the type of man he is. >> i'm not so sure of that at all. >> that's what people say, that's what republicans are saying, i don't know him. >> the words coming out of his mouth didn't reflect -- >> i think he wants to save this country. >> there was another interview that was done that ran today in "the washington post," tom barrac, a long-time friend of the president, says he has been concerned, shocked, he put it, by some of the president's tweets and hopes that the president will tone it down in effect. >> i think he said something to the effect that the president could communicate bert, he's better than this. i read the story, i didn't take it as an attack by the president's close personal friend, i took it as some coaching in an article about what tom barrack would like to see the president do bert. >> woodruff: does he have a point? >> sure. i think a lot of people who like and respect the president, there's a tweet here or comment there which leaves them saying i
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wish he would have said it differently. i think a lot of them try to talk through the media to him. that shows he has friends that give him diverse viewpoints and direction. i think it's good. >> woodruff: 15 seconds. it's fascinating his friends have to go to the press in order to connect with donald trump because they know donald trump is going to listen -- >> he loves television. does, but i think that's weird that your friends have to do that. but this is nothing surprising. this is all very predictable. this is who donald trump is. i don't know why his friends are surprised. >> so much to cover today. we didn't even get to steve bannon trying to run against -- get some people to run against the -- >> more will continue because of steve bannon. >> karine jean-pierre, matt schlapp, thank you both. >> thank you.
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>> woodruff: tonight on "frontline," a timely documentary that looks at new environmental regulations under the trump administration. "war on the e.p.a." traces the rise of scott pruitt and the effort of the fossil fuel industry, including bob murray, to roll back obama-era regulations, to the dismay of some who wrote them, including betsy southerland. ere is a clear and present danger to public health and safety in this country that the repeals this administration is going to undertake are going to go forward. they are not going to slow down. >> it was eight years of pure hell under the democratic party and obama. but we won! it's a wonderful victory! >> woodruff: >> woodruff: frontline's "war on the e.p.a." airs tonight on most pbs stations. and on the newshour online right
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now, 24 new "geniuses" have been honored with prestigious macarthur fellowships. we introduce you to two of the awardees: a landscape architect who designs urban habitats that can adapt to climate change and other human environmental impacts; and writer viet thanh nguyen, whose award-winning fiction has tackled subjects like the vietnam war and the refugee experience. yo can find those stories and more on our website, and tune in later tonight. on "charlie rose," our own hari sreenivasan discusses "america addicted," our series on the opioid crisis. and that is the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us online, and again right here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you, and we'll see you later. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> bnsf railway. >> collette. >> supported by the rockefeller
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foundation. promoting the wellbeing of humanity around the world, by building resilience and inclusive economies. more at >> 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 >> pati narrate: smoky. smooth.
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rustic. mezcal. one of mexico's oldest most celebrated elixirs. out here in the dusty, rolling countryside of oaxaca this is mezcal country, where small batch family owned productions seem to be stuck in another time. >> pati continues: this is a world i need to experience. >> so we have the worm salt. mmm, so smoky. >> pati narrates: and because mezcal is even better shared, i'm inviting a few friends over for a refreshing oaxaca sour. and an overflowing plate of grilled steak salpicon. >> it's so delicious. >> oh, salud! >> [in unison] salud! >> (pati laughs) ♪


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