tv PBS News Hour PBS April 11, 2012 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: the race for the white house is on as mitt romney called on republican conservatives to unite behind him. good evening, i'm judy woodruff. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. on the "newshour" tonight: we have the latest on the presidential race as both parties now focus on the november election. >> woodruff: then, we examine the case against george zimmerman, accused in the killing of trayvon martin in florida. >> brown: from elkhart, indiana, correspondent elizabeth brackett reports on the comeback of the recreational vehicle industry now offering jobs in a tough economy. >> i need immediate quick
recovery and it's right here. don't turn your back on the r.v. industry. they know what they are doing. they have been through this cycle many, many times. watch and see what happens. >> woodruff: we assess north korea's capabilities and ambitions as it readies a long- range rocket launch. >> brown: margaret warner has the story of a high level political scandal in china, involving corruption, murder and the ouster of a communist party official. >> woodruff: and from the ivory coast, special correspondent jeff sapienza explains how new water-taps are bringing together communities once divided along ethnic lines. >> water committees in the villages are a step forward. they just need support now, to be backed by the government to go ahead and give peace a chance. >> woodruff: that's all ahead on tonight's "newshour." major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
>> citi. supporting progress for 200 years. >> and by the bill and melinda gates foundation. dedicated to the idea that all people deserve the chance to live a healthy productive life. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: the obama and romney campaigns opened their head-to-head battle for the presidency, in earnest today. in public statements and advertising, they looked to shape their messages for the november election. >> the president's campaign
slogan was hope and change. i think that's changing now to let's hope for a change! >> woodruff: for mitt romney and president obama, this amounted to day one of the general election campaign. rick santorum's exit from the republican race made romney the party's presumptive nominee, and starting on fox news this morning, he laid out his argument against the president. >> i think it is going to be watershed election for america. will we remain a free and opportunity-based society, or will we instead be a society driven instead by large government, taking more and more, spending more and more, and dominating american life? >> woodruff: later, in hartford, connecticut, romney addressed his own lagging support among women, arguing it's the president's policies that have hurt women disproportionately this, as the republican group crossroads g.p.s. launched a
multi-million dollar ad campaign in six key swing states, against the president's eren policies >> no matter how obama spins it, gas costs too much. tell obama, stop blaming others. work to pass better energy policies. >> woodruff: the president did not directly answer the attacks. instead, at the white house, he argued again for raising taxes on the rich and charged republicans have the wrong priorities. >> if we're going to keep giving somebody like me or some of the people in this room tax breaks that we don't need and we can't afford, then one of two things happens: either you've got to borrow more money to pay down a deeper deficit or you've got to demand deeper sacrifices from the middle class, and you've got to cut investments that help us grow as an economy. >> woodruff: but the obama campaign took the fight directly to romney, posting a web ad reprising some of the
candidate's primary season statements. >> corporations are people, my friend! i like being able to fire people who work for me. i was a severely conservative republican governor. >> woodruff: meanwhile, the also-rans in the republican field-- newt gingrich and ron paul-- remained in the race for now. gingrich said tuesday, he's hoping to benefit from santorum's departure. >> obviously, we would like to get his delegates. and frankly, on values and on conservatism. i'm much closer to senator santorum's delegates than governor romney's. >> woodruff: as of today, romney had 664 of the 1,144 convention delegates needed. he looked to collect them in the 19 remaining primaries, as depicted here on the "newshour's" vote 2012 map center. but his main focus now is november and defeating the president.
>> brown: still to come on the "newshour": the charges against george zimmerman in the death of trayvon martin; the r.v. capital of the world; a long-range rocket launch from north korea; a high-level scandal in china and water worries in ivory coast. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: wall street found a way forward today, after a week-long slump. stocks rallied on alcoa's earnings report that beat expectations, and a bond sale in spain that went better than expected. the dow jones industrial average gained 89 points to close at 12,805. the nasdaq rose 25 points to close at 3,016. in another development, a federal reserve survey found steady growth in each of the fed's 12 bank districts, from mid-february through march. a major earthquake-- magnitude 8.6 shook the india ocean today- - off indonesia's western coast. the quake was centered under the ocean floor, some 300 miles southwest of banda aceh, on the northern tip of sumatra. it was followed by an almost
equally powerful aftershock. the shaking triggered widespread panic, but there were no reports of serious damage or injuries. we have a report from john sparks of independent television news. >> reporter: the people who experienced it said it seemed to last forever. several minutes of terror, of dismay in the city of banda ache. as the ground rumbled, the walls shook and mothers clung to their loved ones. they have learned to fear such events here. a tsunami, caused by a giant earthquake in 2004, killed 170,000 on this island so today, many reacted with panic. with tsunami warnings issued, people poured on to the streets, moving together, looking for higher ground and soon the streets were jammed with cars and trucks and mopeds. not everyone made a run for it, some sought sanctuary and
comfort within the confines of local mosques. yet fear swept through crowd as one of several powerful aftershocks rippled through the city. "don't panic, stay alert," said the man with the megaphone. inside on the window sills and metal gates people kept watch for incoming waves, but their prayers it seems, have been answered. the quake, while powerful, moved in a way that was less likely to cause tsunami waves and the water, well it rose less than a meter said seismologists tonight. still, it was felt widely around the region. here in had yai, in southern thailand, workers and guests fled their hotel down dimly lit stairwells, then regrouped in the shadow of the city's swaying buildings. and on the thai coast, holiday makers and residents evacuated
the beaches, many heading for elevated bits of highway on the coastal road. >> sreenivasan: today's quake was one of the most powerful in the last 50 years. but geologists said this time, the earth's tectonic plates shifted horizontally and not vertically. that prevented the formation of huge tsunamis, like the ones that devastated western indonesia in 2004, and northern japan last year. in syria, the military kept up its assault on rebel-held areas, even as the government vowed to halt fighting in time for a cease-fire deadline tomorrow. amateur video out of homs showed fresh shelling, with impacts spraying debris into the air. tanks rolled through the streets, and rebels said at least a dozen people were killed. meanwhile, u.n. envoy kofi annan visited iran-- one of syria's closest allies-- and appealed for help in ending the fighting. two more nato troops have been killed in southern afghanistan. the alliance announced the deaths today, but gave no immediate word on the nationalities. the attacks came a day after taliban suicide bombers killed at least 19 afghans across the country.
the u.s. justice department and 15 states accused apple and major book publishers today, of illegally trying to raise electronic book prices. a federal lawsuit said charged they conspired to charge an extra two to five dollars for each book. u.s. attorney general eric holder spoke in washington. >> we allege that executives at the highest levels of the companies included in today's lawsuit, concerned that e-book sellers had reduced prices, worked together to eliminate competition among stores selling e-books. as a result of this alleged conspiracy, we believe that consumers paid millions of dollars more for some of the most popular titles. >> sreenivasan: three publishers-- hachette, harper- collins and simon and shuster-- have reached settlements with the justice department. the lawsuit will proceed against two others-- macmillan and penguin. mass murderer charles manson was denied parole again today in california, possibly for the last time. manson and his cult followers terrorized los angeles in 1969, with the brutal killings of actress sharon tate and six
others. he is now 77 years old. but the parole board ruled today he has made no attempt at rehabilitation. that means he will not be eligible for parole for another 15 years, when he would be 92. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jeff. >> brown: and we turn to the latest on the trayvon martin case and a charge brought in that killing. martin was shot and killed in late february during a confrontation with george zimmerman. the 17-year-old was unarmed, but zimmerman told police he acted in self-defense. a short time ago special prosecutor angela corey said she was charging zimmerman with one count of second korea murder and he is now in custody. >> we launched an swensive investigation building on all of the work the sanford pliment and the state attorney's office in seminole county had already done. unless you've ever been a law
enforcement officer or a prosecutor handling a difficult homicide case, you cannot know what it's like to launch this type of investigation and come to the right conclusion. the supreme court has defined our role on numerous occasions as prosecutors that we are not only ministers of justice. we are seekers of the truth. and we stay true to that mission. again, we prosecute on facts and the laws of the great and sovereign state of florida, and that's the way it will be in this case. when we took our oath of office in 2009, we pledged not only to look out for our precious victims of all of our cases but also to adhere to the rules of the criminal justice system, and the rules of our constitution and statutes that protect a defendant's rights as well. when we charge a person with a crime, we are equally committed to justice on their behalf as we are on our victim's behalf.
so we are here to do that on behalf of our victim, trayvon martin, and on wehalf of the person responsible for his death, george zimmerman. we will continue to seek the truth throughout this case. every single day our prosecutors across this great country handle difficult cases, and they adhere to that same standard, a never-ending search for the truth and a quest to also do the right thing for the right reason. there is a reason casey are tried in a court of law, not in the court of the public. and not by the media, because details have to come out in excruciating and minute fashion, detail by detail, bit of evidence by bit of evidence. and it's only then when the tryer of fact, whether hoots a judge or a jury, gets all of those details that then the laws apply to that and a decision can be rendered. we will scrupulously adhere to our ethical obligations and to the rules of evidence in presenting this case that way.
today, we filed an information charging george zimmerman with murder in the second degree, a capias has been issued for his arrest. with the filing of that information and the issuance of a capias he will have the right to appear in front of a magistrate in seminole county within 24 hours of his arrest and thus formal prosecution will begin. >> brown: more now on the charge against zimmerman. jeffrey weiner is an attorney in florida and former president of the national association of criminal defense lawyers. welcome to you. so, second degree murder. tell us what that means. what is the charge? >> second degree murder basically means that the act was imminently dangerous to another, evincing a depraved mind regarding of human life and without premeditated design. in other words north first degree murder and not manslaughter. second degree murder punishment up to life in prison. >> brown: well, that's what i was wondering. among the things she could have charged him with, it's
manslaughter on one side and first degree murder on the other? >> basically. first degree murder is premeditated so i don't think anybody thought she would charge that. most people i believe involved in the criminal justice system thought the charges would be manslaughter. instead, she charged second degree murder. it's a very, very harsh and serious charge. maybe it's justified. maybe not. we'll have to see. >> brown: it's also, clearly, hard tore prove i would expect. what is required in the proof? >> the proof is certainly more than what is required for manslaughter. they're going to have to show that he had really a depraved mind-- in other words, he didn't plan this ahead of time. it wasn't premeditated but it was as reckless and wanton behavior as could possibly have tan place short of premeditation. >> brown: now tied in to all this from the beginning, of course, was florida's stand your ground law. how does that play into this second degree charge here? >> i'm not not so sure it has
much to do with it. there's always an inherent right of self-defense in states that don't have this law, and even before florida adopted the law. mr. zimmerman's counsel may argue that he had a right to consphront trayvon, that he went to him and at that point, he did not have to retreat when he was attacked. we don't know enough of the facts yet, but these are more serious charges than most people expected, and it's a very, very heavy burden on the state of florida to prove beyond a reasonable doubt all of the elements of second degree murder. >> brown: but staying with this stand your ground, just to be clear, the prosecutor wasn't necessarily building a case around it. she was just saying it doesn't apply or here's the charge in spite of what that law is? >> i think it's the latter. here's the charge. you defend yourself now and good luck. whether she's looking for a trial. whether she's looking to try to coerce a plea to a less-serious charge, such as manslaughter, we'll have to see.
>> brown: how unusual is this, just having-- in florida-- just having a special prosecutor brought in, in a case like this? >> it happens often, but not all the time. this is a case where i believe the governor was correct to do it. and i do salute this prosecutor for not bringing the matter to a grand jury. i think she was right to make the decision herself. >> brown: well, explain that. she did make that decision. what would that be based on? what was the alternative there? >> the alternative was what i would think would be sort of a cop-out. in other words, bring it to a grand jury, a grand jury typically does whatever the prosecutor sctz the grand jury to do, and then the prosecutor can say, "listen, even though i run for public office, this was not my decision. this was the decision of the grand jury." instead, she took the responsibility to say, "listen, this is not first degree murder. i don't have to give it to a grand jury. i will make the decision. and i think that was proper and
correct. >> brown: now just yesterday, george zimmerman's lawyers withdrew from the case. they said that they were having trouble contacting him. they said they were worried about his emotional, his physical state. so where does that-- where does that leave things for him? >> well, i'm not sure if he's going to have a private lawyer or an appointed lawyer, if he qualifies. frankly, the behavior of the lawyers, in my opinion, was shocking. i never witnessed anything like that in almost 39 years as a criminal defense lawyer. i think the conduct of those lawyers will be subject to scrutiny by the florida bar. >> brown: because what, speaking to the media, you mean, or withdrawing? >> not just speaking to the media, and certainly not withdrawing, but all of the facts, the comments that they said, they they haven't been in touch with the client, that they haven't spoken with him. they don't know where he is. i mean, say they said a lot of things that are, number one, privileged, and number, two totally inappropriate, and in my
view, it looked like a publicity move more than actual serious representation in this very, very important and serious case. >> brown: now the prosecutor just a few minutes ago said mr. zimmerman is now in custody. that was after yesterday when the lawyers were saying his whereabouts were unknown. but the prosecutor, i gather, has said-- she's not saying where he's being held. is that unusual? >> no, it's not unusual. my thought always was, when she announced charges, he would already be in custody. so that happened one of two ways. either the police went out and arrested him or he has counsel or contacted them and said, "listen, if you're going to charge me, i'll surrender myself." we don't yet know the details. there's a very, very strong chance, however, that he'll be granted bond, although not immediately, because in florida, there is typically a secondary hearing in which the state tries to keep someone in custody, if that's what they want to do, on felony charges such as this one, and the defense moves for a
bond. absent an agreement, he will not be released tomorrow. >> brown: it was very interesting to hear the prosecutor there talk about not trying this in-- not trying this in the public, not trying this in the media. of course, this case has aroused national attention and no doubt in florida, as well. would you think that that played or put some special pressure on her to act quickly? >> yes. i don't think she acted that quickly, frankly. but she had pressure, international pressure, even, to make a decision in this case. i think she feels she has enough evidence to go forward. she made the obligatory comments of looking out for a defendant's rights. we'll see about that as the case goes on. >> brown: what does hoop next? what's the next step? >> well, the first step is he has an initial appearance. at that point if there is no agreement as to bond a bond hearing will be set-- it's called an argure hearing-- in
florida. after that matter is resolved, whether he'll be held in custody pending the outcome of the case or released on bond. then we have what's called discovery. florida is one of the best states in the country for open discovery. there is no ambush. all witnesses must be disclosed. all evidence must be disclosed, and the defense lawyer or lawyers will preparer this case for trial or ultimately a plea. it just depends how this case plays out. >> brown: jeffrey weiner, thanks so much. >> my pleasure, great questions. >> woodruff: now, one midwest city looks to boost jobs by investing in an industry that was once in decline. special correspondent elizabeth brackett of wttw chicago reports. >> reporter: elkhart, indiana has long been known as the r.v. capitol of the world. but when the bottom fell out of the r.v. market in 2008, unemployment in elkart soared to over 20%.
two years ago, elkart jumped on the electric vehicle bandwagon hoping bring those high unemployment numbers down. it lured norway based think auto to town with federal stimulus money, tax breaks and space in a former r.v. plant. elkhart mayor dick moore says in return think promised over 400 well paying jobs. the deal also included two all electric think cars for the city. mayor moore says the cars drive well, have good pick up and cost about $3.00 worth of electricity every 100 miles. >> we're awfully happy that they've chosen elkhart, indiana to build these cars and we understand they're in somewhat of a difficult situation right now but our hopes are still high our confidence is still there. >> reporter: the mayor may be the only one holding on to hope. think autos are still visible through the window of the elkhart plant but there is no sign of any activity. think filed for bankruptcy protection in norway last year. a russian investor just purchased think at auction but
has not announced any plans for the ailing company. the president of the county's economic development commission admits that think has been a major disappointment. >> any time you get your hopes up, you look forward to 415 new jobs, a significant multi- million dollar investment, it'd be a big win for the community, for the county, for the region and obviously it didn't come to fruition so that was disappointing. >> reporter: there were problems with the think car from the start. three recalls for defective equipment, and then the indiana went bankrupt.ing the batteriesn and there was a deeper problem. with a sticker price of $41,000, the think car found few buyers. >> have you seen the think car? that would be pretty hard to sell for people that buy cars in this country. >> reporter: known as the father of the electric car industry, bill wylam, whose nickname is
battery bill, began working on electric vehicles for general motors in the 1950s. he doesn't see the american car buyer warming up to a think car. >> i mean, there are niches where people would want that kind of car but it probably looks a lot more at home in downtown brussels or paris than it does in indianapolis. that type of car i think was a problem. >> reporter: but the mayor, who still has hopes for a think come back, touts the car's advantages. >> it's not a toy, it's not a plaything, it's a real car. as you can see it operates very very well. the steering is good and all of this operates with no gasoline, no bad exhaust emissions. it's all done on a battery. >> reporter: indiana has invested millions of state and federal dollars into creating an
infrastructure for electric vehicles. indianapolis has 100 short and long term public charging stations. paul mitchell heads a consortium of clean tech energy companies that have pushed hard for more electric vehicles. but even he admits that developing a brand new car is tough. >> it's going to continue to be an uphill battle to build a car from the ground up in a global industry where there's major automakers that have years of experience and deep supply chains that advantage them. >> ironically as the eclectic vehicle industry struggles the industry that has been largely responsible for the high 20% unemployment rate in the region has begun to revive. the r.v. industry has picked up in sales and has slowly begun hiring again. >> reporter: in elkhart, jayco has hired back 600 workers over the last two years. the company cut its work force in half in 2009 as sales plunged 60% during the recession, but
now jayco's largely amish work force is growing again. mark raber got his job back and says he feels good about the economy. >> i am optimistic about it. looking at the other factories in the r.v. industry other guys are working six days a week and definitely a year ago we were nowhere close. i know the unemployment rate is higher than its been but i think we are going to be okay. >> reporter: jayco now has a new lighter r.v. designed to use less gas which jayco president derald bonterager thinks will continue to boost sales, even if gas prices remain high. jayco is on target to sell 31,000 r.v.'s this year, only 4,000 less than its peak sales before the recession hit. bonterager understands how important jayco's recovery is to the surrounding economy.
>> we have a large impact, not so we have a huge impact on this economy. i hear it all the time, walking the streets and in stores they ask, how you doing? because they always say how you're doing has a big bearing on how all the other retail establishments in the area are doing. >> reporter: mayor moore still looks to electric vehicles, and other clean energy technologies to boost job creation in the future but for now. >> i need immediate quick recovery and it's right here. don't turn your back on the r.v. industry. they know what they are doing. they have been through this cycle many, many times. >> reporter: so for now the hottest vehicle in indiana is not from the future. it's from the past. >> woodruff: next, two secretive asian nations-- china about its internal political power struggles and the normally veiled north korea showing the world its prowess in missile technology.
we start with the korean story. north korea welcomed foreign journalists inside its satellite control and command center in pyongyang today, something it had never done before. >> ( translated ): to show our transparency - that's why we have invited everybody here, to show the transparency of our satellite launch. >> woodruff: on sunday, reporters had been allowed for the first time to visit the launch site, on the country's western coast. the long-range rocket was being fueled there today. it could launch as early as tomorrow, despite weeks of warnings from abroad. japanese prime minister yoshihiko noda said tuesday any launch would constitute a provocation. >> ( translated ): the missile launch described as a satellite is clearly in violation of the u.n. security council resolutions. based on this, we strongly urge north korea to refrain from the launch and we would need
continuous international cooperation. >> woodruff: japan has also deployed missile interceptors, and warned the rocket will be shot down if it crosses japanese territory. and in washington yesterday, u.s. secretary of state hillary clinton issued her own warning, as she met with japan's foreign minister. >> i would just underscore that if north korea wants a peaceful better future for their people, it should not conduct another launch. that would be a direct threat to regional security. >> woodruff: in february, u.s. officials said north korea had agreed to halt nuclear enrichment and all missile activity in return for u.s. food aid. the north insisted again today that its planned launch would not violate any agreements, since it involves a satellite and not a nuclear warhead.
u.s. officials have argued any missile that can carry a satellite, could some day carry a warhead. meanwhile, south korea said this week that the north is digging a tunnel that may be used for another underground nuclear test. all of this, as pyongyang marks the centennial birthday of its founder kim il sung. his grandson, and the country's new leader kim jong un was given yet another title today-- "first secretary" of the ruling workers' party, further enhancing his position. for more on this i'm joined now by john isaacs, the executive director of the center for arms control and non-proliferation, where he focuses on missile defense and nuclear weapons. and it's good to have you with us. >> thank you, judy. >> woodruff: just from what you've seen of that missile and anything else you know about it, what can you tell us about it? >> this is something the north koreans have done twice already.
they've conducted two missile tests, once in 2006, once in 2009, neither one were very successful. and so they're trying again. ultimately, this missile, if it's successful, could go as far as the western united states, alaska, hawaii. but it's a long way from developing this missile as the north koreans want to do, to also develop a nuclear bomb that they can mate to the top of the missile. >> woodruff: well they say right now this is just a missile to get a satellite into orbit. >> correct. >> woodruff: it seems to be that kind of missile at the very least. >> but the same technology could be used for launching a satellite or launching a nuclear warhead. >> woodruff: how sophisticated a missile is it? can you compare it to anything the west or united states knows about? >> if they can get it to work it's sophisticated, i think, by definition. if it could harry a warhead thousands of kilometers it would be very sophisticated but it's
not easy to do. when the united states launched itself into the missile race many-- in the 1960s, their first tests were quite unsuccessful, and that seems to be happening with north korea as well. >> woodruff: ask this appear to be the same type missile that the north koreans tried in you said '06 and '09. >> it seems to be about the sa same. the yes, roughly the same kind, three-stage rocket. and sometimes the third stage hasn't worked in the past. >> woodruff: so how much is known about how successful this missile is? you sound like it's not clear. >> the last tests have not been very successful. the north koreans, i think in 2009, claimed they launched a satellite into space but there's no record that that actually happened. i think they were claiming falsely that they rocket was more successful than it in fact was. >> woodruff: but assuming they were successful with this missile, getting a satellite into orbit, what about the next
step? if they had in mind putting some sort of nuclear warhead on there, is that the kind of missile that would carry a nuclear warhead? do the north koreans have that capability? >> they have the capability of developing a nuclear weapon. they have an estimated three to six nuclear bombs already. that's different from developing a technology, a nuclear bomb small enough to fit on the top of a rocket and travel a long distance. and they certainly don't have that technology as yet. >> woodruff: they certainly don't? >> do not. >> woodruff: how far are they? >> i can't say. i just don't know. >> woodruff: in other words what they have now is not small enough, isn't the right size, the right technical specifications to work with that kind of missile? >> that's certainly as far as we know. quite frankly, of course, the north korean government and society is a very secretive one so we don't know everything that's happening. but we were able to monitor the nuclear tests. we are able to monitor the
missile launches and that's the best estimates we have, that they haven't developed the technology to deliver a bomb a long distance. >> woodruff: since we have to engage in hypotheticals here, if they were to get the missile to work and if they were to get the nuclear warhead, as you say, small enough to work on that particular missile, how much damage could something like that do? >> any nuclear bomb-- and this is a relatively small one that the north koreans have tested up to know-- can do, obviously, a lot of damage. two small bombs destroyed two japanese city. so clearly a bomb can do a tremendous amount of damage if it can be delivered on a city, let's say. >> woodruff: is there technology to compare in other countries with what the north koreans might be working on? >> well, there are nine nuclear powers at this point, not including-- i mean, including north korea, not including iran which seems to be moving in that direction. india and pakistan have the
technology and the indians keep working on longer range missiles that could deliver a nuclear bomb at greatest distance. >> woodruff: in the best-case scenario, if you're speaking from the north korean perspective, what's the soonest, one thinks, experts think, that they could put something together that would be a threat? >> again, it's really hard to say. there's just too much secrecy within the country, but considering all the troubles they've had thus far in developing the technology, it's pretty surely many years away. and even having one or two missiles with a nuclear bomb, obviously, could cause a lot of damage, but there's a lot of potential response. i mean the united states has some 15,000-- excuse me, 1550 long-range nuclear warheads we can deliver on targets. russia, obviously, has a lot as well. even if there's a threat of a nuclear bomb from north korea, there's appropriate response. plus we have a lot of it's united states has a lot of
conventional power in south korea and in asia. >> woodruff: in other words, asking after the launch site, you were saying, before they could launching? >> i don't think anybody is proposing that. >> woodruff: going after the missile in flight. >> for many debbades the united states had a very strong deterrent force against the soviet unions. in that case, the soaves have many thousands of nuclear weapons. if the north koreans are able to develop the technology for a nuclear bomb that could go a long distance, i'm saying we have appropriate response to forestall an attack. developing the bombs and using them are two different things. there are many ifs here. this seems to be dozen d.n.a., from north korea's perspective, for power and tress teenage. this is the 100th year of the founder the country. i don't think there's an aggressive intent in terms of launching an attack but to show
north korea is a power that has to be dealt with. if you're north korean you look at what happened in iraq in 2003. iraq didn't have any nuclear forces. the united states decided to launch an attack to remove saddam hussein. but the second part of the axis of evil we have never launched d that type of attack on north korea. >> woodruff: how closely do you think you and other proliferation experts will be watching? >> i'll be watching very closely. it may happen in the middle of the night. korean time is a day ahead of ourselves. the test is supposed to occur between april 12 and 15 so we have a window of four, five days. i'm not going to stay awake all five days if that's what you're asking. >> woodruff: john isaacs, thanks very much. >> brown: and now to our second asia story, the political scandal rocking china, it even involves allegations of murder. margaret warner has our story.
>> warner: at the center of the drama, bo xilai, the most senior chinese leader to fall in more than two decades. he was once viewed as a political golden boy. the son of a revolutionary hero, bo moved up the ladder quickly becoming mayor of the coastal economic hub dalian. he thebeomcame cmunist party chief of a southwestern megacity of 30 million, chongqing. there he seized national attention for launching a maoist-style red songs campaign and for a tough anti-corruption campaign that racked up 2,000 arrests. but things started unraveling in early february. when his ally, police chief, wang lijun, was demoted, fled to the u.s. consulate in nearby chengdu, and began talking. up till then, the charismatic bo had been angling for promotion to the party's most elite ruling circle, the politburo's standing committee.
instead, on march 15, he was ousted from his chongqing post. meanwhile, rumors spread on chinese social media sites like weibo that police chief wang had implicated bo's wife-- lawyer and businesswoman gu kailai-- the mysterious death last november of a british businessman neil haywood. then, yesterday, bo was stripped of his remaining party posts for "serious discipline violations," and his wife was detained as chief suspect in the murder of haywood. >> ( translated ): regarding british citizen neil heywood's death, the relevant information following the due legal process and the jurisdiction department will handle it according to law. >> warner: british prime minister david cameron also weighed in, on a trip to indonesia. >> i think it's very important that we get to the truth about what happened in this very disturbing case, very tragic case. >> warner: and china has clamped down on internet discussions of the scandal.
searches for him on weibo today produced a message that reads "according to relevant laws and policies, 'bo xilai' can not be found." for more on this scandal, which comes in a year of political transition in china. we turn to longtime china scholar and journalist orville schell. he now heads the asia society's center on u.s.-china relations. mr. schell, welcome back to the program. what led to bo xilai's downfall? what did he do that earned him such powerful enemies? >> well, i think quite footer from any charges of corruption, which may be proven against him, i think his real affront was he was incredibly flamboyant, and rather than just cultivating a network of support within the leadership, he reached out and started cultivating support amongst sort of the populous, in
a very popular or populist manner manner. and this kind of very consensual leadership that we have, where big leader couture is not emphasized, this, i think, was frownd upon and made him stand out, and ultimately, i think, marked him as someone who was going to be indigestible to the central leadership. glern so meanwhile, you have his wife, who was in business as well as a lawyer. how did her activities factor into both of his rise and his fall? >> the thing about every leader in china is some are not corrupt but some are. all have access to the two key ingredients of the ability to become wealthy-- to property, because all property in china is stay owned and leased to individuals, or companies. and on the other hand, to bank loans. every chinese leader has what's
called a back network behind it, whether it's family members, friends, people in their political faction. and those people all-- everyone knows they're in that network, and when they are up for a deal, usually that keel will get approved, thrown their way, simply per force of their relationship to the big leader. so his wife was sort of the nexus point between him and whatever deal she was cultivating out in the world at large. and from all that we can tell, there was substantial involvement glerg then we get to neil haywood, the 41-year-old british businessman found dead in his hotel room. who was he? how does he factor in? >> he was a free-booting western businessmen who knew bo xilai when he was mayor of dallian and before he moved to chongqing, the largest city in the world. and i think he became friends
with gu kailai, who is bo xilai's wife, and also befriended his son, helped him get into school in england and ultimately oxford and onward to harvard. this is all part of the networks that accumulate around powerful leaders, and i think from all we can tell-- and this is very lacking in transparency-- neil haywood was north of the go-between to the outside world for this strong network that bo xilai and his wife had cultivated. >> until something went sour. back to bo xilai himself. as you said, he was considered a populist. was he challenging to the party establishment or ideology or the pace of market reform? was this strictly a kind of employer politics at a time when you're seeing a transition in china? >> well, he was a very sort of dramatic, really to the podium
born, very sort of-- i think a theatrical kind of a political figure. and in this world where the people who are on the standing committee, nine of them, of the politburo, tend to be very muted, and they tend to get ahead by being quiet, keeping their heads down, and just quietly going about their work. here was bo xilai, sort of becoming the big popular leader, first dallian, and then the minister of commerce, and then chongqing, and the pro-maoist movement to sing culture revolutionist songs and started attacking gangses in chongqing, and coming out on the side of the ordinary person, the common person. this was all a bit too theatrical, i think, for people back in beijing. so they had their knives out for
him. >> so we've really in the midst of this every-10-year transition they have in china, to be a new generation of leaders coming in, in the fall. is this a one-off case that then gets set aside or did this, i don't know, expose some serious in-fighting which may continue and mar what i think the leadership would hope would be a very smooth transition? >> well, of course, the leadership is hoping for a smooth transition and they had one last time so this is most unwelcome. so much of what happens in the central leadership comings and goings happens behind the vail, and then occasional an oarm or leg will protrude, and every now and again the veil will be drawn back for one tempting moment. that's what's happening now. it shouldn't be surprising where in the world of the system of politics is so poorly established, there is a lot of in-fighting, a lot of struggle we don't see but now we're
getting a glimpse of. i think we have to understand this, of course, is how things do finally get done. everything has to be slugged out, you know, behind closed doors. and occasionally, it leaks out into the public, and it has a very destabilizing effect, and the party, i think, is extremely upset by having this become so public and particularly, i should say, with some foreign involvement, which is quite embarrassing. >> you mean because he went-- because the police chief went to the american embassy? >> well, not only did he go to the american cons lat and release a lot of documents, but of course now center stage of the whole drama is a dead brit, and how did he get dead? that's the question and fingers are now the pointing at bo bo xilai's wife. >> well, orville schell, thank you once again for helping us understand china. good night. >> pleasure.
>> woodruff: next tonight, a civil war in west africa forces a country to look at its water problems. special correspondent steve sapienza has another of his collaborations with african journalists covering the continent's water issues. his story from the orty coasme was done in partnership with tho pulitzer center on crisis reporting. >> reporter: the west african nation of ivory coast was once a beacon of prosperity for the region. but in 2002, a civil war divided the country between north and south, and set the stage for further turmoil. recently violence erupted in 2010 when incumbent laurent gbagbo refused to cede power to alassane ouattara after a disputed presidential election. i met journalist selay kouassi on the rooftop of his apartment building, the spot where he watched his country descend into chaos. >> i was here, standing here, from my rooftop, i could see u.n. helicopters and helicopters of french troops shooting rockets on the presidential palace. it was something nobody
experienced before. >> reporter: selay continued reporting from the streets of the port-city, abidjan, as war engulfed the entire country, killing thousands of people and leaving nearly a million homeless. the civil war ended when laurent gbagbo was captured in april of 2011. but armed militias linger and sporadic fighting still occurs to this day. in the country's western region, inter-communal violence divided villages and destroyed some 18,000 homes. far from the reach of the central government, villagers in the west have been left to mend rifts on their own. i followed selay to this still tense region, where once bitter rivals are uniting around a common need: water. >> water is a very important resources in the village. people usually meet at the water points. it is where people meet to share news, to just speak with others. >> reporter: the conflict divided many villages along ethnic lines, which led to broken and blocked water points.
>> ( translated ): before the war the water pump was repaired and working and the water was here. since the war, the population fled and everything was abandoned and so today we still need to have access to water. >> ( translated ): we were hiding in the bush and we were drinking dirty water. when we returned, some of the wells had bodies in them, and they said the water is dirty. >> reporter: before the war, one ethnic group, the yacouba controlled the water points of this village. today, the water is managed by several ethnic groups. >> ( translated ): the committee is comprised of several different ethnic groups-- yacouba, dioula, and even the mossi. we did this because when the committee is exclusively comprised of yacouba, the dioula feel discriminated against. that's why we have this arrangement in the spirit of the reconciliation. >> most of the water committees i visited were neither setup by the government nor by the international n.g.o.s working in the area. they started this initiative on
their own. and it's really fantastic, because maybe they learned from this crisis and it's negative impact on their own lives and neighborhood. >> reporter: in tapleu, where the war began, the water committees are taking root. but the village chief tells selay more needs to be done to repair broken hand pumps and cover exposed wells. >> ( translated ): this what we are using. we're drawing water from here. if you drink water from here it is hazardous. it's like this all around the region. because of a lack of means, all the wells are open wells without covers. >> reporter: the water committees here receive no help from the ivorian state. and the government representative in tapleu, ncho david, is skeptical water will unite divided villages. >> ( translated ): to expect that water will be a tool through which reconciliation will occur is going too fast. >> reporter: the government has been slow to embrace village water committees. but international aid groups are supporting them, says to benjamin doua of save the children.
>> ( translated ): from our perspective we want to organize the different communities around the water issue for peace. >> reporter: but tapleu official david prefers that aid groups make fixing broken water pumps a priority. >> ( translated ): i want save the children to repair all the pumps if possible to ease the suffering of the people. >> reporter: as the government waits for outside help, the village chief worries the exposed wells may lead to renewed violence. >> ( translated ): recently, a group of people were coming to pour poison into the wells and we were being vigilant. so two of my young brothers handed them over to local authorities. otherwise tapleu would have another conflict. >> in terms of reconciliation and peace, water committees in the villages are a step forward. what they have already down in terms of reconciliation is great. and the we just need support
now, to be backed by the government to go ahead and give peace a chance. >> reporter: the government has formed a truth and reconciliation commission to heal the country's deep divisions. villagers say national reconciliation programs haven't reached them yet, but they know where reconciliation will start here at the village water point. >> woodruff: you can learn more about why much of west africa st rurules to get accs to safe drinking water. there's a link to the pulitzer center's stories on our website. >> brown: finally tonight, the deadly tornadoes of 2011. tonight's edition of "nova" examines the trail of destruction left by the worst tornado season in decades, including efforts by scientists to understand the forces at work inside the storms. here's an excerpt narrated by craig seckler. >> so by simulating the effects of tornadoes, scientists at texas tech are trying to find
cheaper ways to make ordinary structures more robust. >> it boils down to cost. we could design a building or a structure that would withstand a tornado. the problem is most of us couldn't afford to live in that structure. >> reporter: the tornadoes that we simulate in here are based on the mid-ef3 range. 92 to 94% fall in that range. we would reich to understand the wind loading on structures, such as you this scale mod onle ofav mobile home. our preliminary work shows you have part of the struck the that you are experience a positive force. in other words, they're trying to push the force in. as the tornado moves closer and closer, you have other forces wanting to pull it apart. and the other bad part is you have stuff falling down from your roof. >> structural engineers at texas tech are also looking at debris impact. trying to replicate the forces of the worst tornadoes, like the
e.f.-5 that hit joplin. >> th >> brown: "deadliest tornadoes" airs tonight on "nova" on most pbs stations. >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day: a special prosecutor in florida announced neighborhood watch volunteer george zimmerman is being charged with second-degree murder for the killing of trayvon martin. the teenager's mother welcomed the decision saying we feel much closer to justice. president obama and republican mitt romney opened their head- to-head battle in earnest. romney charged the president wants big government, while the president called again for the rich to pay their fair share of taxes. and a major earthquake rocked online, we have more about the race for the white house. hari sreenivasan has a preview. hari? >> sreenivasan: it's game on for the general election. in this week's political checklist, political editor christina bellantoni talks to judy about the challenges ahead for both president obama and his likely opponent, mitt romney. that's on the rundown blog.
plus, on our science page, we profile a group of citizen scientists who help the national weather service by measuring every drop of rainfall in their back yards. all that and more is on our web site: newshour.pbs.org. judy? >> woodruff: and that's the "newshour" for tonight. on thursday, we'll look at six must-watch senate races this election year. i'm judy woodruff. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. we'll see you online and again here tomorrow evening. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> citi turns 200 this year. in that time, there have been some good days and some difficult ones. but through it all, we persevered. supporting some of the biggest ideas in modern history. so why should our anniversary matter to you? because for 200 years, we've been helping ideas from ambition to achievement. and the next great idea could be yours.
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