tv BBC World News America PBS December 26, 2018 5:30pm-6:01pm PST
president trump makes a surprise trip to iraq, his first trip to a combat zone nearly two years into his presidency. it is far from smooth sailing, though. a meeting between mr. trump and iraqi leadership already scrapped. strong rebound on wall street -- the dow index has broken a record and gained more than 1000 points in a single tradith session for first time ever. japan confirms it will resume commercial whale hunting next year in defiance of a global ban and they will leave the organization that aims to protect whales. and tv star and art critic ageer wendy beckett dies at 88.ac we will look bk at her life. ben: hello, and welcome to "bbc world news." president ump and the first lady made a surprise visit to
iraq to thank troops posted there for their service. it comes in the midst of a government shutdown and less than a week after mr. trump announced hisontroversial plan to withdraw u.s. troops from syria as well as half of those stationed in afghanistan. a former general in the united states army has served as the deputy assistant secretary of defense for the middle east under george w. bush, and joins us from washington, d.c. explain to us the practical purpose if any of e presidential visit like this, a surprise visit over the holidays. >> first of all, i think i had at least two presidents visit me, once in 1997 in bosnia, and2 3 in iraq. there is the opportunity for the president to see and talk to hi trood they appreciate it.nt more imporor the ship was the president had the opportunity to go out and explain to those affected what
the syria policy was, and i think it was an opportunity for him to hear r those -- from those leaders out there, how they would be able to affect that plan and carry out that plan. ben: on that point about giving troops in the region what the changef policy means for them, was there anything that was said that emerged so far from the trip that would give us a hint of where the policy goes from now? lt. gen. kimmitt: no, i don't think so. the president did admit he had been talking to military lears for some time, giving them a couple more months, couple more months. the real issue is not beense discusin the press which isul we'reng the ground troops out. does that allow us to provide air support, training, logistic support to our local forces inside of syria the way it hases been so suul with that strategy here in iraq?
i ink that is one of the things that president should hear fm his commanders on the ground. ben: of course the president is visiting troops in iraq where we are well aware because of recent discussions that the role of u.s. troopin syria, for example, is to continue the fight against so-called islamic state. just remind us why and what troops are doing in iraq at the moment. ltgen kimmitt: well, pretty much the same thing, except they are not fighting side-by-side with the ypg. we are doing inside iraq a mission called by, with, andh throe iraqis. we are providing air strikes, intelligence support, logistics support. but we are not doing the frontline fighting. that is being done by the iraqi counterterrorism service, the army, and the federace. i would note that the iraqis have taken thousands and thousands of casualties, and the
coalition has taken a number of sad casualties, but those numbers are well below 10. so this notion of fighting through proxies on the ground and fighting with those on the ground most affected -- in thist ca iraqi security forces -- has proven to be a successful strategy. ben: just very briefly, i havent seen presirump is reported as saying that his decision to withdraw u.s. troops from syria, he says a lot of people are going to "come around to my way of thinking." from your conversation in the military world, is he right? ltgen kimmitt: i think so. the military on the ground over there was embracing a much, much long w mission. the going to train 40,000 forces on the ground to provide security. inevitably the americans who would have beepart of any peacekeeping operation if there was a settlement.
i think once military and the people of america understand that, candidly, the military was trying to drag us to another forever war, they will understand what the president was trying to do. ben: thanks very much there. rmer general of the u.s. army speaking to us from washington. well, let's speak to our correspondent chris buckler, who is also in washington. it seems athough not long after we heard about the surprise trip, news emerges of something of a falling out over the meeting between th president and iraqi leadership. chris: yeah, the truth is that president trump is always going to be someone who causes problems on the world stage. we have seen that a lot, ben. sometimes retionships are not the easiest for him. at times there are lots of concerns of what we're doing in -- what he is doing in the middle east. if you look at turkey, for example, president erdogan all of a sudden seems to be his friend in terms of the middle
east. as he builds relationships wit one leader, there will be concerns about what happens with other leaders. president erdogan had a conversation with presidentbe trump shortlre he announced he was pulling out of syria. he was going to remove u.s. troops from ther he had another conversation in which he said at turkey is one of the countries to take the lead whenever the u.s. goes out. it does give you real sense that while president trump is looking towards iraq and other countries as being somewhere where he can have influence, the decision to pull out of syria is going to cause a lot of worry. and certainly, although he visited troops today tmoraise le, there will be others worried about the direction of -- at the moment. president trump traveled with the first lady to iraq to spread some christmas cheer and thank troops for their service and sacrifice. pres. trump: we came to share eternal gratitude
for everything you do to keep america safe, strong, and free. chris: but standing .s. soldiers on foreign soil, it was inevitable that he would be ked about what many claim is his increasingly isolationist foreign policy. last week in a sudden and surprise decision he announced american forces would be leaving syri it caused coern in washington and several corners of the world. but mr. trump said he believes a lot of people were going to come tound to his way of thinking. he went on to insit "it is time for us to start using our head." one person who remains unconvinced is outgoing dense secretary jim mattis, who resigned over the president's plans. ismr. trump says he in no hurry to find a permanent successor to heeral mattis, a sign that intends to push forward with what he believes is right. peit is reported that the agon has been asked to draw plans to sue really reduce the number of
-- to severely reduce the number of american troops in afghanistan. many in the military feel there is much work to be done there and in syria. there has been widespread siticism of mr. trump' suggestion that the so-called islamic state group have been defeated. this w the first trip by this commander-in-chief to see his soldiers in the combat zone. but mr. trump has given every signal that he wants to be less involved in the middle east. a president who seemingly believes in america firsvois getting ined in other countries only as a last resort. even with those questions foreign policy, mr. trump may well feel that the trip to iraq is a brief break from the battle he is facing in washington, the questions about the stockrk , the economy, and the partial government shutdown that is leaving hundreds of thousands of worither on unpaid leave or not knowing when they will get paid. ofeourse, mr. trump insists will only accept any deal that gives him $5 billion for border g ll with mexico, and democrats say that is not go happen,
which gives you an idea that the shutdown and questions on all nthese different issues a going to end for mr. trump anytime soon. ben: you alluded to the domestic pressures. a trip like this over the holiday does come with a certaio amount of feel factor, and it is certainly good publicity asell, isn't it? v yeah, and it isy important for the president as well to be seen at times like this.rt nly if you take a look at the past with the number of presidents who have gone to troops specifically at thanksgiving and christmas to try to ensure that they know that their service is appreciated, but perhaps there this another message i as well, because president trump is facing serious questions about whether or not he is committedce to being a fn the middle east. he is someone who does believe that america's interests come before any other countries as hofar as the u.s. and white is concerned.
perhaps there is also a message that he has got an interest in the middle east and is intending to remain there and do something. certainly, he said that iraq was a place he could use to fight the so-called islamic state group. at the same time you have seen rs inhe has ruffled feat iraq. donald trump is a democrat but not always someone who is democratic. n: thanks very much, chris buckler in washington. keeping our focus on the u.s. stock market, they have rebounded. erey have roared back to life after the worst hristmas eve. the dow index posted its biggest ever daily point gain, searching -- surging by more than 1000 points in a single trading session. earlier spoke to jonathan joseph, our business correspondent. jonathan: broadly speaking it has been a good day for u.s. markets.
the main indices have risen. to put it intote c, it comes after the selloff, which comes monday at a time of year when we normally see a rallybut what we instead have the biggest of -- biggest ever selloff of the christmas eve on record. it is not a good idea to look too much into one day's numbers, but if you look at the broader picture, the s&p 500 is down 20% from the september high. that is a psychologically significant landmark and it gets to concerns about things at the white house in particular, but what happens in the u.s. economy does matter because it is the wor's biggest and it can spread across the world. there was also positive news in the u.s. today. that came from mastercard about consumer spendg saying that holiday season sales were up 5.1% from the same period last year. a lot of that was drawn from online sales and that was reflected by amazon, which is -- which said that across the
world it has sold more parcels e thr before this time of year. ben: still the white house is having to give reassurances to calm investors' nerves and the future of the chair of the federal reserve. reporter: absolutely, this was remarks fromevin hassett, who chairs the council of economic advisers. he was asked by reporters at the white house whether federal reserve chairman jay powell is safe in his job and he said absolutely 100%. the concerns about this came from reports in the media in recent days suggesting that president trump s thinking of trying to fire mr. powell for hirole at the fed the roles -- the world's most important central whether president trump tried to fire him will be a question of the independence of the bank, cause it would stoke concerns that the president is trying to intervene. but t this comes ate when president trump had probably -- had probably -- had broadly
been interfering in federal reserve policy, raising questions about the way it is conducting its policy on interest rates there was another increase just last week, the fourth this year. president trump is concerned that the federal ress ising interest rates too quickly and that that might have a negative impact on u.s. economic growth. it has been growing pretty ly under his presidency and he is trying to make political capital out of that. he has oth concerns to worry about at the moment, not least the u.s.-china trade war from which he is trying to win. he is keen to make sure that there is nothing that stifles u.s. economic growth at all because if it does, it could reflect poorly on prs idency. ben: jonathan joseph there. there has been widespread ftternational condemnation the japanese government decided to resume commercial whaling from july next year. the move has prompted anger fror nations like aia, whose
foreign minister said she was extremely disappointil. victoria gl has more. victoria: they are the ocean's gentle giants, but these majest mammals are at the heart of an international dispute. it is all about the bloody business of coercial whaling, business that pan says it will resume in the summer of 2019. >> at the international whaling commission meeting in september, it became obvious that it is not possible for states with different views to exist side-by-side, which led to a decision to leave. victoria: the international whaling commission is the bodyne that bthe hunting of wales s in 1986 after manywi species were almosd out. but countries like iceland and norway hunt ales that are not endangered. japan hunts them for what it calls scientific research.
the country has hunted whales for centuries and they were a source of protein foy the desperator years after world war ii. >> people around my age remember the old times when we would eat whale meat. there are shops that sell it and i sometimes buy some. but it is not like people are queuing up for it. victoria: officials still say that eating whales is a part of japanese culture, and that it can be done sustainably. iobut this decishas sparked condemnation. conservationists say it could threaten populations of whales have recovered since the ban. >> it is not just about what japan does, it is now about if other countries will follow suit, if other countries will step outside the whaling commission. if japan gets away with this, other countries might do the same thing, and more and more populations could be exposed to whaling. we are very concernet the potential for the expansion of whaling outside of any international control.
victoria: japan says commercial whaling will be restricted to its own territorial waters and economic zones and see swelling -- and they will cease whaling in the antarctic ocean. despite reassurances, many are calling on the country to reconsider. victoria gill, bbc news. ben: you are watching "bbc world news." stay with us if you can. still to ce, tributes to ster wendy, the nun and art historian who unlikely became a hugely popular tv star. >> the world of music has been t paying tribugeorge michael, who has died from a suspected heart failure at the age of 53. llhe sold more than 100 min albums in a career spanning more than three dedes. >> the united states has been trying to overthrow the dictorship of general manuel noriega. the pentagon says it failed in its objectivto capture him and take him to the ited states to face drug charges. >> hammer and sickle was taken away. in its place, the ssian flag hoisted over what is no longer
the soviet union, but the commonwealth of independent states.>> ay broke slowly over lockerbie. downockpit was nose in the soft earth. you can see what happens when a plane 8 storots high and a ll pitch wide falls from 30,000 feet. >> christmas has returned to albania after a communist banha lasting more20 years. eyousands went to midnight mass in a town where were anti-communist riots 10 days ago. ben: hello, welcome back to "bbc wor news." i am ben bland. ientists in cambridge ha created a 3-d digital model for cancer. the tumor sample can be studied using virtual reality. provideers hope it wi new insights into how cancers spread. our medical correspondent fergus walsh reports.
fergus: this is 21st-century pathology. on the conveyor belt is a wafer thin slice taken from a human tumor. multiple slices each just one ce thick are analyzed to reveal all the characteristics of the cancer. then the sample is reassembled digitally so it can be studied using virtual reality. >> we are onhe bleeding edge of nearly every technology -- fergusthe director of cancer research u.k.'s cambridge institute showed me around his virtual lab, where we are transformed into avatars. this giant multicolored cloud of bubbles is the virtual tumor. the tissue sample it came from was the size of a pinhead. >> the purpose of our project is to understand how each of these types influences each other what messages do they send to each other, and how does that influence their behavior.ho fergus: this how the t credible diversity of cancer
cell types inter order to evade the body's defenses. that knowledge may ultimately help in the search f treatments. at this point, we decided to go and explore the tumor in more detail. >> here you can really start to appreciate its structure. just move arou. it looks to me like there is sets of tumor cells oating above the structures, almost as if they are streaming out. it is when those leave and become invasive disease, they become really dangerous. fergus: so here, are you capturing potentially the moment when this cancer begins to spread? >> yeah, and i think that is weat is really remarkable because unless w looking at the tumor in this detail, in this resolution, this many cells in three dimensions, we could
never find such anrevent. fergusarchers at the crick institute in london say the virtual tumor will help understand how they interact withealthy cells and spread. >> is a huge step forward. it is so much more dynamic and real than what we have been able to do in the past by looking at very static analyses of what is happening in potentially two -- essentially two dimenisons. fergus: irtual pathology lab can be accessed by researchers anywhere in the world, helping scientists share knowledge in theight against cancer. fergus walsh, bbdgnews, cambrie. ben: a little eaier i spoke to a director of cancer research at the u.k. cambridge institute. i asked him how significant this could be in helping cancer patients. >> i think it is really just a first step. this is one model, a small piece
of one patient's cancer. the goal of this project funded by the u.k. is to create thousands of such models. t looking in retrosp one model for one patient is not that informative. we see some fairly remarkable things. what we need to do is lot at recurrtterns and things that are common to hundreds or thousands of different patientso we can use to help refine diagnoses and predict how treatments, particularlyha treatmentsare focused on harnessing the body's own defenses, can be improved. ben: so in order to have a widespread benefit, it would require this kind of modeling to be done many multiple times for many multiple -- many mulmaple times fo different types of cancer cells, is that what you are saying? >> well, i think we will start to understand some principles after 10 or a dozen different
samples are looked at. were this will have a clinical benefit will require starting into the hundreds of thousands. be accessed all around the world, do you think the 3-d model is going too anything to help people in developing countries access better cancer treatment, or is it too early to say? >> well, i think that obviously if you are looking at situations in developing countries we would not be creating personalized for patients, at least not in the current circumstances. but from the principles we learn it could be quite broadly applicable. there will be a benefit as there is to all quite sophisticated technological approaches as one moves forward.t will be the general principles that are learned and not the specifics of the model for the individual patients that can be applied much like personalized genomics is applied in the clinic in developed-- countriehe u.s., the u.k. in
not so muceveloping countries. but the principles we learn do have a knock-on effect. ben: sister wendy beckett, the nun whose passion for art made her an unexpected tv star died at age 88. she went on to several bbc series. a look back at her life. sister wendy: the angel gabriel was sent by god to a virgin in the town of nazareth. reporter: sister wendy beckett, a nun talking about paintings. who would've guessed that this would be such a hit? lister wendy: god became man. and it happened this. reporter: there was never a rehearsal or written script. she simply stood and spoke. millions in britain, america,
and around the world sat and listened. sister wendy: i cannot affordok g at them because i want to get onto this -- reporter: she was 16 when she first joined the nuns. as a child she was almost too clever. sister wendy: i never expected to be able to talk to anybody. i took that forranted, that is nyw people were. they never founddy they could talk to. reporter: at oxford, her tutor was j.r.r. tolkien. she received a congratulatory first -- not so much a degree, more a round of applause. art books, butng the pressure of work and coping with epilepsy caused ho seek almost total solitude. but then during a rare excursion to the gallery, she was overheard talking about art. it was that that led to her tv career. but she found the idea of fame and celebrity mortifyi. her joy was silence and solitude.
even at mass, she sat alone. sister wendy: that is where i'm , ing to be for eternity hope, tucked away in the belfry of the graveyard, thanking gode for allowinglife of such unimaginable happiness. lucky me. ben: sister wendy beckett, who has died at the age of 88. that is it for this bulletin. you can reach me on twitter. thanks for watching. >> wh the bbc news app, our vertical videos are designed to work and your lifestyle, so you can swipe your way through the news of the day and stay up-to-date with e latest headlines you can trust. download now from selected app stores.
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> brangham: good evening. i'm william brangham. judy woodruff is away. on the newshour tonight: president trump makes a surprise trip to iraq, his first visit with troops in a war zone. then, the dow jones soars ov 1,000 points, its biggest daily gain in history, bouncing back from a christmas eve plunge. plus, 50 years since nasa'so first flighte moon. inside the landmark "apollo 8" mission. >> they took a picture of the earth rising over thzon of the moon. it was the "earth rise" picture, and it was one of the first opportunities for us to see the earth as it really exists in the cosmos a >> brangha that and more, on tonight's pbs newshour.