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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  July 20, 2011 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT

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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: a heat dome sitting over much of the country's midsection trapped millions of americans in triple digit temperatures. good evening, i'm gwen ifill. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. on the "newshour" tonight, we have the latest on the unusually wide-spread and long-lasting hot weather and high humidity. >> ifill: then, kwame holman reports on the new promise of a bipartisan deficit-cutting plan. >> brown: we update the british phone-hacking scandal, as prime minister cameron comes under fire in parliament. >> ifill: we explore new recommendations that health insurance companies scrap co-payments for birth control making contraception free for millions of women.
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>> brown: from indonesia, ray suarez has the story of the search for a birth control pill for men that would help stem population growth in the world's 4th largest country. >> on the foothills of this dormant volcano, lost inside these leave there is may be a compound that's eluded scientists for decades-- an effective male oral contraceptive. >> ifill: and the first in a series of interviews with republican presidential candidates. tonight, judy woodruff talks to ron paul about his opposition to raising the debt ceiling and his quest to shrink the size of government. >> the department of education doesn't improve education. we don't need department of energy. all those subsidies in the department of agriculture. we don't need that. we don't need the department of commerce. >> ifill: that's all ahead on tonight's "newshour." major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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>> i mean, where would we be without small businesses? >> we need small businesses. >> they're the ones that help drive growth. >> like electricians, mechanics, carpenters. >> they strengthen our communities. >> every year, chevron spends billions with small businesses. that goes right to the heart of local communities, providing jobs, keeping people at work. they depend on us. >> the economy depends on them. >> and we depend on them. and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. 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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>> brown: some of the hottest weather on record kept dozens of states on a slow burn today. temperatures topped out at 100 degrees and higher in city after city. from parks and playgrounds to football fields and offices, nearly 200 million americans spent this day under some form of warning about the scorching heat. >> let's go in, it's too hot out here! >> absolutely horrendous heat. >> oh, my goodness, at least my work is air conditioned. >> brown: the relentless, stifling combination of extreme heat and humidity formed a so-called heat dome over a vast region. accu-weather meteorologist evan meyers: >> well really, what we're talking about is just a massive area of high pressure that's been building heat out of the southwestern part of the country back where the drought is across portions of new mexico, and texas and that's just been expanding northward all the way up to minnesota. >> brown: the dome is partly the
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product of a fluctuation in pacific ocean temperatures, known as la nina that deflects the jet stream out of its normal path. >> that's one reason it's pulling up hot air out of mexico and also the drought that's been in effect now in the western part of the country and the middle part of the country is also helping this heat expand >> brown: the effect has been so intense so high, in fact, that on tuesday, superheated, expanding metal and concrete caused eight water main breaks in oklahoma city. >> i turned around to get the shampoo and raised it up to my head and the water goes off! >> brown: blistering weather also buckled highways in iowa where temperatures soared to 126 degrees this week. in minnesota, interstate 94 in minneapolis had to be closed for a time, after pavement on two of its lanes split open. heat indexes in the twin cities reached as high as 115 degrees in recent days. and, more than 50 people were treated for heat related illness at monday's twins-indians baseball game.
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long weeks of heat have also fueled the growth of dangerous algae in lakes and ponds killing fish and threatening livestock. in chicago, it was every bit as hot with a forecast high of 97 today-- the worst in six years. >> you know, the heat's pretty miserable. i think the kids are doing better than i am, actually. it's very hot. >> today, it will be hot. i'm already-- it's muggy, i'm sweating a lot. >> this 72-year-old is going in that water, honey. >> brown: people had swarmed the city's 24 beaches in recent days, but as hot air blew over the cooler waters of lake michigan yesterday. it stirred up a soupy fog. lifeguards had to turn away swimmers seeking relief, because they could not see beyond the water's edge. in city after city, cooling centers opened to shelter those without air conditioning of their own, even as utilities strained to keep up. as the heat dome expands east, triple digits are expected along the atlantic coast by friday.
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it is, says meteorologist meyers, one for the record books. >> temperatures have reached triple digits, 100 degrees or higher in 17 states tuesday and wednesday and 90 or above in 40 states. so certainly, the extent, the geographical area that the heat wave is covering is fairly extraordinary. you don't usually get something quite this massive, maybe every 10, 15 years. in fact, we're looking at temperatures probably not this high since about 15 years ago. >> brown: for some of the plains states, relief could finally be on the way with cooler air from the jet stream expected to push the hot air out later this week. >> brown: still to come on the "newshour": the latest deficit cutting plan; british prime minister cameron under fire at parliament; free birth control for millions of women; a plant- based male contraceptive in indonesia and republican presidential hopeful ron paul. but first, with the other news of the day, here's hari sreenivasan.
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>> sreenivasan: the united nations declared today that parts of somalia are officially in famine-- the worst in a generation. it comes amid searing drought, and ongoing battle against militants. we have a report from jonathan rugman of "independent television news." be advised, some of the images are disturbing. >> reporter: in southern the statistics coming out of somalia now so i palling that nobody wants to believe them. >> what we are seeing is that extremely high rates of malnutrition, up to 50% in some cases. that means half of if children are acutely malnourished, which is unbelievable. >> reporter: the u.n. says tens of thousands of somalis, most of them children, have died in the last three months. and that the famine will spread across all of southern somalia in the next two months without more aid. 3.7 million somalis-- that's over half the population-- are
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in urgent need of help. the u.n. has less than half the money it's asked for. that's $596 million short. and these islamist militants take much of the blame. the al shabaab have forced aid agencies out of the famine zone and they have taxed aid that comes in. the americans don't want aid the greater risk is that tens of thousands or more somali children will die without it. hundreds of thousands died in the famine of 20 years ago, so it's no wonder so many have treked to vast refugee camps here in kenya where those who remember fear history will repeat itself. >> i've never been able to get somalia out of my skin, if you like. and since i was here in 1992 and when i look around and i see it
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again... these are very resilient people and they want just food and water. >> reporter: 10,000 families have fled from somalia's famine to the capital, mogadishu, in the last month alone, leaving their dead behind them. among them,, this woman who says she walked for four days to get here and that two of her children died of hunger on the way. >> sreenivasan: the u.s. government has given about $460 million toward somali relief this year, including $28 million announced today. the state government shutdown in minnesota officially ended today, after nearly three weeks. democratic governor mark dayton signed a new budget into law today. lawmakers had worked into the early morning hours, in special session, passing the required bills. the signing followed a deal between dayton and republicans controlling the legislature over taxes and spending. >> i'm not entirely happy with this budget that i've just signed into law. it's not what i wanted, but it's
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the best option that is available and would be for any time. >> sreenivasan: during the shutdown, 22,000 state employees were furloughed, construction projects were halted, and parks were closed. most state employees are expected back on the job tomorrow, but it is unclear when state operations will get back to normal. the suspect in the mass shootings at fort hood, texas was arraigned today in military court. army major nidal hasan declined to enter a plea in the 2009 attack. he is charged with 13 counts of murder and 32 counts of attempted murder. a military judge set his trial date for next march. hasan could face the death penalty, if convicted. police in serbia have arrested the last fugitive wanted by the u.n.'s balkan war crimes tribunal. goran hadzic was taken into custody in a northern village. and by afternoon, he was hauled into court in belgrade, to arrange for his extradition. he faces an indictment for crimes against humanity-- accused of ordering the killing
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of hundreds of croats and non-serbs between 1991 and '95. >> ( translated ): with this, serbia has concluded its most difficult chapters in the cooperation with the hague tribunal. serbia will continue to fulfil its international duties. i want to confirm once again that by arresting goran hadzic, our legal duties, the duties of the republic of serbia have been accomplished as well as our moral duty. >> sreenivasan: less than two months ago, serbian authorities also captured ratko mladic-- the former bosnian serb general accused in the deaths of thousands of people. now, the arrest of hadzic ends the long-running manhunt and could boost serbia's bid for membership in the european union. the biggest airline order in history is in the works. american airlines announced today plans to buy at least 460 new planes over the next five years. 260 new jets will come from the european manufacturer airbus-- and the rest from boeing for a total cost of around $38 billion.
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the new planes will have more efficient engines to help save on soaring fuel costs. on wall street, stocks slipped a bit after a two-day rally. the dow jones industrial average lost 15 points to close below 12,572. the nasdaq fell 12 points to close at 2,814. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jeff. >> brown: and to the effort to raise the country's borrowing limit, which today saw the resumption of talks between the president and top lawmakers in congress. "newshour" congressional correspondent kwame holman has our report. >> reporter: it was a new sign of urgency, and of hopes for a deal. president obama summoned congressional leaders to the white house to resume talks aimed at averting a government default. press secretary jay carney pointed to the calendar and the august second deadline for raising the federal debt
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ceiling. >> we're in the 11th hour. we need to meet, talk, consult and narrow down in fairly short order what train we're riding into the station. right now, there are multiple options being discussed. >> reporter: one option the president previously had ruled out was a short-term increase in the debt limit. but, carney said mr. obama might support a stop-gap measure after all, if it allowed time to get a broader deal finished. >> the president has been clear so we wouldn't support short term deal absent significant reductions. if both sides agree on something significant, we will support the measures necessary to finalize the details. >> reporter: a short-term extension could buy time to finish work on a framework unveiled yesterday by a bipartisan group of six senators. the so-called "gang of six" plan would cut roughly $4 trillion from the defic over the next f5 $de, beginning with an billion. the savings would be achieved
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through spending reductions, reforms to federal health programs and, $1.2 trillion in new revenues, from overhauling the tax code. today, members of both parties were taking the measure of the "gang of six" plan. democratic senator chuck schumer of new york said it has promise. >> anytime that democrats and republicans can come together on something here is a good thing. the fact that republicans are coming out for revenues is certainly something of a breakthrough. they haven't done that before. and we hope it shows that they're willing to compromise. >> reporter: republican leaders also offered cautious compliments, despite their opposition to higher taxes. house majority leader eric cantor said the gang of six idea of cutting overall tax rates is a positive development. and new hampshire's charles bass found the plan worthy of consideration as well. >> i think it's productive. i think it's constructive. i think there are a lot of details we need to find out about. but, it solves a lot of problems and it contains the primary
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components of a framework for resolution. >> reporter: other republicans, such as ohio's jim jordan, said the party should stick with a plan that passed the house last night, calling for a balanced budget amendment to the constitution. it's given no chance in the democratic controlled senate. >> 234 bipartisan members of the house of representatives voted in favor of cut, cap and balance. now we've got some gang of six guys meeting in some back room giving us the bullet points of a plan-- no details. but what we can probably gather from this plan-- it has big tax increases in it and all the spending cuts will happen in the out years. well, how many times do politicians think they can pull that one over on the american people? >> reporter: the split among republicans made it difficult for party leaders to determine just what might pass the house. whatever it turns out to be, it still must be acceptable to senate democrats and ultimately to the president. this morning, the senate's majority leader democrat harry reid challenged house speaker john boehner to take matters in hand.
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>> right now, i'm at a point where we need to hear from the house of representatives. we've planned to go forward over here, but until we hear from the house all our work is for naught. i await word from the speaker. >> reporter: in the meantime, there's general agreement that translating the complex gang of six plan into legislation and votes before august second, is likely unrealistic. that could put the short-term emphasis back on a senate backup plan to let the president raise the debt ceiling on his own pending some final, long-term agreement. >> ifill: now, britain's prime minister takes on his critics in the phone hacking scandal. david cameron faced questions today about hiring a former tabloid editor who's since resigned and been arrested and about rupert murdoch's aborted bid for b-sky-b-- british sky
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broadcasting. we start with a report from gary gibbon of "independent television news." >> reporter: rupert murdoch flew the prime minister postponed parliament's summer break by a day to try to re-establish his own standing with a statement and debate. after two weeks of resisting pressure for a full-scale apology for hiring andy coulson david cameron edged towards one and he said people would hear the full genuine article if andy coulson was found to have lied. >> i have an old fashioned view about innocent until proven guilty. but if it turns out i've been lied to that would be a moment for a profound apology. and in that event i can tell you i will not fall short. people will of course make judgements about it. of course i regret and i am extremely sorry about the furore it has caused with 20/20 hindsight and all that has followed i would not have
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offered him the job and i expect that he would not have taken it. but you don't make decisions in hindsight. you make them in the present. you live and you learn, and believe you me i have learnt. >> that isn't good enough. because people, people, it's not about hindsight mr. speaker. it's not about whether mr. coulson lied to him. it's about all the information and warnings that the prime minister ignored. >> reporter: labour says the prime minister should have turfed andy coulson out of number ten in september last year when the "new york times" published its report on rampant phone hacking at the news of the world when andy coulson was editor. the "new york times" quoted a former newspaper editor recalling, "dozens if not hundreds of meetings with andy. coulson would ask where a story came from, editors would reply, 'we've pulled the phone records' or 'i've listened to the phone messages.'"
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>> the public will have rightly the day after the murdochs were asked about meetings with david cameron, labour m.p.s asked repeatedly if he'd talked about the b-sky-b takoever bid in his private meetings with the murdochs and their team. david cameron repeatedly avoided answering the question at all. >> in the course of the past few minutes, the prime minister has been asked a simple question twice and refused to answer it. as prime minister did he ever discuss the question of the b- sky bid with news international at all the meetings they had? >> i've never had one inappropriate conversation and let me be clear. >> reporter: despite labour's mockery over that answer david cameron's team feels he did something to look in charge of events today after weeks of sliding behind them, but as rupert murdoch's plane receded into the skies over luton all parties were saying they sensed voters wanted to hear them talking about other stuff. >> ifill: for more on the how a
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british media scandal has turned into a political one, we turn to richard adams, a correspondent for british newspaper "the guardian." and heather conley, director and senior fellow of the europe program at the center for strategic and international studies. richard adams, that's the question. how did this start as a media scandal and how did it become a government scandal? >> well, the linkage between the two is in the person of andy coleson who was the editor of the "news of the world" when some of the event it is, the phone hacking, took place. and the fact that he was hired by the man who had been leader of the opposition and is now the prime minister, david cameron, the person, of course, linked the two. british politicians have always had close links with media magnates and rupert murdoch is no stranger to number 10, that's true. but coleson... >> ifill: number 10 downing street. >> number 10 downing street, my
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apologies. but the hiring of coleson took things a step further and cameron's links with rupert murdoch, with news corporation, with news international were probably... formal and informal links were very strong. >> pelley: you just saw david miliband leading the question of the prime minister. what is his role in all of this >> well, it's been unclear. ed miliband... >> ifill: ed, sorry. >> yes, david was his brother. he has really yet to find, i think, his voice as the opposition leader and it's a question of whether this is, in fact, an opportunity but i think labor has to be very careful as it was very clear from the question period today. labor has some problems here as well from tony blair and gordon brown they, too, had very close ties with newscorp and this is really an important opportunity
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for the u.k. to investigate these linkages between the media, the parliament, number 10 downing street and the media and try to resolve and bring transparency to a relationship that has been very opaque and quite frankly very disturbing when it comes to illegal activities. >> ifill: earlier this week when the prime minister had to cut short a trip he was on to africa come back to deal with these charges there was lots of speculation that was this was going to present a real threat to his coalition. what does it sound like... feel like tonight. >> it feels like tonight that cameron did a pretty good job. i mean, he spent a couple of hours in the house of commons taking on all comers, trying to answer all questions. he stumbled a couple of times. he refused to answer a question about discussions that he'd had with news international about the takeover of the satellite t.v. channel b sky b and there were a couple of other instances
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where he didn't do so well. but i think overall he's pretty solidly backed by his party and the way british politics works, as long as he has the support of his party he's safe. he went to a meeting after his statement and he was given the equivalent of a standing ovation. so as long as he retains the internal support he's pretty strong. any talk about him resigning is one thing. he's weakened, certainly, but otherwise he's still in place. >> ifill: you agree he's out of immediate danger for this issue. >> i think curtailing his trip to africa, coming back, taking the bull by the horns, if you will, and answering the questions, he's safe now. i think as we let the judicial inquiry this was unveiled today and the six panelists who will be looking very closely into into the issue, if we don't have any further revelations... i think what richard said about the andy coleson connection, what was left unclear is that further revelations are discovered if his role as
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director of communication brought something untoward into number ten, i think that draws more questions into it. but as long as that doesn't happen the conservatives remain strongly behind the prime minister, i think he's okay. what does a weakened prime minister do to a domestic agenda? austerity measures, massive domestic reform, this doesn't make those very difficult policy implementations any easier. and that's what we need to watch. >> ifill: you know, it's interesting. when we watch this, we americans watch what happens on... question time and challenges like we just saw play on the floor of parliament, we can't imagine that happening here in congress. but also the question... but the more immediate question is whether we can imagine the kind of coziness that apparently existed with politicians in britain and the murdoch empire happening here. is this something which is new or is it something which has always been? >> there has always been a close
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relationship between politicians and the media and business in general. british politics is more formal and there are fewer rules. there are transparency measures that are quite standard here in the u.s. though there have been changes in recent years. but i think cameron's relationship with murdoch and with news corporation, news international and some of the figures within it was at a slightly different level. he embraced them very tightly and that was seen as one of his strength when he became conservative leader, that he would win their support. that's now not looking so good. >> ifill: is transparency the issue, here? or is it the potential... or criminality? >> i think it's both. certainly this scandal puts criminality at its base and what happened and how long and who knew about it. but it goes to the point of transparency and making sure that... and i think this is, again, what this judicial inquiry is going to bring about.
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hopefully some recommendations on how to prestlent type of such... it's almost incestuous, if you will, of this close, close relationship. we have to break it apart. the fourth estate is critical. it provides the checks and balances and i think we've seen in this particular case... now, again, tabloid media is slightly different, but the fourth estate could not do its important job of checks and balances because it was too close and too associated with government. i think to me it underscores the importance of the role of media but where a slippery slope can quickly turn that the media, in fact, is part of the problem, part of the political challenge. >> ifill: i think we could call this an icy sflop this case. >> very. >> ifill: let's talk about this question of other things which get knocked to the back burner when scandals like this consume. are there other issues that a weakened prime minister will be unable to address specifically because he's trying to dig himself out of this particular ditch? >> well, the major one at the moment involves britain's
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european partners. although britain is not a member of the euro, it certainly will share in some of the fallout, the economic consequencesover, say, a default in greece, some talk about italy. so, you know, of course, britain's economic ties to europe are very, very strong, even though it's not a member of the single currency. that, i would think, would be the major one. >> ifill: is this a huge distraction, heather? >> it is. and absolutely while we're focusing today on this scandal, tomorrow's main event is an emergency summit of the 17 euro zone members that are going to try to figure out a way to save greece from insolvency. and it's far from clear whether that will happen. what we've seen over the last couple of days is a downward pressure on so-called healthy economies: spain, italy. this is going to have a major ripple effect across europe, into the united states, the global economy. >> ifill: and what role is great britain supposed to play in this? >> well, the u.k. has always had
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a very special relationship with the e.u. it's not part of the euro zone, it opted out of that, it's a standoffish relationship. but it's still... sees the full impact of this because, quite frankly, the british economy is struggling with its own level of debt, it wants to see greater economic growth, that's why the prime minister initiated last fall a comprehensive spinding review. we saw riots, university students that were very unhappy with these fees, trying to reform the national health service. i mean, these are all economic issues trying to get ahead of these problems. but the european economic crisis is going to wash right up on the u.k. shores. we haven't talked about libya and the role the u.k. is playing in that, afghanistan. this is all a distraction from a major geopolitical agenda. >> ifill: with all of those things on his plate, though, richard... david cameron. i'm getting everyone's names mixed up tonight. he lives to fight another day? >> yes, i think so.
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as you said earlier, there were a number of investigations. there's a criminal investigation we will be finding out... there will be a drip feed of e-mails, of reports, of parliamentary select committees and, you know, this will continue to be a bad news story for david cameron. how much worse it get december pends on the contents of some of those e-mails. >> ifill: i guess we have no choice but to watch. richard add dallas, heather conley, thank you both so much. >> brown: next, compelling insurers to cover contraception. the new health care reform law that president obama signed last year not only expands the number of people who get coverage. it also requires the secretary of health and human services to determine which preventive benefits should be provided by all insurers. yesterday, a panel from the independent institute of medicine recommended several health services it said women should receive without co-pays or other costs.
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its most controversial recommendation: complete coverage for birth control and f.d.a.-approved contraception. julie rovner of n.p.r. has been covering this story and joins us now. >> nice to be here. >> brown: explain the context a bit more here. this group was asked by the government to come up with a list. >> that's right. now the law as it passed last year wanted to encourage people who had insurance to take advantage of more preventive care. so it said the way to do that was to basically make it free. you pay your premiums but you don't have to pay any co-pays or deductibles to get preventative care. there were three categories of preventative care that were automatically covered that were written right into the legislation, certain services that were listed by the u.s. preventative health services, things like mammograms and colonoscopies, certain services that were listed by the american academy of prix for children and adolescents and vaccines that were listed by the c.d.c.'s vaccine category.
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there was a fourth category that came about because senator barbara mikulski from maryland got an amendment added that the secretary would have discretion to add and these would be preventative services for women because over the years preventative services for women have thought to have been left out by the preventative health services task force and those were left to the secretary's discretion. the secretary last year decided she wanted some expert advice so she turned to institute of medicine. >> brown: an independent group. >> an independent group, an independent non-governmental group. this report is the result of what they came up with. >> brown: so they made the recommendations and, as we said, the most controversial here is on birth control. tell us what they're suggesting should be covered at no cost. >> at no cost they're suggesting basically all of the f.d.a.-approved forms of contraception. that includes birth control pills, implants, the i.u.d. and also, most controversyly, of this somewhat controversial though it shouldn't be too controversial because 99% of
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women of child bearing age use some form of contraception, including 99% of catholics, we've seen in public opinion polls. but it also does include the morning-after pill. now, this is not the abortion pill ru-486, but there are two f.d.a. approved morning-after pills, emergency contraceptives, one's called plan "b" and the other is called ella. there were people in the anti-abortion movement who do believe that there is a mode of action in these morning-after pills that can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in a woman's uterus. they believe that that is a very early form of abortion although the medical community does not. >> now how big a change this would be? most private insurance plans 6-cover contraception but have a co-pay. >> and that's the change. because of a decision that was made by the equal employment opportunity commission in 2000 which found that it was discriminatory to offer
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prescription coverage of any sort but not offer prescription birth control coverage, most employers do offer prescription contraceptive coverage it stops some women, especially lower income women, from using contraception or using it as regularly as would be optimum. so it's considered and there is considerable evidence and that's one of the things the institute of medicine looked at is that it was available with no co-pay. not only would women be more likely to use it but they're more likely to use not just the birth control pill which is relatively inexpensive but some of the more effective but perhaps more expensive longer-acting forms of birth control like the implants, like the i.u.d.. so they would be less likely to have unintended pregnancies and, indeed, one of every two pregnancies in the u.s. is unintended and half of those pregnancys do end in abortion. >> brown: something the group pointed to in their report. >> so if you're against abortion you should probably be for birth
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control. proup brown well there was a lot of reaction on both sides sdlchlt there was. women's health groups, obviously were very pleased to see these recommendations, those who were against them, particularly the catholic church and some conservative womens groups were very unhappy, worried about worried about violating the conscience rights of people who will have to pay for insurance includes these benefits although as you point out, most insurance policies already include these benefits. it's simply will they be offered with no co-pays or will they be offered with co-pays. >> brown: this is an independent group, now kathleen sebelius has to consider these as part of a broader project she's looking at. >> that's right. this is one small piece. she's determining... first she's going to determine whether this will be part of this preventative health package that will be made available with no co-pays but she's also determining these seine whashl kind of things will be included
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in the essential benefit. >> brown: that's the important word, right, essential. >> essential benefits and there's a balancing act you need when you're creating an essential benefits package because every time you put a benefit into the package it makes a package more expensive, makes the premium higherment that's going to raise the amount that the federal government will have to pay in subsidies to people who will qualify for subsidies and what everyone will have to pay in their premiums. so you don't want to load that.... >> brown: but this may make premiums higher. >> exactly. that's why i've been resisting using the word "free." it won't be free, you just pay for it in your premiums and everybody else helps pay for it in their premiums. >> brown: that means the stakes are quite high. is there a big lobbying effort going on here by all the parties? >> there is. not so much on this as there is... because, as we've mentioned, this is mostly being covered now and birth control pills in particular are not that expensive. but for a lot of other things there's a lot of lobbying going on, particularly the insurance industry doesn't want to see that essential benefits package in general get too large because
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then the package as a whole will become too expensive for people to afford. >> brown: julie in of npr, thanks so much. >> you're welcome. >> ifill: now to the third in our series of reports from indonesia, where developing a male contraceptive is the new face of family planning. ray suarez reports. >> reporter: it doesn't look like much: six-feet tall, a leafy shrub growing amid the lush foliage of an indonesian forest. but a chemical locked in these leaves could become a useful tool for limiting population growth here in indonesia and potentially around the globe. to get to the plants, it's a one-hour hike or a white- knuckled motorcycle ride up a steep mountain path across two rickety wooden bridges.
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the plant is called gandarusa and its medicinal qualities have been known to people here for centuries. traditionally, it has been brewed into an herbal remedy for stress to calm the nerves. but for a long time, there had been talk of an unexpected side effect: reduced fertility. now researchers in surabaya, on the eastern edge of the island of java, are drying the leaves, chopping them up, extracting the active chemical, and putting it in capsule form to see if it works as a reliable form of male contraception. there's growing confidence that this is a find that's eluded scientists for decades: a cheap, easy-to-make, over the counter daily birth control pill, for men. bambang prajogo directs the project at airlangga university. >> ( translated ): since 1987, when we began doing research using mice, all of the testing
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has shown it is safe, it is effective and it has fewide effects. so now we are undergoing testing in human beings. >> reporter: doctors are especially excited because the gandarusa doesn't alter male hormones, but rather changes the chemistry on the tip of each individual sperm, making them unable to pierce the outer wall of a female egg, or oocyte. dr. dyan pramesti is working on the clinical trial. >> it interferes with the enzyme which is located on the sperm head. the enzyme is needed to perforate the wall of the oocyte. if the enzyme is not active, the sperm cannot perforate the wall of the oocyte. >> reporter: so, no pregnancy? >> no pregnancy. >> reporter: dr. pramesti and her colleagues have made another
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crucial finding: the pill's effect is not permanent. on average, men were fertile again just two months after they stopped taking the pill. bambang says the testing on just over 100 couples has shown impressive results. >> ( translated ): we've done two rounds of testing on humans and so far, no pregnancies have resulted. we are now starting phase three testing with 350 couples and we are hoping we will continue with our 100% success rate. >> reporter: the third phase of testing isn't expected to be completed until the end of the year. if ganderusa works, and works safely, there's still one important question. will men use it? today in indonesia fewer than today in indonesia fewer than 2% of men participate in contraception. sugiri syarief directs the country's family planning board. >> mostly men say that family planning is responsibility just for woman. >> reporter: they think that? >> yes. they think that's woman's responsibility.
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right now, we try to make awareness that family planning is not only for woman, but by couples, husbands and wives. >> reporter: but health minister engang rahayu sedyaningish says the low participation rate is because right now men have only two options: using condoms or getting a vasectomy. >> they don't like those choices. but if we can find a pill that they can just swallow and no affect to their... >> reporter: desire? >> yes. ( laughing ) libido. i think they would be very happy to take that. >> reporter: so far, none of the men in the studies have reported a diminished libido. in fact, 36-year-old panca ariansyah, says he's experienced a slight increase.
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he's an enthusiastic supporter. >> ( translated ): i would recommend to my friends that they try gendarusa. it's easy and there are no side effects. >> reporter: he and his 29-year- old wife mujiasri live in one of the poorer areas of surabaya, where many families have four or more children. they decided to take part in the gandarusa trials because they already have three daughters and they say that's enough. >> ( translated ): i've used birth control pills before but i still ended up getting pregnant. >> reporter: so, now it's your turn to take the pills? indonesia-- with a population of 240 million people-- is the world's fourth most populous country, so limiting growth has been a top priority for the government. and it's had a fair amount of success over the last four decades, says dr. sugiri. >> we have already changed from big family to small family.
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in 1970s, our fertility rate was 5.6 children per woman. now it is 2.6 per woman. it's very good in terms of decreasing fertility. but it is not enough. fertility should be 2.1. >> reporter: 2.1, that's replacement rate, is that right? >> yes, that's right. >> reporter: even after that success, the population isn't expected to level off until it reaches some 350 million. and there's one other big question about how much of a role gandarusa will play in lowering that fertility rate: whether or not it gets the approval of islamic religious leaders. some fundamentalist groups are opposed to any form of birth control. but dr. sugiri says, most mainstream imams approve of family planning methods if they are not permanent and do not harm the body. he is optimistic gandarusa will be available in indonesian
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stores as early as next year. he's less confident the drug will be sold in the united states any time soon, since strict food and drug regulations would require years of additional testing. >> ifill: tomorrow, ray's final report from indonesia examines the connection between rising food prices and malnutrition. >> brown: finally tonight: an interview with republican presidential candidate ron paul. first in our series of conversations with the contenders seeking to take on barack obama in next year's election. judy woodruff sat down with the congressman from texas on capitol hill earlier today. >> congressman ron paul, thank you for talking with us. >> good to be with you today. >> woodruff: you're running against a long list of republicans seeking the republican presidential
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nomination, many of them very conservative, one in particular, michele bachmann appealing to the tea party. why are you more qualified than any of them >> i see them as defending the status quo much more so than i do. because, you know, if you look at my foreign policy, nobody's coming close, although they're getting more sympathetic. i want to bring all the troops home. when it comes to personal liberties, what's going on at our airports, i don't like that patriot act and they tend to support the pact. when it comes to monetary policy they try to avoid it. money is one half of all our transactions, we're in a mess, so a concentrate a whole lot on the federal reserve and monetary policy. and, of course, the spending is a big issue with me, but it's been that way for a long time. >> woodruff: well, speaking of spending, washington is in the grips right now of this huge divide, split, over what to do about the debt limit, what to do about the deficit. you have said you've never voted to raise the debt limit which piteous against not only the president of the democrats but
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the republican leadership, both houses of congress, most of the business community. are they wrong when they say this would lead to an economic clam any are they just not telling the truth? >> i think they're misled. i think they believe what they're saying but i think they don't understand economic policy because they're afraid of a default and they've been frightened. this is the way so often government works, they try to frighten the people such as frighten people about being attacked by nuclear weapons that don't exist so we go to war needlessly. but the bailout frighten the people so you bail out everybody and forget about the people who are losing their houses. so, yes, there's a lot of that, but my point is it's serious, the debt is too big, you can't solve the problem of debt by raising the debt limit. and that's what they were trying to do. >> woodruff: but you'ved that position for years and years, for the decades you've served in the congress you haven't been able to win folks over to your point of view. what makes you think you could win a majority over if you were president?
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>> i think it's a big shift because i can compare what's happening a couple years ago. it's dramatically different. even last year we noticed a big difference on the monetary issue >> woodruff: we're talking, what about, what, over a trillion dollar deficit? what would you cut? >> okay, i would start with military operations overseas. they hurt us and they hurt our national defense and we can save hundreds of billions of dollars cutting all military and all the mischief we create. why do we have troops in korea? we could save a lot. that wouldn't be enough. then we'd have to start cutting spending on the programs that aren't essential. like the department of
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education. we spend a lot of money, it doesn't improve education. the department of energy. all those subsidies, the department of agriculture. we don't need that, we don't need the intervention of the department of commerce. we can go on and on. but you don't to go and cut health care or medical... or social security in order to get our house in order. what would both programs look like if you could wave a magic wand? >> i haven't talked about that. most of the time i talked about acting responsibly. i would like to offer young people going into the work force the chance to opt out of social security it makes no sense at all.
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you could do that because at the end of the day we were voting on this resolution for the debt increase, i said there's two groups, one group wants to... one cut a nickel out of the military and the other out of entitlement systems and that's why we're at this point. >> woodruff: you've spoken of big changes in medicare, structural changes, how would you change medicare. i haven't emphasized that at all. i want people have medical savings accounts. young people should opt out and build a medical savings account and take care of their own programs but that won't work unless you're willing to cut spending and i think the most popular place to cut is spending overseas and the corporate welfare in this country because most of the money we spend here supposed to help the poor helps the large corporations. stay housing bubble. who got helped? see, the rich got bailed out. they got bailed out both by the congress and the federal reserve. and they were making all the
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profits so it was... it's corporatism that is so bad. whether it's medicine or even in education or the military industrial complex. it's corporateism. that's the welfare. >> woodruff: but then corporations would do whatever they want. >> i talk about a lot less regulations. i don't like regulatory agency bus that doesn't mean the free market doesn't have regulations. the regulations in the free market become stricter because if a company gets into trouble, goes bankrupt, the law... the economic law which should be enforced by government, that company goes bankrupt so instead of bailing them out these companies should have gone bankrupt but if you have money in free market, you have counterfeit money like the federal reserve does. >> woodruff: just to be clear, what would the federal reserve look like around ron paul presidency? >> well, there's two different
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things. i don't think we should close the door and walk away. i ask for competition. >> woodruff: let's go to international issues. you want to bring troops home. what should the u.s. footprint be internationally? what is the u.s. role? >> well, it should be a footprint of trade and friendship as we were advised and as the constitution permits. the footprint should be a military... shouldn't be a military footprint. the footprint we're leaving now are drone missles dropping bombs and killing innocent civilians lodged from the united states with computers. >> pelley: afghanistan, how quick would you bring the troops home? >> as quick as the ship cans get there. i'll tell you one thing about this business act the military. we just had a quarterly report and they listed all the money
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that all the candidates got from the military. they got twice as much as all the other candidates put together on the other side and even more than obama got which tells me that those troops want to come home as well because they know exactly what i'm talking about. >> woodruff: two other quick things internationally. you said you opposed the u.s. raid into pakistan that led to the killing of osama bin laden. you also would do away with, in essence, the c.i.a. why did you oppose the raid and what would you put in the place of it? >> well, the question to me was i was just saying it could be done differently. i mean, all this does was raise questions and i predicted that this would lead to a lot of resentment and think of the chaos in pakistan and the mess that we have. we both bomb them and give them money and people hate their own government because their own government's a puppet of ours. my frustration with bin laden
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was it took so long. >> woodruff: and the c.i.a., you would.... >> couric: i don't think the c.i.a. should be a military arm of the government dropping bombs secretly. you can't even separate the two. you don't even know who is controlling the bombing of this country now. >> woodruff: a couple questions about your campaign. you have a son who was elected to the united states senate rand paul from the state of kentucky. this is your third try for president. there was some talk he was looking at running for president. how did you discuss that between the two of you, that it was going to be you and not him? >> we never talked about it. it never came up. >> woodruff: never had a dissdmugs >> it never came up. >> woodruff: finally, congressman, you look healthy, you certainly keep up a vigorous schedule. you would be 77 years old if you would be elected president which is quite a bit older than the oldest president upon taking office, ronald reagan. is age at all a factor for you in this campaign? >> i think it is.
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i think age is very important and sometimes penal when they're 45 they're very old. and i think it's the age and the ideas a person is presenting. is that person able to present these ideas? freedom is a young idea. it's only been tested for a couple hundred years. we had a taste of it and we're throwing it away. what i see others are doing, the others and many of the other candidates they have old ideas. it's totalitarian. it's the control of government. government policing the world, militarism, tilling people how to run their lives, running the economy. telling people what they can put in their mouths and whether or not they can even drink raw milk. it's just absolutely out of control. but the idea that individuals are free, that they have a natural right to their life and the liberty and they ought to be able to keep the fruits of their labor, that is a young idea. so i would say people ought to go with a young idea in somebody that can express them and interestingly enough, it's the young people that fully endorse my campaign. >> woodruff: we are watching that. spoken very passion natalie. congressman ron paul, we thank
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you for talking with us. >> thank you. >> brown: we'll talk with other g.o.p. presidential contenders in the coming months. >> ifill: again, the major developments of the day: a heat dome sitting over much of the country's midsection kept millions of americans roasting in triple digit temperatures. the united nations warned somalia is now in the grips of the worst famine in a generation with many thousands dead, and thousands more in danger. president obama called democratic and republican leaders to the white house again amid new maneuvering toward a debt deal. and the state government shutdown in minnesota officially ended after nearly three weeks. you can find more about tonight's stories online. plus new information about government findings on anthrax. hari sreenivasan previews that and more. hari? >> sreenivasan: "frontline" is investigating the government's handling of the deadly anthrax attacks. we ask producer michael kirk if
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the case against late army microbiologist bruce ivins still holds up. paul solman wants to know if you think flogging criminals is a more effective punishment than prison. tell us your opinions on his "making sense" page. we preview diana nyad's epic swim from cuba to florida. doctors assess whether her body can handle a grueling, 103-mile, 60-hour swim in open water. and we look back at the final journey of space shuttle atlantis as it prepares to return to earth tomorrow. all that and more is on our web site, gwen? >> ifill: and that's the "newshour" for tonight. on thursday, we'll get an update on the anti-government protests in syria. i'm gwen ifill. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. we'll see you online and again here tomorrow evening. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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