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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  November 30, 2021 3:00pm-4:01pm PST

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captioning sponsored by newshourroductions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight: covid concerns. health officials cast doubt on whether travel bans can slow the spread of the new variant, instead emphasizing the need for global cooperation. then, high stakes. congress faces a potential government shutdown, and democrats struggle to push through the president's domestic agenda. and, on trial. elizabeth holmes returns to the stand in the silicon valley criminal fraud case against her former company, theranos. all that and more, on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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♪ ♪ ♪ >> pediatric surgeon. volunteer. topiary artist. a raymond james financial advisor tailors advice to help you live your life. life, well-planned. >> for 25 years, consumer cellular's goal has been to provide wireless service that helps people communicate and connect. we offer a variety of no-contract plans, and our u.s.-based customer service team can help find one that fits you. to learn more, visit >> johnson & johnson. >> bnsf railway. >> fidelity wealth management. >> the john s. and james l. knight foundation. fostering informed and engaged communities. more at
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>> 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. >> woodruff: more and more countries are reporting cases of covid-19's omicron variant tonight, and more are mandating travel bans. at the same time, advisors to the u.s. food and drug administration have now endorsed the merck company's pill to treat the virus in high-risk adults. all of this comes as public
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health officials are emphasizing the need for global cooperation. nick schifrin begins our coverage. >> schifrin: today, from european capitals where omicron spread earlier than previously thought, to eastern africa, where health workers rushed to administer mrna vaccines, the world wrestled with worry. >> i overheard fears about the omicron variant which is ravaging the world, so i decided to come for the jab. >> schifrin: many countries aren't relying only on jabs. at least 56 have imposed omicron-related travel restrictions. but, more than 20 countries have detected omicron cases, from canada to australia. yesterday, japan closed its borders to foreigners and increased quarantines, but today, reported its first omicron case. the world health organization has denounced travel bans, but today, it also warned omicron numbers could double or triple this week, and suggested people over 60, at high risk, postpone travel. and, moderna warned its vaccine would likely be less effective
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against omicron. chief executive stéphane bancel told the financial times, “all the scientists i've talked to say 'this is not going to be good'.” but u.s. officials today predicted vaccines could prove effective. white house covid response coordinator jeff zeints: >> existing vaccines are likely to continue to provide a degree of protection against severe illness. >> schifrin: in london, prime minister boris johnson visited a vaccination site, and urged britons get their third shots. >> so the crucial thing is for >> schifrin: but many countries are still racing to give their first shots. only about 10% of sub-saharan africans have received one covid shot, less than one-sixth the rate of north america and europe. today, secretary of state tony blinken reiterated the u.s. wanted to help vaccinate the world. >> we know, we know, we know that none of us will be fully safe, until everyone is. >> schifrin: the white house says it has donated more vaccines around the world than all countries combined, including 13 million to southern africa. today, the problem is not only supply. >> the logistical capability of
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getting vaccines into people's arms in southern african countries, and in other low- and middle-income countries, is really very difficult. and in fact, many of the doses that have been shipped have not been used. >> schifrin: for more on all of this, we turn to dr. richard hatchett, chief executive officer of the coalition for epidemic preparedness innovations, or c.e.p.i., one of the leading organizations that is part of the u.n. covax vaccine distribution program. richard hatchett, thank you very much. welcome back to the "newshour". today the netherlands announced it had discovered omicron variants last week well before south africa detected it for the first time. what does that say about efforts to prevent this variant spread? >> this variant has spread already around the world, i think as of today it's already on all six continents, and the news from netherlands, in some respects, isn't terrifically surprising. i think we will begin to understand its spread over time. i think what we need to focus
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on, obviously, is botswana in south africa identifying this, recognizing it has this increased mutational profile, has given the world notice and given the world time to prepare and to increase its surveillance activities. >> reporter: the biden administration and other countries around the world have imposed travel bans in order to do what you just said, to increase surveillance. are those travel bans effective? >> travel restrictions can provide some degree of slowing of spread, in this case the virus already seems to be disseminated. i think careful monitoring of travelers and the use of testing protocols before they depart and after they arrive in a new country is probably going to be a more effective way to, you know, monitor for the virus and allow travel to continue because it's very, very costly to impose these travel bans. >> reporter: moderna's c.e.o. today said he did not believe
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the vaccines would be as effective against omicron, do you agree? >> i'm very concerned about it. looking at the mutational pattern we're seeing in omicron, we have never seen such a concentration of mutations in the spike protein which is part of the virus that binds to the cells, and it's got mutations that we know have been associated with reductions in vaccine effectiveness. so i am concerned. i think it's really really important to do the testing, do the analysis and understand, you know, just how much vaccine effectiveness may be reduced. i think it's prudent to begin developing new vaccine constructs in case -- just in case we need to switch over from the current vaccine to another omicron-specific vaccine. >> reporter: and are the vaccine-rich countries doing enough in order to accelerate that production of the vaccines you're talking about?
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>> well, very fortunately, we've seen all the major vaccine manufacturing companies -- pfizer, moderna, astrazeneca, j&j -- moving quickly to develop omicron constructs. pfizer and moderna think they can deliver omicron-specific vaccine early in the new year. that's terrific. it's something we've articulated a goal for if world to be able to develop new vaccines within 100 days. i think omicron presents a real-word opportunity to see what we can do and improve our processes. >> reporter: you said something yesterday that caught headlines, you said omicron is "the chickens coming home to roost." what did you mean? >> we think we're seeing, at least based on what we understand now, is this virus, this variant has emerged in countries that have had very limited access to vaccine, and that means that covid has continued to circulate at high rates in these countries which provides it opportunities to
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mutate, and, so, scientists for months have been predicting that the inequity of vaccine distribution was creating the exact kind of circumstances that would promote the emergent of new variants, potentially with the ability to evade our vaccines. the inequity that has characterized the global response to date has now come home to roost. >> reporter: we heard dr. fauci say today the problem wasn't only about supply, how much rich countries are giving, but actually about problems on distribution, especially in southern africa. is that part of the problem? >> now the vaccine supplies are increasing. covax distributed around 575 million doses and the supplies are continuing to increase. we are beginning to see challenges in countries to receive this flood of vaccine and to distribute it. and, so, we do need to shift our
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focus to importing country's ability to receive and dispense vaccine to their populations as rapidly as possible. that's going to be the big challenge for 2022. >> reporter: and are there not only problems especially in southern africa of vaccine skepticism and misinformation, how do we handle that? >> that's a global problem. vaccine hesitancy is in different groups, in different environments. it has immerged in different environments to vaccinate populations sufficiently to achieve herd immunity. we have to tackle that problem but it has many different roots that contribute to it. >> reporter: dr. richard hatchett, thank you very much. >> thank you, nick. >> woodruff: in the day's other news, at least three students
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were killed after a shooting at their high school in southeastern michigan. police say the gunman was a 15- year-old sophomore, arrested at the scene, about 30 miles north of detroit. at least eight people were wounded, including a teacher. >> we will get to the bottom of this. we're exercising a search warrant the suspect's house. we have talked to the parents, and all i can tell you is, they didn't want their son to talk to us, and they've hired an attorney. >> woodruff: there is no indication that the alleged shooter had any prior run-ins with police. a federal appeals court today upheld california's ban on high- capacity magazines for guns. the state wants to limit magazines to ten bullets. a smaller panel of the same appeals court had found that the ban was unconstitutional. gun owner groups vowed to take the case to the u.s. supreme court. the federal reserve may accelerate a shift away from holding down interest
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rates, to holding down prices. fed chair jerome powell appeared before senators today with treasury secretary janet yellen. he said inflation worries could bring a quicker end to the policy of buying bonds to keep rates low. >> we now look at an economy that's very strong, and inflationary pressures that are high. that means it's appropriate, i think, for us to discuss at our next meeting, which is in a couple weeks, whether it would be appropriate to wrap up our purchases a few months earlier. >> woodruff: powell's comments, and worries about the omicron variant, hit wall stre hard. the major indexes fell 1.5% to 2%. the dow jones industrial average lost 652 points to close at 34,483. the nasdaq shed 245 points. the s&p 500 was down 88. former president trump's lawyers former president trump's white house chief of staff, mark meadows, is now cooperating
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with the congressional probe of the capitol assault last january. the committee's chair said today that meadows has turned over records, and will give a deposition. for now, the committee has put off plans to hold him in contempt. in afghanistan, there is word that the taliban has killed or abducted more than 100 former police and intelligence officers since seizing power in august. human rights watch reports that taliban commanders have carried out night raids. they initially promised amnesty to those who are now being attacked-- or targeted. russian president vladimir putin issued a new warning to nato today over ukraine. he said that russia will have to act if the alliance places advanced missiles in ukraine. he spoke during an online forum in moscow. >> ( translated ):reating such threats in ukraine poses red lines for us. but, i hope it doesn't come to that. i hope that common sense, and a responsibility for both our
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countries and the world community, will prevail. >> woodruff: the u.s. and nato warned today that moscow will pay a high price if it invades ukraine. tens of thousands of protesters turned out in sudan today, in the latest demonstrations against last month's military coup. security forces fired tear gas at the crowds in khartoum. protesters also marched in other cities around the country. barbados became a republic today, after nearly 400 years of allegiance to britain. it is the caribbean's first such transition since the 1970s. a ceremony in the capital, bridgetown, marked the event, with britain's prince charles and island native rihanna taking part. the singer was named a national hero. back in this country, new york has become the first major city to open legal safe havens for people to inject heroin or other narcotics. supporters say the supervised sites will save lives.
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opponents say it amounts to sanctioning drug abuse. rhode island is the only state to allow supervised injection sites. and, the late josephine baker, the famed entertainer, french resistance member, and civil rights advocate, was inducted into the pantheon in paris today. she is the first black woman, and first american-born recipient, of france's highest honor. military officers carried a symbolic empty coffin to the mausoleum. baker's remains are interred in monaco, where she was living at the time of her death in 1975. still to come on the newshour: the supreme court prepares to hear a major abortion case. theranos founder elizabeth holmes, on the stand. how a los angeles artist draws attention to under-told stories using murals. plus, much more.
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>> woodruff: congress is back and facing a high-stakes december on capitol hill. funding for the government runs out on friday, and lawmakers are scrambling to avoid a shutdown. on top of that, senate democrats have a long to-do list of items to pass before the holidays, including president biden's "build back better" agenda. for more on all of this, i'm joined by our congressional correspondent, lisa desjardins. so, lisa, a lot to keep track of here. so let's start with the deadlines. government funding, the debt ceiling. is the government going to run out of money? >> short version here, we are back again at crisis point, but this time it does feel like off ramps are being built. let me talk to you about the longer version, what i mean here. let's look at a graphic.
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the first line you're talking about is government funding running out friday? what's going on with that now? talks are underway and i can report there is a likely deal to extend a temporary funding bill into mid january, maybe early february. they're just working out that date. we expect action on that as soon as tomorrow. the other deadline, the debt ceiling, that could hit middle or late december, depends on what they do with highway trust fund money, what's going on with that. here's something we haven't seen in a while. senators schumer and mcconnell, the two leaders of their party, are talking quietly. they are saying they are making progress. this is a change from mcconnell's defiant stance a few months ago when he said republicans would not help raise the debt ceiling. he is not saying that now. there is hope there could be a deal and we could get through this crisis with a lot less stress. >> woodruff: and there's cooperation, that's news. >> reporter: sadly, yes. >> woodruff: meantime, we know before the thanksgiving break,
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democrats in the house passed the big build back better bill, the president sent it to the senate. where does it stand? >> reporter: i'll talk about it in two ways. first the content. a flurry of meetings especially if you're a senator named joe manchin. you're in a lot of meetings today. he's talking a lot about energy, carbon offsets, perhaps, in this bill, climate change, what he wants. he has not committed yet to support the build back better bill. he seems to be getting on board but he's not there yet, that's important. the second thing i want to talk about is the timing. i learned today and from at least one senator on the record, they believe they're going to need a few more weeks thathey wanted to work things out with the senate parliamentarian. to get through the 50 votes, they need the parliamentarian's okay. the senate apartmentarian is going through cancer treatment.
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it will tyke time. they think they will get through it. the build back better bill will not make it to the floor at least two weeks. we'll have a lot of time to look at what's in it and so will democrats in carving out what the final version looks like. >> woodruff: time may not be the friend of the democrats. lisa, while the senate has been busy with this, there has been another episode in the house. this time the congresswoman from colorado, republican congresswoman lauren boebert made some anti-muslim remarks about another congresswoman ilhan omar. bring us up to date about that. >> reporter: we're talking about this because this is what i and many others see as a rise in dangerous, inflammatory personal attacks from our lawmakers themselves, atook that we've known in the past have led to real world violence. talk about what rentive boebert said. on the floor of the house, this began a week and a half ago during the debate, she referred representative omar as part of the jihad squad. she said that before.
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representative omar, she's one of only three muslims in congress, the only one who wears a hijab. she ran specifically against the idea of bigotry against muslims and prove they're not terrorists. over the thanksgiving break. boebert made a joke, the joke was set up like this -- she saw a capitol police officer running toward her in an elevator and then i'll let her pick it up and what she said to the crowd. >> i looked to my left and there she is. ilhan omar. i said, well, she doesn't have a backpack, we should be fine. >> oh! (applause) (laughter) >> reporter: let's a clear saying, she's a terrorist, i should be scared of her. what's interesting is republicans have pushed back. i want to play the sound of another republican freshman
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woman nancy mace of south carolina asked about lauren boebert's comments this weekend. >> i have time after time condemned my colleagues on both sides to have the aisle for racist tropes and remarks that i find disgusting, and this is no different than any others. >> reporter: now, for that comment that might seem a little innocuous for pushing back at all against this bigotry from representative boebert, nancy mace faced serious pushback twitter from margely taylor green, others on the far right, and there's an internal war against republicans. i raise this because this is a part of very serious personal attacks, rhetoric happening from our lawmakers we know is affecting people in the real world and it is a split among republicans. nancy mace is putting herself out there and she's standing up for what shsaid, this is bigotry and she's not backing down. >> woodruff: more and more instances like this. >> reporter: unfortunately, yes. >> woodruff: lisa desjardins, thank you. >> reporter: you're welcome.
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>> woodruff: it is the eve of oral arguments, in what could be the most important abortion rights case at the u.s. supreme court in a generation. amna nawaz previews tomorrow's session. >> nawaz: the case is seen as one of the most aggressive challenges to date to "roe v. wade," the landmark supreme court decision thalegalized abortion in america. here, the justices will decide the constitutionality of mississippi's 2018 law banning most abortions beyond 15 weeks of pregnancy. if the court were to overturn "roe," abortion bans, passed in a dozen states since the 1973 ruling, would immediately go into effect. for more on these historic stakes, we geterspective from alexis mcgill johnson, president of the planned parenthood action fund, and marjorie dannenfelser, president of the susan b. anthony list. welcome to you both. thank you so much for being
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here. so marjorie, i'll by again with you. is this the moment that antiabortion activists have been waiting half a century for? what's the best outcome for you here? >> yep, after 50 years of not being able to allow the will of the people to make its way in the law in the states, this seems like the best opportunity to overturn roe v. wade. the effect of that will be to return to the states their ability to do just that, to enact laws that reflect the will of the people in each state. so, yes, we are very hopeful. we're hoping there's a complete overturn, at a minimum a partial overturn. when that happens, it will put us better in line with the rest to have the world. 47 out of 50 european countries limit abortion before 15 weeks. we don't limit it at any point during gestation. >> reporter: alexis, given the fractured landscape of borings right we have across the country now, if the court moves to limit rowe or overturn it completely what's at stake here? >> what's at stake is 36 million
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people will be living in states without abortion provider. there are 26 states that could move to ban abortion and the impact that we have already seen happening already in texas. >> i would disagree that this is about the will of the people. what we have seen in state after state, particularly in the south and midwest, is a tyranny of the minority, a vocal minority who actually control the leavers of power because there's no state where banning abortion is popular. so what you will have is, you know, thousands, millions of people having to travel out of state just to seek access to basic healthcare. >> reporter: you talk about the will of the people. i want to take a quick look at where current attitudes are when you look at the polling. current attitudes towards abortion in america. these are 2021 numbers from gallup. about 32% of those polled believe abortion should be legal always. 48% say it should be legal sometimes. 19% say it should be illegal in all cases.
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so, marjorie, you've got 80% of americans polled saying at least sometimes abortion should be legal. d-- should be sometimes be illegal. do you want to see it ended in all cases? >> what would be a real win is each state given the best of ability we have in this country to make consensus make its way to law with elected officials be accountable to people that each state has its different consensus. that's how we do things in this country, how we've handled egregious human rights violations over time that we at least allow the people to express their will through their elected representatives. marist poll 86 americans think abortion should be limited after 12 weeks. that's a far cry from what the supreme court mandated in 1973, that i couldn't be limited at any point up until birth. so clearly we have work to do and, frankly, consensus is not necessarily what the abortion lobby wants because that means
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they lose ground, that they got only through judicial fiat, the will of the people expressed and then those legislators accountable to people is the best way to resolve this and we'll do this state by state. >> reporter: alexis. by judicial fiat, right? here we have the complete remaking to have the judiciary among judges, some of whom don't even believe in ivf. so i think that's laughable. the fact is what we're talking about is every pregnancy is unique, every circumstance for every person to make a decision is unique, and the intent of the antiabortion movement is to totally ban abortion because they do not trust pregnant people to make decisions about their own bodies, but the real impact is what we're seeing now in these people who are traveling thousands of miles out of fear because of this horrific ban in texas, you know, seeing
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the 12-year-old patient that came into a planned parenthood who said, mom, it is an accident, why are they making this so hard for me? that's the kind of impact. the real, live people on the other side of these bans, that could be impacted across this country with the overturning of rowe. >> reporter: marjorie, look forward with me here for just a moment. if rowe is overturned or further dramatically limited you could potentially have tens of thousands of women facing unplanned or unwanted pregnancies. tell me what that landscape looks like for you in way of support for these children and women who will be disproportionately women of color, low income women, rural women. >> yeah, just like now, women face unplanned pregnancies all the time, and one response that planned parehood has and the disproportionate, and almost complete answer they have, is to abort their child. if we don't acknowledge what we're talking about and the fundamental of difference of opinion b, we do great dicredit
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to the debate that's happening in the nation and that fundamental idea is whether there are two humans who need help in a pregnancy. the responsibility of planned parenthood is to serve those women and their unborn and born children in every unplanned and difficult pregnancy, that should be where we're working together here, this is a compassionate and loving movement that embraces woman and child, that's the way forward. >> reporter: marjorie, what does that look like? are you allocating for state government to allocate re funds to support the families? what are you advocating there? >> in texas $800 million was dedicated to services, and seven reasons women have abortion and ways to support their children otherwise. what we are doing at "susan b. anthony list" and through many of our entities is doing
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complete reviews of each state that would be most ambitious in passing laws and looking at every single service to women and child, finding the gaps, making sure it's easily accessible to women and surrounding them with love and protection in the long term, not just abortion today and we'll never see you again. >> reporter: alexis, we've already seen democratic controlled legislators moving to codify abortion access and sort of preparation for what could be ahead and regardless of what happens to the supreme court, looks like this will play out at the state level. look forward for me from your perspective, what does the landscape look like in the future and is enough done to meet the need of these women as it could be growing? >> there are not nearly enough providers in states that are moving to codify rowe to meet the need. we've already seen it in texas, we've seen the ripple effect of people traveling to new mexico, people in new mexico having to
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travel to arizona and california, so the impact on the very people that marjorie claims to care about, who have to take off from work because they need, you know, access to care, they need to get childcare because the majority of people who are seeking access are already parents, what we are talking about is not forcing people into parenthood, we are trying to help people, give them the range of options and support their decisions because we trust them to actually make the decisions for themselves. and, so, the work continues to be, to push in those states where the access is wider to really push the boundaries and ensure that there is more access and more support and more care, and to ensure that we can actually support that imagination into the states that are becoming more and more restrictive. we have seen 600 restrictions introduced just this last year, and the fact that the supreme court has taken up this case
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again just goes to demonstrate the complete disdain for our ability to make decisions about our own bodies and to trust lawmakers to do that is quite unconscionable. >> reporter: we'll be watching this as it unfolds in the court and across the country. it's an historic moment. i thank you both for joining in the conversation. alexis mcgill johnson and marjorie dannenfelser, thank you again. >> thank you. >> woodruff: elizabeth holmes, the founder of the former health technology company theranos, faced cross-examination today for the first time in the fraud case against her. federal prosecutors have called 29 witnesses over 11 weeks, in an attempt to reveal the alleged deception that led investors and patients to believe the company could conduct a range of tests
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using just a few drops of blood. the start-up collapsed in 2018. rebecca jarvis is the chief business, technology, and economics correspondent for abc news, and the host of "the dropout," a podcast about holmes and the ongoing trial, which is being held in san jose. rebecca jarvis, thank you very much for being with us. the defense has only begun its side. the prosecuti has spent, what, almost two months making this case or even longer. if you can sum up what the prosecution was trying to do. >> well, judy, the prosecution has shown now in meticulous detail their allegations that elizabeth holmes was the one in charge of her company theranos, that she's the reason investors, patients and doctors were defrauded here, and they've shown us, individuals including investors, patients, we've heard from doctors, we've heard from scientists inside the company,
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we've heard from scientists outside the company, in meticulous detail, laying out this fraud and putting elizabeth holmes at the front of it. >> woodruff: and she has just, as we said, taken the stand i guess just before thanksgiving. we've only heard from her only for a few days, but it's been dramatic, including her discussing being raped in college. give us a sense of what she's saying and what the reaction's been. >> judy, this has been explosive testimony. we have barely heard from elizabeth holmes since the charges were first brought and frankly have never heard some of the things she's been saying on the stand and seeing here in the way she's behaved on the stand, getting emotional, talking about, as you mentioned, being raved as a college student at stanford, that being, according to her, one of the reasons she decided to drop out stanford and begin her blood testing company theranos, and she's also raised
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these allegations that we thought might come up at this trial against her former boyfriend and coo alleging abuse for years in the relationship, it was emotional, physical, he dictated everything from her schedule to what she ate. he denies these claims, but these are claims she raised and something certainly the jurors will have to think about as think about the bigger picture question which is did this woman intend to commit fraud. >> woodruff: what i've rader is she's walking a fine line because on the one hand she says she was heavily influenced by him over time and she's now saying he was not the reason she made the decisions as the head of the company. >> that's a really important point you raise because she was asked about her own attorney did
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sonny dictate what you said to investors, with what you shared with walgreen's, your biggest customer, walgreen's being the one place where theranos tests got in front of patients in this country. she said point blank, no, that he was not a part of those decisions. that is the fraud here. the fraud is not about the rest of these conversations and allegations, though they might make the jury feel re connected to her. of course, they've sat in front of her now for many weeks. she's been there in the trial with her family sitting behind her, her partner. they have been told she's a new mom, has a newborn baby. they've seen this woman for an expanded period of time. >> woodruff: rebecca, what else the jury decides will have an enormous impact on her, she could face up to 20 years in prison, but it's also seen as a case important for the future of silicon valley. how so? >> it raises the questions about faking it till you make it.
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there are definitely people who believe that this is endemic to silicon valley, that this is the way people behave in silicon valley, and then there are those who think this is absolutely not the case. the bottom line is this is a woman who is able to raise more money than almost any other female founder. she became one of the wealthiest self-made women in the world, her company was worth $9 billion. so it raises a question about what standard we hold founders to. what is important when a device like a blood testing device gets in front of anybody at a walgreen's store. >> woodruff: and finally, any sense of what we can expect next from the defense? >> we've certainly heard the cross-examination from the prosecution today and they raised a number of text exchanges between elizabeth holmes and former boyfriend and coo sonny. the osecution has presented a
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lot of important evidence that links especially today that links elizabeth holmes directly to the allegations of fraud. >> woodruff: rebecca jarvis watching this rivetting trial. thank you very much, rebecca. we appreciate it. >> thank you, judy. >> woodruff: a new exhibit at the museum of latin american art in long beach, california, looks at the monumental scale and achievement of an artist capturing the untold stories of los angeles. jeffrey brown took a look at the work of judy baca, for our arts and culture series, "canvas." >> brown: it runs a half-mile, along the concrete banks of a river in the san fernando valley: 13-foot-high panels that tell a history of a city. it's called “the great wall of los angeles,” one of the largest
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murals in the world, designed and painted-- with a little help from her friends-- by judy baca. >> the story i wanted to tell was the story of the history that wasn't recorded in the history books. the history of people of color, the history of women, the indigenous people. to look at what was missing from the story of america and to reconstruct that and teach it to the young people who'd begin to learn about each other. >> brown: many of the ideas and stories came from local community members-- and so did the actual painting, the work of some 400 people working hand- in-hand with baca. it was the 1970s and early '80s, the beginnings of a commitment to a public art that would reach and benefit those around her. fast forward to today-- a celebration of that commitment, in her first major retrospective exhibition of more than 120 works at the museum of latin american art in long beach. >> all of them are based in the
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notion that the land has memory, and that if i put my ear to the ground, i can hear it. and that i can then articulate it visually. >> brown: now 75, baca grew up in the l.a. neighborhoods of watts and pacoima, raised by a single mother who worked at the goodyear tire factory, and a grandmother deeply attuned to the land. >> so i-- i came out of tradition that was both indigenous and also the tradition of a contempary woman in the united states. a chicana, born here in the united states. >> brown: the works speak to the mythical power of women, and the undervalued domestic worker. to the stereotypes of the "lazy mexican," in sculptures that play off tourism shop sombreros. and, more recently, drawings that address the isolation she and many felt during the pandemic. it's an unusual setting-- a museum exhibition-- for a woman
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who, from the start, saw herself an outsider in the art world. >> i never aspired to being one of the 2% of artists that make it in america. i never thought that was possible. first of all, there were no women. and second of all, there were certainly no latinas. so i was free, in the sense, i could put the work where i wanted it to go. >> brown: she wanted it outdoors, in public spaces, and she wanted it large-scale, in the tradition of renowned mexican mural painters like diego rivera and others, mostly men. >> first of all, i chose making monumental work, which is basically a male area. i mean, that's... >> brown: "men make things"... >> right. that's the purview of men. women don't make monuments. they could make a model of a monument, right? they could do a dollhouse, but they couldn't build a house, right? or design a house. so in other words, the scale for women was prescribed. >> brown: to overcome barriers, baca co-founded the social and
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public art resource center, or sparc, a community arts and education hub housed in an old jail in l.a.'s venice neighborhood. here, she works with other artists to plan and design murals and conduct research. why is the collaborative aspect of it so important to you? >> it's ownership. i've seen kids come down to the wall many years later, you know, saying, "hey, i painted those mountains," right? they feel pride in their support of a larger piece that was greater than anyone could do individually. >> brown: at the core of her project, seen dramatically at the "great wall," is a sense of recovering histories, especially of those written out of the history books. she calls her murals “sites of public memory.” >> one of the things i was seeing with the young people in the neighborhoods i was working in was that they didn't have those connections. they did not understand the, the
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ancestry and the lineage that would give them dignity, that would give them pride. and that what we needed to do was recover that content. >> brown: just one example among many: the story of david gonzales, medal of honor winner who died in battle saving others in the philippines during world war ii. as the wall was being painted, his mother told baca a county juvenile detention center was being named for her son. >> she said, "i don't want him remembered like that. he was not a juvenile delinquent. he was a congressional medal of honor winner. will you paint him here?" and him depicted with his mother was a joyful thing to paint and a story from my neighborhood that i didn't know. >> brown: now, a new infusion of foundation funding will allow baca and her team to double the size of the mural, painting on the other side of the river, to bring the history up to date. meanwhile, back in long beach, a chance to for the artist herself to see 40 years of work and take
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stock. >> essentially, the thread was always looking at the conditions of my community and of the people that i loved and worked with and cared about. and telling their stories. i really believe that art has amazing capacities to be transformative. >> brown: for the pbs newshour, i'm jeffrey brown at the mseum of latin american art in long beach, california. >> woodruff: some powerful images. and we'll be back shortly. but first, take a moment to hear from your local pbs station. it is a chance to offer your support, which helps keep programs like ours on the air. >> woodruff: for those stations staying with us, we turn to cutting-edge research that aims to improve the lives of people living with paralysis. finding a way to bridge the severed connections between the
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brain and limbs remains an urgent, but often elusive goal for researchers. but, as miles o'brien reports, they are making steady progress toward restoring some people's sense of touch. this story is part of our "breakthroughs" series on invention and innovation. >> reporter: austin beggin was 22 when his life changed in an instant. a dive into some shallow water left him with a broken neck between the c3 and c4 vertebrae. >> at that level, you're talking about breathing, you're talking about swallowing, you're talking about pretty much everything, as far as how severe of an injury it is. >> reporter: when he first started living with quadriplegia, he imagined himself getting better. >> you're always thinking you're going to wake up the next day and it's just going to come back. three months with really no
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motor gains kind of set in, like, this might be more of a long haul. >> reporter: now six years since his injury, he is a volunteer participant in a groundbreaking project aimed at changing the lon haul for people with paralysis. the big goal is to find a way for them to move their hands, and regain sensations of touch. austin beggin is just getting started moving his hand for the first time since his injury. >> it really is remarkable that these little wires coming out my arms-- you know, are allowing something like this to happen. >> reporter: what does that feel like? >> just the fact that-- feeling the arm move is the remarkable part of it. i mean, i could do this all day because i have to go up and down, up and down. >> reporter: it's a project run by cleveland's pioneering functional electrical stimulation center, part of the louis stokes v.a. medical center. for 30 years, they have been innovating technology that
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restores function for people with paralysis. >> we are presently trying to understand the underlying mechanisms of the brain that relate to movement and also sensation. austin, just looking through your spike panel right now, and it seems like we have a good number of potentials. so, your brain is working. >> reporter: biomedical engineer bolu ajiboye is the principal investigator. >> we would like to be able to design technology that records from the brain, bypasses the spinal cord injury, anallows the person to control meaningful movements of their hands, such as positioning their arm in space, moving individual fingers, being able to grasp different objects so that they can perform many activities of daily living that people take for granted every day. >> reporter: it begins with brain surgery. austin beggin's operation was done by neurosurgeon jonathan miller with university hospitals cleveland. >> so, this is the electrode we implant into the brain. as you can see, this is the part that goes in. it's very small. it actually has a total of
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six of these that we implant for this particular project, going into six different areas of the brain. >> reporter: but where in the brain? simply targeting the area that controls the nerves that fire muscles is not enough. >> we're interted in the areas of the brain that are responsible for motor planning, for not just the actual individual nerves that control the muscles, but also the neurons that are upstream of those that control what it is that the person wants to do. >> reporter: in another operation, surgeons implanted electrodes to stimulate beggin's hand and arm muscles. the surgeries were just the start of a long journey. the team is now busy trying to decipher the myriad of signals from beggin's brain, measured in micro volts. >> what we're interested in is the fact that we're not just looking at one cell, we're looking at hundreds of cells. and there's this... >> reporter: and this is-- this is where you get the pattern? >> this is where you get the pattern. >> reporter: so, if he tried right now to move his finger, some of these panels would light up more than others? >> the firing would change,
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right. and that change can to the naked eye, maybe be a little bit challenging to detect. so, but our algorithms can detect the change, not just again, in one neuron, but across the population of neurons. >> reporter: the algorithms are programs that can identify the subtle patterns of brain activity across many neurons linked to specific movements. to improve their accuracy, the team has beggin play games. he imagines moving his paralyzed arm to match what the animated hand is doing on the screen. >> there is learning on both sides, actually. so our algorithms get better and better with more information that we have the participant at the same time. there is an opportunity for learning on his end as well. >> reporter: what they are doing here is unique, but there are several other projects underway aiming to understand the activity of the brain during various functions. some use brain signals to control robotic arms or enable communication. austin beggin's predecessor in
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this project was bill kochevar. in 2014, he became the fir person in the world to be able to use this brain system to control his own limb. he was able to open and close his hand, move his wrist, elbow and shoulder. but he had no sensory feedback. giving paralyzed people a sense of touch is biomedical engineer emily graczyk's priority. >> very little is known about the neural language of touch in the human brain. and that's something that we hope to study here in this project. >> reporter: eventually, they will give austin beggin a glove with sensors in the fingertips. the hope is they will send sensory information to his brain implants. >> without sensory feedback, you really don't know how to control the motions that you're producing. you don't know how to control the forces you're exerting on an object, or the positioning of your body. >> reporter: but there is more to touch and motion than that. something harder to quantify, something austin beggin understands profoundly. >> people say, like, what would you love to do? just i mean, if i could actively
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shake someone's hand, i mean, what would be what? i mean, what. you couldn't put a price on that to me. >> reporter: a lot of the technology this team is refining to help paralyzed individuals came out of a lab nearby. one focused on a disability that is part of my reality. for the pbs newshour, i'm miles o'brien. >> woodruff: and now, an encore look at one of our "brief but spectacular" episodes. a few years ago, the series creator and producer, steve goldbloom, talked with his grandfather, richard-- a renowned pediatrician and academic-- about his progressive memory loss. richard goldbloom died earlier this month, at the age of 96. he inspired the name of this
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series, and will be missed by many. >> this is our 100th episode of "brief, but spectacular." i'm steve goldbloom. >> and i'm steve's favorite grandfather, richard goldbloom. >> it's very fitting that you were the 100th guest on "brief, but spectacular." you know why? >> because i'm 100, or nearly. >> well, you are close to 100 years old, which is amazing. you know how old you are? >> no. >> you're going to be 93 this year. >> my god! if i knew that i was going to live this long, i would've taken better care of myself. >> and it's fitting because you titled this series. you came up with the name. do you know that? >> i remember that. >> this story that i tell is that i went to synagogue and left. >> that's correct. >> snuck out, came back in. and what did you say? >> i said you had made a "brief, but spectacular" appearance. >> i wanted to ask you a couple of questions, not just because you're my grandfather and i love you-- and i... >> can i get that in writing.
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>> no. part of what i wanted to ask you about is that you, right now, are going through memory loss, >> change of life. >> --change of life, and things that you used to do for yourself. like manage finances, drive a car, manage medicine, other people do for you. right? and i wanted to ask you if that bothers you at all. >> no, i consider the alternative. >> what is the alternative? >> being dead. so i'm quite happy where i am. yeah. if i can remember where i am. >> do you know what we're doing? >> i have no idea. >> i'll keep talking. we're going to look into this camera here. right? you got to do on three-- a big clap right in front of your face. ready? one, two, three. just, we'll-- just one clap. >> what does it feel like to forget? or, does it feel like anything? >> well, there are some things i'd rather forget. in that case, it's a blessing. and otherwise, i learned to live with it. you know, people remind me when to get up, when to go to bed, things like that. >> do you remember when you
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stopped driving? >> did i stop? >> you stopped driving, yeah. >> i didn't know that. i don't particularly miss it. people drive me everywhere. >> tell me the role that music has played in your life. >> i grew up with a lot of music in my environment, and i took to the piano very readily. i played by ear before i ever had a music lesson. i still play mostly for my own amazement. ♪ ♪ ♪ >> tell me how lucky you feel to have had the kind of marriage that you have, which is extraordinary, it lasted more than 60 years. >> yes, that is true. that was a test of my wife's endurance. it was a great, lifelong love affair.
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she was a very acute assessor of other people, and she was very good to me. she recognized all my shortcomings, and discussed them with just about everybody. >> when she passed away, how did that change your life? >> oh, dramatically and forever. i mean, i still miss her a lot and that sense, you know, something vitahas gone out of my life. >> and you still think about her every day? >> pretty near every day, every once in a while i take a day off. >> what do you still take pleasure in? >> life. my name is richard goldbloom, and this has been my "brief, but spectacular" take. >> woodruff: you can watch all of our "brief but spectacular" videos on our website,
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and a clarification: tonight, we reported the world health organization's recommendation that all people over 60 postpone travel due to the omicron variant. reuters later clarified that the w.h.o. is warning against travel only for those at risk of deloping severe covid-- and who are not vaccinated. and we have a news update before we go-- cnn has suspended indefinitely one of its top anchors, chris cuomo. the cable network says it will evaluate new evidence about his defense of his brother, the former governor of new york andrew cuomo, as sexual harassment allegations mounted. and that is the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us online, and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you, please stay safe, and we'll see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> fidelity wealth management. >> consumer cellular. >> johnson & johnson.
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>> financial services firm raymond james. >> bnsf railway. >> carnegie corporation of new york. supporting innovations in education, democratic engagement, and the advancement of international peace and security. >> the target foundation, committed to advancing racial equity and creating the change required to shift systems and accelerate equitable economic opportunity. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh
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♪ hello, everyone, and welcome to "amanpour & company." here's what's coming up. >> this variant has a large number of mutations, and some of these mutations have some worrying characteristics. >> as a new coronavirus variant spreads around the world, governments rush to impose travel bans, but is that the answer? i ask epologist maria van k kirkhold who fronts the w.h.o. global covid strategy. then taiwan on alert as chinese war planes get too close for comfort. i speak to two u.s. congresswomen who just visited taipei. democratic elissa slotkin and republican nancy mace. also ahead. >> hari sreenivasan speaks to the team behind "writing with


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