Skip to main content

tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  January 27, 2022 3:00pm-4:01pm PST

3:00 pm
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, the future of the court-- justice stephen breyer's retirement paves the way for president biden to fulfill his campaign promise and nominate the first black woman to the supreme court. then, a wave of violence-- many cities grapple with a steady increase in crime. we examine the potential causes and solutions. and, a long recovery-- we return to tornado-ravaged western kentucky to examine the lingering aftermath and the difficult path toward healing. >> this is not a one week repair here, or a two week, or six month. this is years of commitment.
3:01 pm
and when the fanfare is over, the work is still here and has to be done. >> woodruff: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> fidelity is here to help you work through the unexpected, with financial planning and advice for today, and tomorrow. >> the kendeda fund. committed to advancing restorative justice and meaningful work through investments in transformative leaders and ideas. more at
3:02 pm
>> carnegie corporation of new york. supporting innovations in education, democratic engagement, and the advancement of international peace and security. at >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: and individuals. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: the fight over filling a new vacancy on the u.s. supreme court can now begin
3:03 pm
in earnest. justice stephen breyer confirmed toy he is stepping down, setting the stage for a senate confirmation battle. white house correspondent geoff bennett begins our coverage. >> reporter: today, the country officially heard confirmation: supreme court justice stephen breyer will retire come summer. >> i'm here today to express the nation's gratitude to justice stephen breyer for his remarkable career of public service. >> reporter: breyer served 28 years on the country's highest court, a career he said was "challenging and meaningful" in his resignation letter, and one he reflected on this afternoon. >> it's a kind of miracle when you sit there and see all of those people in front of you-- people that are so different in what they think. and yet they've decided to help solve their major differences under law. >> reporter: the announcement gives biden an opportunity to deliver on a campaign promise,
3:04 pm
one that would make history. >> while i've been studying candidates' backgrounds and writings, i've made no decision except one: the person i will nominate will be someone of extraordinary qualifications, character, experience and integrity, and that person will be the first black woman ever nominated to the united states supreme court. it's long overdue in my opinion. >> reporter: the president is reportedly vetting at least taking precedent from former will seek the advice of the senate, getting input from lawmakers of both parties, as well as scholars and lawyers, as well as vice-president kamala harris,herself an attorney. the current front-runners include u.s. the frontrunners include u.s. circuit court judge ketanji brown jackson, who was nominated by former president obama then
3:05 pm
elevated by biden to the u.s. court of appeals for d.c. early in her career, she worked as a clerk under breyer. california supreme court justice leondra kruger. also a former supreme court clerk, she has argued a dozen cases before the justices. and u.s. district court judge j. michelle childs, a federal judge in south carolina who has been nominated to the d.c. circuit. she's a favorite among high- profile lawmakers. breyer's retirement marks a full-circle moment for the president, who presided over the justice's confirmation to the supreme court in 1994. >> i was proud and grateful to be there at the start of this distinguished career in the supreme court. and i'm very proud to be her today. >> reporter: the nomination will be one of the most consequential choices of biden's presidency.
3:06 pm
getting a democrat on the court, and notably, a woman of color, could reinvigorate a necessary voting base ahead of november's midterm elections. for the pbs newshour, i'm geoff bennett. >> woodruff: as we saw, the president was clear on his >> woodruff: it is not known exactly when president biden will select his supreme court nominee, but the senate confirmation battle is already taking shape on capitol hill. here to explain how it could play out is congressional correspondent lisa desjardins. hello, lisa. we know this is happening, as we know, at a time when there is a 50/50 divided senate. wh is the -- what does the process look like that we should expect to see? >> lisa: a slow week on capitol hill sure got busy fast for many capitol hill staffers. the 50/50 senate will mean a slightly different process for president biden, than was the process for president trump. let me take you through this. that first step in the
3:07 pm
process, of course, is the judiciary committee. in the 50/50 senate, it is 11 democrats and 1 1 11 republicans. if there is a tie, democrats can get around that by using a discharge process. they used it repeatedly with judicial nominees. it would go to the full senate, where a supreme court nominee currently requires a majority vote. there is not the 60-vote threshold involved any longer for supreme court nominees. now, the question is: how much will republicans fight this nominee? and, of course, who the nominee is will make a very big difference. this is one reason that the white house, we can report from geoff bennett, telling us that e biden administration wants this to be a judge, not someone who is outside of the judicial is sphere. i can report what democrats are telling me on the hill is they see
3:08 pm
the different ad varchts advants to each one. the first is ketanji brown jackson. she is interesting enough, that biden personally interviewed last year before he elevated her to the court of appeals. justice l leandra reid kruger is someone who maybe gain more republican support. and be candace jackson-akiwumi has support from lindsey graham cents kim scott, saying they support her. and we heard in the piece, so does jim clyburn. here is what representative clyburn said last night on cnn. >> i want to make sure it is a black woman. i want to make sure that it is a woman that will get universal support. and when i say universal, i mean bipartisan support.
3:09 pm
and i know that michelle child's will have support of several republicans, including the two republican senators from south carolina. >> lisa: and how about this for timing, judy? next week judge child's is to appear for her confirmation hearing for the court of appeals. so a very rare potential tryout, if lu, for this woman who is getting a lot of attention in this moment. >> woodruff: lisa, is it your understanding that both parties already have their strategy figured out for how they're going to approach this? >> lisa: you know, again, it depends on the nominee, but, yes. let's talk about what we know at this moment. republican leader mitch mcconnell today told reporters had will give the nominee a fair look. he said he doesn't want someone om a radical lester, but he said he is not going into this with his mind made up. senator schumer said he wants a fair and quick process. i'm told he would like the
3:10 pm
entire process to last about month from the time the nominee is announced. again, who the nominee will matter. republicans do have one methods of blocking a potential supreme court nominee. it is a b bit weedy, but they could not show up for a vote. the democrats don't have a work-around for that. but now both parties want a smooth and easy path forward. no drama at this moment. >> woodruff: interesting. and finally, lisa, as we know, the democrats have a number of things on their agenda right now. how does this supreme court nomination process -- how is it seen that could affect what they're trying to get through meanwhile? >> lisa: the calendar is getting busy again, judy, let's look. democrats will be looking on potentially a china bill, electoral college reform. and then on february 18th, we have government funding set to run out. after that, republicans and democrats both go on recess in the senate.
3:11 pm
and that is right when the president's goal is for having a nominee. and right after that, march 1st, state of the union, and that's when president biden wants this nominee to announced and the process to be under way. so it is going to be a busy few weeks. eeks. >> arielle: certainly looks like it. lisa desjardins, thanks very much. >> woodruff: in the day's other news, the u.s. economy rebounded strongly in 2021, with the best growth since 1984. the u.s. commerce department reports the nation's gross domestic product increased 5.7%. the jump was driven by strong consumer spending and private investment. separately, new unemployment claims fell last week for the first time in a month, to 260,000. this was the deadline for health care workers in nearly half the states to comply with a federal covid-19 vaccine mandate. the u.s. supreme court upheld the requirement earlier this
3:12 pm
month. it extends nationwide in the next few weeks. also today: education secretary miguel cardona urged schools to spend federal pandemic aid on tutors, to help students who have fallen behind. in russia, the kremlin says there's little room for optimism after the u.s. rejected its security demands, but, it says dialog on ukraine is still possible. that came as russian fighter jets landed in belarus today for exercises north of the ukrainian border. to the east, tanks and guns took part in maneuvers. still, moscow insisted it won't start a war. >> ( translated ): from our side, we have repeatedly stated that our country doesn't plan to attack anyone. we consider even a thought about a war between our peoples unacceptable. >> woodruff: the white house said it hopes the russians are not playing games with diplomacy. and, president biden spoke by phone with ukrainian president zelensky.
3:13 pm
the white house described it as a regular check-in call. china is demanding that the u.s. stop interfering in the beijing winter olympics, an apparent reference to a u.s.-led diplomatic boycott of the games. the chinese foreign minister and u.s. secretary of state antony blinken spoke by phone today. the chinese quoted the minister as saying: "the u.s. continuously puts forward wrong words and actions toward china, causing new conflicts in relations." the pentagon put out new guidance today on limiting civilian casualties from air strikes. it calls for standardized reporting and response, and a special office focused on the problem. defense secretary lloyd austin is also asking for plans to ensure that limiting civilian casualties is a priority in each mission. the u.s. coast guard has found four more bodies in the search for dozens of migrants off florida's atlantic coast.
3:14 pm
that word came today as vessels continued to look for 34 people whose crowded boat capsized over the weekend. but, officials said they expect the rescue operation to end, this evening. >> it does mean that we don't think it's likely that anyone else has survived. and again, that's why we say we're suspending and not closing. that's based on the best information we have right now. >> woodruff: the boat had sailed from the bahamas. only one survivor has been found. a congressional watchdog issued a stinging review today of the department of health and human services over the pandemic and other challenges. the government accountability office said h.h.s. has mismanaged the medical supply chain and is not ready for weather disasters or bio-terror attacks. the g.a.o. designated the department as a high-risk sector of government. and, on wall street, stocks gave up early gains as investors remained uneasy about inflation the dow jones industrial average
3:15 pm
lost seven points to close at 34,160. the nasdaq fell 189 points, nearly 1.5%. the p 500 slipped 23. still to come on the newshour: we return to tornado ravaged western kentucky to examine the lingering aftermath. moderna's chief medical officer discusses the ongoing fight against covid 19. children go to great lengths to get an education amid ongoing bombings in syria. plus much more. >> woodruff: justice breyer will leave behind a storied legacy as he prepares to step down after more than 27 years on the bench. to reflect on what his absence will mean for the future of the court i'm joined by two legal
3:16 pm
veterans, gregory garre, a former u.s. solicitor general who has argued several cases in front of the court. and former acting u.s. solicitor general neal katyal, who clerked for justice breyer. >> woodruff: welcome to the program to both of you. youneal katyal, i'm going to ask you what was it like to argue a case before justice breyer? >> it was always tough. i've done 45 beforehand, and he is able to get to the heart of the issue, at least in the way he sees it, with usually a long help thetical. thetical -- hypothetical. which means you had a longer time to think about it. and it allowed a conversation between justice and advocate. so i thought he was phenomenal at oral argument, it was always a delight, and his written opinions are really works
3:17 pm
to behold. >> woodruff: gregory garre, what about you? you also argued before justice breyer. how is he different? >> he is a real delight to argue before. and what neal, said, he would ask very long questions. and he would immediately bring you back as a law stent and you were trying to keep up with this questions and answer them. it was a great challenge, but also a great -- a lot of fun during oral argument. >> woodruff: this is kind of a big question, neal katyal, but what would you say his main contributions were over the course of his career on the court. and it is not ended; he is there until the summer. >> i would say the president today singled out a line that justice breyer said in his confirmation hearings back in the 1990s, that he believed that government should work for the people. that was really his mantra when i was clerking for him, and you see it in the written opinions that he has authored. it means, really,
3:18 pm
listening to expertson things like covid regulation or greenhouse gas regulations or affordable health care, things like that, all of which he fought hard to and was often successful in winning those battles at the court. he really does, to my mind, carry on chief justice john marshal's legacy of trying to interpret the constitution in a flexible way that has adapted to the crises of human affairs. >> woodruff: what is your perspective on that, gregory garre? how do you see what difference he has made as a justice? >> i think that is right. i mean, the one thing that was really different about justice breyer, he was very much a pragmatist, and a concensus builder. he was in favor of multi-talented tests and balance, which could frustrate people looking for a clear rule, but in other sense it was easy to adapt. and i think that was an important rt of his
3:19 pm
legacy. and i think more recently, he history been very outspoken in defending the court as an institution, and against court packing and the like. i think that will e end up being an parent prt of his league see. >> woodruff:it seems that justice breyer has gone out of his way in months, years, even to talk about the importance of a court that is not seen as partisan. i saw that mitch mcconnell, in his statement, praised justice breyer for what he said was his commitment to the importance of a non-partisan, non-politicized judiciary. and he said it has been especially admirable. neal katyal, is that something we can expect to see to continue on the court, this push for the court to remain, in some way, non-partisan? >> well, i hope so, but i think it is tough. because i think losing
3:20 pm
justice breyer is losing the most solid, the most reliable vote for civility and a-political interpretation of the law. that is what his career stood for. his law clerks were 26 years old or so, and we get upset when we see our boss attack -- justice justice scalia attacked him, and we wanted him to attack back, but he never did. and i think you saw it in the speech he gave at the white house, when he started out saying what is the majesty of the law? 332 millions of every religion and race and ideology, they agreed to resolve their differences through the rule of law. that is something he really celebrated, and i hope that the other justices will take that up in the same way that he does. i think thchief justice has been a very strong part of that, and i expect
3:21 pm
that to continue. >> woodruff: gregory garre, how do you see the court in the effort to keep it to appear driven by bipartisanship? >> i think all of the judges will rally about that because it is so important to the future and functioning of the institution. but i think it is a very important point, in that the replacement may not move the court in terms of ideologically, because there will still only be three more liberal members, but the tone that the person takes could be quite important in terms of how the court is perceived, and whether or not that person is going to be as ardent a defender of the constitution as justice breyer remains to be seen. >> woodruff: neal katyal, how different could the court become? we presume we know who some of the names are who have been suggested. president biden has made it clear he is going to appoint a black woman. how do we expect the court is going to change in the
3:22 pm
future with another justice? >> well, the supreme court is really quite conservative at this point, far more so than the american public. you just flashed, judy, on the screen a statistic, which shows that the republicans have nominated 15 justices over the past 30 or 40 years, and democrats have nominated four. that has really changed the matrix of the court a lot. i think greg is right to say whoever replaces justice breyer is not really going to change the ideology of the court because maybe one relatively liberal justice is being replaced by another one. in that sense, this vote is not quite as important. i do think some of the names being floated around, like ketanji brown jackson and leandra reid kruger, these are spectacular, spectacular names, and we're so lucky to have people like that on the so-called short li. >> woodruff: gregory garre, how do you see the
3:23 pm
court changing given some of the names that are now out there? >> i think that is right. i don't think we'll see a big change in the replacement, like we saw when justice barrett replaced justice ginsburg, which is a complete flip in the seat. but i think the tenure of tone is going to be important. and justice sotomayor is going to be the senior justice, and can decide when to take the lead on defense, or opinions where she is in the majority, and that could have a significant impact on the tone of the court's opinions as well. >> woodruff: what do you mean by that? >> well, she has been a little more outspoken, and we've seen it more recently in some of her comments. for example, during the texas case, it was argued a month or so ago, in really calling out the conservative block for perhaps moving more quickly than she thinks the court should. i think if she takes the role as the senior justice on the more liberal side
3:24 pm
and begins writing more frequently, i think we may see a more aggressive tone on the left. >> woodruff: well, we are all certainly going to be watching this process as it moves ahead. gregory garre and neal katyal, thank you both very much for joining us. >> thank you. >> thank you, judy. ♪♪ >> nawaz: recent shootings in new york city have spotlighted a troubling rise in gun violence and homicide across the country. amna nawaz has our report on why violent crime has increased and how cities can prevent it. >> nawaz: a grim start to the year in new york city, with residents across the boroughs reeling from a series of attacks: in times square, a woman pushed to death on the subway tracks. in the bronx, an 11-month-old baby shot in the face. and in harlem, two police officers shot to death while on duty. it's sent newly inaugurated mayor eric adams, a former
3:25 pm
n.y.p.d. captain, to prayer vigils, roundtables and to the center of a national debate on gun violence and public safety. >> we need washington to join us and act now to stop the flow of guns in new york city and cities like new york. >> nawaz: the issue is resonating nationwide. over the weekend, an officer was wounded in washington, d.c. and a deputy killed in houston, texas. >> we cannot have people like this on our streets. >> nawaz: the overall picture of violent crime in america right now is complicated. a new report by the council on criminal justice tracks that in 2021, the homicide rate rose by 5%. an increase, but by a much smaller margin than in 2020, when homicides rose by 29%. and these numbers are still only about half the rate during the nation's peak in the early 1990s. still it was top of mind for city leaders, who gathered for
3:26 pm
the national mayors' conference in washington, d.c. last week. there, republicans and democrats alike endorsed investing in police departments. like miami mayor francis suarez: >> as we've invested in our police departments we saw a shocking correlation: crime went down. >> nawaz: and president joe biden: >> funding proven programs to we shouldn't be cutting funding for police departments. i proposed increasing funding. >> nawaz: back in new york on monday, mayor adams echoed that message. >> we will not surrender our city to the violent few. >> nawaz: laying out a“ blueprint to end gun violence,” to empower community anti- violence groups; expand programs for youth jobs and mental health; harsher sentences on gun trafficking, and an increased police presence on the streets: >> the n.y.p.d. is our first line of defense against gun violence. we will make new efforts to strengthen and reinforce it, while continuing our mission to involve the community. >> nawaz: that includes bringing
3:27 pm
back a remodeled version of plain clothes units. the teams behind a number of the city's most notorious police shootings, disbanded amid calls for reform in 2020. adams said he'd ensure they didn't repeat past mistakes. >> we're not looking to be heavy handed but we're not looking to be dangerous to our city. and i'm going to look for and strike that right balance. >> nawaz: new yorkers can expect to see change on the streets in the cong weeks, a sign of one city's approach to violent crime. to understand why violence is up nationwide and what policies can address this, i'm joined by thomas abt. he is the chair of the council on criminal justice's "violent crime working grou which studies evidence-based strategies for public safety. >> nawaz: thomas, welcome to the newshour. thanks for being here. as we mentioned there, the violent crime rates are not what we saw in the 1990s, but the increases show up and people feel that. so what do we know is
3:28 pm
behind those increases. what is driving them? >> sure. it is a pleasure to be with you today. basically it is hard to tell what drives crime trends, but the experts broadly agree on three main reasons: first, it is the pandemic. as people know, the pandemic has placed every one under incredible pressure, but in particular it has placed disproportionate pressure on poor communities of color, exactly where gun violence concentrates. the second major cause is, in fact, these guns. we saw a record sale of guns in 2020, and continuing into 2021. and the data shows the time to cry, meaning the time a gun needs to funnel through the gray and black markets into the hands of the criminal, has shortened considerably. in fact, what we're seeing on the streets of our cities, is more illegal guns are being recovered, despite the fact there have been fewer arrests.
3:29 pm
the final thing that is driving these crime trends is the social unrest that followed the brutal murder of george floyd in minneapolis. and what that incident and other incidents like it did, it drove a wedge between the cops and the communities they serve. what we're seeing is police alienated from communities, and communities alianaited alienated frompolice. so we're seeing less cooperation in some of the most impacted communities. >> nawaz: let me ask you what you've seen so far. we saw the new york city mayor adams talking about how he would like to respond tot increase of crime there, more police on the streets and empowering those programs. we spoke to a gentleman in new york who works with a violence program in brownsville, anthony norel, and here is what he told us: >> we asked the police
3:30 pm
department to let us police our own community. so it was a community-based led resources. knowing the needs of the community, knowing they have housing issues, mental health issues, summons and warrants, we brought resources from 12 p. to 12 a.m., and not one violent incident took place that week. >> nawaz: thomas anthony saying they saw a decrease crime. is that what cities need to do? >> i think what mayor adams is doing and what cities need to do is try to strike the right balance. it is important to know that the police are most effective against crime-fighting, and especially violence. at the same time, police are necessary but not sufficient. so we also need partners to police, including community groups like the
3:31 pm
one we just heard about. unfortunately, across the country, far too often we're having an either/or conversation. either it is the police or these community groups. you're seater for the police or against the police. and the science says we actually need both. >> nawaz: what about this knee-jerk reaction we see in a lot of places. the people see crime numbers go up, and there is an immediate response from leaders and they say we're going to answer with more police. we know even with all of the conversation around police reform, more cities are spending a bigger part of their budget on police departments in the last year. so how do you encourage those leaders to make sure there is a mixed response? it is not just responding with police, but these community programs are also getting funding? >> sure. leave funding as a share of overall state, local, and even federal budgets is remarkably consistent. i wouldn't expect to see a major increase this year. but what i would say is,
3:32 pm
it is very important to understand it is not necessarily more police or less police that we need, but it is the right police. serious gun violence is remarkably concentrated. it is concentrated in every city, with a surprisingly small number of people and a small number of places, often known as microlocations or hotspots. so we need police in those places. but, no, we don't need to return to mass arrests or mass incarcerations that left us with some of the highest levels of imprisonment in the world. >> nawaz: that is thomas abt jock joining us tonight. thank you so much for your time. >> it is a pleasure to be with you. >> woodruff: it's been seven weeks since a series of ferocious tornadoes tore through western kentucky and surrounding areas, killing 90 people, and making hundreds more homeless.
3:33 pm
kentucky's governor and president biden have promised whatever is needed to rebuild. william brangham recently returned to the town of mayfield, and found a community struggling to get back on its feet. >> brangham: nearly two months on, it's still jarring to see: block after block of utter destruction. over 1,000 homes and businesses were hit by one of the most severe tornadoes this area had seen in decades. survivors now live in hotels or state parks, or with family far away. huge hydraulic metal cutters pick through the wreckage, but they seem dwarfed by the amount of work still to be done. >> i hate to compare it to this, but it's like if you lose a member of your family and you go to a funeral and everybody shows up for the funeral and then they leave the next day and you're sitting there in silence in your home and everyone's gone, but
3:34 pm
you're still suffering. that's what this town is doing. so this is the fairgrounds. >> brangham: jo anna schroer is the local constable in mayfield, and since the tornado hit, she's become something of a one-woman relief efft. >> do you have any first aid supplies? >> i don't tnk so. >> i need gauze pads, bandages, >> brangham: hunting through mountains of donat goods, schroer is trying to steer this generous tide... >> oh that's adorable. >> brangham: ...towards the very specific needs of her community. >> and i found this one nice toy here. >> yes. hi i'm jo anna. >> hi i'm amanda. >> amanda i have stuff for you. is your son home? >> yes, he's right in there. >> i'm already doing a lot better than what i was doing in the hospital. >> brangham: the young man in this bed broke his leg in multiple places doing volunteer clean up. he can't work now, and his family is struggling. schroer brought bags of medical supplies for his mom to use. >> and when i got that phone call it, i was really scared.
3:35 pm
>> the people that i work with every day, they're mentally hopeful because the news keeps telling them to be hopeful. but the reality of it is, they're in despair. to me, face to face, one on one, they're scared. they're very scared. you're scared what tomorrow is going to bring. >> brangham: fema says almost 15,000 kentuckians have registered for help. it and other federal agencies have given out over $35 million in loans and grants in the state, a quarter of it for housing assistance and repair. and a million cubic yards of debris-- that's about two-thirds the volume of the houston astrodome-- has already been removed. there's another three million still to go. the needs are everywhere. >> right now, you just let us help you. >> brangham: ...including another person schroer is helping. chance pitts was injured by the tornado. he lost two cars, his job, and he's running out of money.
3:36 pm
pitts worked at the candle factory in mayfield that was completely flattened by the tornado. after the collapse, several employees claimed supervisors told them that if they left work in advance of the storm, they could lose their jobs. a state investigation is underway, and a class action lawsuit has been filed. pitts isn't part of the suit. company owners deny those accusations and say none of their supervisors told people they had to stay. >> i was told by people there that they was not able to leave. so i did not ask to leave that night because i was more worried about having a job to support my family. >> brangham: pitts says that when the roof blew off, a large cinderblock wall fell on him and several others, trapping them inside a pile of debris. >> i'm sandwiched between the floor, other people underneath me, the walls and all the metal on top of me. i was able to whenever, as soon as it first happed, i prayed
3:37 pm
to god to let me live. and then after i got done, i was able to reach into my pocket and call my wife, and told her that i loved her, and i didn't know if i was going to make it home. >> brangham: what did she say back to you? >> to please not say that? and i told her that i didn't want to say it, but we're just getting crushed by the moment. >> brangham: pitts was trapped inside that building for five and a half hours. among the eight who died in the factory that night, one of them was directly below pit. >> he has a strong sense of guilt. he feels that he should have been able to save her, as he was trying so hard to save everyone that was in that compartment with him. >> brangham: but he helped hold up a wall to protect all those other people. >> that's correct. but you can save 20 and lose one, and you'll worry more about that one than the other 20 because they're already out there with their families. and this woman is not.
3:38 pm
>> i have dreams about it a lot. i will say that. >> brangham: to this day? >> to this day. >> brangham: the wreckage of the candle factory has been cleaned away. it seems like one of the fastest cleanup jobs in the area. we went to the site with pitts and schroer. >> whew. its overwhelming. >> brangham: for schroer, who hasn't been back since that first night, when she called for help online... >> hey, everyone, this is the candle factory, volunteers are needed to help. >> brangham: ...coming back today, seeing the place scraped clean, was rough for her. for chance pitts, he just learned the company isn't rebuilding the factory. he, and most of the other employees, are permanently laid off. because he worked there just three months, he can't file for unemployment. so what are you doing for money now? >> basically, at this point in time, i'm broke, living on a
3:39 pm
prayer, i guess. >> brangham: and how much longer do you think you can go like that? >> not much longer. and i have to go find another job, even though i got injuries, so i'm going to have to work through it, you know what i mean? bills don't pay they self. >> brangham: it's a dilemma facing this entire region >> when you look at all of the businesses that have been affected, some of these businesses have moved outside of the city limits. will they come back? will they rebuild in mayfied? i don't know. >> brangham: teresa rochetti- cantrell was mayfield's mayor for eight years, and now runs a large charitable organization in town. she says new money will come in time, but right now, mayfield's desperate for funds. >> i'm probably being aggressive when i say we've lost half of our tax base. but when you look at all of these-- everywhere that there was a building, there was a value on that building. and now the value of that building is gone. and so it's going to be valued
3:40 pm
at just the vacant land. that's a huge deficit for city tax base. >> brangham: chance pitts' experience mirrors much what's going on in this whole community: damaged, hurt, and struggling to get back on its feet. constable schroer says she, and lots of others, will be here for the long haul. >> let's look at what we need to do tomorrow to make tomorrow better because this is not a one week repair here, or a two week, or six month. this is years. this is years of commitment. and when the fanfare is over, the work is still here and has to be done. >> brangham: for the pbs newshour, i'm william brangham in mayfield, kentucky. >> woodruff: the c.d.c. reported
3:41 pm
today that a third shot of the moderna or pfizer covid vaccines substantially reduced the risk of hospitalizations among people with weakened immune systems. this comes after both vaccine makers announced this week they are moving forward with clinical trials for new boosters designed to guard specifically against omicron. amna nawaz is back with a ok at some of these developments. she spoke earlier today with one of moderna's top scientists. >> nawaz: dr. paul burton is the chief medical officer of moderna and he joins us now. dr. burton, welcome to the newshour. thank you for making the time. >> thank you. >> nawaz: let's begin with vaccines and young kids because this is on a lot of people's minds right now. parents of kids under the age of five are really struggling, worried about how to keep their kids and families safe. a couple of weeks ago, moderna announced you're going to share efficacy data on your vaccine for kids aged two to five by march. so should we take that to mean that parents shouldn't expect a moderna vaccine for those young
3:42 pm
kids anytime before march? >> well, so look, first of all, you know, i share those sentiments. certainly with omicron, that's a little kids. two to five year olds have been disproportionately impacted and affected, and it's an unmet need. you know, we need a good vaccine for them. we are on track to have data, as you say, by march. we'll get that to two regulators as soon as we possibly can afterwards. and the data that we've had in older children has been very reassuring. it shows excellent effectiveness, so i would be hopeful. we would be hopeful that the data from that study will be the same. and then obviously, my r&d colleagues and the rest of the company will work with regulators to talk to the f.d.a. and see how we can now get this approved. >> nawaz: but that timeline means that no time before march should they expect that from a during a correct. >> i think that is a fair assessment, yes. >> nawaz: i'd like to ask you about omicron specifically as well. you've talked about making an
3:43 pm
omicron specific booster available later this year. i believe clinical trials for that have just started. i guess the question is why would those boosters be available or be necessary even later this year? do you believe that omicron is going to continue to circulate for many more months? >> i think there's a couple of things. we presented some data in new england journal of medicine on wednesday evening that showed that while there is still protection, there is waning of effect, waning of antibody levels around six months after a booster. i would also say it's clear to us now that delta is still going to be here. omicron is still going to be here. there's even now a stealth variant of omicron. so i think as the lead, as in as in covid, it's on us, as moderna to make sure that we have a vaccine available that can cover omicron as well as delta and other variants. you know, it's our responsibility to make that. provide that insurance and reassurance >> nawaz: you're saying this is something that americans should expect to deal with for many months ahead? >> we believe so. i mean, we're not going to
3:44 pm
eradicate the virus. omicron may go down in numbers. we as we go into spring and summer, people get outside, you know, maybe we can see a reduction in cases. but i think we've had days where a million, a million and a half americans have been infected. nearly 4,000 people a day have died in recent weeks. we have unprecedented levels of hospitalization today. well, it may come down. think it's proven time and time again that this is a virus that can take really radical steps of evolution and surprise us. so i would predict that we will need a booster dose just to keep everybody safe and protected in the fall of 2022. >> nawaz: knowing what we know now at this point with the waning efficacy, is it fair to say people shouldn't consider themselves fully vaccinated less they have three shots rather than just two? >> i would agree. i think that is what will provide maximal protection against death and hospitalization and certainly against infection with omicron
3:45 pm
and with covid in general. >> nawaz: i think roughly half of the global population now is vaccinated. but as you know, in those low income countries, the numbers are really abysmal. it's estimated about one out of every 10 people have jt had their first shot, and many people will point to manufacturers like you refusing to waive the patents for those vaccines. as part of the reason that gap perpetuates and persist right, they say it limits manufacturing and keeps prices artificially high. so why not waive those patents? >> well, look, we've said that we certainly will not enforce any patents during this pandemic phase of the virus. i would alsodd that in 2020, one out of the maybe 825 million doses of vaccine that we produced as moderna, a quarter of those went to low and middle income countries, and we've committed to do another billion doses in 2022. we're actively looking to build our state of the art manufacturing facility in africa
3:46 pm
that will provide for africa 500 million doses. >> nawaz: can i just clarify, though, when you say you won't enforce the patent, is that the same as waiving the patent rights? >> i think not, no. we have said that we will not enforce the pattern during the pandemic phase. so if other people want to produce the vaccine during this time period, we would not enforce our patent rights, not during the pandemic phase. >> nawaz: but does that mean that moderna is doing anything to enable other countries to produce it or manufacture it themselves? >> well, look, as i say, you know, certainly for africa, we've committed to build and work with countries there to produce a state of the art manufacturing facility that will produce vaccine doses for africa in a country to be determined very soon. so we are doineverything up and running. i think we're still working. we're going to hopefully announce a country in coming weeks and then we'll work as fast as possible to actually get
3:47 pm
the facility up and running. >> nawaz: you've made biions of dollars on the sale of the vaccine and mostly to wealthy nations. and there were numbers late last year for those who track those vaccine shipments that showed moderna shipped a greater share of your doses to wealthy countries than any other vaccine manufacturer. so what would you say to critics who point to those facts that say, moderna has not done enough to help those low income countries? >> as we now go into this next phase of the pandemic and hopefully into the endemic phase you know, we'll continue to supply as much vaccine as we can to those low and middle income countries and will expand our manufacturing facilities in those countries as well. so we're working with governments, we're working with those regions again to do everything possible. but you know, it's a very difficult situation to supply as many people have as have been asking for our vaccine throughout last year. but i think we're in a better position now. this year, we've learned a lot.
3:48 pm
and i think 2022, we'll see, you know, a new opportunity for us there. >> nawaz: that is, dr. paul burton, chief medical officer of moderna. dr. burton, thank you for your time. >> thank you. >> woodruff: syria is in the throes of several different major conflicts. in the northeast, syrian kurdish forces are fighting isis militants who forced a prison break a week ago. and in northwest idlib province, president bashar al-assad and his russian allies are continuing to pummel civilian areas with airstrikes. but as videojournalist abddulrazaq alshani found, syrian children are determined to pursue their education. ali rogin has their story >> reporter: each morning, the students at al-zahir baybars elementary greet their teachers outside. they line up grade by grade.
3:49 pm
they hold on to each other's shoulders as they enter school. the chatter subsides as they take their seats. then, it's time to learn. the routine is a precious bit of der and normalcy, for young lives filled with chaos and war. they are in idlib province, in northwest syria. it's the last stronghold of opposition against president bashar al-assad, who began a brutal crackdown against civilians in 2011. in mid-2019, assad and his russian allies started a campaign to retake idlib, killing at least 1,600 civilians. despite a ceasefire in march 2020, the bombings have continued, often targeting civilian infrastructure. not even schools are safe. on a recent winter's day, the syrian civil defense forces, known as the white helmets, installed an early warning system at al-zahir baybars. the goal: buying time to hide,
3:50 pm
if the defense forces spot russian jets. the children practice ducking under desks and escaping to the hallway: single file, in the same way they enter in the morning. >> ( translated ): first things first, we're going to exit in an orderly way. so ¡i will not exit until my classmate in front of me exits.' >> reporter: for nine-year-old shahd, this drill is a bad memory. >> ( translated ): we do this to protect ourselves from the bombing and so no one is killed. >> reporter: she is among the two million syrians in idlib, displaced by violence. >> ( translated ): we fled our town because of the bombing. i am afraid to go to school sometimes because of the bombing. >> reporter: but she still goes, hoping school remains a haven-- for learning, and for protection. not all of idlib's children have the luxury of solid schoolhouse walls. at the al-sukari camp, north of idlib city, class takes place inside this tent. the nearest schools were destroyed by russian airstrikes. but it doesn't seem to dampen the students' spirits as they learn the latin
3:51 pm
alphabet... >> one! two! three! >> reporter: ...and how to count in english. children here make do with limited learning tools. but the sad reality is that some have none at all. 11-year-old mahmoud mandora had to drop out of school to support his family. his older brother was injured in an airstrike. his father has been in an assad regime jail since he was born. mahmoud found work at an auto shop in idlib city, and now spends 12 hours a day fixing cars, earning the equivalent of two dollars. in order to stay warm, he and another working boy burn old note papers. they can't read them, because they never learned how. >> ( translated ): the work is difficult here, and it's cold. when i go home my back really hurts. >> reporter: mahmoud finds refuge on the back of a beat-up bicycle, which he restored himself using his tradesman's skills. but he just wants to be a child again. >> ( trslated ): i hope to go back to schoolnd to stop working this job.
3:52 pm
i hope my dad comeback from jail. >> reporter: up in the mountains of idlib, 14-year-old yamen kurdi also had to grow up fast. he lost his leg when russian bombs hit his school. he was in fourth grade. >> ( translated ): the plane bombed us, and we started running. then it bombed us again. i was injured and saw my leg was amputated and i tried to get up but i couldn't get up. >> reporter: yamen and his family now live in a remote refugee camp a mile away from the nearest school. he and his father walk there together each day. it's hard for both of them. by the time they arrive, yamen is in great pain. >> ( translated ): his back hurts him. he ces back tired from school. he wants to learn, he wants to read, but he comes back so tired. the regime and russia bombed the schools on purpose so they can kill learning and destroy the young people. >> reporter: but they haven't killed yamen's drive. he wants to become a doctor and help people like himself. >> ( translated ): for me the most important thing for yamen
3:53 pm
is for him to learn. he's a good student and he's doing everything he can, and he won't let us down. >> reporter: the bombs robbed yamen of a limb. but, like so many children in idlib, he refuses to let them steal his desire to learn. for the pbs newshour, i'm ali rogin. >> woodruff: you might remember the unlikely but true story of the jamaican bobsled team that made it to the olympics. it was a feat popularized in the 1993 film "cool runnings." now, jamaica's bobsled, or bobsleigh team as it's called in british english, is at it again. lucy watson from independent television news explains. >> reporter: just like in cool runnings. the country's four-man bobsleigh team has qualified for the winter olympics. the last time was 24 years ago,
3:54 pm
so the hype is here. >> back home in jamaica now most people don't even know jamaica has a bobsleigh team. we are looking forward to putting on a show. energy, dancing. love for our nation. >> reporter: most of the team were born in jamaica but live and train in the u.k. and that training is hard. >> it's a massive adrenaline rush but it's like you're getting beaten up for a good minute. all that aggression you can find from anywhere in life you need to take out in that sleigh. i tend to growl. >> reporter: growling is one thing, pushing vehicles is another. shanwayne is in the military and during lockdown had to tell the queen how he'd been practicing. >> it was really nice feeling the way she reacted.
3:55 pm
i could tell she was genuinely interested. i think the jamaican bobsleigh team has a new fan. >> reporter: with a lot more skill than the movie stars, they head for beijing on friday, to put the fire on ice. >> woodruff: that was lucy watson from independent television news. and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us online and again here tomorrow evening with david brooks and jonathan capehart. 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: >> for 25 years, consumer cellular has been offering no-contract wireless plans, designed to help people do more of what they like. our u.s.-based customer service team can help find a plan that fits you. to learn more, visit
3:56 pm
>> the ford foundation. working with visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and friends of the newshour. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh
3:57 pm
3:58 pm
3:59 pm
4:00 pm
♪ hello, everyone, and welcome to "amanpour & co." here is what's coming up. >> enormous consequences worldwide. >> with pressure building on ukraine's border, i ask norway's prime minister if there's still space for diplomacy to dial down the tension. we are trying to stay ahead of the virus. >> as pfizer launches clinical trials of an omicron specific vaccine, we spec ak with the ce. in his new movie, a french philosopher documents the world's forgotten conflicts.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on