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tv   PBS News Hour Weekend  PBS  November 17, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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pound the midwest. new pictures of the ferocious storm that has now claimed more than 4,000 lives in the philippines. in our signature segment, major changes to the high school equivalency exam. >> what we're doing is complicated, it's confusing, it's worrisome, but we're absolutely convinced that what we're doing is the right thing for learners. and from louisiana, an invasive species threatens a multi-billion dollar industry, next on "pbs newshour weekend." "pbs newshour weekend" is
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made possible by judy and josh westin, joyce v. hale, the wallet family, in memory of miriam and ira d. wallet, the cheryl and phillip milstein family, bernard and irene schwartz. corporate funding is provided by mutual of america, designing customized, individual, and group retirement products. that's why we're your retirement company. additional support is provided by -- and by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. from the tish wnet studios in new york, hari sreenivasan. >> thanks for joining us. a large, dangerous storm system is sweeping through the middle of the nation. the storm spawned tornados that did extensive damage in the small central illinois community of washington. in chicago, tens of thousands of fans attended the ravens/bears
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football game were advised to leave the stands and take cover. the game was suspended for nearly two hours. the storms, which are unusual for this time of year, also produced high winds and torrential downpours. in the philippines, new dramatic pictures were released today, showing the enormous power of the storm surge that hit the central philippines nine days ago when typhoon haiyan struck. authorities said the death count now stands at nearly 4,000, another 1,000 are still missing. president beneno aquino who has been widely criticized for the slow delivery of aid arrived in the city of tacloban where damage is severe and he says he'll stay there until damage improves. >> translator: when it comes to natural disasters, all we can do is pray, but it is also important to do all that we can. >> but others continue to flee the stricken city. >> we've been here yesterday since early morning. we have not been to eat and
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we're struggling. >> for more from the philippines, we hear once again tonight vieya skype from barnaby low. he's a freelance journalist who's been reporting the story since the superstorm struck nine days ago. >> remember, i'm a foreign correspondent. i work for the foreign media. but i'm also filipino and i grew up here. and it's heartbreaking for me to see my countrymen suffer this much. because i've had my share of covering these typhoons and there's been a lot of suffering, obviously. this country has had to suffer so much because of all of these natural calamities, but not at this level. and this is not just at tacloban city. this is everywhere this typhoon has affected. i mean, we went to the north, and we were in a van moving, and when we stopped, people, it was just this mob of people who went up to our van, they rushed to our van, and they were just
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trying to open the door of our van and trying to open the window of our van, just desperate for food and water. i gave them some. obviously, i didn't have enough. so we ran and they chased us. they tried to chase us. that's how desperate the situation is. eight or nine days is a very long time to wait if you've got nothing to eat and nothing to drink. but i do understand the sentiment of these people, but i also do understand that this is very overwhelming for the filipino government, even though we're used to disasters, this is a disaster of a whole different level, really. in syria, a deadly bombing targeted sources loyal to the assad regime. a british human rights group said 31 syrian troops including three generals were killed in the attacks near damascus. the incident coincides with a major government offensive near the capitol city. israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu has issued a new
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warning about a deal that would freeze iran's nuclear program in exchange for the easing of some sanctions. negotiations between iran and the western powers, including the united states, resume in geneva, switzerland, later this week. >> i think you should not only keep up the pressure, i think you should increase the pressure, because it's finally working. and if you give it up now, when you have that pressure, and iran doesn't even take a part, dismantle one centrifuge, what leverage will you have when you've eased the pressure. elsewhere overseas, a passenger plane carrying 50 people from moscow crashed and caught fire while landing in the city of kazan. all 44 passengers and 6 crew members were killed. at the air show in dubai, boeing announced the sale of 225 of its triple 7 jetliners. the deal is valued at an estimated $130 billion. the plane expected to be in service by 2020 will carry an
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estimated 400 passengers. it's set to be 20% more fuel efficient than the current 777. boeing has been plagued in recent months by battery fires aboard its 787 dreamliners. in medical news, experts issued another stern warning that bacteria are evolving to be resistant to even the strongest antibiotics. a special editorial published in the health journal "lancet" warned that drug-resistant super bugs pose such a threat that the death rate from bacterial infections could return to those of the early 20th century. an estimated 23,000 americans die from drug-resistant infections each year. and doris lessing, the outspoken writer who won the nobel prize for literature at the age of 88 died today in london. her best-known works included "the golden notebook," "memoirs of a survivor," and "the summer before the dark." "the golden notebook" was not available in france or germany for more than a decade because of its frank discussion about women's sexuality. doris lessing was 94.
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a story by reuters details how hackers from the group known as anonymous broke into multiple u.s. government agency computers and stole sensitive information and may still have access. for more, we're joined now from san francisco by joseph mexico, he authored the piece. first of all, how significant is this hack? >> well, it's obviously very significant. they don't -- there are multiple u.s. agencies, including various bits of the u.s. army. there's the department of health and human services, and at the department of energy alone, we got ahold of an e-mail internally that says that they got access to personal details on 100,000 people and others and bank account information on 120,000 employees. >> so the idea that they still have a backdoor open, how do they do this? >> they got into a previously unknown flaw in a piece of
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software called cold fusion, which is used to run websites made by adobe. that was back as far ago as december of last year. and they put in a back door for future access, so even after adobe fixed the problem, they were still able to have access. and the feds don't know how far else they got, but they clearly have ongoing access, and at least in some places, they were pretty worried about it. >> so what's the real damage done here? >> well, so far, the same group broke into the u.s. sentencing commission and posted a video that was condemning -- calling for reforms of anti-hacking laws. it's about what they see as unjust sentences for hackers. but we really don't know what else they're going to do with it. they have all of this information, they can use it for identity theft, can impersonate army personnel and get access to classified information that way. they don't really know the scope of the problem, but it's pretty
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big. >> and when they don't know the scope of it, what is the fbi likely to do? what, in the memos that you've seen, what are their next steps? >> well, one of the things they've done is warn computer administrators at various federal agencies to look for specific signatures is, what they call, indicators of compromise. so they're going through, they're looking, they're trying to find the hackers' tracks. they might be able to find them all, they might not. in the meantime, they're continuing a criminal investigation. there's been one person indicted in the united kingdom and he's awaiting extradition. there are other conspirators they're looking for. >> is there concern about the safety of information inside these agencies today? >> yeah, absolutely, there's huge concern about it. >> all right. joseph from reuters joining us from san francisco, thank you so much. >> you bet. thanks for having me.
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and now to our signature segment, in depth reports about often underreported but important topics. tonight, a story that's gotten almost no attention, the most significant change to the high school equivalency exam in more than 70 years. the idea is to better prepare those taking the exam for college and the workplace, but qx made go too far, too fast. "newshour" correspondent candace reports. >> reporter: 22-year-old robert covington spends a lot of his time at the new haven adult education center. he dropped out of high school when he was 17 and now he's trying to make up for lost time. >> it's not 3.5. i made mistakes when i was younger and i just want to be able to better myself, become a better man and that starts here with education. >> reporter: covington has passed the science, social
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studies, writing and reading sections of the general educational development exam, or the ged. the nationally recognized high school equivalency test. now he's practicing geometry problems so he can pass the math section. he'd like to start community college early next year. >> so i have to pass it. yeah. >> reporter: many like him across the country are rushing to take the ged now, because this january, a new version of the test will roll out and about 40 states, including connecticut, are expected to use it. the test will be more rigorous, will cost more in some states, and only be available online. and if you need to take it over in the new year, then what? >> i'm just going to have to take it over, start from square one. >> what we're doing is absolutely the most monumental change we've made in our ged testing service in history. i think what we're doing is
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complicated, it's confusing, it's worrisome, but we're absolutely convinced that what we're doing is the right thing for learners. >> reporter: randy trask is the president of the ged testing service, the for-profit company that's developing the new exam. the ged was created in 1942 for returning veterans who dropped out of high school to serve in world war ii and was run by the nonprofit american council on education. >> and in the 70 years since then, our test takers have evolved quite a bit, but we now have more than 19 million people who have had to earn their second chance at a high school credential by way of the ged test. >> reporter: the ged has been an important tool for high school dropouts and immigrants to make inroads to higher education or secure better jobs. about 700,000 take it every year, but only about 36% of those who pass the ged enroll in a two or four-year college. that's low compared to 66% of
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high school grads who enroll. and overall, those with a high school equivalency degree earn less than those with a regular high school degree. trask says figures like the that compelled the council in 2011 to partner with pearson, an education services company. they formed a joint venture under name, ged testing service, and hired randy trask to overhaul the ged. what is it that was lacking in the old exam? >> if you think about what we've been testing historically, we've been testing knowledge, and what employers are telling us and what colleges are telling us is that it's less about the knowledge and more about being able to use what you know to demonstrate critical thinking skills and solve real-world problems. our new test -- >> reporter: trask says in order to keep up with the times, the test going forward will only be administered by computer. it will be more rigorous to reflect new academic standards that high schools in many states have already adopted to prepare
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students for college or the workforce. >> take math, for example. can you use that to solve a problem that's interesting to the employer? for example, can you go in using some basic algebra to adjust pricing for a store? it's the application of the knowledge that becomes much more important than the original knowledge we tested. >> i was definitely a naysayer initially, a skeptic. and i thought, what are they thinking? >> how do we know it's a present tense verb? >> reporter: mary mcneary is a ged instructor at the new haven adult education center. today the lesson is on using correct verb tenses. >> i was worried. i was thinking, oh, my god! are my students really going to pass this test. and then it's the use of a computer. you know, for a lot of the young people, no problem. they're happy it's on a computer. for the people in their 40s, 50s, 60s, they're, oh, my god,
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it's another obstacle. >> reporter: one of her students is 56-year-old roseveld barnes. he dropped out of high school to join the military. he then worked as an electrician. but lately he says finding work has been hard. now he needs to pass the ged exam to go to community college. he wants to eventually open up an auto repair business. so you've been taking classes here and you find out that the new test elections be administered by computer. was it intimidating at first? >> yes, because i'm computer illiterate. now that i'm doing classes and stuff, they also have computer training. >> reporter: this has pushed you to learn more? >> yes. >> reporter: and wile the state of connecticut has embraced the new ged exam, education officials just one state over in new york have serious reservations about it. so your reaction was what? >> too far, too fast. >> reporter: kevin smith is the deputy commissioner for adult career and continuing education for new york state. he agrees the exam needed to
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adapt to a changing world. but he says the new version threatens to leave too many people behind. >> reporter: one of the concerns you had is the new ged test is going to be administered by computer only. >> yes. >> reporter: but isn't it important to push people into the digital realm? >> absolutely, we would call that an aspirational goal. for us and for the test taker. for the test taker who has little access to basic computing skills or little knowledge of basic commuting skills, it's one more point, one more barrier to their ability to demonstrate their skills. there are too many barriers already, and we need to break those barriers down one at a time. >> reporter: and even if new york state wanted to use the new ged exam, he says practical considerations would make it impossible. >> equally important, our infrastructure to provide that test exam by computer is negligible. >> reporter: smith also says the cost of administering the new exam is prohibited, since it would rise from $60 to $120 per
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test-taker in new york. costs vary and some states subsidize a portion of exam, but by law, new york would have to pay for all of it. at least eight states have opted not to use the new ged exam at all and are planning to use an alternative, including new york, which has hired another education service company, ctb mcgraw hill, a competitor of the ged testing service. its test will be offered online and on paper. and the level of difficulty will increase gradually over three years. do you think that this is doing a disservice at all to new yorkers, not to be part of what most other states are doing? >> no, i don't. no, i think quite the opposite. i think it's doing a service to new yorkers. this is a much slower, more appropriate phase-in to the new exam, the new standards than we are led to believe will occur in those other 40 states utilizing the ged exam. >> reporter: we've talked to people who say the test was not working as it was. but maybe the changes should
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have been a little bit slower, incremental. what do you say to that? >> we're doing no one any favors if we don't, in fact, make sure that these adults are equipped with exactly what they need to compete for these higher-skilled, higher-wage jobs. >> reporter: trask points out that the cost of the new ged includes online resources to find out about jobs and training programs. back at the new haven adult education center, mary mcnerney says she's come to embrace the mission of the new ged test and she's up the for the challenge. are you concerned that some people may not be up to speed by next year? >> if i have any concerns that some people will not be ready this year, which many are not, i believe in my heart that the majority of them will be able to work through the curriculum to eventually get their ged. >> reporter: as for robert covington, he took the remaining section of the exam last
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weekend. he could find out if he passed as early as next week. >> how would you do on the ged? answer ten questions from the current exam. visit the shrimping season is a little more than halfway over in louisiana. back in 2007, a giant asian striped shrimp known as the tiger shrimp invaded the gulf of mexico and they have been there ever since. the concern is that they might harm louisiana's multi-billion-dollar shrimping industry. louisiana public broadcasting's charlie winham reports. >> reporter: commercial fisherman casey junior is in the middle of a very productive shrimp season. but in addition to his regular catch of native white and brown shrimp, cooper also catching a larger invasive species called tiger shrimp. he says he caught his first tiger shrimp about four years
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ago. how many have you been catching lately? >> sometimes i catch three, four a night. it all depends on what areas we go in. >> reporter: the first tiger shrimp was caught off of louisiana's coast in 2007 in vermillion bay. they can grow twice as big at native shrimp and are more aggressive. there are concerns that the tiger shrimp could out-compete white and brown shrimp for resources. that's a serious issue when you consider louisiana's $2.5 billion commercial shrimping industry. >> we just wonder how they got in our waters and where did they come from? is there enough of them around the coast to where we have to worry about it right now? i don't think so. but i think in the future, it pa may be an issue. >> reporter: tiger shrimp are one of the most farmed shrimp series worldwide. in 1988, a batch of asian tiger shrimp escaped from a research lab off of south carolina's coast, leading to a surge in numbers. the shrimp have been reported sporadically along the atlantic coast over two decades and have been seen in the gulf of mexico
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for about six years. from 2006 too 2010, there were 110 reports of tiger shrimp in the u.s. however, a large uptick followed where 145 were found in louisiana. less than 300 were reported last year, but officials believe fewer fisherman were calling them in, because it was less of a novelty to see the asian shrimp in their nets. department of wildlife and fisheries biologist, rob bourjois, is keeping track of the tiger shrimp catches in louisiana waters. >> the reports seem to be random across the coast, you know from calcasieu all the way to pontchartrain base siin, we're seeing reports this year. this year our numbers are up and we did do a pretty good job at getting the word out to fishermen to report it. so our numbers are higher than last year at this time.
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>> the problem is, this is a larger shrimp that eats smaller invertebrates, it eats shrimp and tiny crabs. so not only are you competing for resources with our native shrimp, you're also directly consuming them. it's kind of a double whammy. and the bigger question to me, the greatest potential problem the the transmission of diseases. we do know that they are capable of carrying several diseases that it's possible to transmit to white shrimp or brown shrimp, which that would be a disaster. >> reporter: shrimper a.c. jr. says he's catching more than the last few years. >> they are mating, they are breeding. >> reporter: at this point in time, the situation is inconclusive. it leads shrimpers to still report tiger shrimp continues and scientists to collect more data. the research also continues in other ways. >> have you eaten any of them? >> yeah, they're good. tiger shrimp are good. in fact, they're worth more money in the world market than ours. >> reporter: really? >> yeah, if it comes to the point where we have more of
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them, we'll sort them out and sell them separately. >> announcer: this is "pbs newshour weekend sunday." as we approach the 50th anniversary of the assassination of president john f. kennedy, you're sure to see and hear a lot about that tragic day in dallas. what you'll hear much less about is what the president did the day before, in houston. edell of public houston news reports. >> reporter: it's a normal november day in downtown houston, was if you turn back the clock 50 years to november 21st, 1963, the same street tells a different story. as the motorcade you see belongs to president john f. kennedy. while the president didn't spend his final night here in houston, his visit on november 21st added a final chapter to his history with the bayou city. >> what most people don't realize is he spent the previous day in houston, about 75,000 people came out to view
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kennedy's trip from hobby airport to the hotel. >> reporter: kennedy's trip to houston was part of a multi-city campaign swing through texas, and his time, despite lasting less than a day, wasn't short on notable moments. >> while he was in his room at the rice hotel, he had a visit from the publisher of the "houston chronicle," who showed him a poll saying that he would lose texas by 100,000 votes if the election were held today, to goldwater. after he was in his room, he stopped off at a meeting of the league of united latin american citizens, lula, that was an unexpected stop. jacqueline kennedy said a few words in spanish to the crowd. following the lulac banquet, kennedy made one more stop in houston before heading the to ft. worth for the night. >> all this week, you can share your memories of the day president kennedy was killed by visiting
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that's it for this edition of "pbs newshour weekend." i'm hari sreenivasan, thanks for watching.
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>> announcer: "pbs newshour weekend" is made possible by judy and josh westin, joy b. hale, the wallet family, in memory of miriam and ira d. wallet, bernard and irene schwartz. corporate funding is provided by mutual of america, designing customized, individual, and group retirement products. that's why we're your retirement company. additional support is provided by -- and by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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narrator: althorp house. family home of the late diana, princess of wales. an english manor house where kings and queens are frequent visitors. as once were the ancestors of us founding father and first president, george washington. george washington's family, before they left england, were connected with mine. the washingtons were frequent visitors here. socially, they were great friends of my family. narrator: for the first time, this most elegant of england's homes throws open its doors... allowing us to share the upstairs and the downstairs. secrets of althorp, the spencers.


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