tv PBS News Hour Weekend PBS November 16, 2014 5:30pm-6:01pm PST
captioning sponsored by wnet >> sreenivasan: on this edition for sunday november, 16th: another american hostage is beheaded by isis. in our signature segment, despite loud protests, this town might become the first in the nation to ban all tobacco sales. >> we do not want the residents of our community to become another statistic in tobacco- related illness and or death. >> they are leaving us no choice but to take our business out of town. >> sreenivasan: and the recent release of american detainees from north korea. the story behind the story. next on pbs newshour weekend. >> pbs newshour weekend is made
possible by: corporate funding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we are 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 tisch wnet studios in lincoln center in new york, hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: good evening. thanks for joining us. president obama this afternoon denounced the beheading of another american hostage by islamic extremists as an act of pure evil. this morning, the islamic state released a video, now confirmed as authentic by the white house, showing the aftermath of the execution of 26-year-old peter kassig.
the indiana native served in iraq as a u.s. army ranger before being trained as an emergency medical technician and then becoming an aid worker. our report, by robert moore of itn, begins with footage of kassig taken in lebanon in 2012 while he was caring for wounded syrian refugees. >> we get one life and that's it. we get one shot at this. >> peter kassig had been held a hostage for over a year. an american aid worker and former u.s. soldier he was clearly in huge danger in the hands of the islamic state. >> the way i thought i didn't have a choice. this is what i was put here to do. ♪ ♪ >> in a video today far too graphic to show beyond a few images, it is clear that kassig, along with a number captured syrian soldiers, has been murdered. the same british accented man known as jihadi john, is again prominent. he is seen not against empty
desert but fields. cameras behind him. britain believed to be responsible. >> we should be no doubt that i want jihadi john to face justice for the appalling things, the appalling acts createin syria. >> changing his name from peter to abdul rahman. in vein, t his parents pleaded with the militants to release him. >> we implore his can a captors to show mercy and let our son go. >> before his murder kassig had written a letter to his parents. his father recently read a short extract. >> if i go down i won't go down thinking anything but what i know to be true. that you and mom love me more than the moon. >> it is like a nightmare. just like happening again. >> and saloomi anderson whose
father was captured in the middle east more than a decade ago, knew kassig well, pleaded with his captives to release him. >> he has done nothing but help the people in your country, just regular people, and that could be your wife, your child. >> i got you. >> the pleas there his family and friends were ignored. now another american hostage has lost his life, for wanting only to help ease the an any of syria. >> avenues of the beheading. >> sreenivasan: after news of the beheading became public, kassig's parents issued this statement: "we prefer our son is written about and remembered for his important work and the love he shared with friends and family, not in the manner the hostage takers would use to manipulate americans and further their cause." the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, army general martin
dempsey has ended a previously unannounced trip to iraq after meeting with top kurdish officials about the war on isis. the u.s. is planning to set up a training site near irbil, the capital of the semi-autonomous region. a series of bombings near baghdad today left at least five people dead and 20 more wounded. in a television interview broadcast today, the israeli prime minister, benjamin netanyahu, said iran cannot be trusted to help in the fight against isis. he apparently was reacting to published reports that president obama sent a letter recently to iran's supreme leader, exploring cooperation on that front. >> basically, the middle east is awash with militatnt islamists, the militant islamists led by al quaeda and isis on the sunni side. the militant iran and hezbollah on the shia side. we want both of them to lose. the last thing we want is either one of them to get weapons of mass destruction. look at what isis is doing now with assault rifles and pick up trucks. just imagine what iran would do if it had nuclear weapons. >> sreenivasan: the united
states and other western powers have been negotiating with iran for many months now to strike a deal to curb iran's nuclear program in exchange for an easing of economic sanctions against that country. the deadline is a week from monday. president obama is on the way back home after a week-long trip to asia, that ended with a summit meeting in australia of leaders from the world's 20 largest economies. after apparently difficult talks, which one e.u. official described as trench warfare, the leaders issued a communiqué calling for strong and effective action on climate change. the goal is to work toward a legally binding agreement at a u.n. climate change conference in paris next year. this weekend, the united states committed three billion dollars to a fund to address climate change. japan committed another one-and- a-half billion dollars today. before heading home from australia, the president issued a new warning to president vladimir putin about the consequences of russia's incursions into ukraine. >> if he continues down the path that he is on, violating international law, providing heavy arms to the separatists in ukraine. then the isolation that russia
is currently experiencing will continue. at this point, the sanctions that we have in place are biting plenty good. we retain the capabilities and we have our teams constantly looking at mechanisms in which to turn up additional pressure as necessary. >> sreenivasan: the president's comments were echoed by british prime minister david cameron, who met privately with putin yesterday. >> president putin can see that he is at a crossroads. >> sreenivasan: putin left the meeting early, ahead of the release of the group's communiqué. he insisted his early departure had nothing to do with the fierce criticism he endured during the gathering. >> sreenivasan: from ukraine today, newly released amateur video shows the moments immediately after a malaysian airliner carrying 298 people was shot down in july, killing everyone on board. today, workers in the rebel-held east began collecting the wreckage. debris is scattered over an area of eight square miles and the recovery is expected to last ten days. the plane was en route from
amsterdam to kuala lumpur when it was evidently brought down by a surface to air missile fired by pro-russian rebels. the recovery effort is being supervised by investigators from the netherlands and the organization for security and cooperation in europe. one of afghanistan's female lawmakers, an outspoken critic of the taliban, survived a bomb attack in kabul today. authorities say shukuria barakzai. suffered minor injuries from the blast. three others were killed and more than 20 others were wounded. from africa, word that nigerian authorities have recaptured that town where more than two hundred school girls were abducted by boko haram militants last april. there is still no word about the missing girls' whereabouts. and a study conducted by the national institutes of health suggests a possible connection between the use of sunblock and infertility in men. scientists followed 500 couples trying to conceive. as part of their work, they took urine samples from the men. those who took longest to conceive also had high concentrations of two chemicals commonly found in sunblocks. the chemicals, which help filter
out u.v. rays, are also found in moisturizers and shampoos. >> sreenivasan: now to our signature segment, our in-depth reports from around the nation and the world. tonight, the ongoing public health campaign against tobacco. according to the c.d.c. this week, about one in four-- 23%-- high-school kids use tobacco most of them smoking it. the surgeon general last january reported that unless those trends change, an estimated five million kids alive today will suffer an early death from smoking related disease. as the newshour's william brangham reports, one town in rural massachusetts has come up with a controversial plan to combat tobacco. >> reporter: the town of westminster, massachusetts, population 7,300, is a small, quiet community about an hour west of boston.
when the local board of health holds meetings, it usually happens here in this room, where you can get advice about things like septic tanks and mosquito control. but not on this day. this meeting wednesday night had to be moved to the local elementary school because the town is up in arms. >> you people make me sick! >> reporter: why so mad? that board of health is proposing to make westminster the first town in the entire country to completely ban the sale of tobacco. >> it can be argued that the board of health permitting these establishments to sell these dangerous products that, when used as directed, kills 50% of its users, ethically goes against our public health mission. >> reporter: the town's proposal would make it illegal to sell any product containing nicotine within city limits. so, no cigarettes, chewing tobacco, cigars, vaporizers. you'd still be able to smoke or use tobacco in town, just not buy it. >> if we can prevent children from having access and exposure to nicotine and tobacco products
and reduce the chances of them smoking or using them, then we've essentially saved lives. >> reporter: while it's already illegal for kids to buy tobacco, the health board says the tobacco industry makes products like these shiny, fruit flavored cigars and tobacco products in order to lure kids into a lifetime habit. the industry denies targeting kids. the effort began when one of the three health board members suggested the tobacco ban, following the lead of other health boards in other massachusetts towns that had limited where residents could smoke or what kind of tobacco products they could buy. westminster's volunteer board consulted a specialist to examine the pros and cons of a total ban. they talked with this man. d.j. wilson is the tobacco control director for the massachusetts municipal association, a policy group that advises local towns. >> we would never have guessed ten-years-ago that there would've been 49-cent grape cigars available to kids, or that electronic cigarettes would've come in-- or if they existed at all, would come in
cotton candy flavors. i don't speak for the board of health, but i think their goals- - they are tired of having different products pop up that are very kid friendly. >> reporter: the biggest opponents of the proposal are the seven local stores in westminster who're licensed to sell tobacco. most are opposed. >> thanks everybody for coming today-- >> reporter: store owner brian vincent has been one of the most vocal. he owns vincent's country store on main street in town. it's a medium-sized grocery store that vincent's dad started and ran for 18 years. he says no store in westminster has ever been cited for selling tobacco to kids, and banning it would cost more than just tobacco sales. >> most people that buy tobacco, will grab a cold drink for the road, maybe scratch tickets, a bag of chips. so it's not just an eight dollar sale, it's a $20, $30 sale. >> reporter: vincent points out there are several neighboring towns around westminster full of stores that sell tobacco, so he says the ban would just drive customers and their money,
elsewhere. >> we're just going to be sending all these sales five minutes down the road to another town where these customers will spend money on gas out of town, food out of town, and before you know it the gas station here going under in westminster and other businesses. >> reporter: another concern that's been raised is the potential impact on jobs. most mornings at the depot general store, you'll find a few regulars hanging out, having coffee before work. >> this better be a winner, because wouldn't that be great? >> reporter: chris bjurling has owned this small convenience store for 22 years. like a lot of businesses, he supports the local police and kids' sporting teams. he also employs seven people, several of them full time. he's calculated that losing the tobacco and related retail sales would cost him roughly two thirds of the money he uses to pay those employees. and for some of them, these are crucial jobs. >> it becomes very personal, these people are important to me. lisa has been with me for 18 years. denise has been, i'd have to ask
her but i'm gonna say 12 to 13 years. for lisa, i am her entire income. she in fact will lose her house if-- >> reporter: if this job doesn't exist. >> that's right. >> reporter: we've heard from several local businesses that if tobacco is not allowed to be sold here that's gonna really hurt business here and could jeopardize local jobs. if that's true, do you think that that economic pain is worth the public health benefit? >> well, you know, i mean, there has been a lot of quantifying that a lot of the diseases that are caused from smoking have cost us in the state tens of millions and nationally hundreds of millions of dollars. it is a huge cost-- tax burden to the american people, to the american workforce to have people on disability and having to retire earlier because they smoked for a lifetime. so, that is something that you have to weigh against the loss of profit from selling tobacco products in a retail store.
>> reporter: according to the u.s. surgeon general, tobacco- related illnesses cost an estimated $300 billion, a year in medical care and lost productivity, to say nothing about the lost or shortened lives. in westminster, while local businesses have been the main critics of this plan, it seems many local residents don't like it either. and not just the smokers. of the two dozen or so people we spoke with, we could find only one resident who supported the ban. >> i just praise the community that's standing up for it and making a statement for it maybe it will become more of a norm in the future. >> reporter: but that was definitely the minority position. >> they are leaving us no choice but to take our business out of town. >> reporter: even someone like jim patria, who smoked for 30 years, now has chronic pulmonary obstructive disease, can barely breathe even with an oxygen tube in his nose-- even he's against the ban. i mean you of all people you should know why the town would want to stop smoking, you have all these health conditions from it, but you still think banning it is a bad idea.
>> yeah, yeah, i do. i don't know how to explain it but i do. >> reporter: is it that you don't want the government telling you what you can and can't do? >> no. it's not that so much. i want to say i just don't think it will work. i don't think it'll work, banning it. >> reporter: store owner chris bjurling said he thinks banning tobacco in town would just be the beginning. >> is it alcohol next? or is it the candy bar? too much sugar. and they say "oh no, we wouldn't even consider something like that," but when you crusade, once you accomplish one crusade, you gotta have another one. i mean, it's in your blood now. you want more success. and they'll go on to something else. >> reporter: at that town hall meeting wednesday, the board of health got an earful. >> whether it's me, my children, my family, my friends, or my neighbors, is their free choice to smoke. this meeting, with all these
cameras, is a mockery of this town in front of the united states of america! >> reporter: the residents of westminster don't get to vote on this proposed tobacco ban. city officials don't get to vote either. the decision will be made by the three member board of health, and they're supposed to decide later in december. >> freedom! >> reporter: when some of the crowd got too unruly, the board cancelled the hearing after just four speakers. >> all right, this hearing is closed. thank you all for coming-- ( crowd shouting ) >> reporter: the police escorted the chair of the board of health out the door and safely to her car, while someone tried to get the crowd to sing "god bless america." ♪ >> ♪ white with foam... ♪ god bless america ♪ my home sweet home! ♪ >> sreenivasan: is a city-wide ban on the sale of tobacco a
wise move? take our poll at newshour.pbs.org and let us know what you think. >> sreenivasan: last weekend, we reported on the sudden, unexpected release of kenneth bae and matthew todd miller, two americans who had been detained and then sentenced to lengthy prison terms in north korea. the deal that led to their release was negotiated by james clapper, the u.s. national intelligence director. for more about how the deal happened that, we are joined now from washington by adam entous. earlier this week, he co- authored an article describing the secret talks that ultimately led to freedom for bae and miller. >> so how did this come together and why dni clapper? >> the north decided it wanted a cabinet level emissary, sent to come pick the two americans. and when the cabinet, when the national security advisors to
the president, clapper was a standout, is he an expert on the north and has for the north and spent time in the south of korea earlier in his career. so it was a natural pick. and he flew in, it was kind of a very bizarre scenario where he literally flew in, wasn't sure he was going to be bringing them home. wasn't even sure what would be on the agenda for his meetings there. >> and you said they actually had a does 88 o dossier on him. >> they knew how many flights he was on when he was in the south for example. i think clapper was surprised by, that that they had that much information and they were trying to impress him by how much they knew about him. the north wanted him to be carrying some sort of broader peace overture, some sort of break through, instead of just
to come to pick up the two americans and they were very disappointed by that. and he was struck by what he saw as a generational gap between the younger generation and the older generation, the younger being more willing to deal with the rest. >> walk us thrust through the negotiation if you would. >> i wouldn't call it a negotiation. specifically they chose clapper because they didn't want to give the north an impression this was a negotiation negotiation. negotiation. he was there to receive the two americans. he arrives, gets in the limousine, he arrives at a guest house where they're putting him up, he has a tense dinner lasted for many hours. he had the best kimchee of his entire life, but it was a tense encounter. he goes back to the guest house after the meal, isn't sure what is going to happen. during the meeting, he givers a letter from the president to his interlock temperaturtur.
release of the americans as a goodwill gesture . he's told next day at what point to pack his bags. he had no idea that the -- whether the mission was a failure. he picked up the two americans and went back to the conversation. >> any further conversations? >> there was a suggestion which he seemed open to for a return visit and you know he definitely came away with a sense that are was in addition to this generational gap there was this hunger on the part of the north to try obring the u.s. into some sort of dialogue. >> so what role does china play in all this and has north korean behavior changed over the last couple of months? >> right, so yeah, i spoke on last week to senior defense officials who have been tracking the north. and over the last two to three months there's been a noticeable
lack of aggressiveness on the part of the north which contrasts with where the north has been during previous cycles in the relationship with the united states. so they've none opposed, this toning down of the aggressiveness of the north which u.s. officials attribute at least in part to the chinese which have been sending messages and they've certainly told their american counterpartle that they've sends this mefntle to the north to tone down their aggressive posture. >> adam entous. of the wall street journal, thank you for joining us. >> it was a pleasure. >> sreenivasan: today on cbs's face the nation, clapper said he wasn't sure what impact his recent trip to north korea or the release of the prisoners would have. >> do you think this has changed anything? >> that's a good question. i think that remains to be seen as to where do we go from here. will this perhaps serve as a catalyst or stimulus for more dialogue?
i hope so, but i don't know. >> sreenivasan: britain, like the united states, is facing a growing obesity problem. and it may have to do with what people drink as well as what they eat. now the royal society for public health is asking the e.u. to support its efforts to get alcohol manufacturers to display the calorie count on bottles of beer, wine and hard liquor. it's an idea the british beer and pub association says is unworkable, one that will lead to confusion among drinkers. chris choi of itv reports. >> this is not what it seems. two groups of drinkers, each unknowingly participating in a small-scale experiment into nutritional information and alcohol. one group has a drinks menu with calories. the other group doesn't get that information. and the group that have those details on average drank 400 calories lest.
>> for myself because i'm trying to be more like strict on it i think having them labeled definitely helps. >> i didn't really know the difference between the beers that were on the menu so i chose based on the calories. >> our theory is that if it did influence the amount people drink, because they become aware of the number of calories in their drinks, that it might just help to the big battle of obesity ep demic. >> many in the, but say drinks such as a latte coffee can have just as many calories. >> have you got room to put all these things on the back of a bottle? that's one of the things we haven't been doing it so far.we also have the chief medical officer's guidance. we have the strength of the product and we have pregnancy warnings. >> the addition on nutritional labeling on booze reaches the eu in december. for years nutritionists have
opened up issues on calorie lines, new battle lines. >> so before we leave you tonight. the state department has shut down its unclassified e-mail system following an unexpected attack by hackers. no sensitive information was compromised. administrative law judges improperlproperly credit approvd payments to, the cost of $2 billion. join aaron online tomorrow. i'm hari sreenivasan. good night. captioning sponsored by wnet captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
>> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: corporate funding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we are 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.
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