tv BBC World News America PBS December 21, 2018 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
[applause] >> and now, "bbc world news." jane: this is "bbc world news america." reporting from washington, i am jane o'brien. the resignation of the defense secretary sparks major concern at home and abroad. the president plans to withdraw troops from syria and likely afghanistan. meanwhile, the u.s. government is just hours away from a partial shutdown. both sides are blaming each other. pres. trump: it is up to the democrats. its the democrat shutdown. we have done our thing. sen. schumer: president trump, you own the shutdown. you said so in your own words. jane: it is a festive fixture in
ut can pantomime charm audiences in new york? it is certainly off to a good start. jane: welcome to our viewers on public television in america and around the globe. the white house is no stranger to staff shakeups, but the resignation of u.s. defensse etary james mattis has sent shockwaves across the u.s. and the world. he announced his departure in aq lettstioning the direction of u.s. foreign policy following the president's decision to puly troops out oa. there are now reports that u.s. forces in afghanistan are about to be halved. our north america editor jon sopel has the latest. jon: general james mattis is going, but not quietly. the esident announced last night he was retiring, but make no mistake, this is a resignation.
the defense secretary making clear that he disagrees with donald trump's isolationism, his attacks on nato, his failure to criticize china and russia sufficiently. and his searing letter concludes, "because you have it the right to a defense secretary whose views align better with r yours on these and othe subjects, i believe it is right for me to step down for my position." the last straw was the president unilaterally announcing the withdrawal of u.s. troops from syria with no consultation or coordination, against the advice of his national security staff. it has also emerged that ameri is to pull 7000 troops out of afghanistan, to the horror of america's allies. and concern has been expressed across the board. sen. schumer: secretary mattis was one of the fewymbols of strength and stability in this administration. everything that indicate stability, everything that
dicates strength, everything that indicates knowledge is leaving this administration. jon: even the ultra-loyal senatl majoeader, republican mitch mcconnell, broke ranks.ic "i am paarly distressed that he is resigning due toce sharp differwith the president on these and other key aspects of america's global leadership." at the white house they are playing down the impact of his departure. sarah: they agree to disagree at times but that does not mean you cannot have a good relationship. he was laying down the reainns he was stedown from his post, and beyond that it is absurd to qution just the fact -- the fact that they worked together for two full years. jon: for an adminiration used to disruption, the year is ending with maximum turmoil. in the past couple of mohs the chief of staff is gone, the attorney general, the interior secretary, and the u.n. ambassador. the stock market is plunging. and today, barring a miracle,rn
the gont will shut down in a row over border funding. today is the shortest day. in the white house it probably feels like one of the longest. jon sopel, bbc news, washington. jane: for more on the troop withdrawals and the fallout from secretaryattis' resignation, i spoke a brief time ago with a retired army officer who served on the national security council in the bush and obama administrations. thank you very much for joining me. >> pleasure. jane:t is clear that the president has not been listening to general mattis for some time. what do you think will be the biggest consequence of his departure? >> well, general mattis was certainly a calming figure to the rest of the world. he gave assurances to the allies and to europe in particular that things were going to be ok, that there was a moderating influence to what the allies perceive as some of the less desirable aspects of the trump presidency. jane: what will they be thinkinn
now that he is can they trust america? douglas: they will be looking to see who the replacement is. who will be what they perceived to be this buffer between the white house and policies the test of the world is inter in? jane: but if you cannot speak truth to power or the president will not listen to your advice, who is going to take that job? o youcaliber of person think will take it? douglas: that is a great question. if you read mattis' letter, it appears he is resigning less over the actual policies and more over the process, or at least that is the hill on which he chose to die, so to speak, in his resignation letter. not so much the policy, but that allies were not consulted. the decision to withdraw from syria, to withdraw from afghanistan, was not taken up with the isis coalitd nato respectively. it may be hard to find a reputable replacement that does
not feel equally strongly about the imrtance of the united states consulting with its allies. jane: you served in afghanistan. what are the consequences of 7000 troops reportedly leaving afghanistan? s:dougell, that is a very difficult question. there are a number of us who have been very critical of america's d nato's afghanista policy for some time. that does not mean i wanted to see half the troops withdrawn by tweet. but on policy grounds this may serve as a spur to have a more rational relook at what america and its allies are trying to accomplish in afghanistan and what can realisticaldone. this is certainly not the process by which i wish this beuld happen, but there ma some silver linings to this withdrawal. jane: do you think this does signal a major shift in policy in the middle east?
douglas: i don't know if it means a shift in policy towards the middle east writ large. sdon't think it impacdi arabia policy, although it has s own machinations. the iraq policy, the policy towards the rest of the gulf states. certainly it appears our policy towards turkey is going to takeo tive turn. erdogan's government is ecstatir ovent developments in the past days. i don't think it is so much a withdrawal, but there is a change here. something is changing in the middle east. there is a reorientation of policy. but we will have to see if this hing consistent or just another one of these short-term changes of direction. jane: very briefly, can it be compared to president obama's decion to leave iraq? douglas: iterms of policy, perhaps. in terms of process, absolutely not. we knew for months that we were leaving iraq. everyone was informed. it was a very deliberate with all the stakeholders having a say on the process.
this stands in contrast. jane: thank you for joining me. douglas: my pleasure. jane: as we mentioned, the u.s. government could be headed for a partial shutdown. the house of representatives has passed a bill that includes money for a border wall, but it is currently stuck in thete se for more on the chaos and confusion reigning over this holiday season, let's speak to our north america reporter anthony zurcher. we have been watching this all day. i hesitate to try tea leaves, but it does look like there might be some movement? anthony: "confusion" is a good word to describe it. there is indication of an announcement on the floor of the senate any minute now -- itas been any minute now for about half an hour. the ball is in the senate's encourt, and what we have he last couple days is a game of legislative ping-pong. the senate passed a clean bill without any kind of wall funding. they went to the house, they
took the ball and hit it back and added wall funding to it. now it is in the senate's court and they have to decide whether to take up and consider what the house did, come up with something different and not get back to the house, or do nothing and let the govt shutdown and figure out we will worry aboutme this somehe next year. jane: you and i started the year reporting on a government shutdown, and now we arepo at ts t again. is this going to be business as usual? anthony: time is a flat circle. [laughter] anthony: yh, that is the way things seem to work. that is set up and the way it is being managed by these highly factionalized parts. senate with one party, house with another party, enough of a minority to throw sand in the gears, and a formu for gridlock. if you thought it was bad with republ chambers of congress and the presidency, imagine what it is
like with the democratic house of representatives on january 3. it gets senate, ground up the gears there, or it gets to the president's test and he vetoes and it goes back aga we're getting a taste of how tumultuous it will be in the next year. jane: good that you got a week f to prepare. this seems to be a manufactured political crisis. is there a grand plan, or is chaos s relishes?nald trump anthony: i thi a lot of people the republican party have been asking the president if he has a plan, because it is not clear him he would get the wall funding ven that it would take 60 votes in the senate to pass anything, and there are 51ma republicans ane not even 51 republicans are going to vote in favor of this. there did seem like a clear exit strategy, but what the president response to his presrom his base, and he got a lot of pres saying he had to take some kind of stand on the wall to show
that he would not back down. he had to get at lea $ t billion, because he promised that. cours has changed responded to the base, even if there is noa guarantee oy forward. jane: anthony zurcher, asan eve, you for joining me, and i do hope you get a break because you are going to need it for 2019. more than 50 peopl many of them police, have been injured during clashes with catalan supporters in spain. demonstrators set up roadblocks and spanish ministers held a meing in the regional capital, barcelona. the government has called for dialogue with catalan leaders, but protesters said it was a provocation. protests across hungary har taken place kent state in a row. people -- 10th day in a row. people either mistreating against labor reforms which allowin bses to impose on workers over 4000 hours of overtime year. hungary's president signed the bill into law on thursday,
saying he was satisfied it did not highlight workers rights as earth is not the only planet dawith snow scenes this ho season. kilometerand 82-de crater on mars with what bay be snow hn taken by the mars express mission. it is thought toe two kilometers deep and filled with 2000 cubic kilometers of ice. flights have resumed at britain's second resist -- second busiestirrt after another drone setting close to the runway. planes were grounded at london gatwick for 36 hours and wer b only operatiefly when the latest sighting was reported. it is still not known who issp sible for flying the drone but it is believed to be a deliberate attempt at disruption. the bbc's duncan kennedy has the latest. duncan: this was the reactionng when pass heard that tonight's suspension of flights was over.cl
the airport waed for just over an hour this time. the reports came through of an >> they told us the flight was canceled and we had to collect ouluggage. duncan: but by mid-evening, takeoffs and landings began again. after the nervsness of the past three days, flits resumed this morning, when police gave the airport the all-clear. but it was a groggy start to he day for many. flights swapped for floors. virginia from cornwall is seriously ill and had to spend her night in an airport chair. >> it's horrible.t it goes agaiur human rights. for god's sake. cancan: around 600 planes in and out today, and thousands
of people did get away. but this woman won't fly until sunday. how would you summarize this experien? >> nightmare. duncan: how about these men from london, whose flight to ghana was canceled today, meaning they will miss a family wedding? >> we are left here. i can't go see my grandma. i can't go to the wedding. it is deplorable. it is not good enough at all. duncan: this bag of chocolates was their airline's gesture of apology. but what about compensatioin the insurancstry says people should first contact their airline. they say airlines are not obliged to pay compensation, but any cost incurred and general disruption will be covered by most people's travel insurance. >> the vast majority of people should be able to make a claim
where they have not been able to get refunds or compensation out of the travel mpanies. it is only the cheaplit insurance es that are available on the market that are unlikely to include travel disruption cover. duncan: the squeeze at gatwick ues for eure the quero star trains today. but others did head to gatwick, hoping their flight would emerge from the chaos.y >> t said just go there andap see whatns. duncan: flights from foreign airports into gatwick have also been trying to catch up. this family were caught in rome. >> children wanted to get back to see my family. that is obviously the sad part about it. but we will get there. duncan: a voice of optimism after days of uncertainty for an airport stopped not by fog, snow, or strikes, but a drone.bb duncan kennedynews, at
gatwick airport. jane: you are watching "bbc news america." still to come on tonight's program, j supreme coutice ruth bader ginsburg undergoes surgery. we look at how she has become an unlikely cultural icon. sa nonprofit organization providing therapy to those living in special care facilies, nursing homes, and hospices in johannesburg. the visits by volunteers and their pets provide comfort to patients who intert with them. sushi, jack, and murphy are preparing for their big day. the furry friends take their job seriously. come there in christmas presents -- bearing christmas
presents. they are visiting patients at a frail-carein center johannesburg. the organization offers animal-assisted therapy and operates in several parts of south africa. years, been here 30-on and i been just the happiest. reporter: do you look forward to the visit? >> for sure they are just the best. reporter: for some of tth patients are might be the only visit they get duris the christma period. the dogs are brought here to bring about christmas cheer. >> there is your friends. reporter: best friends they are. david became paralyzed following a motorbike accident when he was 14 years old. he says the dogs bring comfort and stress relief. h upset, just depressed and down i was. please, can you bring t
dogs around? he brought murphy to the room, my whole face lit up. just having a dog around, being able to touch and feel dog, it really, really makes you happy d calm. reporter: as christmas nears, this is the last visit of the year to this home. residents have formed a special y nd with the dogs and theok forward to morees cud in the new year. jane: today supreme courte justth bader ginsburg had two cancerous nodules removed from her left lung. n there evidence of any further disease, but it is the latest health scare for the liberal judge who has become a ewltural icon. this christmas aovie will open about her early career starring felicity jones. it comes on the heels of the wildly popular documentary about
the justice's li tom brook is looking at this unlikely star. >> you are making the wrong case! >> written by men who think we are privileged to be excused from men's obligations, but it is not a privilege, it is a cage and these laws are the bars. tom: british actress felicity jones is ruth bader ginsburg in the film "on the basis of sex," a fictionalized account of the justice's early career. felicity jones is a big ginsburg fan. felicity: she is someone in a position of power who has huge integrity and got to where she has got to because of that integrity and we don't have many like her to live up to. tom: ginsburg's appeal is exceptional. millennials have responded to her. there is a whole generation of young feminists who admire her stinging dissents in a supreme court that leans to the right. known her initials, rbg, it her popularity has given rise to a moniker. the diminutive justice is known as the notorious rbg, a play on
the name of the late rapper the notorious big. there is even a notorious rbg official music video. >> ♪ pave the way for the next generation ♪ >> not usual for someone famous in the law to become a celebrity , not usual for a woman in her 80's to skyrocket to start them. atbut s what happened for justice ginsburg. tom: ruth bader ginsburg is a polarizing figure.a rge part of her repeal isis sheen as a foil to the voices on the right. >> i think there is a poisonous atmosphere in the world, and wen have to cously, as justice ginsburg does, persuade with the argument that is not destroy people but that connects people. i think she is rocky, what can i say? tom: some conservatives think mu of the adoration of ruth bader ginsburg is misplaced. >> with bader ginsburg is --
ruth baderinsburg is a small, slightly woman, kind of mumbly. seems funny to portray her as this mighty force for change and put a crown on her and compare her to a famous rapper. tom: maybe ruth bader ginsburg -cultureified by the p adoration at first, but she has embraced it. her nephew, who wrote the screenplay for "on the basisf sex," argues she sees advantages to the celebrity appeal. >> she is growing used to being in a public eye in j way that motices are not. when you issue a dissent in a supreme court case, you are speaking to future generations, ngd she is smart enough to recognize that b powerful force in the media makes that voice louder. tom: there is every sign that her celebrity appeal w continue. a few months ago this champion of gender and racial equality said she plans to spend at least another five years on the supreme cot, by which time the notorious rbg will be 90 years old.
tom brook, bbc news, new york. jane: there is a thought. n for manye u.k., the christmas holidays are not complete without going to a pantomime. but now this peculiarly british tradition with often risqué jokes is being exported to america. "jack and the beanstalk" is playing in new york, and as wee discovered, owds young and old cannot get enough. ♪ >> america has never seen anything like it. >> new yorkers have taken to it, gosh, like a fish to water. >> it's amazing. >> i love it. >> the show is very funny. >> oh no, you can't. >> oh yes, i c. >> a pantomime is a family form of entertainment around the holidays that is interactive with the audience, that has a lot of slapstick and humor and
brings the community together laughing and singing. ab >> i knew nothint pantomime. nothing. she sent me tapes of what pantomime actually was'm was like -- [gasps] >> we want you to help us. >> 1, 2, 3, 4. >> it's nny for me that we got a "new york times" glowing review, thinking to myself that "the guardian" would never reventially review a panto. so-called belolow art. >> behold, magic beans! >> the hardest part for me is the vocalese of it as a pantomime [high] i talk like this. and then i go very low.
>> ♪ alway side of life ♪ight >> the interactive tradition of panto, what we think of as clichéd and hackneyed, the y are thrilling to this audience. these american guys are coming out of the show withheir minds blown, and i think, it is just panto. >> i just think that some girls play boys, some boys play girls, and there arpeople of all sizes, big and small, small and tall. >> we need to have that kind of perspective and make fun of things in the real world. >> i would love to see it become a tradition over here. jane: you just can't escape
.panto, not even he next week you will be getting all the latest news from our colleagues in london. we will see you back here in 2019. i'm jane o'brien. thanks for watching "bbc world news america." >> with the bbc news app, our vertico videos are designed t work and your lifestyle, so you can swipe your way through the news of the day and stay up-to-date with the latest headlines you can trust. download now from selected app stores. >> funding othis presentation is made possible by the freeman foundati, and kovler foundation, pursuing solutions for america'eds neglected w >>hat are you doing? >> possibilities. your day is filled with them. >> tv, play "downton abbey." >> and pbs helps everyone discover theirs.
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight: divided by a wall. president trump threatens a shutdown, as republican lawmakers scramble to keep the government funded. then, secretary of defense hettis' resignation sends shock waves aroundorld amid fears of a u.s. foreign policy going forward. and, it's friday. mark shields and michael gerson help make sense of this wild week of news. pbs newshour.more, on tonight's >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: