tv PBS News Hour PBS February 3, 2016 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> ifill: good evening. i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: on the newshour tonight: candidates try to win over new hampshire as hillary clinton and bernie sanders prepare for a town hall forum tonight. >> woodruff: also ahead this wednesday: a rare case of the zika virus, possibly being sexually transmitted in texas, raises new questions and concerns. >> ifill: and a violent response to refugees in sweden as the right wing rallies against an influx of thousands. >> it's chaos in sweden. it's getting worse by the minute. it's like the gates of hell have opened. >> woodruff: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information at macfound.org >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: the presidential political wars are escalating, as the new hampshire primary draws another day closer.
democrats traded charges today over who's more progressive, and two republicans quit the field, as their rivals wrangled over the outcome in iowa. >> it's honestly, really, really dishonest. >> woodruff: donald trump leads >> woodruff: donald trump was one of two republicans who kept their fire trained on ted cruz for something that happened on caucus night. in a string of tweet today, trump said, "ted cruz didn't win iowa. he stole it." he charged cruz supporters with spreading rumors as the caucuses knot under way, that another rival, ben carson, was dropping he called it fraud and insisted: "either a new election should take place, or the cruz results nullified." a cruz spokesman denied the campaign officially sanctioned the rumors, but he said the texas senator has apologized to carson.
>> senator cruz told me that he was not aware of that when i talked to him. and that he did not agree with that kind of thing. and we'll wait and see what he does to chem straight that. >> woodruff: the results >> woodruff: the results from iowa also sealed the fate of two more republicans. > today, i will suspend my campaign. rand paul, who finished fifth, said he's dropping out. >> i'm proud of our principled campaign, and the thousands of young people who have been energized by our message of limited constitutional government. >> woodruff: and rick santorum, who finished eleventh, is following him out the door. meanwhile, marco rubio, a surprisingly strong third in iowa, kept his fire on the democrats. >> we cannot afford to lose this election, we cannot afford to wake up in november to the news that we have a president named bernie sanders or a president named hillary clinton. >> woodruff: but rubio also came under fire, again, from chris christie, who charged the florida senator won't give straight answers to new hampshire voters.
>> woodruff: on the democratic side, the talk was all about liberal credentials. it began with this, yesterday, from bernie sanders: >> do you think hillary clinton is a progressive? >> some days, yes. expect when she announces she is a proud moderate. then, i guess, she's not a progressive. >> woodruff: clinton shot back today, at a rally in derry, new hampshire. >> i think it was a good day for progressives when i helped to get eight million kids health care under the children's health insurance program. ( applause ) and i-- i think it was a good day for progressives when i joined with colleagues in the senate to stop george w. bush from prief tiegz social security. >> woodruff: clinton and sanders will appear separately tonight at a cnn town >> woodruff: clinton and sanders will appear separately tonight, at a c.n.n. town hall in new hampshire. >> ifill: in the day's other news, oil prices reversed course again and jumped 8%, and stocks mostly followed suit. the dow jones industrial average
gained 183 points to close at 16,336. the nasdaq lost 12 points and the s&p 500 added nine. >> woodruff: the syrian peace talks in geneva came to a halt today, just two days after being convened. the opposition had demanded humanitarian moves first, while the assad regime focused on the make-up of the opposition side. given the impasse, the special u.n. envoy said it's time to take a break and resume on february 25th. >> i've therefore taken this decision to bring a temporary pause. temporary pause. this is not the end, and it is not the failure of the talks. why? they came and they stayed. not only, but both sides insisted on the fact that they are interested in having the political process started. >> woodruff: the announcement came as syrian ground forces, backed by russian air strikes, broke a long-running siege of
two villages near aleppo, syria's largest city. >> ifill: the near-daily palestinian attacks on israelis escalated today. police say three palestinians armed with guns, knives and bombs killed one border security officer and wounded another in jerusalem. police then shot and killed the attackers. authorities say the palestinians were planning a larger-scale assault on civilians. >> woodruff: in afghanistan, taliban gunmen have killed a 10-year-old boy who had fought the militants. wasil ahmad became a local hero last year for joining a militia when his father was killed. police say he was shot twice in the head monday in uruzgan province as he left home near the provincial capital. >> ifill: north korea's neighbors warned the communist state today to abandon plans for launching a satellite this month. south korea said the north will pay a "severe price" if it goes ahead.
and japan's military deployed missile interceptors in tokyo, as prime minister shinzo abe urged north korea to show restraint. >> woodruff: back in this islamic society of bhawment and argued that the u.s. has no place for bigotry, and that muslims are too often blamed "for the violent acts of the very few." >> and when any religious group is targeted, we all have a responsibility to speak up and we have to reject a politics that seeks to manipulate prejudice or bias and targets people because of religion. >> ifill: the presidential visit followed islamist attacks in paris and san bernardino, california and a growing number of attacks on american muslims. >> ifill: and there's word that two more nfl football stars, both quarterbacks, had the brain disease c.t.e.
ken stabler and the oakland raiders won the super bowl in 1977. he died last year, and boston university researchers now say he had widespread brain damage. and earl morrall's family says he, too, had advanced c.t.e. at his death in 2014. he won a super bowl with the baltimore colts in 1971. >> woodruff: still to come on the newshour: addressing the root cause of the zika virus outbreak. the rise of sweden's radical right. a backlash against refugees. a struggling "yahoo!" slashes jobs. and much more. >> ifill: anxiety over the zika virus continues to build. in florida, where there are at least nine cases of the illness, governor rick scott declared a health emergency in four counties today, including miami- dade. zika has been found in more than
25 countries in the americas and caribbean. nearly all cases come from mosquitoes and the c.d.c. issued a new travel advisory today for jamaica. at the same time, public health officials say they want to learn more about a reported case of sexual transmission of zika in texas. we look at some of the central questions with dr. michael osterholm, director, center for infectious disease research & policy at the university of minnesota. thank you for joining us. how worried should we, these new reports every day, these new classifications every day of this new virus? >> well, first of all, the fact that there's been a case now documented of sexual transmissions doesn't surprise us. it's already happened before. the question is how often it will occur. and at this point, we don't have any evidence that it's a frequent occurrence, but clearly for those who travel from the united states to one of these affected countries and a male
coming back having sex with his female partner, who may either be pregnant or could become pregnant is a concern, and in that sense, that's what we need to be most worried about. >> ifill: how significant is a who call or declaration of emergency in this case? >> well, first of all, to really understand this concept of emergency what, it really does it ist just helps prioritize the kind of resources and the importance to the world that this is. it shouldn't mean that people should panic or that people should somehow do something very, very different. what we need to do-- and we know how to do it, actually-- is what we call source reduction for the mopses in the americas, meaning let's get rid of the breeding sites. this particular mosquito is what i call the norway rat of mosquitoes. it lives with humans. it loves to life in human homes. it can with live in a pop cap opener piece of discarded tin foil, non-biodegradable material-- tires. if we clean up the solid waste,
the garbage, really, around our communities and those counties and countries where this is occurring we can have a great impact on transmission of this virus by the mosquito. >> ifill: so focusing on the mosquitoes is what they call vector control? how much should be spent on that and how much on developing a vaccine? >> first of all, there is no one answer. it's all of the answers. you want to do as much as can with the source reduction, meaning get rid of where they breed. this type of mosquito is very different than, for example, the one that causes malaria, in most instances, which might be in large bodes of water in rice fields and so forth. this is really breeding in very, very small bodies of water, such as might be in a discarded wrapper inside a tire. the second thing is you want to make sure if you can kill the adults who do that, but that by itself is not enough. that's often a great photo opportunity to show someone out with a spraying machine, but that is truly not it. you want to do all of that, plus you want to work on vaccines. you want to look at can you use
genetically modified mosquitoes all these things should be brought to bear. i think the point that has been misin this country is this mosquito has already been causing very serious decease disooez and death in south america, central america, already, with dengue. and so by taking care of the zika virus, we actually end up taking care of all these other ones. >> ifill: so this is similar rather than different from something like the dengue virus? last we were talking about that was in 2013, i think. >> right, exactly. as you know, there has been discussion about how many thousands of people have died, how many people have had serious illness. in a sense, if you take care of dealing with any one of these viruses, you take care of all of them. so what has happened really is because of the issue with microcephaly, and this very, very horrible image of these children with these very small heads, the world has now paid attention. this has now become a photo opportunity kind of crisis.
>> ifill: so now that the world-- >> that wasn't the case with dengue. >> ifill: right. so now that the world is paying attention what, are the questions that should be getting asked which are not yet. >> well, first of all, we have to find out just how bad this disease really, is neeng terms of number of cases. there's no doubt that microcephaly or these small heads in newborns, with small brains as well as the type of paralysis disease is occurring because of zika. what we have to understand is in fact how frequently it's occurring where it's occurring. right now, much of brazil has not been impacted. so when we come up with these country-wide numbers it doesn't mean much. what we have to do is look at where it's going to unfold. the chicken gunyu virus from december 2013 is still unfolding across the americas. expect the same thing with the the zika virus. for the next two years, we will continue to see this continue wave after wave to go through these communities.
>> ifill: dr. michael osterholm from the university of minnesota, thank you very much. >> woodruff: sweden is struggling to accommodate 165,000 people who've applied for asylum there, amid the refugee crisis. now, in a reversal of its open door policy, the government says as many as half could face deportation. a growing right-wing reaction to the migrant influx has fueled tensions. from stockholm, special correspondent malcolm brabant reports. >> reporter: sweden fashions itself as the world's humanitarian conscience and safe harbor for more refugees per capita than any other european nation, but it has been shaken by a series of incidents that have ruptured that image.
>> i would say that sweden's social structures are under severe stress. >> reporter: magnus ransthorp is an expert on extremism in scandinavia. >> it's a cocktail of various ingredients which makes society extremely polarized. the government is having a really difficult time dealing with this. >> as a refugee here, i would say it's pretty hostile. >> reporter: tina morad is a kurdish political scientist, who fled from northern iraq as a child, and now advocates for fellow refugees. >> we've noticed a lot of activities for the past week at least where you have nazis and racists crossing the street and demonstrating against the refugees arriving in sweden. >> reporter: these are right wing vigilantes, including football hooligans, apparently attacking immigrants. this precinct is where young moroccans hang out. many have acquired a reputation as petty criminals and trouble
makers. the attack happened a few days after a murder at a young asylum seeker's hostel in western sweden. a 22-year-old worker, alexandra mezher, originally from lebanon, was stabbed to death allegedly by a young somali, after trying to intervene in a fight. the murder intensified pressure on prime minister stefan loven, whose popularity has slumped despite u-turns over his open door migration policy. >> i believe quite a few people here in sweden now feel a great worry there will be more, similar cases as sweden accepts so many unaccompanied minors. many of those who come here to sweden have had traumatic experiences and there are no simple answers. >> reporter: fredrik hagberg is a leading member of a far right activist group called nordic youth. he admits to feeling sympathetic towards the vigilantes: >> it's chaos in sweden. it's getting worse by the minute. it's like the gates of hell is opened. more and more immigrants than we
can take care of is coming every day. violence is getting more and more. hatred against swedes people are getting bigger and bigger. the women and children are getting harassed every day. the police can't be everywhere at once. people need to do something by themselves if something is going to change. >> reporter: it sounds like you might be advocating violence? >> no not at all, not at all. our movement has always stood against violence. but i believe in self defense. >> reporter: and this is one of his organisation's videos. >> reporter: are you nazis? >> not at all. >> reporter: how can you prove that? >> it's proved by my actions. look at our program there, we have a manifest. >> i think the greatest threat sweden is facing is, we have an equal amount of extremism.
we have a lot of right wing extremism and of course left wing extremism. there's a reciprocal radicalization going on. they are feeding and fuelling each other. >> reporter: this is another video which has shed a light on the atmosphere inside some of the homes that accommodate some 3,500 unaccompanied minors taken in by sweden. it shows the aftermath of an attack on one young boy. this is just one of what the police say have been 5,000 incidents at asylum centers that they've been called to attend. ana nellberg dennis, deputy chair of sweden's police union says there have been recent problems west of stockholm in vasteras. >> we were down on our knees, work-wise and work-load wise, long before the migration crisis and the increased terrorist threats. we have about three cases in the area of vaästmanland, where the biggest city is vasteras, where police officers have been forced to push the alarm button because they are surrounded by angry immigrants who are fighting each other.
the nice secure and safe country that we once had is not really that nice any more. >> reporter: the area around stockholm's central station is a magnet for the moroccans and other asylum seekers. several hundred young north africans are facing imminent deportation after sweden struck a deal with the government in morocco. according to europe's criminal intelligence agency, at least 10,000 unaccompanied child refugees have disappeared since arriving in the e.u. many are feared to be in the hands of traffickers, or other predators, according to terrorism expert magnus ranstorp: >> there is some recruitment by islamic extremists at train stations. >> reporter: today, sweden's interior minister anders yveman was trying to project an image of calm and control. >> i think we've been bad prepared for this situation. our social system is not made to meet the demands from this group. we also have a problem with returning them to morocco if they don't have the right to be in sweden. >> reporter: so how do you think
you're doing? >> in the overall picture we're doing quite well. >> reporter: but the police union are saying this is no longer the nice society it used to be. >> well i think even the police union should look forward and not backwards, but if we want to compare the figures and stats backwards we could say that we haven't had this many policemen in 35 years. >> reporter: they say they need an extra 4,000 and you're not going to give them enough. >> we have never had this much policemen. we have never had this much money to fund the police as we have now. and we have a lower crime rate. >> reporter: in the wake of the disturbances, the swedish government says it will launch a task force to deal with vigilantes who want to take the law into their own hands. and to soften the blow of deporting the young north africans by promising to pay for special centers in morocco to house them in safety and security.
>> we have built up our reputation of being the role model. we changed it drasticry. i don't think the government has thought through it properly, and i don't be they have any expectations of how this might affect sweden in the near future. >> reporter: iraqi civil servant adel ali qatani has decided to return to baghdad because of new rules making it more difficult for refugees to bring over their families. >> i see no solution. i can't wait for three years, because at the end of the day, i have a problem about reuniting with my son. in three years he'll be an adult and the laws complicate matters. although i'm very grateful for all the help i have been given, i feel very frustrated and insecure because of all the uncertainty the government is going through, all these different changes. it's better to return to my family and endure the hardship with them rather than leaving them alone there. >> reporter: the migration debate is dominating the political landscape and the latest polls show rises for the main center right opposition
party, and in the lead are the anti immigrant sweden democrats. their integration spokesman is markus wiechel. >> well, society is pretty much falling apart. the government is actually taking money from the foreign aid budgets to fund refugees coming to sweden. and i'm not sure i'm going to call them refugees, actually, because they've crossed seven or eight safe countries on their way to sweden. they're economic migrants. and it's not defendable to take foreign aid money to spend on the refugees. >> reporter: the swedish government is hoping there will soon be a thaw in widespread european resistance towards sharing what it sees as its migrant burden. but if anything, the climate towards refugees is growing colder. for the pbs newshour, i'm malcolm brabant in stockholm. >> woodruff: stay with us.
coming up on the newshour: the ethics of creating three- parent babies. when data and money decides who gets medical care and who doesn't. and "broad influence." a look at how women are changing the way america works. >> woodruff: but first, the tech giant, yahoo, in serious trouble. for months-- and years, by some accounts-- the company has struggled to successfully define a strategy to satisfy investors, consumers and the markets. yesterday, yahoo c.e.o. marissa mayer said the company would consider offers for buying its core assets and announced 15% of the workforce would be laid off. douglas macmillan of the wall street journal joins me now. welcome to the program. so how much trouble is yahoo! in? >> it looks like we might be finally enter, kind of the final chapter of what is really one of the most iconic companies in silicon valley and in the internet. yahoo! began as kind of one of
the kind of tent poles of the internet, the place where millions of people would go on kind of find, you know, news and sports and information on the web. but as the world has shifted to kind of an internet that's focusaround search and around mobile phoneses and around social networks, yahoo! has really struggled to kind of find an identity and find, you know, a business model in this kind of new era of the internet, and particularly, the kof the past three and a half years, marissa mayer, has struggled to kind of reinvent yahoo! for kind of this new era. >> woodruff: but this is a company that has, what, a billion people a month going to its web site, using e-mail and other services? how does that square with all these problems? >> yeah, they have a billion people collectively visiting their web properties, but, you know, not many of them are regularly checking in with yahoo! on their mobile phones on a consistent basis. and that, as we have seen with google and with facebook and with other internet companies
that have successfully kind of made the jump to the mobile phone era, is becoming kind of the basis of a successful, you know, business plan in 20 escape. >> woodruff: you mentioned the c.e.o. marissa mayer. we quoted her, what she said a minute ago. how much of had is being blamed on her? we know some of the investors are calling for her to be removed, but how much of it is her, and how much of it is just this is a sector that it's very difficult to survive, as you just described, in this climate? >> yeah, particularly, i think there's something to be said for how difficult a task it is to turn around an internet company, a technology company that is in decline, that is in freefall. it's really almost never been done in this industry. so perhaps, you know, marissa mayer inherited or, you know, took on an impossible task. but on the other hand, when she did join the company three years ago there was a lot of excitement, there was a lot of enthusiasm that she brought to the company, and people wanted
to work at yahoo! for the first time in over a decade. so i think what we're seeing right now as we're potentially neither the end of ciewnd of her tenure and the end of yahoo! as an independent company, there's a lot of disappointment in what could have been, and, you know, could she have, you know, potentially turned around this company? it's an unclear, you know, what she could have done differently. >> woodruff: she's still saying that it's going to turn around. >> so it's interesting what she says and kind of what the board is saying right now. the announcement yesterday that yahoo!'s pursuing strategic alternatives, seems to indicate that they are seriously considering putting this company up for sale, and, indeed, there are bankers circling this company, and potential acquirers, who would like to buy yahoo!, circling this company. but, you know, whether it's just for optics, whether she's just putting on a show, or wherever, you know, marissa really believes shy can still turn this
company around, she has put together a go-forward plan that has reduced some of the expenses. she plans to cut 15% of the workforce. she's planning to close a few different individual small-business units, close a few remote offices. but what she's essentially doing amounts to cleaning out the attic when what we're really talking about is a sale of the whole house. >> woodruff: douglas macmillan of the "wall street journal," thanks very much. >> thank you. >> ifill: now to questions surrounding a significant advance in reproductive technology with dna and embryos. the change on the horizon was pioneered and approved in england, and is now being considered for use in the u.s. proponents believe it may eliminate dangerous disease in children, but others have raised ethical concerns. today, the national academy of
sciences recommended that clinical trials go forward in the u.s. william brangham has our look. glook this new technology is called mitocondrial replaix technique. mitochondria exist in the cells in our body and have their unique d.n.a. the problem sa small number of women have defective mitochondria, and if they have children those kids inherit their mom's might onchondria and can suffer brain damage and heart failure. this new technology would, in essence, replace that original mitochondria, in either the mother's egg or embryo with healthy might onchondria from a third person. a child born this way would be carrying the d.n.a. of three parents. >> one of the things that we found is that parents' desire to have genetically related offspring is a widely held
desire. it's not universal. but it's widely held. and the potential to use m.r.t. to have offspring who are genetically related to both parents is something that families who carry d.n.a. disease really want. and not everyone is going to pursue it, but for the family for whom having children who are-- who have a nuclear genetic connection to them, this is something that will just be one of numerous options available to them. >> joining me to discuss the technology are bioethics professor jeffrey kahn, who chairs the panel that recommended moving forward with the technology. and marcy darnovsky, who writes widely on these issues and is the executive director of the center for genetics in society. so jeffrey kahn, i'd like to start with you. i wonder if you could just tell
us a little bit more about this technology fop my ear this sounds like what we know of as some modified version of in vitro fertilization. can you tell us a little bit more. what is this technology? >> it is a modified version of in vitro fertilization, however, it's picking up the nuclear d.n.a., the d.n.a. we think of as creating the traits that make us who we are, and picking that up and putting it into a healthy environment of mied miteochondria, as you noted in the intro. there is women who suffer from mutation in addition the mitochondrial d.n.a. that cause really terrible diseases in their offspring. this is a way to avoid that and preserve the genetic relationship. the difference, or the challenges, this has never before been done in a human, and so the f.d.a., which is charged with regulating license application in new areas like this, asked the national academy of medicine to hold the
consensus committee to evaluate the ethics, social, and policy issues related to this technology. and that's the report that was released today. >> brangham: i know there are some viewers who are wondering. we're not talking about tweaking the d.n.a. that affects our hair color or intelligence or things like that. >> no, that's right. so the mitochondria actually are quite important. otherwise, there wouldn't be this need because people who have defective mitochondria, have several disease issue. mied mitethey also have other implications at the cellular development level. no, it isn't actually a way to change the things we think of making us who we are-- eye color, hair color, intelligence, athletic ability-- all the kinds of things we might think of in the so-called designer baby problems. it wouldn't do that. it's really picking up a healthy population of mitochondria and replacing that for those that are diseased. and a way forward which we think we've crafted which allows a
responsible, ethically acceptable way forward but with great precaution and numerous restrictions. >> brangham: i'm just curious, we mentioned this is a relatively small number of people who would use this. how many people are we talking about? >> in the hundreds of people across the entire country. and part of that is because it's a very homogeneous disease. it's really hard to detect and diagnose, and only a small number of people have a severe enough version that we know for sure that they're going to pass it on and that the children who are born will be affected. that said, they very desperately want to have a way to have children who are related to them. the alternative for those individuals, otherwise, is adoption, not having children, or egg donation. and that is a different thing for those individuals. and it's an area we thought needed to be respected on the part of people who wanted. >> brangham: all right, marcy darnovsky, i want to turn to you. i know you have some concerns about this technology. what is it that troubles you? >> well, i think for people who are in the situation that has
just been described, they have to make a very difficult decision. whether to subject their future child to the risks of what's really a quite biologically extreme procedure, whether that's worth what their preference to have a genetically related child is. all people that have this problem, this terrible problem, can have healthy children not affected by these mitochondrial diseases, in the ways jeff just mentioned, and some can use an embryo screening technology which would reduce the number of people who are candidates for this procedure. for the rest of us, i think we have to weigh the preferences of those-- that small number of people for genetically related child against-- which is a benefit, but it's a social benefit, not really a medical benefit because it's not about healthy children. we have to weigh that against the big deal it is to do this for the first time, to make
changes that would be passed down to future generations. and this problem of whether we should do it or not is a subject right now of huge controversy around a different technique called gene editing. and on that technique, the conclusion of a 500-person meeting that was held in december was that it would be irresponsible to proceed unless and until there was a broad, societal consensus that it would be okay. but on the other hand, the committee, although i appreciate very much the cautions and the limitations that they've recommended, but this committee is saying it's okay to go forward now. >> brangham: jeffrey, what do you make of that? is this the slippery slope to gene editing or some of these more troubling outcomes? >> i would say no, and here's why. as marcy rightly pointed out, there are real concerns about crossing the germ line. so creating genetic modifications that could be inherited by future generations and among the recommendations in our report was that the initial
investigations be limited to the implantation of male embryos because the mitochondrial d.n.a. is only passed from mother to offspring. so by limiting the offspring to males, you would not allow that germ line modification to happen. there would be no possibility of passing those alterations to future generations. so we thought we could find a way to allow people who very much wanted to have genetically related offspring, to pursue a new reproductive technology. and i think it's important to say there are many new reproductive technologies introduced in this country and around the world that do not get this level of scrutiny. this is the first time the food and drug administration in our country has from the beginning, prior to the initial investigation of a new reproductive technology, has asked for this level of scrutiny, and depending on what they do with the recommendations from this report, implement them in a way that will really control the introductionave new technology of this sort. >> brangham: marcy what, do you make of that? do you feel that the conditions can be placed on this technology
to keep it in check that would make you comfortable with this? >> well, the condition that i would like to see placed on this before we go forward would be for the united states to join the dozens of other countries around the world that have actually written laws saying that we're not going to alter the nuclear d.n.a. that's passed down to our children and future generations. i think that would make us able to evaluate this technology in a better way. and the limitations are burden of proof nothing, but they are temporary, as the report notes, and i think we're already seeing this approval being characterized as a green light for going ahead, and it's being used as an argument for doing the full-out kinds of genetic engineering that would create the designer baby scenarios. >> brangham: all right, this is a very interesting discussion. marcy darnovsky, and jeffrey kahn, thank you both very much for being here. >> thank you.
>> thank you. >> woodruff: now, using big data to assess medical treatments and interventions and whether decisions for individual patients are the right choice for society. that's not necessarily seen as the right way of making decisions in science and medicine when lives are at stake. but some believe it's a critical consideration. our science correspondent miles o'brien looks at how some thinkers in the field are challenging long-held assumptions. the story was produced in collaboration with the pulitzer center on crisis reporting. >> reporter: this is where the line between life and death is drawn... ...an operating room at a hospital in a remote part of nepal. dr. shree ram tiwari is
performing one of the first c-sections in this part of the world, hoping to save the lives of muna buhl and her unborn child. it's not going smoothly... >> the power cut out at such an important time, because the baby should keep crying after it's born, but it wasn't. we needed power for the suction machine. >> reporter: bringing c-sections to this remote corner comes not only with risks, but also a hefty price tag. the bills are paid by possible, the american charity that runs the hospital. >> nepal's constitution talks about health rights, that every person should have access to health care. but that is not implemented. >> reporter: while mother and child remain the focus for dr. tiwari as he copes with the
power failure, the global health community tries to shed light on whether this surgery should have happened at all. medical ethicist peter singer is a professor at princeton university. he is a leading proponent of a philosophy called "effective altruism." >> effective altruists look for those health care programs worldwide that offer the low hanging fruit. where can you save lives most cheaply? >> reporter: effective altruists like dr. singer compare different interventions, and choose the one that provides the most bang for the buck. they might elect to pay for community health workers rather than operating rooms. but human beings are not wired to respond in this dispassionate, systematic manner. this is why commercial appeals for charities often look like this: >> "tiny, vulnerable aisha won't eat tonight, or tomorrow. she is slowly dying." >> we are psychologically
adapted to respond to individuals who we can see. but health care is a scarce resource. so data is absolutely critical. we can't know that we're using our resources in the best way possible without data. >> reporter: dr. chris murray agrees. that's why he is crunching the numbers, in an unprecedented way. >> we have a 20,000 core supercomputer, which is pretty ginormous. >> reporter: big data meets modern medicine. >> if you could identify all the bits of information out there, then you'd be in the strongest possible position to empower people to make better decisions. >> reporter: murray is founder and director of the institute for health metrics and evaluation, a nonprofit that caters to other nonprofits seeking to place smart bets. he's the global health equivalent of legendary baseball manager billy beane, who first applied big data to the major leagues, a story told in the
2011 movie "moneyball." >> you don't put a team together with a computer, billy. >> no? >> no. baseball isn't just numbers. >> adapt or die. >> the difference is we're not worried about winning the world series, we're interested in "how do you make people healthier?" >> reporter: the data shows that globally, infectious diseases-- the red boxes-- are on the decline. the u.s. was declared free of polio back in 1979. but some countries continue to lag far behind. >> go to niger. woah, we see, there you go. >> reporter: wow, that's as dramatic as it gets, huh? >> we know how to get rid of infectious diseases, right? whether through public health or through medicine and so, this is addressable. >> reporter: quantity is one thing, but it's harder to measure a person's quality of life. so murray created a new metric: the disability adjusted life year, or daly. the equation is simple: the number of years lost to a
premature death, plus the number of years of good health lost to a disease or injury. dalys make it possible to measure the impact of different interventions. and show that some hit a lot more home runs. >> individual clinical care is great for that patient. you change their lives. but you don't change the circumstances of their health, and if you want to do that, you've got to see the bigger picture. >> reporter: in the u.s., the affordable care act prohibits medicare from using tools like the daly to ration health care. rationing is considered a dirty word, but dr. singer says the u.s. system is infused with it. >> we don't call it that, we deny it. but, i mean i think... it's a crazy system. >> reporter: he offers the story of martin shkreli as a case in point. in september, the pharmaceutical executive became a poster boy for greed in u.s. medical care when he raised the price of an anti-parasitic drug from $13.50
to $750 per pill. >> by denying the existence of rationing, we're just writing a blank check to whatever financial sharpshooter comes in and sees an opportunity to make outrageous profits. >> reporter: outside the u.s., there is less concern about applying big data to medicine in the form of dalys. mexico was an early adopter-- studies showed they should focus on things that may not kill but cause a great deal of ill-health, like depression and traffic injuries. and in africa, there has been a dramatic decline in the dalys lost to malaria. >> this has saved millions of lives and that has been largely data driven. >> reporter: but on the front lines, a statistic becomes a patient, and things are less cut and dried. in guatemala, crecencia buch is battling for her life, threatened by cervical cancer. >> i was told i have cancer.
and i only have seven months to live. >> reporter: that was back in 2012. an american n.g.o.-- the maya health alliance-- has since spent almost $10,000 on radiation therapy, buying crecencia a few extra years with her children, and now her grandchildren. this is the sort of heartwarming image that has most donors diving for their wallets, but peter singer and the effective altruists remain unmoved. >> if you have data showing that you will save more lives through doing something else, then you should do the most good you can. >> reporter: the daly bottom line suggests the money would have had more impact if it had been spent on something else, like pap smears to catch cervical cancer early. but some say dalys are nothing more than a magic bullet approach that is destined to fail.
dr. peter rohloff is founder of the maya health alliance. he made the call to fund crecencia's treatment. >> giving a mother four years with her children is precisely a conversation about living and not a conversation just about not dying. >> reporter: dr. rohloff believes not everything can be captured by numbers. >> we should use big data, right? we should be making smart decisions about how we spend our money. but the other half of the global health equation is the right to health care. dreaming about your life and where you want your life to go is a basic human right, and we need to, i think, include that in our algorithm. if such a thing were possible, right? >> reporter: back in nepal, shree ram tiwari works to resuscitate muna's baby without power. >> when there is no power, we have a manually operated suction device which works by breathing with your mouth. >> reporter: the baby's lungs
fill with air, and a cry echoes through the operating room. the lives of both mother and child are saved, just as the lights come back on. last week, a year and a half on, we received this photo of muna's baby, malishka. she may soon have a sibling, as muna is pregnant again. there are no numbers that can adequately convey the value of this hospital, in this place, for this family. miles o'brien, the pbs newshour. >> woodruff: now to the newshour book shelf. i recently sat down with jay newton-small, washington correspondent for "time" magazine and author of "broad influence: how women are
changing the way america works". jay newton-small, welcome. >> thanks so much. >> woodruff: us there's no confusing what "broad" refers to here, right? >> no. it's actually referring to women. and i don't know if you knew this, but broad used to be a pretty derogatory term for women, which we're hoping to sort of reclaim a little bit, but it used to apply to our himself because we have broad himself, because we bear children. and, of course, we bear children. we should be proud of that fact. >> woodruff: i absolutely remember when it was considered a derogatory term but times are changing. jay newton-small, you do a lot of reporting here on how women are doing. what's really interesting, though, is how you document, women have to reach a certain level, a critical mass, so to speak before things really change. exu reported on the u.s. congress. talk about that and what you found. >> sure. so the book actually grew from a story that i did for "time" magazine about two years ago during the government shutdown, where the 20 women, at that
point, of the 100-member u.s. senate got together and restarted the negotiations to reopen the government when none of the men would talk to each other. and i really was interested in that session, because these 20 women ended up producing more than 75% of the major legislation that passed that session. they really batted well above they are weight. and it turns out there's this theory of critical mass. so somewhere between 20% and 30%, women really begin to change an institution, whether it's a legislature or a corporate board, a navy ship or an appellate court. and then i started looking at all those corners and finding other areas where women had reached this sort of tipping point and they were really beginning to change the way we govern, change the way we manage, change the way we command. >> woodruff: what is it about the 20% or 30%? why isn't it it fift%. >> one woman is really a token. less than 20% are considered kind of a pair. and there have been a ton of
studies that show-- at least two studies-- that show pairs are worse than having one or three because either the women are considered conspiratorial or arch-enemys. and it's this strange kind of i don't know what's going on with the two. but when you start getting a plurality of the women, three or more, depending on the size of the institution, that's when women's voices are considered less exceptional and it's not this weird thing and more normal like brother and sister ear normal work area glgz and what did you find that women want to do differently from men? where is the policy change or the direction of an organization change because of women who are maching decisions? >> it depends on the organization. but there's opinion a lot of great research, one that shows that women tend to be a lot more prepared than men. they tend to really want to dig in on an issue. women ask the hard questions and say where's the accounting? where's the money going?
how is it being spent in women tend to be more collaborative. they tend to look for win-win situations, where everyone can win, everyone can advance together. whereas men, not all men, but a lot of men can be zero-sum game-- i win, you lose. so those are two sort of very common aspects. >> woodruff: it's not as if all women agree on direction things should go. >> not at all. you see that in the senate. for example, you had senator gill brand from new york and senator mccaskill from missouri disagreeing over sexual assault in the military bill. that is the great joy of having enough women to disagree. you don't have to all be on the same page to go places. what you have to do is respect each other. notably, when they disagreed, they agreed not to incriminate each other, not sling accusations or insults. they just said, "we disagree but we still appreciate each other's perspectives." >> woodruff: i was struck one area where you said there doesn't seem to be change when they get to critical mass is the
private sector and you looked at the financial industry. there was a quote fray woman who had been on several corporate boards. she said, "there's a trend when women and money penetrate a sector, money and power leave it. when women fortunately got into investment banking, all the money went to private equity. when women got into private equity, it went into hedge funds." why is it different? >> i don't know that it's the men-- i can't say they're conspiring to keep women out of it. it is the sentence when you are diversifying, when the power structure is no longer the people that look exactly like you, it move beyond the sort of coir group of a certain number of people that, that makes some people uncomfortable. it makes certain people leave, start different industries, start to do different things. women are chasing the money, but to some degree, you see this also in medicine, for example. women weren't allowed into medicine. and they were finally allowed
into pediatrics and all the money left pediatrics. and women were allowed in some kind of surgery but not kinds where all the money is made. it is striking. it's an interesting phenomenon. and i don't know what that says about our culture. >> woodruff: but it raises some interesting questions. finally, jay newton-small, you say you're hopeful about the future. why? >> well, so, it was economic necessity that first brought women into the workforce with rosy the riveter during world war ii, and it wasn't until 1970 that all of the laws banning married women from working without their husband's permission were fully repealed, and i think it will be economic necessity that brings women to the workforce fully. you see that. we're on the cusp of it. by 2030, the baby boomer generation will fully retire and we're short 20 million workers. there are only two ways to make up the short fall. one to bring in immigrants, which is hard to imagine with this congress, and two, you bring women up to full
employment. there are plenty of qualified women. it will be much easier to do that. >> woodruff: well, it's 15 years away, but maybe things will change in the meantime. >> i'm betting on it. >> woodruff: jay newton-small, the book is "broad influence." thank you very much. >> thank you, judy. >>ifill: a news update before we go. if you're looking to get a jump on your taxes, you might have to wait. the i.r.s. experienced computer failure this afternoon, affecting a number of tax processing systems. they say some services will be down until thursday. >>ifill: on the newshour online right now, the zaatari refugee camp in jordan is a temporary home to tens of thousands of syrians, including a group of artists who are recreating precious monuments destroyed by war and the isis invasion, in hopes of preserving the memory for future generations.
it's part of our ongoing "art beat" series, "syrian voices". all that and more is on our web site, pbs.org/newshour. >> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonight. on thursday, i'll talk with colombia's president. after 50 years of war, the country faces a new fight with zika. i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. join us online and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> and by bnsf railway. lincoln financial, committed to helping you take charge of your financial future. >> bnsf. supporting social entrepreneurs and their solutions to the world's most pressing problems. skollfoundation.org. >> and with the ongoing support
of these individuals and institutions. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org how i wish you were he
♪ >> this is bbc "world news america." >> funding of this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation, newman's own foundation, giving all profits from newman's own to charity and pursuing the common good, kovler foundation, pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs, and hong kong tourism board. >> want to know hong kong's most romantic spot? i'll show you. i love heading to repulse bay for an evening stroll. it is the perfect, stunning backdrop for making romantic moments utterly unforgettable.