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tv   PBS News Hour Weekend  PBS  August 31, 2014 5:30pm-6:01pm EDT

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captioning sponsored by wnet >> sreenivasan: on this edition for sunday august 31... conflict in ukraine continues as military prisoners are exchanged overnight >> it's been a huge influctuates of heavy weapons and even russian regular troops. and an experimental new drug for heart patients ebola's lethal effect and its strain on the healthcare system in west africa. and an experimental new drug for heart patients that might dramatically improve survival rates. next, on pbs newshour weekend. >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by:
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corporate funding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we are your retirement company. additional support is provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. from the tisch wnet studios in lincoln center in new york, hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: good evening, thanks for joining us. ukraine continues to be a flashpoint-- officials there say a navy vessel came under fire earlier today from pro-russian rebels on shore. but overnight, there was a rare moment of cooperation between russia and ukraine. in an exchange at the border, nine russian soldiers were swapped for 63 ukrainian soldiers. all this as the european union draws up tougher sanctions on
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russia. and the ukrainian port city of mariupol continued to brace for an attack from pro-russian fighters who have made advances in the area this week. while some residents of mariupol have fled, others have taken to the streets to demonstrate support for the ukrainian government. for the latest we are joined via skype from mariupol, ukraine by james marson of the wall street journal. journal, prisoner exchange is this a signal that tensions are easing? >> well it is seernl siren that the -- seernl a sign that the ukrainians, ground are saying is there have been a huge influx of russian fighters of russian heavy weapons and even of russian regular troops. which is really turned the tide. and suddenly, where ukrainian ue been advancing they are retreating. a lot of soldiers have gotten trapped, become prisoners and
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several dozens of ukrainian soldiers have been killed. >> there is a russian spokesperson today that said that eastern ukraine should remain part of ukraine. how does a comment play like that in this climate? >> i believe, you are refer to the president's spokesman. because president vladimir putin said ukraine should begin talks on the potential state hood of some of this region, new russia, now, there are many different interpretations can you make of that but that's seemed to indicate that he is in favor of this part of the country, becoming an independent state, not part of ukraine. and then, this comment by the spokesman appears to say the opposite. it is not clear what's going on. >> you were on the front lines
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reporting yesterday, what did you see versus what the kremlin was saying? >> it seems to be that the ukrainian army is in a very difficult state now. one town very close to the front line, and residents were telling me that throughout the entire day soldiers, ukrainian soldiers had been limping back from behind the front lines. a lot of ukrainian sol jers got trapped -- soldiers got trapped from this advance. they tried to make it back through the fields and forests. they said these soldiers were in terrible state, very bloody, lots of injured people and they were simply trying to make it out, and as we were leaving we saw a convey of about ten ambulances stuffed full of ukrainian soldiers in a terrible state. significant forces in other parts of the north and wetion they seem to be moving very
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slowly, from the units that have been pushed backwards. >> you also spoke with ukrainians who are losing faith from help from the west. what are they interested in? >> they said they have made their european choices as a country. there were protests several months ago through a pro-russian president who was unpopular. said we have made our choice, where is the support from the west, from europe, from the united states they say they need weapons that will enable them to push back what they say is an advance against russian regular troops, against is tanks an artillery, very formidable weapons. they said to me we have enthusiasm and rifles but they don't help you much against tanks. >> james marson joining us via sciek from mafe mariupul.
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thanks. >> sreenivasan: as president obama works on a plan to combat the militant group the islamic state, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are questioning the president's timeline. >> i've learned one thing about this president, and that is he is very cautious. maybe in this instance too cautious. >> we can't wait forever, and the longer we do wait, the stronger isis becomes, more people are massacred, and the more america and britain become at risk. >> sreenivasan: the president will be travelling to eastern europe this week and will also attend the nato summit in wales, where he will likely discuss the islamic state with other nato members. hundreds of yazidi women kidnapped by the islamic state have been handed to members of the group, according to a uk- based organization which monitors the crisis. the syrian observatory for human rights said at least 27 women had been sold and married for about $1,000 and about 300 were kidnapped. the organization said the women, considered "infidels" by the islamic state, were forced to convert to islam before marriage. iraqi forces have reportedly reached the town of amirli breaking a two month siege by islamic state fighters. the u.s. conducted air strikes overnight and provided aid along with britain, australia and
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france. thousands of residents have been effectively trapped since july when militants encircled the area and cut off water and supplies. in golan heights, 40 filipino u.n. peacekeepers, trapped by fierce fighting with islamic militants, managed to escape overnight. the escape comes as 44 fijian u.n. peacekeepers are still being held by the nusra front an islamic militant group, the same group that released american theo curtis last week. fiji's army chief said negotiations are underway to find and secure the release of the peacekeepers. nusra front militants posted a message that the act was in retaliation for the u.n.'s apathy towards muslim suffering at the hands of syrian president bashar assad. in libya, an islamic militia group has said it has "secured" a u.s. embassy compound in the capital city tripoli. u.s. personnel were evacuated from the embassy last month due to increasing violence and instability in the country. a commander for the "dawn of libya" told an associated press reporter, who was allowed access to the site, that his group had
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taken control of the compound last week. in pakistan, ongoing protests took a violent turn when at least three people were killed and up to 400 injured overnight. thousands clashed with police in an attempt to raid prime minister's nawaz sharif's home. they are demanding he step down over allegations of voting fraud. demonstrators threw stones and bricks at police outside the prime minister's residence. the police said they had no choice but to respond with force. led by opposition politician imran khan and cleric tahir-ul- qadri, the protests began on, august 14-- pakistan's independence day-- and have gained thousands of supporters. sharif, who won office last year in pakistan's first democratic hand over of power and is backed by parliament, has refused to step down. the showboat casino in atlantic city closes its doors today, the first of three scheduled to do so in the coming weeks. when the revel and the trump plaza also shut down the closings are projected to cost the region 8,000 jobs. the showboat, while still
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profitable, has been facing decreasing revenue and more competition. as many as 250 homes are being evacuated in northern california as two wildfires, sparked by lightning three weeks ago, continue to grow. the fires, stoked by weather conditions, merged on saturday morning and burned more than 90 square miles. the homes are near the rural town of happy camp near klamath national forest. and just southwest of napa california, a 3.2 aftershock have rattled the valley early this morning. there were no reports of damage. this after last week's 6.0 he regn in 25thquake, which was years. that quake injured more than 200 people. iceland's bardarbunga volcano is acting up after yesterday's 5.4 magnitude earthquake struck that region. lava lines flowed along the volcanic fissure today, prompting a high alert level which was later lowered. despite the volcano's activity, there was no ash cloud and airports remain open. the spread of the most recent
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the spread of the most recent strain of the ebola virus across parts of west africa has highlighted not just the lethality of the disease but also the strains on the existing medical infrastructure there. for further insight, yesterday i spoke with stephen morse, professor of epidemiology at the mailman school of public health at columbia university and estrella lasry, tropical medicine advisor at doctors without borders. >> first, why is this strain so much more lethal compared to others? we're talking 3,000 people infected, 1500 dead. >> i think it is more lethal from other strains of ebola zaire. i think the problem is there are a large number of people getting infected and people are not getting care at the appropriate times.
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but i don't believe biologically, it is behaving faster than the ones we know about. >> is there a social component of spreading faster? >> i think initial play, the out-- initially, the outbreak in guinea, there were so many patients it began to spread across the borders. so over time, the organization doctors without borders were able to start on it in the spring there were so many cases it was an uphill battle. >> why hasn't the international kind of effort to try to combat this been so much slower than what we've heard in the past? your organization is one of the last ones there, you have a number of people there but you don't see the same kind of push from lot of international organizations going in. >> usually the outbreaks are not as big as this one. we start ed to monitor it and finish in two, three months which is what we usually see in
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an ebola outbreak, what we have responded to in the past, part of the problem with this outbreak is it spread very quickly in an urban area. which meant that it was much more difficult to control in terms of the contact tracing, much more difficult to control in terms of how quickly it spread. so it's lasted much more than the previous outbreaks and it's affected a lot more people and that's why the absolute need for more organizations to get involved in the response. >> this is also highlighting kind of a disparity in poor existing medical infrastructure. i mean some of these countries entire countries have less doctors than let's say a single loss in a major western city and there's also a disparity between countries who have dealt with this virus before versus those who have not. >> yes absolutely. and these countries are particularly stressed because they have civil strife, they have trouble between the government and the local people, there's some distrust much
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government. that is overlaid over an already difficult and strained medical infrastructure. but even nigeria which is a very big country by comparison has only 17,000 doctors. >> you know how significant is the fear factor, the mis-information in spreading the decease or chasing away caregivers? >> it's huge. it's a big part of why the outbreak has been spreading so much. so the fear is causing people not to go to health facilities, to hide the disease, to hide people who are dead in the villages who are not being access, who are not being granted access to some of the villages where you think there might be cases so definitely it is playing a pivotal role why the disease is spreading and this is spreading. >> why the distrust. why not let the doctor come in that you hear? >> a lot of people have died, a lot of people in isolation wards
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and they are dressed in the full personal protective equipment, the astronaut suits you have seen on tv and it adds to the fear bringing people into these wards. one of the things we tried to do is bring -- make sure that the family members do have access to see their relatives who are inside the ward, creating some kind of being basis where there's a physical barrier between the patient and their family, to allow them to see they are inside the ward they are being taken care of and we're not hiding them. >> i even saw reports of kind of reverse causality. everywhere these doctors go more people are dying so let's keep the doctors out. >> it is understandable that kind of fear would be created. the population toss not know the disease and not used to this kind of response for a disease like that. >> in addition to perhaps some
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mistrust of authority and people coming from foreign countries to help, since it has such a high moralityity rate, moralityity rate is fairly high many people feel there is no use going into the hospital anyway, in some hospitals other patients could get infected so there's an historic basis for that. we can do better for that, doctors without borders have demonstrated the improvements that are possible even with general care but i think it needs educating the public about that. >> by the time they get to the hospitals sometimes they have already infected dozens of others. >> yes. and the contact with the known case or paisht, the sooner that person is identified the sooner they can be monitored. so what is happening for every case, for every confirmed
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patient, all of the physical contacts they've had in the last 21 days are monitored on a daily basis. you can imagine how huge that response needs to be especially with the amount of cases we're seeing but not everybody is staying into the contacts they've had or not everyone is willing to be followed for a daily basis for 21 days. >> looking around the corner a bit, we've had some promising results with zmapp and the tests, how close are we to a vaccine that could be manufactured at scale and could actually reach this region. >> scale is going to be a difficult problem even with zmapp. they are working hard to try to scale it up just to experimental doses and it's going to take a while. some of the other drugs in the pipeline will take longer because they need to be tested. as you know, there is a vaccine candidate going into early trials right now for safety testing essentially but then the question is you know what's the
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market for that vaccine? i think you know, people who are going as health care workers, or lab technicians or others who would be dealing directly with patients, would be clearly able and willing to get the vaccine. but this is sporadic. we don't know where the next ebola outbreak is going to occur so you're never quite sure who to vaccinate until it actually happens. >> given that there are so few doctors and so many cases what do you t do to keep your own stf safe? they are working under incredible stress and bad conditions. 18 hours a day, et cetera, et cetera, and these mistakes could cost them their lives. >> the first thing is to train people before they go into an outbreak and then once they are in the outbreak we mack sure they really understand the infection control method. any time they feel unsafe they can leave. when you go on the ward, you
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have a buddy system, never go alone. you dress with someone to make sure no skin, nothing is exposed and you go into a ward with at least one other person so that in case you're about to make a mistake the other person can actually warn you. so we try to keep everyone within a very, very strict set of rules because there's no place for mistake. >> all right, estraya lasry, stephen morse, thank you. >> sreenivasan: how is the ebola virus transmitted from human to human? learn the science behind the epidemic at newshour.pbs.org as we reported yesterday, an experimental heart drug developed by the swiss pharmaceutical company novartis shows promising results. the new drug, currently referred
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to by its codename "l c z 696" may change the course of treatment and prolong the lives of patients suffering from heart failure. the results of the study on the new drug are being presented this weekend in spain at an international cardiology conference and were also published yesterday by the new england journal of medicine. for some insight, we are joined via skype from windham, new hampshire, by clyde yancy, professor of medicine and chief of cardiology at northwestern university. >> so professor yancy, there are millions of people who suffer from heart disease and heart failure. what's so differently about this drug and why does it work better than what's available today? >> thank you for the interest. there is a new therapy now that's not just an additional therapy but it is a significant improvement over what we already had. this really is better, and brings a lot of hope to a lot of people. >> and without getting too far into the details or the science, what's it doing to the heart to make it more efficient or less
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prone to fail? >> so that's a great question. it takes what we were originally doing which was to use drugs to help make the heart smaller and stronger but takes it a step further. not only does it help to make the heart smaller or stronger but it reduce he or minimizes some of the scar that happens over time. by combining these two effects together, it really has a profound benefit on living longer and feeling better. >> will these replace what we have today, ace inhibitors or betha blockers? -- beta blockers? >> this changes the foundation which means it raises the bar for all patients. we do think that many patients will have their ace inhibitors replace by this new lcc drug once it's developed further. but it's also important to
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realize that the background therapy still includes drugs that make difference like beta blockers and mras so lots of reason for enthusiasm here. >> so while this one company has a lead here how long before this category of drugs gets on the markets and on store shelves so to speak where doctors can write a prescription for them in the u.s? >> go beyond which company has proprietary interest here and realize this is really a break through for patients. which means we have to change the dynamic here. we have to look to the fda, work with the fda, how can we bring this development to the table sooner and better than we've ever done before. i'm excited about the possibility of helping to galvanize interest and get this drug to patients as soon as possible. >> you know some people are concerned that perhaps it's too quick. i mean i don't know what the medical ethics of it is when you have this kind of efficacy, when you want to get the drug out and help people, are there particular populations that
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haven't been studied enough? >> you know hari the answer is yes and yes. but it doesn't drop our interest or quell our enthusiasm. we need to move forward for heart disease that's clear. yes there are patients we wish we knew more about, like african american patients, like new patients with advanced heart failure. but there are ways using contemporary res philosophies, this is not about a company, this is about a brand-new way to take care of people that have a pretty compelling disease. if the disease wasn't so compelling sure we could slow down take more time get more data. but we've got a disease where people are coming up short dispiech getting everything we -- despite gettin getting the everything we have now. >> thank you so much for your time. >> thank you for your interest. appreciate it.
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going this is pbs newshour sunday. >> sreenivasan: earlier this week high schoolers who are part of the newshour's student reporting labs shared their opinions on justice and race in america following the shooting of michael brown and the violence in ferguson missouri. here are more voices from that report. >> i feel like after hearing about this situation, i realize if we have to protester the killing of unarmed youth in our country we don't live in a free country at all. >> the color of our skin whether you're white mexican black indian, we should have the same justice. it doesn't add up to me. >> i feel like ferguson was like a true showing of what the nation truly feels about equality. between minorities, and the majorities, in certain communities. >> something let me know that
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justice and race are still a big topic focus on america, that racism is still something that exists and equality amongst races themselves aren't fully melt yet. >> after ferguson i found a magazine from july 30, 2001. this magazine brought to my attention that even since 2001 racial profiling has been still present and our government is kind of ignoring what's happening in today's world. >> society today, when things will just happen a compromise of the severity with which you know they are still part of this, but having the media having the part that it has, to tell our citizens that normally would. >> i believe police officers have too much power to not be responsible with it. the police officer should have went to the taser as opposed to the gun and then michael brown would have been in the jail as opposed to the morgue.
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>> before we leave you tensions continue in ukraine. officials there say procedures n rebels,. >> fires merge and threat be at least 250 homes. join us on air and online on the newshour. that's it or the this edition of pbs newshour weekend. i'm hari sreenavasan, thanks for watching. captioning sponsored by wnet captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org >> pbs newshour weekend is made
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possible by: corporate funding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we are your retirement company. additional support is provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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>> with our small size, it seems fitting you get your graduation recital, which i think is a great vehicle to give a snapshot of your time at curtis. it's definitely what people want to give. this is what i've done at curtis, this is what i've learned, and this is who i am. >> the greats of tomorrow, today -- on stage at curtis. ♪ >> the way i put my program together is that i really wanted balanced view of many of the different kinds of music i found myself interested in and things i discovewh

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