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tv   Real Money With Ali Velshi  Al Jazeera  December 20, 2014 2:00am-3:01am EST

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trained in the use of the suit to get that first person out of it. to get that first person that buddy system is essential, out of it. that buddy system is essential, doctors say, in creating the doctors say, in creating the kind of ritualized process kind of ritualized process that's going to keep me from that's going to keep me from being infected. being infected. . >> the fbi blames north korea for the sony hack attack, but some are not convinced. cuba opening with new rules that could help cuba american families take care of their own on the island. plus why christmas tree farmers are seeing green. i'm jen rogers in for ali velshi, and this is "real money." [music]
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>> more dramatic plot twist today in the ongoing hollywood saga of sony versus north korea. first the u.s. government today officially pointed the finger at north korea, blaming the country for hacking in to sony pictures entertainment. in a statement the fbi, quote, had enough information to conclude that the north korean government is responsible for these actions. well, as almost everyone knows by now those actions exposed tens of thousands of private sony e-mails. the hackers also threatened violence against theaters, which led sony to cancel the release of the interview. that's the comedy about the assassination of kim jong-un. and president obama said that sony made a mistake in canceling the movie. he said that the united states would respond to north korea, but he did not say how or when.
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for more we go to randall pinkston. >> reporter: jen, the fbi said that other corporations have suffered from cyber intrusions, but nothing like what happened to sony last month. the fbi said that all of the evidence points at pyongyang. they say they're considering options and president obama promises action. >> president obama put north korea on notice. the u.s. will strike back for the cyberattack on sony pictur pictures. >> they caused a lot of damage. we will respond. we will respond proportionally, and we will respond in a place and time and manner in we choose. it is not something that i would announce here in a press conference. >> it determined that north korea launched the cyberattack on sony. the fbi sited several factors for its conclusion.
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links to other malware including similarities in code and algorithms. they traced several international it addresses associated with known north korean infrastructure. and they found similarities with a cyberattack launched by north korea against south korea banks and media outlets. >> hello, north korea! >> the cyberattack was apparently motivated by the sony movie "the interview," a plot against north korea's leader. >> after threats of violence sony decided to cancel the movie. but president obama in his end of year news conference criticized that decision. >> yes, i think they made a mistake. we cannot have a society in
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which some dictator some place can start imposing censorship here in the united states. because if someone is able to intimidate folks out of releasing a satirical movie, imagine what they'll start to do if they see a documentary that they don't like or news report that they don't like. >> but sony disagrees with the president. they issued a statement. sony ceo said that they don't own movie theaters and cannot determine what movie a theater will show, but what is left unclear is whether sony plans to put "the interview" back on the market. >> very interesting. i want to talk a little bit about the options that are on
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the table. you mentioned there are options out there. what are they? what can the u.s. do right now? >> of course, the u.s. military has a cyber warfare unit, but they would not reveal what options they're discussing. president obama saying actions will be taken but not saying when, where or how. the president did say he wants to work with congress in passing laws that will help prevent future cyberattacks, putting in place software and other shields, if you will, to keep this from happening again to another american corporation. >> the president was not very specific, obviously, about what kind of retaliation. we talked to someone who said when it happens we may not even hear about it. does that make sense to you? >> of course it does. that would be the way the u.s. government would want it to
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work. although, if in fact, north korea felt they were being attacked, we would likely hear about it from them. >> thank you so much for joining us tonight. >> well, also today the hackers who call themselves guardians of peace reportedly sent an e-mail to sony that says very wise to cancel the interview. as long as you make no more troubles. and for what it's worth a north korean diplomat state that the country had nothing to do with the attack on sony pictures. well, for more on this, yesterday our science technology reporter jacob ward said that it did not fit their pattern of attacking. jake ward said that the malware used was one that was used in the past. you heard what the president had to say. what are you thinking? >> well, it's interesting.
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it certainly is more evidence has been gestured at by the fbi but it's not that we're seeing a great deal of it. we saw earlier today a representative by hule hewlett-packard who has done one of the few exhaust tive looks at north korea , the tools used are things that could be bought off the shelf. it's not a smoking gun to say that the same technologies used in this have been used in the past. these technologies are basically what you buy on the black market and use. the same way that you use tools to remodel your kitchen. it's the same kind of idea that there are widgets involved. this may not be the fingerprint that the fbi makes them sure of. >> what about the ip dress. ddress.
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would you put that in the same category? >> this is the kind of thing that the ip addresses, you can route through several ip addresses. any good hacker will do that. they're talking about specific ones that are normally kicked to north korea infrastructure. the fbi is not revealing everything they know about it. they wouldn't want to do that. but the pattern that departs from what we've seen in north korea in the past. north korea has been a military type of attack. they go in, wipe out data and leave some humorless thing like a burning flag. they don't have the social media savvy or internet savvy, just the social westernized savvy that you would have to know that it would be incredibly embarrassing to sony to release all these e-mails to the public. it doesn't feel like a military option in that way. on the other hand, though, if in fact, they hired contract hitters, contract coders to do
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this type of work, those guys can do whatever they want. maybe it was you have to them to release this stuff. maybe they were told to do a lot of damage here. it was very difficult to pin the blame on a single state actor. >> as you point out the fbi knows stuff that we don't know. we might not know everything. i want to talk about the larger threat. sony has gotten our attention because it's sexy. there are names that we know. we all go the movies in a way that the target was hacked in. how big is this threat right now? we had a wake-up call. do you think we're all woken up enough to know that this can happen, or is it really not as strong as we think? >> well, i think the threat is definitely there. certainly i don't take any exception to how seriously everyone is taking this type of intrusion. this is a major company that was invaded. sony had terrible cyber
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security, so it didn't take a huge level of sophistication to pull this off, it used to be that hackers just wanted to cause frustration, now we're seeing it move into crime. credit card numbers are taken, social security numbers, this is where you see infrastructure attacks. germany just released its end of year cyber security report. they identified cases in which factories in germany. one factory was hit by a remote attack that caused its robotic infrastructure, the production line, the systems that melt steel, they became damaged because they're controlled by remote systems. we're seeing that more and more
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people are capable of this kind of thing. it could be easier to hide behind anonymity online. >> i talked to one security company, they say the start ups don't have the restrictions, the technology that they to use. these people can lose much more quickly. >> i think it's a good analogy. security experts i've spoken with agree with that. this is the great leveler when you talk about conventional warfare if a nation-state wants to make trouble for another nation-state in the past it was expensive to buy all the needed weaponry to do that. but the internet is the great leveler. a tiny start up can take on a massive media company.
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the same thing is true here with terrorism and nation states. if you can afford a couple of smart coders you can do serious damage to enemies. we're seeing the same kind of flattening of opportunity, the huge ability of anybody to do whatever they want on the internet that also applies to terrorism when it comes to cyber security. absolutely we're seeing the flexibility, the rapid response all the things we've come to enjoy in the private sector and in apps, it all applies. >> they can pivot as well. jake ward for us tonight in san francisco. thanks so much. >> well, president obama vows to strike back against the hackers. we'll look at how america might respond coming up. and why the government is saying america's biggest insurance company is too big to fail. tell me what is on your mind by tweeting ali velshi, and velshi. keep it here.
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>> we have an exclusive story tonight, and we go live... >> now that the united states has squarely blamed north korea for the sony cyberattack, the question is what can america do about it? president obama says the u.s. will respond proportionately, but what that look like? our next guest says the u.s. needs to target north korea's vulnerability ies. author of "the impossible state: north korea past and future." victor what are the options for the united states? >> i think there are a range of them starting with the criminal investigation to bring to task the individuals who were involved in this particular
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action with sony. there is a lot of information that could be share. and potentially even corporation with china because these hacks against sony could easily have been against a chinese company. this could be something that we could work together. and something that we would never see in the general public, which is a proportionate response. even in the open source, we have a pretty good idea where north korea's state sponsored computer facilities and internet facilities are. you could probably do something there as well. >> that's what i want to figure out specifically in firms of vulnerabilities. the president has come out saying that this response will be proportional, but we'll pick the place and time. and you're saying when it happens we're not going to know what it is, but give us more of
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a hint of what it could be. >> it's hard to tell. i thought the president's words were quite interesting to use that specific terminology in place and time of our choosing. those are very special words that the president of the united states only uses when there is some sort of retaliation in mind. they are coming up with a range of options to try to give him to decide what to do. there is a large state-run propaganda filming industry in north korea. perhaps that might be a starting, but it's really hard to say. >> it's interesting choice of words, a place and time of our choosing. this is really cyber warfare.
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why wouldn't north korea just come out and say, we did it. this is us. look at what we did. call attention to themselves. is this just so against the way they operate? >> actually, it's quite typical in terms of their tactics when something is done outside seas or outside of their country they've used this tactic before. their submarine sunk a vessel some years ago. although they never took responsibility for it. the sony hack in that sense is like that. if they did a test in their own territory it's hard for them not to take credit for it. but this is typical the way they operate. >> how series of serious of a threat is this? are there other soft targets
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that they may be thinking of already? what concerns new this area? >> you there has always been a concern in the united states about soft targets whether it's private sector, financial industry, infrastructure, key infrastructure, and i think there have been a lot of efforts in the past to really harden those facilities. sunny pictures is clearly a soft target. another thing we have to remember while this was an attack against a particular movie they're on a path to development all the asystemmic capabilities they can use against big powers. north korea does not have the most sophisticated weaponry. it does not have a booming economy. they're looking for missiles, weapons of mass destruction and
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now cyber to throw their weight around the world, to disturb and disable other countries. this was was an attack against a movie, but i think it speaks to something larger in terms of this country's desire to develop a full portfolio of asystemmic capabilities. >> do you think kim jong-un is trying to impress his own citizens, or is this something to impress the world? >> i don't think--a lot of stuff they do externally is meant to enforce the state and propagate this myth of this leadership, but in this case i don't think they would want their people to know that there is a comedy movie out there that pokes fun at its leadership, and then in the final scene the guy's head blowing up. i don't think they want stuff like that coming in to the country. they would embed this in the
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typical anti-western propaganda, saying that they have prevailed against the west. >> if it were to work with somebody else, first, do you think that would be right? and if they were to work with somebody else who do you think it would be? >> i would assume they're right because they have nor access t to--more access to the information than i do. a portion of it has been homegrown, but a portion of it has been with the help of outside actors. the missiles program was helped by the iranians and pakistanis. one would imagine in developing these capabilities because north korea is probably the most unwired country in the world, they must have had help from outside sources. who that is, we just don't know.
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if it was the chinese, is it korea. is it the russians, we don't know. >> victor kha, thank you. >> coming up, new report cards for colleges and how they could help students and parents choose. >> a crisis on the border... >> thery're vulnarable... these are refugees... >> migrent kids flooding into the u.s. >> we're gonna go and see josue who's just been deported... >> why are so many children fleeing? >> your children will be a part of my group or killed... >> fault lines, al jazeera america's hard hitting... >> today they will be arrested... >> ground breaking... they're firing canisters of gas at us... emmy award winning investigative series... fault lines no refuge: children at the border only on al jazeera america
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>> now available, the new al jazeea america mobile news app. get our exclusive in depth, reporting when you want it. a global perspective wherever you are. the major headlines in context. mashable says... you'll never miss the latest news >> they will continue looking for survivors... >> the potential for energy production is huge... >> no noise, no clutter, just real reporting. the new al jazeera america mobile app, available for your apple and android mobile device. download it now >> there's a big debate whether students are getting a real bang for their bucks by attending college. starting next year the government hopes to help students decide if college is right for them. there harass a release of a draft of the rating system that will judge the nation's 5,000 colleges at a time when student debt is weighing down many families. libby casey with more.
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>> jen, the draft released friday morning is bear bones. the first step in an ambitious plan by the education department to help students compare colleges. eventually schools will be rated good, bad, or in the middle with most falling in that midrange. now the draft is a score card. you can input a school, where you live, or what you would like to study, and compare things like cost. eventually it will show things like a school's affordability, graduation rates, loan repayment rates. that last one could be a key indicators of whether you're getting a good enough job after college to pay off those student loans. now president obama announced this plan of rating schools last year. in hopes of pushing back at the soars cost of higher education as well as growing student debt. this is just a first round, and officials of the department of
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education say a lot of metric has to get crunched to create this score card, but they hope to have it fleshed out more by the next school year. >> all right, libby, the u.s. government said that insurance company metlife is too big to fail. it didn't use those words but that's the up shot of saying that metlife is a systematically important institution. the council is concerned that metlife investments are hard to sale, and a forced liquidation of metlife positions could hurt financial markets. that means that met live could face more tougher capitol requirement and government supervision. and it means lots of red tape. just what every ceo wants. it's not surprising that metlife says it does not think it meets the criteria. metlife, the largest insurer in the country has 30 days to
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decide whether to fight the council's decision in court. up next, close but not cigar. the u.s. has it listed as trade embargo, but cuba is about to see a lot more dollars come their way. i'll tell you why when real money returns. >> "consider this". the news of the day, plus so much more. >> we begin with the growing controversy. >> answers to the questions no one else will ask. >> why did so many of these people choose to risk their lives? >> antonio mora, award winning and hard hitting. >> people are dying because of this policy. >> there's no status quo, just the bottom line. >> what is the administration doing behind the scenes? >> real perspective. "consider this". monday through thursday, 10:00 eastern. only on al jazeera america. real reporting that brings you the world. >> this is a pretty dangerous trip. >> security in beirut is tight. >> more reporters. >> they don't have the resources to take the fight to al shabaab.
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>> money that families send home to their families , that's partly why this week'sivityic deal between the u.s. and cuba is so important. under the new policy families in the u.s. families can send a lot more money home.
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how do cubans in florida feel about the policy shift? >> it depends on which cubans we're talking about here. for the older generation who moved here after fidel took power in 1959, they were upset about the shift. for them it is a bad thing. switch gears a little bit, and the younger cubans tend to favor a closer connection with cuba. they have relatives there, many of them i met when i was in cuba, many have friends, family, they're constantly sending money back there. that's really how much cuba's economy stays afloat. we went to the miami international airport to take a look. >> in many ways this is the engine of cuba's economy.
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they represent a $2.6 billion industry. an increasingly important source of revenue as falling oil prices puts a squeeze on how much venezuel aid venezuela can send to cuba. people bring back t.v.'s, clothes, even car tires. >> these are gifts. >> so this is a daily scene here at miami international airport. you have cuban american families with basic items. car tires, bought the plants, toys for children, things that you would normally get in the united states, but not available in havana. now the expectation is that this will happen much more often. >> under the new policy those with relatives on the island will now be able to send $8,000 home a year. that's a fore-fold increase from what it used to be. and now companies will no longer
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need a special license to do their business. and with a largely untapped market of 11 million people just 90 miles off the coast of florida, scenes likes these will likely get bigger as the economy opens to its old cold war enemies. >> this is a country, these are two countries that have been frozen in time since 1959. so this is a situation, and it's a people who have essentially dealt with a very stringent economic reality between these two countries. 90 miles separate the southern part of florida where i am right now and havana, and you could not be more than a world apart. with this normalization in
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relations you get the sense that we're at the beginning of a new era here. >> you're talking about these numbers, $8,000 is a fore-fold increase, so people are going to be getting that much more money. what is the expected effect on the cuban economy? that's a lot more money heading down there? >> right, now the cuban economy, is a state-run economy. there is virtually nothing that the cuban government does not have its hands in. if you're a spanish hotel or chinese business you have to do business with the cuban government. at the same time, though, president raul castro has built himself as a bit of reformer, so there is private business starting to crop up. as you see the influx of money that we see with the four-fold increase that will manifest in restaurant, shops, and we'll see the seeds of capitalism. will this turn in to the mcdonald's that you see at times square? probably not, but there is a
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change that you see without the removal of the half-century-old trade embargo that congress has to remove. >> as you were saying looking at those lines in the airport and what they were bringing over, things that you would expect to be able to get at home depot or toys "r" us. now that you can send more cash what is going to happen to people bringing in physical goods. will that still need to continue? >> that's something that constantly is a reality in miami international airport. there are a number of direct flights that go straight from havana. from new york, miami, los angeles, maybe dallas. but these are the venues through which supplies get there. i was living in cuba between 2009 and 2010. you can blame part of the shortages on the embargo, but also the communist system there. but when things run out, they run out. you might not have toilet paper
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on the shelf. your favorite cereal may not be in stock. so when you buy, you buy in bulk. some of the areas look like 1930-depression era. the hope is among the people who live in cuba, this new policy and the increase people might be bringing might change the reality of day-to-day existence that people have in havana and elsewhere. >> a stunning setting there in miami. we'll let you go. coming up, the new rules for coal. burning power plants, and why some say they don't go far enough. >> television icon norman lear >> we hoped we were delivering real characters... >> creator of "all in the family" "the jeffersons" and "good times" talks race, comedy and american culture today... >> you're taking me to a place
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>> president obama today addressed the media before taking off on his two-week christmas vacation in hawai'i. he spoke about the sony hack and said the company made a bad decision in ca canceling the movie "the interview." i didn't see you get called on. he only called on women. >> way to rub it in. unprecedented. he called on eight women reporters, no television, broadcast or cable for that matter. i was hoping, but they had a theme that they stuck to. the president had his list, naughty and nice. all the nice ones included only women today. >> history making. i'm surprised how much he said about sony and saying specifically that they had made a mistake about it. what did you think? >> i was shocked really. he said if they had only picked
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up the phone and gave them a call, they said let's call president obama and run this by him and see if it happens all the time. i thought it was a surprising turn of events, and he spoke to the sony situation and what a horrible situation that the company is in at the moment. he came out forcefully and said that sony appears to have caved for the short term. in withholding the interview. it did take a lot of people by surprise, no question about it. >> do you think we're going to get more information about this? the movie as supposed to be released on christmas day. the president was cagey saying we'll name the price and plac place--the time and place, will we hear anything more about it? >> we all know the story about north korea, an unpredic predictable regime, and perhaps even an unstable regime. let's not forget there are troops along the dmz, who have
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been there for the better part of 60 years, and they're all there for one reason. that is to contain north korea. i thought it was interesting that the north korea has one big ally in the world, and that is its neighbor china. i thought it was interesting that the president ruled out china or any other state actor assisting north korea. there has been some speculation, and let's face it, we don't know what happens inside north korea but the presumption was that north korea would not have the technology know how to pull this off. >> let's talk about cuba. we've had a little bit of time to di jesus this news and the normalization. he defended it a little bit. how do you think he did? >> president obama, first of all in general he had the air and demeanor of a man who was about to leave for 17 days in hawai'i
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for family vacation. i felt like the white house on down are confident feel like they are on the right side of history on this. he he said lifting the embargo may take some time. marco rubio said he's going to fight tooth and nail. john boehner said he does not want to bring it up on the house floor. it's not coming up on the house floor. >> i wish we were going to hawai'i. mike viqueira, thank you very much. >> good to see. >> you the environmental protection agency unveiled the first federal regulation governing the storage and disposal of coal ash today, the waste left over. but the new rules were weaker than environmentalists hoped for.
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they failed to identify coal ash as hazard ous waste. one area so tons of coal ash spill in the river after a storage belonging to duke energy rupture there had. >> tons of waste from coal-fired power plants. >> arsenic, chromium, lead in a lot of cases. >> poured out of a cracked drainage pipe into a major river in north carolina last february. >> duke energy cannot fail. we take this responsibility very seriously. we feel that we failed a bit with dan river. >> after the spill a federal grand jury began to look into duke's relationship with north carolina regulators. miles away from the dan river
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spill a shuttered coal plant overlooks a water basin as toxic ash seems into the area. >> you guys are not drinking your water because you're afraid there is coal ash in it. there are jugs of water that you have to drive to get to? >> yes. >> what about baying your kids? >> the pediatrician feels it's not in the best interest of the children to do that right now. >> joann and ron live down the road. >> you and your husband created this map. it shows 72 people in your area that have had some sort of deadly disease. >> right. >> here are the coal ash ponds. >> right. >> right across the street, cancer? >> right. >> right over there? >> right . >> three brain tumors. brain tumor. then across the street another brain tumor. >> we heard questions and concerns from residents near the
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plants who have hearing so much hype about coal ash. we take very seriously their concerns. we're not finding any evidence that coal ash has impacted ground water near the facilities that have not already been addressed. the company has been very pro active. >> i don't call that hype. i call that very serious. there are many people nearby who have had cancer and died, lots of brain tumors. >> duke energy sampled the water. residents, like the thomases, say that they watched duke take samples in areas that would not show high levels of toxicity. >> how are the test results so different between the river keepers and duke on the water staff? collection meld. one of the things that we're finding is sometimes these groups are taking very turbid samples. >> what does that mean? >> they have a lot of sediment in them. >> duke says that allows the metals in the coal ash to read at higher levels of toxicity, but river keeper will scott said
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that his group's testing follow federal guidelines. >> we don't think it makes sense to go against the epa sucks and filter out the contaminants that we're supposed to be testing for. duke energy is going to do what is best for them. >> the state's governor worked for the company for 29 years. this year his budget cut funding for workers who inspect coal ash ponds. >> what we want for the management of duke to fully understand the dangers that their company's practices are foisting on the people of the state, and on our rivers. i think they're beginning to realize it. >> duke said it will have all the ponds 32 ponds and rivers cleaned up, a cost of $2 billion to $8 billion. many still will not use the
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water supply and still worry about their future. robert ray, al jazeera, north carolina. >> as robert ray's story showed coal-fired electricity can be a very dirty business. one ceo who has not shied away from that is energy's david crane, who described his company as the fourth largest polluter in america. he has no plans to abandon it. ali velshi found out a company who is also banking on the future of renewable energy. >> the last time we saw a collapse in the price of oil, as you mentioned, it really took the wind out of winds alternatives, and a lot of things happened that caused them to look like fringe technologies. in the inter convening few years people started to make money. more so wind and solar. you made bets on both of them. the wind has not worked out so
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well, and the solar bet, you put more money on the table for. explain this thinking. >> wind technology becomes more economic by making bigger and bigger wind turbines. because it's changing kinetic energy. you have to put wind turbine away from the population. that require high volum voltage transmission lines. that's what made us a skeptic about wind. having said that people are bidding wind power at $0.02 to $0.03 wholesale. that's a competitive price competitive with any fossil fuel at that price. solar is a nano technology. and solar competes the retail price of electricity, which
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means you can avoid the transmission and distribution charge. >> the concept being that you can get solar power for your home. >> you're monitizing at your home your own solar resource, and my view is if you could make solar on your own house increase your popular value by putting solar panels, and the real estate industry has proven that, but if you can make electricity cheaper at your home than you can buy it from the grid, why wouldn't everyone do that. our calculation is that 30 million american homes, not environmental consideration, should have solar on their roof, and in average 25,000 to 30,000 you're talking about 2 trillion-dollar of economic opportunity there. i don't know that many other industries, iphone sixes where there is an trillion dollar opportunity. we're keen to push that.
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the other thing we like about that, if i put solar on your house, you and i have a relationship for 20 years because we would do it by a 20--year lease. there is so much new energy technology coming in and around the house, what i really want is i want to you trust me, like me, and i want me to be the person you turn to as you think about bring your built-in environment to the 21st century. >> you're expecting and hoping to be a very big player in the actual retail solar market. >> yes. >> you're going right to the customer with this? >> yes, we covet the customer interface, but we're also recognizing as much as electricity is a critical part of the 21 of the century as it was the 20th, people are consuming it in a different way. and the lifestyle just becomes more portable, more moving around, more inter connected, and i'm sure you've seen it, the
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number of places where people are out and about for seven or eight hours, their cellphones are running out of power halfway through. >> i see it every day, in my own life. >> it's a real constraint, being tethered to the grid. what we call personal power. my goal with you is whatever you are doing for however long you're doing t we want you energ energized and we want you energized by us. >> you see the grid in the way we distribute electricity in this country as something that is not modernized sufficiently, and you're sure it will. this is where you fall out with your cohorts in the utility industry. the world in which we grew up was exactly the same. transmission lines, transformers, wires that go in to your house. >> absolutely. it thomas edison was sitting
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here, he would recognize it. >> he would say i recognize that. >> he would say, i recognize those poles. i put those up. yes, it's a system that was designed in the 1920's and 1930's. i think the american grid was voted the greatest engineering achievement in the 20th century. the most important word there is 20th century. i think this is now the weakest link. most of the utilities above ground on wooden poles. we have a 21st century economy that depends on wooden poles. anyone who lived through super storm sandy knows they're not up to the weather challenges of the 21st century. those who get paid for the system say strengthen the system. investing in the grid in the united states today is the same
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thing as sinking a lot of money in to telephone y . >> right, when everything is mobile. >> right. >> why not make this an infrastructure project fixes the grid. your answer to that would be? >> some day it's a stranded asset because people will use the grid less and less. there will be fewer electrons crossing the grid. to create a grid based as most long-term models do on linear growth from where we have been in the past are insane. we're in a situation that is about to be disrupted. ultimately what i call it is the post officization of the grid because it becomes the backup. in the 21st century the grid should be the backup to most people generating their own power. >> when "real money" returns why many christmas tree farmers are
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having a very merry and green holiday season. stick around, we're back in two minutes. >> it's a chilling and draconian sentence... it simply cannot stand. >> its disgraceful... the only crime they really committed is journalism... >> they are truth seekers... >> all they really wanna do is find out what's happening, so they can tell people... >> governments around the world all united to condemn this... >> as you can see, it's still a very much volatile situation... >> the government is prepared to carry out mass array... >> if you want free press in the new democracy, let the journalists live.
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>> al jazeera america morning news >> good morning and welcome! to al jazeera america >> real stories... real reporting... real news... a deeper look... >> a much better forecast for today >> with an international edge >> why is this so important and how close is this deal? >> from our award winning news teams across america and beyond >> we begin with breaking news coming out of the west bank... >> news that matters... al jazeera america morning news every morning 7 eastern only on al jazeera america
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>> american retailers are hoping for a big weekend. the last one before christmas. they even named tomorrow super saturday. that might be hype but data company shopper track expect sales tomorrow to reach 10 billion. that would top black friday sales for the first time ever. sales on the day after thanksgiving fell this year compared to 2013. partly because retailers started discounting way before black friday. but the national retail federation expect holiday sales to rise 4% this year compared to last. meanwhile, christmas tree farmers are seeing green this holiday season. sales are up. during the height of the recession tree sales growth slowed down but this year it is on track to be a record breaker. according to the national christmas tree association, yes, there is such a thing, the average shopper spent a little
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more than $35 on a tree last year. but shoppers may have less to spend on what goes under the tree as they find they're paying more for the tree itself. >> andrew coal owns a four acre farm in new jersey where people cut down their christmas tree. he is a small player in the industry, as much of a symbol in the economy as holiday cheer. >> this looks like the charlie brown snoopy tree. how long will this little guy take? >> from now approximately six years. >> six years. >> that means the trees sold today were planted at the start of the great recession, which did a number on the industry. as home foreclosures increased, and fewer people moved out of their parents houses, the demand for trees sloped .
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>> you would could it because you love to do it. >> farmers planted more trees than consumers wanted. in the last decades total harvest fell, and surviving farmers were either very large, more than 150 acres, or really resourceful like andrew. >> we do landscape maintenance. that's what we do for a living. most tree farmers are either retired and/or have a full-time job and doing their tree farm. >> but this is shaping up to be a very good season for andrew and the entire industry. he's on track to sell all 400 of his christmas trees. >> trees sale in general for new jersey and probably the nation are rebounding somewhat. >> 2013 tree sales also exceeded pre-recession levels.
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>> we found it, 2014 tree. >> this year americans are expected to buy more than 33 million trees. so let's talk price. all the trees at this farm, the big ones, the little ones, $50. so. >> so it is somewhat related to the cost but it's basically what the market will bear. >> when it comes to christmas trees the american northwest and the state of nort north carolina are most productive. three out of every five christmas trees are harvested in these areas. the prices demanded by prices in these relevance ripple through the holiday season. >> growers are earning about $20 on every sale. that's $2 to $3 more than last year. by the time these trees make it to big buck retailers, you can be paying anywhere from $3,553
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to well over $100 for a designer tree. >> last year in california they're very expensive in california. >> industry experts say that tree producers are quickly adapting to evolving consumer tastes. for example, because of shift to smaller living spaces malle smaller trees are hot this year. this means that if there are irregular trees this year, he can cut them up and make them into wreaths. >> demand is also rising for american-grown christmas trees. u.s. farmers routinely ship trees to china. i'm jen rogers in for ali vels velshi. thanks for joining us, and have a great weekend.
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this is techknow, a show about innovations that can save lives. we are going to explore the intersection of hardware and humanity and we are doing it through unique ways. this is a show about science by scientists. let's check out our team of hardcore nerds. i am phil torres, an entymologist. from base can camp, we are on the scene after raging wildfire. the scientists who go directly in the path of a firestorm. their kairmz camera's actually consumed by flames. what they are learning could save lives.


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