tv BBC World News America PBS December 19, 2018 2:30pm-3:01pm PST
♪ [applause] >> and now, "bbc world news." jane: this is "bbc world news america." reporting from washington, i'm jane o'brien. president trump is pulling u.s. troops out of syria. he defeated.ic state is defense chfs and senior republicans say not so fast. >> if you are tired of fighting radical islam, i understand it. they are not tired of fighting you. jane: markets tumble after the raisesderaler r interest rates in spite of white house pressure. how one republican mayor in texas is lighting up his party with renewable eyergy and -popping christmas display.
viewers onme to our public television in america and around the globe. president pulling u.s. troops out of syria. in a tweet, he stated, "we have defeated isis in syria, my only reason for being there during the trump presidency." but the annowicement was met widespread criticism from america's allies and many republican senators. >> the decision withdraw an american presence from syria is a colossal, in my mind, miste, a great error that is going to have significant repercussions. >> it seems to me that our number one job is to defend america against people who want to attack us. if you are tired of fighting radical islam, i understand it.
they are not tired of fighting you. if you don't get that, you are making a huge mistake. it takes two to end the war. 2600 troops is a small footprint, an insuralicy against isis coming back. jane: that was the view from many in congress. est week the bbc's st department correspondent barbara plett-usher interviewed brett mcgurk, the presidential envoy for battling islamic state, pressing him on america's role in the region. barbara: the military commitment does not end with the end of the caliphate. >> that is right. barbara: no timeline ont? >> no timelines. jane:ri a chemical i discussed -- a brief time ago i discussed the president's withdrawal announcement is a with red lieutenant general who served as assistant secretary of state for military affairs. a a lot of confusion, a lot of whcontradiction. do you make of this? confusion ore ntradiction. president trump has been consistent since the campaign trail in 2015 that he was going to pull american troops out ofon the region as s he could.
he said the only reason we were in syria was to defeis. in his judgment, isis is -- was to defeat isis. in his judgment, isis is defeated. jane: has it? >> it is to the point that it may no longer be an american problem. we defeated isis inside of iraq anth local forces and amer support. there is no reason at this why point local forces cannot i the same thiide of syria. ne: what does pulling troops out of syria say to turkey, for instance? >> i think turkey is dulighted by ourng these troops out. they have had a constant dispute with us for years in terms of our embracing of the kurdish ypg and continual unresponsiveness with what they believe to beon na security requirements. jane: what about iran and? russ there were so many different states involved in syria.an is there ar that america is ceding ground to them? >> that is where i am most concerned. america just left the
negotiating table on any post-syria conflict situation. the decisions made bthe eu and -- u.n. will be heavily influenced by russia an and not the united states. jane: that raises the question, is defeating the islamic state the only reason for the u.s. presence in syria? is it the most important reason? >> that is the reason we went in. that has been e only mission 've had and the only mission permitted under the policy put b dothe president and department of defense. all these additional missions have been added on -- training the local forces, keeping an eye on the iranians. b those are wellond the mandate that president trump had and president obama had when we went into syria in the first place. jane: what difference does it actually make pulling out 2000 troops? y.it does not sound very m >> on one hand, it is not a lot of forces, but they are very
good working side-by-side with the forces that have been very effective against isis. on the other hand, these are idly ground forces. we will still pr intelligence and train and equip these forces. just not inside of syria. methat is thod and the policy we took in iraq, and i think what has happened to isis inside of iraq demonstrates the value of that strategy. jane: there is a lot ofio confand it seems to have caught people by surprise. are you surprised that there has not been more consultation? >> well, it should come as nood surprise to anwho has been list i think the surprise is the timing of this, but this should not have been a surprise to anybody working this issue for years. jane: but allies in particular are ve concerned about it and do feel they had considerable interest in america's position. >> candidly, think the allies are delighted the president made his decision because the allies
typically follow thenited states and they are more than happy not only to have american troops coming home, but their own troops coming home from syria. jane: but do you think that just because the president has said this that it will happen, given the concerns raised by his own defense chiefs? >> i think at this point it is the responsibility of the defense chiefs and national security advisor to taen the presat his word, start to withdraw, but convince him of the right time and manner. as president obama said, let's have responsible withdrawal, not a pell-me rush to the door. jane: as ever, thanks ve much indeed for joining me. the anticipation is over. today we learned that the federal reserve is raising interest rates to 2.5%. but it looks like there will be fewer rate hikes next year. esident trump has been exerting a lot of pressure on the independent fed to keep rates low.
forore on today's move, i spoke a brief time ago with the bbc's business correspondent michelle fleury, who was outside the fed. stocks have taken a tumble. it has been a wild ride on the markets. what do you make of that? michelle: well, look, if you w tat the fed has done whiche is to raterest rates and signal 2 more rate increases, ir is a drop from to two what they were previously forecasting when they met in september, but what they are trinng to say is they believ the strength of the u.s. economy, that it is still growing, that the employment picture continues to improve, and as a result of that, they need to apply the brakes gently to try to keep inflation in check. the markets were hoping for perhaps a morehat we called dovish comment from the federal reserve. in other words, they were hoping that the fed would go slower to avoid the risk of tipping the u.s. into a recession or
accelerating a slowdown. that is the balancing act the fed has had towio particularly the wild swings in the stock market and slowing global growth, both factors that the fed did acknowledge as they pointed out the strength they see in the u.s. jane: it i obviously something president trump is concerned about. how unusual is the open tension between the white house and the fed? michelle: well, look, i was trying to think back about this, jane. i can't think of a president who had access to twittetry to back seat drive monetary policy via twitter. in the past presidents have tried to avoid commenting publicly on the actions of the fed even if they did have strong views about it. the reason is to preserve e credibility and independence of the federal reserve. but that does not seem to be troubling the fed chairman jerome powell, who had no trouble dismissing driving of monetary policy by the president
when he came out in a prs conference to say that political considerations were not part of the decision-making process, ant thy would do what they thought was best. jane: very briefly, what are wee expectin year? the fed seems to think it will slow down the rate hikes. michelle: well, they were talking about this year. owth turned out to be mu stronger than they expected. they think in 2019 growth will contin, but the pace of that growth is moderating, which is why they are predicting two interest-ratincreases at the moment. that could, of course, change. the fed is keen to point out that there is no prese cpath. thtinue to monitor not just events at home but also global economic developments as a result of that, they could shift again. we have seen them go fromic prng three rate increases next year to two.ou that still change.
we don't know the pace of those increases. jane: michelle fleury, thankinou for jome. news from around the world. the published a series of contingency measures in the event of a no-deal brexit. it is reduce what the commission calls significant damage if e u.k. were to crash out of the eu and come 100 days before the u.k. is due to leave the union. in a daring rescue attempt after a cargo ship ran aground on the coast near istanbul, crew members have been brought ashore using the zipline. 16 crew members were stranded on board the vessel. there are no reports of any sualties. one of america's most senior intelligence officials has told the bbc that chi is the number one national security threat to the u.s. mu of the focus has been on russia for the comments under washgton increase pressure on
inbeover espionage. the director of the national elcounterigence and security center has been speaking to a security correspondent gordon corera. them this is -- >> this is what we were call the wall of shame, the depiction of the individuals in the u.s. that have betrayed our country. gordon: he is ameca's top spy catcher. outside his office in intelligence" is are reminders of those who betrayed america's secrets over the years. he is clear where he sees the threat coming from today. >> china's number one by far. gordon: from where you sit, do you see china as the greater threat than russia? >> yes. i think russia has its own skill sets that threaten our national but it pales in comparison to the threat posed by china. gordon: he's is chinese spies has been stealing secrets to grow their economy.
this chinese spy is awaiting trial in america. he is accused of stealing help chineseets to companies. vigeneral electric aion in america spent decades developing high-tech material for engines. he is alleged to have enticed an american engineer to him tochina, asking prepare blankets and material on a high drive. when he met to pick up more secrets, he was arrested. it is not just regular spies the u.s. worries about. >> scientists, engineers, businessmen. gordon: theft of technical research from universities is a particular concern. washington is worried not just how china gained the economic power, but how it wields it. particularlyrying to shut down discussion of subjects it considers sensitive like to get -- tibetiw or . >> i think the influence part of th it is part of a slip and slope
where you haveip self-censorsh in a free society. gordon: concerns extend beyond washingt. in austin, texas, the university wente through a divisbate, rejecting significant new funding because ofth concerns e was chinese, his party influence. -- chinese communist party influence. concerns over censorship extent the hollywood. >> i see through y. gordon: the 2016 hit "doctor strange" featured a british actors playing someone originally tibetan. the film's screenwriter says no one told him what to do. screenwriter,gou start -- about cha is a very big market. very large. gordon:hayou are talking about is self-censorship.
>> yes, absolutely. tgordon: in ukare are similar concerns, but spoken more quality. a former engineer from rolls-royce is currently under policeor investigation allegedly imparting information to china. reportedly denied t claims and has not been charged. there are ccerns and universities about the way in which chinese money and influence can restrict the ability to discuss certa topics. then the -- >> the about china's presence in the academy. it is discouraging a critical discussion of certain issues sensitive to the chinese regime. example, the three t's -- tibet, taiwan, tiananmen square. gordon: washington is determined to confront china over espionage and influence.
gordon corera, bbc news. jane: you are"b watchin world news america." still toht come on tonig's program, facebook comes under fire again as more data sharing comes to light vladimir putin has always shrugged off the impact of tightening international but a recent report shows that one in poverty and the president's approval rating is iding. sarah rainsford traveled to siberia to test the mood. sarah: it is a sprawling siberian city of harsh realities . but a number of people in poverty has been climbing for fiveears. much, so he was looking forward to his pension a
60 -- not to retire, but for extra w sh. e pension age has been raised. cannoted that they go on with the spetem with more le living longer. >> no one pays any attention at all. people can understand why we need pension sarah: but men still die on average two years before the new retirement age. at this shelter for people who have fallenn hardl imes, lost alve a drink problem. li for many here looks pretty good these days. withestern brands, new buildings, smart cars. this is the first of several regions to elect a communist governor. perhaps it is no surprise that communist politicians are beating pro-putin once in places like this.
places with concerns about taxes and pension reform are on the rise. it feels like russia's government is squeezing the people for funds, and as a result, president putin's approval rating, once skyhigh, is starting to slide. vladimir putin's great pressure talk chimed with the nation that. her gains and stable. in this part of siberia, the cracks in the message are starting to show. jane: another week and another controversy for faebook. protectingnot user privacy. a "new york times" story reports that the social-media comedy -- company failed to disclose the large list of thrties who had access to user information including names of friends and private messages. r more on how this happened i , one earlier to gabe dance
of the authors of today's report. thanks very much for joining me. how extensive is this data sharing? gabriel: the data sharing that we reviewed in the documents is very extensive. we counted over 150 different companies that facebook has partnered with and the types of aring is for myriad uses. we have thingsha have access to personal messes, friends, emails. it is very broad and very deep. oujane: but i t facebook was supposed to have fixed this. they gave all of those assurances during the summer. why haven't they? gabe: we thought facebook had a fixed thiswell.ai one of the missues is why faceok has to continue to disclose partnerships but only subsequent to reporting. init seems like it would b facebook's interests and their user' interests and it wo make my job easier if they were more forthcoming about the partnersps entered into.
jane: why aren't they? gabe: i thk it is because facebook and some of these partners operate in a world where the transaction people's data is fundamental to their companies. the lea that they want to tel people that this trading of their data and access to the a dactually flies in the face of their business model for thet mo part.gi jane: n the fact that this is so entrenched in the digital age, can anybody stop it? th gabe: well, k there is a good chance that british lawmakers could put a stop to it in a certain respect. there is the opportunity for the u.s. federalovernment to stop to it. facebook is under a consent agreement for practicein 2011 that were misleading to its users. it seems that there is potential here for that agreement to have
been violateand that could lead to further regulations and fines. europe is putting in place gdpr protections. so i don't think facebook is going to do it on its own. thi don'k facebook's partner companies are going to do it on their own, although we have seen some device makers including apple try to distance themselves from facebook. it would certainly appear that the onus is on governments in the united states and abroad to rein in these big tech companies. jane: very briefly, what about users? do they care? there are 2 billion of them. have we lost all idea of privacy? gabe: i think it is a great question and it is fundamental to how we ended up where we are today. when facebook launched, it was based around the idea of privacy, that you were sharing this information with your friends. as facebook grew, they decided
that your fries should also grow. it was in their interest that your friends turned to friends of friends and those friends of friends started to include microsoft and amazon and yahoo! and some of the other companies that we discussed, that you did not even know were your friends. i do think users still have an interest in privacy, and i think as we continue to expose more of these data sharing arrangementsp users who pedid not know that their basic information and sometimes more personal and private information was being shuffled between these companies will in fact start to stand up and demand more privacy. but it might mean that they have toay money for it. jane: gabe dance, thanks for joining me. ever since president trump pulled out of the paris climate agreement, the focus shifted to what states and local communities areoi to combat climate change. but youba py would not expect to find a republican mayor in the state of texas
leading the way. a majority of people there part g for donald trump and it is a region where oil a reign supreme. but as our north america oocorrespondent aleem ma found, this christmas season is being lit with the environment in mind.it aleem: wheomes to saving the planet, trump's america has come under fire for not doing enough. but one little town is trying to go against the grain thanks in part to its mayor. >> he we are on the most beautiful town square not only in texas, but the united states of america. this is what heaven would look like at christmas. aleem: but let me ask you -- for an environmentalist, it doesn't look like heaven. it looks like a hu waste of energy. what is going on? >> it's not, because we are 100% renewable energy. all of these wonderful lights is funded by wind and solar energy. aleem: as a republican froms, tee is an unlikely climate
change superhero. but under his watch, this town has become the largest in the u.s. to switch solely toen renewable gy companies. a wind farm in west texas and a massive solar park are the supplies of the town's power. but in this conservative part of the country, the majority of peoplelso voted for this man. pres. trump: all of this with the global warming -- a lot of it is a hoax it is a hoax. it is a moneaking industry, ok? aleem: this sandwich shop has its own solar panels, and having a president who is not convinced about man's contribution to climate change is inspiring individuals to do their bit. >> i mean, you have to start somewhere. if you wait for someone else to, dot is never going to happen. you have to do it yourself.is aleem: thahe mayor's feeling, too, but in texas he has seen campaigns against him
by members of his own party. >> you have special interest groups that promote oil and gas interests. gui am not their number on right now, ok? i'they don't like tham out there telling the truth and just putting the facts out there. aleem: some of his critics say that is because he and others are disrespecting the heritage of the state and the country by demonizing fossil fuel industries. >> a lot of what this state has seen an prospered from and what people he done for so long was oil. you talk to people across the state and they say, "my grandpa was an oilman," and when someone says oil is evil, they t grandpa wasn't evil.al m: holiday season excess in georgetown is powered by renewable energy, and the town is trying to show you could be conservative in americd still care about environment. i s just that politics does not make it easy. aleem maqbool, bbc news. jane: so pretty.
now i'm starting to feel christmasy. 'you can find all the days news on our website. i am jane o'brien. thanks for watching "bbc world news america pur --tnks for watching "bbc world news america." >> with the bbc news app, our vertical videos are designedouo work and yr lifestyle, so you can swipe your way through the ne of the day and stay up-to-date with the latest headlines you can trust. download now from selected app stores. >> funding of this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation, and kovler foundation, pursuing solutions for america's neglecteneeds. >> what are you doing? >> possibilities. your day is filled witthem. >> tv, play "downton abbey.">> and pbs helps everyone discover theirs.
ptioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm ghdy woodruff. on the newshour to another hike-- the federal reserve raises interest rates, signaling confidence in the economy.th , leaving syria: president trump's surprise announcement to withdraw u.s. troops halts the fight against isis, upending plans to stabize areas once controlled by militants. us, building a life from the ruins of war. we travel to mosul, iraq, to see what is left once the fighting stops. >> this is the best they can hope for. there is no running water, no electricity. lley just hope to be able to build the up enough to be able to take shelter and sleephe re. >> woodruff: all that and more ononight's pbs newshour.