tv PBS News Hour Weekend PBS May 11, 2014 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT
on this edition for sunday, may 11th, is ukraine on the venge of coming apart? two regions endorse a plan that could lead to secession. in our signature segment, a question of safety. more and more oil being shipped on old rail cars through american cities. >> now if we're sending 20 or 20 or 30 times as much oil down the track that obviously increases the chances of an accident occurring. and, new hope in the fight against cancer. next on "pbs newshour weekend." >> "pbs newshour weekend" is made possible by lewis b. and louise hirschfeld komen. judy and josh westin.
joyce v. hail. the wallic family in memory of miriam and ira dean. bernard and irene schwarz. roslyn p. walter. corporate funding is provided by mutual of america. designing customized, individual, and group retirement products. that's why we're your retirement company. additional support is provided by -- and by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. from the tish wnet studios at lincoln center in new york, hari sreenivasan. >> good evening. the chairman of the house intelligence committee, mike rogers, today accused russian president vladimir putin of miss-leading the public when he said earlier this week russian troops are pulling back from russia's border with ukraine. >> they're pulling troops out br for the sole purpose of rotating out their conscripts.
they have two-year conscription there in russia. those two years are up for a lot of those forces along the border so they're really rotating them out. i would not read that he is wholesale pulling his traps back. this is a function of making sure he has fresh conscripts up along the border. >> across the border in eastern ukraine, in two largely russian-speaking provinces, early indications are that voters have overwhelmingly approved a measure that could potentially lead to their secession from ukraine. the national government in ukraine and the western powers have dismissed the vote as illegitimate. in eastern ukraine today, national guardsmen opened fire on civilians protesting the closing of a polling station. one man reportedly was killed and several others wounded. this video was distributed by russian state media. for the latest from eastern ukraine, we are joined via skype by philip shishdish from "the wall street journal." why does today's vote matter in the grand scheme of things? >> it matters because for
russian separatists in eastern ukraine, about to declare independence. not for one but two provinces bordering russia. they need this vote to give their efforts a veneer of legitimacy. that's why there's been some people heading to the polls, that's very important. >> when you spoke to people at the polls today, was this a vote for independence and to join russia? or was this more frustration against kiev? >> it's a combination of both. if you look at public opinion polls, the ones that were conducted independently by professionals, there's very, very low support for any sort of independence or secession from ukraine here. interestingly, those same polls also show, as you said, great frustration with the interim government in kiev. the vote today, people that did go to the polls, and pretty much everyone who went to the polls would vote yes to the question of state sovereignty. so they were voting against kiev as much as they were voting for
any sort of independence. >> we've already heard from the western powers, the ukrainian government, who finds this entire exercise and this vote illegitimate. has there been any response from russia today? >> i have not seen any response yet. it's interesting. because the referendum is actually being conducted for the audience of one, maybe more than one, but that's the key audience of this referendum, it's not in the west, it's in the kremlin. the people who call themselves the donetsk people's republic, their long-term gain perhaps is to have crimea annexation by russia. they realize the donetsk people's republic has no economic future. we haven't heard any public support from moscow from russian leaders for an necessary saying, so it remains to be seen whether donetsk people's republic follows the breakaway states of georgia and moldova into this international economic limbo, or whether some form of a crimea-style merger with russia
is in the works. i don't think people have actually decided what to do here, or in moscow, for that matter. >> our reporter from "the wall street journal" joining us via skype from donetsk, thanks so much. >> my pleasure, thanks for having me. defense secretary chuck hagel said today america will do all it can to help the nigerian government in its search for those 276 schoolgirls abducted by islamic extremists. but during an interview that aired this morning on abc, hagel set limits on the american role there. >> we're going to bring to bear every asset we can possibly use to help the nigerian government. >> i know one of the things people keep saying is, why wouldn't u.s. special operators go in and try to find the girls? >> yeah, well, i think you look at everything. but there's no intention at this point to be putting any american boots on the ground. -- in an interview with the associated press today, one of the girls escaped the kidnappers at her girl called the incident too terrifying for words. during his broadcast
interview with martha raddatz, hagel was asked about ending the ban on transgender individuals serving if the military. >> is that something that should be looked at again? >> i do think it continually should be reviewed. i'm open to that. >> congressional investigators say the government has failed to inspect thousands of oil and gas wells on federal land, even though environmentalists believe fracking being done there could contaminate water supplies. the findings by the government accountability office ascribed the problem to lack of resources and poor coordination between blm and state regulators. some members at the secret service who patrol the area around the white house reportedly were redeployed during summer 2011 to protect an assistant who was also a personal friend of the agency's director at the time. this according to "the washington post." the friend was involved in a dispute with a neighbor. agents inside the secret service's washington field office reportedly were concerned the diversion increased the risk to the president. a secret service spokesman
called the operation a standard response to a potential threat against an employee and said it lasted days, not months. michael sand may become the first openly gay athlete in the national football league. he was drafted in the seventh round last night by the st. louis rams. this was the moment he learned he had been chosen. now to our signature segment. for the past many months, the debate about the safe transport of oil across the united states has focused on the keystone pipeline. but there's another ongoing safety debate. it's about the shipment of oil by rail, often on old rail cars. that's a growing issue, especially in north dakota. that state's oil boom has led to huge budget surpluses and created thousands of jobs. but because there are few
pipelines in the state, much of the oil extracted there has to be september across the nation by rail. and several fiery derailments have raised safety concerns. the report from north dakota. >> 911, what's your emergency? >> hi, castleton, there's like huge black smoke, i don't know if somebody's house is on fire. >> reporter: it was just after 2:00 p.m. on december 30th, 2013, when the calls began streaming in. >> what's going on? >> there was a train that derailed. >> reporter: two trains had collided half a mile outside cast castleton, north dakota. one loaded with grain, the other with crude oil. >> looks like it's going to go from car to car. they keep lighting on fire. >> reporter: volunteer fire chief tim mcclain headed straight to the scene. >> then i kind of knew, this was going to be a big one. the way it was described. >> reporter: community wayner bernie center was meeting with a client in his office. his window is just 50 feet from
the rail track. >> you could see plumes of black smoke rising pretty high above the free line, above the buildings that are across the street from us. >> reporter: from the town's main intersection, witnesses could hear explosions as the rail cars blew apart, sending fireballs into the sky. ed mcconnell has been mayor of castle ton for 16 years. >> they evacuated the southwest corner of town, which was the part of the town that was most affected by it. >> reporter: but once the wind turned, officials put the entire town of 2,500 under a voluntary evacuation order. some 400,000 gallons of crude leaked from 18 ruptured cars. the fire burned for a full day. >> there would be no battling this fire. even if you had an endless supply of water. >> reporter: both trains were operated by bnsf railway. for the record, bnsf is a
"newshour" funder. no one was killed or injured but the accident hit close to home for the state's govern history grew up in castleton. >> i couldn't believe it. i was having dinner and all of a sudden somebody sent me a video on my phone. and i said, castleton? i can't believe that. >> what did it tell you about what's going on on the rails in north dakota? >> well, you know, it tells me, and i think everybody, the same thing. what if that happened, you know, in the city or even in the middle of a town? you know, it could be really catastrophic. >> reporter: as mayor mcconnell says, his town dodged a bullet. but months earlier a community in canada wasn't nearly so lucky. on july 6th, 2013, a similar train also loaded with crude from a shale formation derailed and exploded in quebec, killing
47 and destroying much of the town's center. six years ago, u.s. railways carried just 9,500 carloads of crude each year. but today, as huge amounts of oil are produced in states like north dakota, far from traditional pipeline infrastructure, that figure has jumped to more than 400,000. and with oil train derailments in alabama, pennsylvania, and most recently downtown lynchburg, virginia, regulators and policymakers are growing concerned about the safety of moving oil by rail. >> it's just -- it's not safe. >> reporter: don morrison runs the dakota resource council, a consortium of 700 landowners, ran ranchers, businesspeople in the state. >> they didn't figure out how we're going to get to this market in a safe way. >> reporter: most of the 7.5 million barrels of oil produced each day in the u.s. travels by pipeline. but 70% of the million barrels
coming out of north dakota each day goes by rail. that's because most of the country's refining capacity is far from north dakota. that means north dakota crude has to travel hundreds of miles to be processed into gasoline for cars, fuel for jet engines. while pipelines require new construction and regulatory approval, the long-stalled keystone xl, case in point, freight rail already crisscrosses north dakota and the country. >> historically you would have never thought oil would travel by rail. in this day and age. >> reporter: ron ness heads the north dakota petroleum council, a group that represents the state's oil industry and supports hauling oil by rail. >> how safe is it? >> safety is certainly the number one aspect. i think all aspects of the transportation industry are focused on it. at 99.7% of the time, you know, rail movements about it to their destinations safely.
>> reporter: actually, the rail industry says its safety record is even better. just a typeny chance of a catastrophe makes policymakers like the governor uneasy, especially with north dakota's major cities and towns situated directly on the rail. >> where we, you know, never remembered any kind of an accident like this before, now if we're sending 10 or 20 or 30 times as much oil down the track, that obviously increases the chances of an accident occurring. and that becomes sort of a new reality that, you know, everybody has to get used to. >> reporter: and now there are mounting concerns about the rail cars predominantly used to haul oil across the nation. >> since 1991, the national transportation safety board has warned that rail cars like these, dot 111, are more prone to rupture in case of an
accident. but it wasn't until a 2009 derailment in illinois that the railway industry began instituting its own, more robust, safety standards to strengthen cars like these. but more than 80% of those types of rail cars in north america are older models that don't meet those standards. and so far, there's no mandated timeline for getting rid of the older ones like those involved in the castleton and quebec derailments. the association of american railroads, an industry group, told "newshour" older cars should be phased out as swiftly as possible, but that a timeline has to be worked out by the government. in the meantime, bnsf railways is seeking to acquire 5,000 new safer tankers. just this week the department of transportation advised all carriers of oil from north dakota and balken shale to avoid the use of older legacy tank cars. but only "to the extent
reasonably practicable." and it's not just the cars that have critics concerned. the d.o.t. has also warned north dakota crude itself may be more flammable than other types of oil, potentially leading to more dangerous accidents. again, dakota resource council, don morrison. >> going right next to people's houses and businesses, it's dangerous. and they got to be careful. >> reporter: with just 55 inspectors nationwide, the d.o.t.'s hazardous materials regulator has launched routine and surprise inspections to ensure oil is being properly tested for foreman ability. as a result, this february, the agency announced fines against three oil companies. marathon, hess, whiting. allegedly assigning their oil to the wrong safety category. the d.o.t. later dropped fines against whiting. but it's still pursuing
enforcement actions against hess and marathon. >> what is it that is distinct about this kind of oil that's coming out of the ground? >> we don't think the balken crude oil is that distinct from any other high-quality light sweet crude oil, wti, louisiana sweet. >> reporter: to prove that point, his organization will announce the findings of its own flammability tests. the industry will have enacted tests to make crude transits safer, like slower train speeds and enhanced braking systems. north dakota's republican party chairman suggested oil development may be moving too quickly, even with the fastest-growing economy in the country critics say it's time for a slow-down in the state's energy development. the governor thinks that's unwise. >> ultimately we do have to look at the statistics of everything. we would not shut down the airline industry because there
was one airplane crash. and we don't close our interstate highways because there's a car accident. >> reporter: after years of discussi discussion, this april d.o.t. submitted new rules for safer cars to the white house. but those rules likely won't come into effect before 2015. meanwhile, mile-long oil trains rumble through towns like castleton. besides reassurances mayor mcconnell is worried. >> it's a mechanical system. any time it's used more, there will be more failures. it's inevitable. >> reporter: oil production in north dakota is expected to climb 70% by 2020. most of that oil will travel by rail. senior energy reporter gould at "the wall street journal," newshour.pbs.org.
there is important news in the fight against cancer. a study says scientists have devised a new approach that represent the blueprint for making inewe know therapy to treat cancers and to target what is unique about each person's cancer. we're joined by dr. steven rosenberg, chief of surgery branch at national cancer institute for cancer research, and senior author of the study. thanks so much for joining us. so in this experiment, the interesting thing is there's not any miracle drug. you found a way to super charge a patient's own immune system to fight a cancer. how did you do that? >> this is a way to take advantage of the patient's own natural immune defense against the cancer. one of the major issues in all of cancer treatment is finding ways to attack the cancer without also attacking normal cells. cancer becomes a cancer because a normal cell accumulates in its dna a large number of mutations,
that is, changes in the dna sequence that results in new proteins. in this paper, we've worked out a way to target the exact mu traitions that result from making a normal cell into a cancer cell. so in that sense are it's a very highly specific and highly unique treatment that has to be developed for each individual patient. >> so you really did the dna -- >> the sequencing of the specific tumor, that's right. so what one has to do in performing this new treatment is to sequence the patient's cancer, identify all of the mutati mutations, the differences from normal that exist in that patient's dna sequence. and then specifically target the individual mutations that have occurred among the 3 billion bases of dna. we can target the single base change that results in making that normal cell a cancer cell. in doing that we can actually affect the cancer without affecting normal tissues. it's a very experimental
technique. it has to be developed individually for each patient. >> how long does that take if it's specific to each patient? >> from the time we actually resect the cancer and begin to do the sequencing, one can have the treatment ready in about five to six weeks. but it's a very complex kind of treatment. and in the first patient in which we demonstrated this kind of approach can work, it took about two months to develop the treatment for that individual patient. but it represents a blueprint for how to do this for other individuals as well. >> all right, so you've only had one patient, as you mentioned. why is this so ground-breaking? >> one of the major problems we have in cancer is the fact that although we can cure about half of all patients that develop cancer in this -- in 2014, half of the patients that develop cancer will ultimately die of that disease. we don't have cures for most cancers once they've spread throughout the body. when we apply treatments like
surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, we often attack the cancer but can affect normal tissues as well. the unique aspect of this particular treatment that takes advantage of the exquisite specificity and sensitivity of the body's own immune system is we can target something that's absolutely unique to the cancer. so that it has no impact at all on the patient's normal tissues. now this has been done in one patient. a patient that had 26 mutations inside their cancer. we were able to find a single one this we could target. since almost all cancers contain mutations, as we continue to develop this, hopefully this kind of approach can be used to target the other cancers that start in many different organs and divide. >> people are going to wonder that exact question. this is one specific cancer, one specific patient. how long till your research completes and this can be applied to other cancers and in a wider audience? >> we have some immune owe therapies today, like interlucen
two against melanoma, other drugs can stimulate the immune system against kidney cancer. we have not had immune-based treatments that can join surgery radiation and chemotherapy to attack the common cancers. carries that start in the colon, in the rectum, in the pancreas, the esophagus, the ovary, the prostate. this particular approach can work indiscriminately regardless of where the cancer arose. in this particular patient the cancer arose in the bile ducts and liver and spread throughout the liver and into the lungs. and so, again, i want to emphasize it's a highly experimental treatment. the paper in "science" shows that you can successfully attack an individual mutation inside a cancer. we're now working around the clock to try to simplify this procedure so that we can bring it to additional people. >> all right. dr. steven rosenberg from washington, thanks so much. >> you're welcome.
>> this is "pbs newshour weekend sunday." tonight we look back at a moment 60 years ago this past week. a feat by a 25-year-old british runner who did what doctors had called impossible. as he crossed the finish line that day in oxford, england, roger bannister's anguished face told the story. he had just done what no man or woman had ever done before. he had run a mile in less than four minutes. >> well done, roger bannister! >> 3:59.4 to be precise. the medical student had a little help. two teammates purposely set a fast pace and one of them still led as they reached the three-quarter mile mark, now slightly behind pace. >> the third lap was 62. and that made 3:05. and then i had to decide whether to overtake him then or just wait for another bend, another bend meant that i didn't have to
run wide and i didn't want to run an extra 60 yards. >> banister knew one of his chief american rivals had come close to a four-minute mile again and again, before finally concluding it just could not be done. >> six times he ran around 4:02 in that previous year. that was what led him to say that it is insurmountable. it is like a cement wall. >> banister described the last lap, the one that put him in the history books, this way. "i felt at that moment that it was my chance to do one thing supremely well. i drove on impelled by a combination of fear and pride. those last few seconds seemed an eternity. i left at the tape like a man taking a last desperate spring to save himself." roger bannister is now 85 and battling parkinson's disease, a condition he has treated in his many decades as a neurologist.
>> "pbs newshour weekend" is made possible by lewis b. and louise hirschfeld komen. judy and josh westin. joyce v. hail. the wallic family in memory of miriam and ira d. wallic. the sheryl and philip millstein family. bernard and eye ren schwarz. roslyn p. walter. corporate funding is provided by mutual of america. designing customized, individual, and group retirement products. that's why we're your retirement company. additional support is provided by -- and by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. be more. bb be more.
in 2009, joanie and i covered a story following 6 women who went to tanzania to do a volunteer project at a school for aids orphans. we knew it was going to be an amazing story, but what we didn't know was how transformative it was going to be for not only the women we were covering but for ourselves. we came back from that one trip and we were incredibly inspired and we started journeys for good and our hope is that we can show people what's possible -- to do all kinds of different projects and to show how incredibly rewarding this kind of travel can be. we're going to travel with our son ryan around the world and tell these stories and hopefully inspire other people