tv PBS News Hour PBS May 12, 2014 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: new video purportedly from the boko haram militant group in nigeria offers the first glimpse of some of the girls abducted almost a month ago, and fresh calls to sell them unless militants are freed from prison. good evening, i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. also ahead this monday, fallout from secession votes in eastern ukraine. pro-russian insurgents are claiming victory, but kiev dismissed it as a farce, while moscow stopped short of recognizing the results.ç >> woodruff: and the author of an unlikely american bestseller. paul solman talks to french economist, thomas piketty, whose new book is igniting debate over income inequality and modern capitalism.ç
>> his recent u.s. press tour was likened to beatlemania. nobel laureates on stage with him piled on the praise, especially ones who share concern for the global trend the 42-year-old parisian has definitively documented: growing economic inequality. >> woodruff: those are just some of the stories we're covering on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> i've been around long enough to recognize the people who are out there owning it. the ones getting involved, staying engaged. they are not afraid to question the path they're on. because the one question they never want to ask is, "how did i end up here?" i started schwab with those people.ç people who want to take ownership of their investments, like they do in every other aspect of their lives.
>> when i was pregnant, i got more advice than i knew what to do with.ç what i needed was information i could trust, on how to take care of me and my baby. united healthcare has a simple program that helps moms stay on track with their doctors and get care and guidance they can use before and after the baby is born. simple is what i need right now. >> that's health in numbers, united healthcare >> supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information at macfound.org >> and with the ongoing supportç
of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs thank you. >> ifill: parts of the west spent this day after mother's day digging out from a late winter snowstorm. the system dropped wet, slushy snow across wyoming and colorado on sunday, and continued into early today. accumulations of nearly three feet forced much of interstate 80 in southern wyoming to shut down. the storm also spawned minor tornadoes in nebraska and forced flash flood watches in oklahoma and arkansas. >> woodruff: the taliban launched a spring offensive in afghanistan today, as promised, killing at least 21 people. attacks were scattered from jalalabad, where taliban fighters stormed a governmentç building to a checkpoint in helmand province, where gunmen killed nine policemen. and to kabul itself, where
rockets landed inside the perimeter of the international airport.ç the violence comes as fewer than 30,000 u.s. troops remain in the country, the lowest number since the 2001 invasion. >> ifill: new tragedy has struck migrants trying to sail from north africa to italy. in the past three days, two migrant boats sank in the mediterranean. at least 14 people died today, but the italian navy rescued more than 200 others. libyan police and health workers also recovered more than 40 bodies that washed ashore from another migrant vessel. it went down on saturday. >> woodruff: in south sudan the army claimed it now controls an oil town where troops battled rebels on sunday. each side blamed the other for violating a cease-fire announced friday. meanwhile, the country's president declared presidential elections scheduled for next year will be postponed. the rebel leader objected to the plan.ç >> ifill: this was the final day of voting in india's six-week general election.
exit polls suggested hindu nationalist narendra modi is set to become the next prime minister. thousands of voters turned out in the hindu holy city of varanasi. it's considered a stronghold ofç modi's hindu nationalist party. official results are expected on friday. >> woodruff: one of washington's best known landmarks, the washington monument, reopened to the public today, almost three years after it was damaged in an earthquake. the moment was marked with pomp and pageantry on the national mall and an official ribbon cutting. it followed months of work to repair more than 150 cracks. bob vogel of the national park service welcomed visitors back to the 130-year-old obelisk this morning. >> national mall and memorial parks is proud to serve as caretaker of this historic structure by both preserving the building and helping visitors better understand its significance and we are thrilleç
to be able to once again open its doors. >> woodruff: the refurbishment of the washington monument and its new exhibits cost anç estimated $15 million, half of which was paid for by philanthropist david rubenstein. >> ifill: wall street hit some record highs today. the dow jones industrial average gained 112 points to close at 16,695, an all-time best. the nasdaq rose 72 points to close above 4143. and the s-and-p 500 added 18 points to finish above 1896, also a new record. still to come on the newshour: new video purporting to show the abducted nigerian schoolgirls; fallout from the weekend secession votes in ukraine; one economist's controversial take on capitalism and inequality; scientists warn antarctic ice melt is unstoppable; plus, mapping los angeles' cultural history.ç
>> woodruff: in nigeria today, a possible sign of life for the abducted school girls whose fate has captured the world's attention, and an offer from the leader of boko haram to swap th3 students for prisoners held by the government. we have a report from rageh ommar of independent television news. >> reporter: at the very least this latest video by the boko haram shows around 130 girls are alive. the christian girls amongst them have been forced to abandon their faith and wear islamic head scarves and gowns and recite verses of the koran. as far as one can tell, they are unharmed and well. but there is no mistake the tense and frightening atmosphere. the leader of boko haram abubakar shekau says he prepared to return them in exchange forç captured militant fighters.
he's clearly been following the international concerns surrounding his hostages, expressing bemusement at the outcry of the plight.ç the streets of the capital of borno state are not safe. there have been suicide bombings and attacks by boko haram here and they've recently targeted the outskirts of the city. i've come to maiduguri to talk to this man, the governor of borno state who's been dealing with this crisis since day one. i asked him for his reaction to the latest video. >> reporter: the governor believes that as borno's levels
of impoverishment, lack of by the central government that has allowed boko haram's violent radical ideology to find followers. i wanted to see if this crisis had damaged girls education and unannounced we dropped into a local school. the spontaneous reaction spoke volumes. the reaction here amongst these girls to a completely unannounced visit by the governor just shows you how important they feel their education is. >> we like to come to school because we want to be educated to help, to help our nation. >> reporter: the school girls of maiduguri are the lucky ones. but tonight the hunt for theç missing girls of chibok, taken from this school nearly a month ago, continues. >> woodruff: joining me to discuss the video and the latest efforts to free the girls isç
j. peter pham, director of the africa program at the atlantic council. peter pham, welcome back to the program. >> thank you, a pleasure to be with you. >> woodruff: so you follow all this closely. what do you make of the video? >> well, the video is an attempt, i think, by boko haram's leaders, who, extremist as they are, have in the last few years shown their ability to engage strategically, and it's a strategic piece insofar as they recognize the international attention has focused tremendous pressure on the government and they're using the video and the attention the video generates to force the government to do something they have been unwilling to do which is negotiate for the release of prisoners and deal with them asç an equal party, so to speak. >> woodruff: do you seem the video is legi legitimate, is re? >> from all indications of what i've seen of the video, it seems to be a legitimate video. certainly, bokoç haram's histoy the last few years is they may
put out propaganda but have not in their formal statements. this is not a group like other jihaddest groups who have all sorts of people putting out stuff that seems to be false. this tends to be accurate, despicable but accurate. >> woodruff: what would you say is the state of the search for these school girls? >> well, it's startling. the international community offered its help and finally after not just weeks but years of refusing help with this growing insurgency, the nigerian government has been shamed in accepting offers of help from the united states, the united kingdom, thein the european unid even china. they're just arriving on theç scene. they haven't developed a lot of the intelligence assets and the knowledge of the terrain the nigerians themselves haven't been building up in the last few years, so we're starting at ground zero. that will takeç time.
a lot of time went by from the kidnappings on april 15 and when the nigerian government accepted help last week. >> woodruff: a lot of time was lost. >> a great deal was lost. >> woodruff: what is an example of the ways the countries will be cooperating with nigeria? >> i think what nigeria needs is building intelligence capability. nigeria has tried to confront boko haram over the last few years as a merely security challenge to be scwawtd out and crushed. they should have learned that the military solution is a blunt instrument and won't take care of everything. in 2009, nigeria tried to crush boko haram, killed several hundred people including the founder of the sect, and pronounced victory. they came back even more extreme andç virulent. they've tried for years unsuccessfully. there are hundreds if not thousands of casualties as a result of this ongoing war and, clearly there, needs to be
better intelligence and broadly-based holistic approachç to this insurgence are. >> woodruff: is it your sense now that the nigerian government is committed to finding getting these school girls rescued? >> i think the government would like the problem to be over with. to be quite blunt, the government still makes rather inresponsible statements. last week, we had the president's wife making reprehensible statements about people who were simply protesting the lack of action to rescue these girls. so they have to get over the fact that this is somehow a plot by their enemies to discredit them. what's discrediting the nigerian government would be celebrating the g.d.p. recall brace, its roles as africa's most dynamic economy, that celebration has been turned upside down by its mishandling of the current crisis. >> woodruff:ç that's what makes it so hard for outsiders to understand is because nigeria is such a successful economy,
certainly compared to the others on the african continent and, yet, you're saying they haven't had the apparatus to conduct any kind of rescue operation. >> and that's the result of a certain disconnect between the military and theç economy. the economy successes of nigeria are undoubtable. the political advances since civilian rule are also to be acknowledged. but, at the same time, the military has been starved of resources both because the government remembered the time when the military was too powerful in the '80s and '90s and also because there's a bit of corruption, corruption that creeps throughout nigeria including the military where resources that are allocated don't quite make their way down to the rank and file soldiers, which is why, unfortunately, we have the very credible reports of the soldiers who might have been able to intervene didn't go out of their barracks. >>ç woodruff: and while we're talking about the soldiers, there have been reports that bach wok has infiltrated the
military in nigeria. what's your understanding of that? >> well, these are reports that have actually been validated byç president goodluck jonathan himself. he said high levels of security in government apparatus have been penetrated. part of that is a political point but the point is well taken. we have to ask ourselves whether it's merely corruption, people have been bought off, its political agenda is trying to discredit the property or a combination. that's going to hurt the search effort because the u.s. and other countries that were engaged have to be judicious about what information they share for fear that that information might actually fall into the wrong hands. >> woodruff: so boko haram is now talking about the swap, prisoners in exchange for the girls. you've said at the outsetç they're thinking strategically now. is it thought that this could work? that there are prisoners who could be released in exchange for these girls? >> the government is holding a
number of boko haramç leaders d members, as well as people who were taken up in security sweeps of the country. but the big point is not so much the lib -- liberation of the prisoners. boko haram is trying to get the government to acknowledge and deal with them. that's a concession this government has not made, and if it makes it, it's a win-win for boko haram. they get their prisoners freed and people back. if the government even talks to them, the government is weakened, and that's where the quandary is the government finds it wasself in. >> woodruff: what do you think the chances are the girls can be found and rescued? >> well, certainly, it's my hope and prayer that as many of the girls as possible can be foundç and reunited with their families, but i have to be realistic. the area where the girls are held is heavily forested, and if you get behind the forest, there's the mountain range betweenç nigeria and cameroon
which has end less series of caves. it is very hostile. finding someone there is looking for a needle many in a haystack and several weeks late, i'm not optimistic, unfortunately. >> reporter: peter pham with the atlantic council. thank you. >> we thank you. >> ifill: late today, the european union imposed sanctions on senior russian officials, including russian president vladimir putin's first deputy chief of staff and the commander of the country's paratroopers. the move is part of the e.u.'s efforts to punish moscow for its actions in ukraine. in washington, a state department spokeswoman saidç today the u.s. will not recognize sunday's secession referendum in the eastern regions of donetsk and luhansk. she called it illegitimate.ç >> it was illegal under ukrainian law and an attempt to create further division and disorder in the country.
its methodology was also highly suspect, with reports of carousel voting, pre-marked ballots, children voting, voting for people who were absent, and even voting in moscow and st. petersburg. >> ifill: separatists in donetsk, however, declared they are ready to join neighboring russia. we have a report from alex thomson of independent television news. >> reporter: barricaded into the regional council building, bolstered by their referendum, for these people, today is day one of the world's newest capital of the peoples republic of donetsk.ç and ten floors up, separatist chairman denis pushilin says it's war. your own key officials say that this area is now at war with kiev, do you agree with that?ç >> ( translated ): every day in fact people are dying in our territory at the hands of those sent by the illegal kiev junta.
this is civil war in its purest form. inside the compromising message we are in a civil war, outside the marshall music. they now feel they have a large mandate from their independence referendum. so the simple question is, do they push forward politically or with fighting? >> reporter: hours later he announced he'd asked russia to absorb the people's republic just one day after the referendum. >> ( translated ): based on will of people of donetsk republic and in order to restore an historic injustice we ask ru[shan federation to consider the absorption of the donetsk people's republic into the russian federation. ( applause )ç >> reporter: silence so far from vladimir putin but the kremlin is welcoming the referendum >> ( translated ): we respect
the expression of the will of the population in the donetsk and luhansk region. >> reporter: russia is calling again for talks but on the ground it is not happening. instead the funerals of those from both sides killed in recent days. flowers laid where they died. and kiev's forces told you're illegal get out of our country in 48 hours. in lukhansk separatist militias outside, referendum ballots inside and guns here too. furious, kiev says only a third of people ever voted in this referendum anyway.ç >> ( translated ): that farce the separatists call a referendum is nothing more than propaganda. hiding behind those crimes, killing torture and kidnapping they are carrying out.ç >> reporter: separatists counted that, saying the turnout was 80 with almost 78 saying "yes" to breaking away from kiev.
>> ifill: for more on sunday's voting and what it means for the future of ukraine, i'm joined by steven pifer, former u.s. ambassador to ukraine. he's now a senior fellow at the brookings institution. and nadia diuk, vice president of the national endowment for democracy. steven pifer, what happened in ukraine and eastern ukraine this weekend. was it legal? >> certainly not by ukrainian law and the referendum is not recognized by anybody other than perhaps the russian government. first of all, the basic question is asked, was very ambiguous. independence to join russia? > >> ifill: that was the question. >> does it mean you ton my within ukraine?ç it's not sure what people knew they were voting for. >> ifill: whas what was your impression the people thought they were voting for? >> somewhat a separate state,
but what that separate state is was not clear. in general, the people who voted, by no means the figure given by the people in control there, the people were voting their unhappiness with not having -- being heard by the authorities and also showing they have been very much influenced by the paint of the kiev authorities as somehow illegitimate. >> ifill: we've hatched elections and judged turnout or by international observers who come in and make sure that it's fair and free. do we have any way of measuring that in this case?ç >> well, by all appearances, this was organized by the separatists. the separatists ran the vote. there were no credible observes. lots of reports ofç multiple voting. the central commission in ukraine refused to give them voters lists so they were not working off any voters lists, so
there were lots of questions. there's a biggish issue here -- i suspect a lot of people who turned out voted yes but the biggest question is the turnout figure because several polls in the last two months showed even eastern ukraine, 70% of the population does not want to leave ukraine. >> ifill: i saw a new poll by pugh which said as much. but we don't know who they're polling either. do we know if the voter fraud is proving there is multiple voting, and does it make a difference? nadia diuk. >> well, it does make a difference because i thinkç tht the polls have shown that there are about 30% of the people in the two regions that are possibly in support of some kind of separation, but the 70% of the people who probably did not turn out to vote, who could have been tooç afraid to turn out to vote because keep in mind, as well, there are a lotto armed people around those polling
stations and, also, there have been a lot of mysterious kidnappings, beatings, so i think fear has been injected into this process in a way that probably is likely to keep people away. those people haven't spoken out yet. also, the local elites are not very much in favor of what the separatists are doing. today, there was the party of regions which is the party of the former president who was ousted denounced the poll and denounced the separatists and were goingç to be strong withia strong ukraine. so how that plays out remains to be seen. >> ifill: steven pifer, does this mean ukraine itself is tearingç apart irrevocably?
>> unfortunately what we've seen in moscow over the last two months is not to diffuse the crisis but to escalate it. for example, you've seen economic pressure on ukraine, banning of ukrainian imports into russia, you've seen a huge raise in the price russia charges ukraine for natural gas. for seven weeks, there have been military maneuvers and forces, russian forces on ukraine's border, and over the past month, you've seen the armed seizers in eastern ukraine instigated and planned by the russians. so they're not trying to calm the situation down. >> ifill: except we heard russian president putin say he didn't think the referendum should go ahead and today they didn't fully recognize the#çcj& results of it. is that not calming things down? >> remember a few weeks ago president putin was saying this whole swath of land up to the mull doven borderç was at one
point called a different name. so you could call it that project. the voting that took place yesterday doesn't bring it anywhere close to joining with russia or even separating from ukraine, because all of the other areas, there was no vote there. >> ifill: the next task appears to be the may 25 presidential election, which the e.u. and u.s. said we don't want to see russia get involved or we will step up sanctions. do we think that can still happen with these two regions having pulled themselves out? >> i think there is evidence the acting ukrainian government will go ahead with the election. you will probably have aç good election process in western and central ukraine. the big question mark is will the separatists and russians allow the vote in donetsk and luhansk, and my guess is there will be a disruption.
in the pollç stations, 70% of e population who want to vote, do they have the opportunity, or are they denied and then you have a situation on may 26 where the russians are saying, well, people didn't vote in the eastern ukraine, it cast out on the election and really denies the ukrainians to have a more stable and legitimized democratic president. >> ifill: is there leading up to the may 25 vote a broker situation that can bring everybody back to the table or is that moment passed? >> i think that was what president putin was announcing yesterday was one of his aims was the key of government to recognize separatists as equal negotiating partners. however, if they are sittingç around the table, who else should be representing the 70% of people who are not in favor of the local elites who are clearly sort of trending towards
kiev? it makes it a very contusedç situation and, as well, one has to ask, where did the separatists get their legitimacy from because they have not actually had elections for people. they just had a vote on the question no one seemed to understand. >> ifill: is there any more pressure to be brought by additional sanctions? >> well, i think it's useful that the european union provided additional sanctions, but i think we're still in the area where the sanctions are too cautious, both in europe and the united states. i think there's evidence to suggest the sanctions are having an impact. everybody seems to be lowering suggestion. the sanctions have not yet succeeded in the primary political goal which is toç get vladimir putin's political course changed.
>> ifill: do you thinkç sanctions -- additional sanctions are necessary? >> well, salad has his domestic constituency to take into account with the level of rhetoric ramped up in the last few weeks, he may be being pushed by his domestic -- a lot of this is for people in russia as well to show that if they try anything like happened on the madame, maihem and violence will ensue. >> ifill: steven pifer and nadia diuk, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: questions about the scope and causes of income inequality have resonated loudly in the u.s. in recent years.ç now, a new economics book about these issues is making a big,
and surprising, splash of its own among experts and the public. we're going to spend the next couple of nights looking at it, and the debate around it. tonight, our economicsç correspondent, paul solman, has a look at what's in the book that's capturing so much attention. it's part of his ongoing reporting: "making sense of financial news." >> reporter: perhaps the most unlikely bestseller in america: the english translation of french economist thomas piketty's 577-page tome, "capital." his recent u.s. press tour was likened to beatlemania, with standing room only events. nobel laureates on stage with him piled on the praise, especially ones tilting left who share concern for the global trend the 42-year-old parisian has definitively documented: growing economic inequality.ç so our first question, when we sat down with piketty, was about his political slant.
capital, capitale, the name of karl marx's famous work, so areç you a french marxist? >> not at all. no, i am not a marxist. i turned 18 when the berlin wall fell and i traveled to eastern europe to see the fall of the communist dictatorship and you know i had never had any temptation for communism or you know, marxism. >> reporter: piketty has long been known for demonstrating, with colleagues, that inequality of wealth has reverted to a lofty level last seen in 19th century europe. here he was at harvard's kennedy school of government, recapping the share of u.s. national income goin the top 10%. and according to the very latest data: >> in 2012 the share going to the top 10% would be slightly over 50%, you know, it's notç clear this is a good deal for the rest of the population.
>> reporter: it's a great deal, of course, for the kings of theç economic hill, and the closer you get to the summit, the greater the distance from everyone else. it reminds piketty, among others, of america's "gilded age," which was seen back then as a harbinger of a very un- american drift toward aristocracy. >> many people in america, in 1900, were shocked by the possibilities that their country would become as unequal as old europe. >> reporter: an "old europe" in which land was wealth and thus inherited land guaranteed you the life of riley, or jane austen's mr. darcy. >> who is this mr. darcy? >> he's one of the darcys of pembley. >> oh! mr. darcy of pembley! >> the pembley estates alone are worth a clear ten thousand a year. >> reporter: 10,000 pounds of income, that is, generated by darcy's land holdings.ç for centuries, even well into the industrial revolution,
inherited land, the main wealth or "capital" of civilization, guaranteed a predictable income: about 4-5% of that wealth, year in, year out.ç >> everybody knew what the rate of return was and that it was four or five and not two or three or six or seven. these numbers are important. >> reporter: they're of particular importance to piketty because his book's new contribution to economics is said to be this very simple and, to him, ominous equation: r is greater than g. r is for the return on capital, and g stands for economic growth. historically, r= 4 or 5% a year. and for most of human history, g was less than .1% a year, almost zero, because population grew slowly and agricultural productivity more slowly still. and there just wasn't anything so as you can see, if r is growing year after year by 4-5 %
in economies that are barely growing at all, it's pretty obvious that those who have the capital, the rich, will keep getting richer and inequality will grow.ç and this is, i believe, the force that explains the very large concentration of wealth that we had up until world war i. >> reporter: now, early in the 20th century, things did begin to change. inequality fell, for so many decades that economists imagined a new law: after a certain stage of development, increasing equality would become the norm. but piketty has a different explanation of what's called the great compression in wages and wealth: it was a fluke of history. >> world war i, the great depression, world war ii, which of course reduced the return to capital to very low level because of capital destruction,ç because of inflation, because of taxation to finance the war. and so the rate of return to capital, fell to 1% or very
close to 0%.ç then the growth rate themself after world war ii increased enormously. >> reporter: the great post war boom in babies, buggies, bungalows. >> this lasted for so long that at some point we thought this was a new permanent regime. >> reporter: and when you say the new permanent regime, you mean greater and greater income and wealth equality? >> right. >> reporter: but of course, the great compression didn't last. >> so we are sort of back to the initial situation that we had prior to world war i and this tends to push toward rising concentration of wealth. >> reporter: in other words, he thinks we're back to r being greater than g, and with capitaç returns growing and growth slowing inequality will just get worse and worse. there is a strong feeling in
this country, that people deserve what they earn and theç inequality is a function of how hard people have worked or how cleverly they have put their skills to use. >> yeah but there are also dozens of millions of people who are working hard in their daily jobs. >> reporter: and back to another forbes list for another point of piketty's: that the richest aren't just self-made entrepreneurs. >> what you see actually in the data is not only entrepreneur, you also see a growing part of inherited wealth, which uh you know grows almost as fast as entrepreneurial wealth. right now, in this country, the bottom 50% of the population owns 2% of national wealth. even if you don't want to go to all the way to socialism you know maybe it's possible to do a bit better than that. >> reporter: better than the current inequality and, says come.
>> there's no natural force that guarantees that this will stop somewhere that is, you know acceptable and compatible with our democratic institution. >> reporter: so what do we do about this?ç >> we need to return to the type of uh progressive income taxations that we've had in the past. between 1930 and 1980, the top marginal rate was 82% in the u.s., and during this period, you have some of the best growth that you know there's ever been in this country. >> reporter: but look at the 1920's when they dropped the top marginal rate to 25% i believe and you had the roaring 20's. so we have a counter example. >> yes, but there's a much longer counter exple with the roaring 50's, 60's 70's. >> reporter: piketty also favors an internationally coordinated tax on wealth, and a higher minimum wage. all uphill battles, given the current sharp political divide. >> i hear of course, lots of people say that this will never happen. >> reporter: but piketty dismisses such skepticism with a
gallic shrug. ou know, sometis happen. >> reporter: aren't you at all surprised that a 577 page book, gets standing room only audiences? >> i'm surprised that this is uh so successful, but certainly i was hoping that it would, you know it will be.ç you know i tried to, to write it, so that this, this would happen. >> reporter: and happen it has. to the point that capital is now back at the printer. it's publisher, harvard university press failed to anticipate the demand for the most ballyhooed book of economics in years. >> ifill: online, you can find more of paul's interview with piketty about his diagnosis and prescriptions. tomorrow we will debate the issues raised by the book. >> woodruff: scientists have long been warning of the risks posed by melting ice sheets. but a new study released today offers the most definitive word
yet from nasa, and other researchers, that parts of theç ice sheet in the west antarctica are melting and that it's part of a pattern that's now irreversible. eventually, scientists say, it will lead to rising sea levels. the study finds that a series of glaciers in the amundsen sea near west antartica have "passed the point of no return" and areç draining into the water, with faster-melting levels shown in red. one is shown here in time-lapse footage. and some of these glaciers have been retreating more than a mile a year between 1996 and 2011. the collapse of the ice sheet will take more than a century to play out, but the new estimates captured international attention today. nasa's tom wagner is one of the lead members of the team. he's here with me now. tom, welcome to the program. >> thank you. >> woodruff: why should one pay attention to what's going on in antarctic, this ice sheet? >> it's one of the most
important maces on earth for understanding sea levelç rise. around the world, sea level is rising by 3 millimeters a year. >> woodruff: it's been expected there will be melting, going to be sea levelç rise, what's different in what you've reported today? >> we think of the ice as going into the ocean in a stead way. now we have evidence of a jump and we're seeing the ice retreat off the points it was grounded on into a deeper interior that can allow it to really speed up. >> woodruff: do you know why this is happening? >> we know why in that we know it's warm water coming from deep parts of antarctic and blown up on to the continental shelf and the ice and causing et to melt. >> woodruff: what's causing the water to be warm and move in the direction it is? >> around antarctica, the deep water is warmer than the surface water and generally the idea is
winds that have changed their patterns because of global warming coupled also with the ozone hole inç antarctic head o wind patterns around antarctica. >> woodruff: how confident are scientists that's the cause? >> pretty confident. one thing you have to understanç is, in two studies that came out, this idea has been talked about since the '70s and the whole scientific community has been working on this a long time, not just satellites but ships that have gone and measured the water temperatures and made a hole with the national science foundation in one of the ice shells. >> woodruff: you said you found out certain things happened and are happening at a faster rate. give us sort of a tangible example about it. help us understand what exactly is going on. >> sure. if you went to antarctica and pulled the ice off, in the region of west antarctica we looked at, you wouldn't see land. you would see ocean and a few islands popped up. that's what makes this ice at
risk for rapid loss. the ice is;hzo thick it displas the water and sits on the bedrock. what's happened is that it's retreated away from it's coastal area and, as it retreats and thins, it floats on the water and thatç allows it to speed up and flow more rapidly into the ocean. >> woodruff: so consequences, what do you project? what do you see? >> so the modeling study that came out today in science actually says that we could, within the next century, jump from, say, a quarter millimeter a year out of this one glacier to over a millimeter a year. that's one of five glaciers just in this area and this is just one small area of antarctica. >> woodruff: that sounds like not much, from a quarter of a millimeter to a millimeter. >> but when you ask someone to model, in 100 years from now. in the new york area in the last 100 years we've seen over a foot of seaç level rise, which is damaging things up and down the
east coast. the next century, we're looking at maybe 3 feet plus. when we include these kinds of factors, we might have to revise that estimate upward, maybe four or five or more, and that's kinç of the cutting edge of the research now. >> woodruff: can you say what populations, what cities, what parts of the world we're talking about that's affected? >> bangladesh, 1.5-foot sea level rise displaces 11 million people. it's that serious. around the world, most our cities are built on ports which are at sea level. you don't think about it, well, my house is 4 feet above sea level. the problem is during a storm surge or something else, you get additional problems. so small amounts are really impactful. >> woodruff: and when the report says this is irreversible, what does that mean? >> this was is fascinating part of thisç research. typically, we think of a continent, you think about the united states. the ocean is here and the
continent goes up like this. in antarctica, the continent is below sea level and the ice is really thick on it. as the ice retreats, it begins to float because there'sç no continent for it to pull up on. that's what makes this so risky and why it can flow into the ocean and collapse so rapidly. >> woodruff: does that literally mean there's nothing humans can do to slow this down at this point? >> tough call and, again, that does kind of get to the cutting edge. what we know is, based on the basic physics and is geometry, the shape of the bed in that area, this should continue to retreat unless there is a wildly different thing, such as warm water entering this part of antarctica. >> woodruff: why do you say that's a wild thing? >> you have to fundamentally change oceanic and atmospheric circulation. >> woodruff: you're not saying that'sç what humans are incapae
of? >> i'm not saying you should run screaming from the beach because of this. what i'm saying is we're doing vull at closing the sea level budget and projecting into the future about how things are going to change. i feel like sometimes when people hear about climate change and sea level rise, they think it's based on the computer models with big uncertainties. one of the key studies that came out today, this is based on observation, actually look at how the glacierers are changing and speeding up. >> woodruff: it's not a mathematical model. >> no, this is, like, aircraft have flown over and put radar signals down that measured the rock underneath the ice and where it is. >> woodruff: tom wagner, you've left us unsettled. thank you very much. >> thank you for having me. >> ifill: finally tonight, mapping out an american city's history, one block at a time. jeffrey brown has our story, part of his series, "culture at risk."
>> looks like this one is another duplex.ç >> reporter: a fine walk on a beautiful morning in los angeles, part of a very long walk through all of this city, including some 880,000 parcels of land to survey its rich heritage. >> this one's 1927. there's a related feature, a tennis court in back. >> reporter: on this day mary ringhoff and evanne st. charles, contracted by the city, were in the hancock park neighborhood, first settled in the 1920's by immigrants from poland and russia. along the way, they took photographs, made notes, and logged information into an electronic tablet. when you walk up to these houses, what are you looking at? >> we look at the style. this is a spanish revival.ç the next one is a tudor revival. then we look at the alterations, whether they've put additions on. whether they've put in new windows. >> reporter: los angeles is, of course, constantly changing, constantly reinvpgting itself. but there's an effort underway
now to document its history, its neighborhoods, its buildings, its people, its cultural heritage all that makes the city what it is. but the story starts far away in quite a different setting. with the u.s. invasion of iraq, many archeological sites and buildings were damaged by bomb blasts and gunfire. other sites, most famously the national museum, were looted. when international teams arrived to assess the losses, they were often stymied by a lack of basic information. susan macdonald is with the getty conservation institute. >> what we realized very quickly was there were issues associated with the looting of the museum, but they didn't actually have a comprehensive inventory of theiç extraordinary archaeological sites. >> reporter: you mean they just didn't even know what they had? >> they didn't really know what they had and where they were. so these issues catalyzed the idea of having an inventory, creating an inventory inç electronic form that they could
access and that could be web- based and properly used to identify and know about their heritage so they could manage the risks associated with it. >> reporter: it's a simple, though time-consuming and expensive idea: to identify, catalogue and map the national treasures of a country or region. the getty, for the record an underwriter of the newshour's cultural reporting, developed a database called "arches." >> the government of jordan was the first to use it. >> so this is the citadel in amman, for example. >> reporter: the getty's alison dalgity gave us a demonstration. >> you can get reports on the significance of each site. 4-hphistoric, social, aesthetic, spiritual. in addition to cataloguing each object or site, the inventory describes existing and potential threats. >> so this starts as an international project but it turns out to have applications here in l.a.? >> that's right.ç
it is an international issue. it's the same whether working in iraq or jordan or los angeles. >> reporter: it may sound counter-intuitive: preserving ancient treasures in the middle east is one thing, but how do you apply that idea to a relatively new city like los angeles? in fact, this city has become the largest test case for the new computer program in a project called "survey l.a." iconic symbols are included, of course: the hollywood sign, the walk of fame, the capitol records building, historic movie theaters. but there are also lesser-known places. >> this is the sugar hill neighborhood that was known as west adams.ç >> reporter: it was here in the 1940's, says ken bernstein, who heads the city's historic resources department, that local and national racial history was made. when several prominent africanç americans, bought houses in the neighborhood.
one was hattie mcdaniel, the first black actor to win an academy award, for her portrayal of mammy in "gone with the wind." at the time the local homeowners association barred blacks from living here. >> this was the jim crow era of los angeles, an era of strict racial separation and there were a number of high end neighborhoods in los angeles that had very explicit racial covenants preventing african americans or in other cases jews, from buying into some of these prestigious neighborhoods. >> reporter: so she and others wanted to move in. what did they do? >> ultimately they were able, they prevailed in court and were able to stay.ç this was in an era just a few years before the u.s. supreme court issued its first decisions striking down racial covenants. >> reporter: many neighborhoods, says bernstein, have their own stories to tell.ç in filipino town, a park where immigrants first gathered in the city now features a large mural that showcases the 250 year history of filipinos in this country. >> it covers the importance of
filipinos during the farm labor movement. farm workers on mural, and then it goes all the way to manny pacquiao >> reporter: manny pacquiao the boxer? >> yes. >> reporter: michelle magalong is a preservationist and community activist who helped organize neighborhood outreach meetings for survey l.a. >> we'd have folks bring in photographs, we'd interview them for oral histories, any kind of material they might have. >> reporter: what do you say to them? bring in your history? >> yeah. we'd say bring what you've got. sometimes people have boxes that their parents or grandparents just kept.ç survey l.a. allows us to really honor the everyday vernacular of different and diverse communities: the residents, the business owners, the community organizations, the churches here in the neighborhood. it's great because they feel like our story matters and it's worth preserving.ç >> reporter: there are also important economic factors at play, of course. tourism, for one.
and, says ken bernstein, effective city planning that aids both local officials and developers, who'd rather know about historic preservation sites up front, rather than be surprised well into a project. >> los angeles always has significant development pressures and there is heritage at risk as a result. so we want to be able to use this survey information to make better planning decisions. >> reporter: there's also one other factor. this is california, where there are earthquakes. >> we will need to know comprehensively vxen we're looking at thousands or potentially tens of thousands of buildings in the aftermath of a disaster. what's significant, which buildings might we want to be more careful with as we make investment decisions about how to rebuild. >> i bet that was originally a neon sign too. >> reporter: survey l.a. hopesç to finish gathering its field data and make the information available to the public next year. not iraq, then, threatened by war and looting, but a great american city, filled with it's
own history and heritage, wanting to know itself a little better. >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day. video evidence of what's believed to be some of the abducted nigerian schoolgirls surfaced along with a demand from boko haram's leader to free his captured fighters in exchange for the girls. pro-russian rebel leaders in eastern ukraine called for their region to become part of russia, while ukraine's leaders denounced sunday's referendum as a "farce." and two new studies show the massive west antarctic ice sheet is collapsing and melting muchç faster than scientists had predicted. >> ifill: on the newshour online right now, some of the best ideas come out of solving a garden variety nuisance.ç for two high school students in liberty, missouri, it was that watery ketchup that comes out of the squeeze bottle first. their solution: design a better bottle cap.
using a 3-d printer, the pair came up with a device that allows for the perfect squirt. see how they did it, on our science page. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. >> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonight. on tuesday, we'll look at what limits should be placed on u.s. spying, with the man who recently stepped down as head of the national security agency. i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. we'll see you on-line and again here tomorrow evening.ç for all of us here at the pbs newshour, thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:ç ♪ ♪
moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> support also comes from carnegie corporation of new york. a foundation created to do whatç andrew carnegie called "real and permanent good." celebrating 100 years of philanthropy at carnegie.org. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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