tv Worldfocus PBS July 25, 2009 12:00am-12:30am EDT
national security adviser and the special envoy george mitchell all head to israel next week. reportedly to talk about settlements and iran. wildfires blaze across southern europe. thousands have been forced to flee and at least six firefighters have died. last call, in britain, they are an iconic local watering hole that changes in social habits, not to mention the economy are forcing pubs to close at the rate of 52 a week. americans aren't the only ones hitting the road this summer. tonight, we take you to russia to find out why driving has become so deadly and what's being done to put the brakes on a national problem. from the world's leading reporters and analysts, here what's happening from around the world. this is "worldfocus." made possible, in part, by the following funders -- good evening. i'm martin savidge. tonight, we're going to look
ahead to next week and in one of the obama administration's biggest forum policy challenges. to get israel to go along with washington's plans for the middle east. small cracks have emerged in the relationship between the united states and israel, mostly over the issue of israeli settlements on the west bank. so next week, the obama administration is putting israel front and center, sending three high-ranking officials there -- secretary of defense robert gates, national security adviser jim jones and special envoy george mitchell. what to do about iran is also expected to be high on the agenda. "worldfocus" israeli producer yuval liyon has our "lead focus" tonight. >> reporter: the settlement issue will be front and center when george mitchell arrived in the region sunday for talks between israelis and palestinians. just this week, tensions between the united states and israel have risen over the plan building of some 20 apartments for jews in predominantly arab east jerusalem. aloof ben is editor-at-large of
israel's newspaper. >> what we hear from from both israeli and american sources is there has been progress in trying to if not resolve the issue, at least finding some way to push it aside so that it will not be -- for negotiations between the israelis and the palestinians. >> one subject that israel and the united states have greater agreement on is the need to halt iran's suspected nuclear weapons program. the u.s. defense secretary roberts gate and national security adviser jim jones will both be in israel next week, presumably to better coordinate their approach to iran. aloof ben says the visit is significant for a couple of reasons. >> one it is an opportunity for the iran government to fix the most -- some of its disagreements with the obama administration. most specifically on the part of iran, we have sent in recent weeks the better cooperation and understanding between israel and the obama administration on how to deal with iran on the nature of the iranian threats.
and one example of the stability of the nation is the stoning down of the israeli rhetoric vis-a-vis iran. >> reporter: but just yesterday israel's foreign minister speaking in argentina called and it's not threat only for israel, it's a threat for entire world. >> how to respond to iran's nuclear program is again making news. this week, u.s. and israeli officials have boarded a test of a planned missile defense shield for israel. for more on iran, we're joined by anthony cordesman of the strategic and international studies in washington, d.c. thank you for coming back. >> pleasure. >> we haven't heard a lot lately
about the that israel might attack iranian nuclear sites. so where do you think the israelis are in thinking about that? >> it's certainly a constant preoccupation. it's debated at the political level. it's debated in israeli think-tanks and certainly it's a subject of planning by the israeli defense forces. and while it may not have been visible, israel's sent submarines through the suez canal as a gesture. it had egyptian permission to do that and the reason that's important is there are some indications that israel is arming its submarines with nuclear armed missiles. >> well, the obama administration denied it represented a policy change. vice president biden said recently, the u.s. would not stand in the way of an israeli attack on iran. how significant was that? >> well, it seems to have been a serious misstatement. because the chairman of the joint chiefs had said just the opposite. the secretary of defense had said the opposite. the secretary of state had said the opposite. and i think the problem is --
what the vice president may have been saying is that the united states can't block an israeli attack on iran. it can only discourage it. but we've sent mixed signals and given the sort of impetus israel has to attack. that can be very dangerous. >> and there was a report >> and there was a report recently in the "london times" that the director of the massoud had met with saudi officials and that the saudi his granted permission to use their airspace for any attack on iraq. do you think that's really likely? >> to put bluntly i wouldn't regard anything in "the london times" as being as anything as an irresponsible tabloid journal. this is not the newspaper of 20 years ago. it's made up one defense story after another. the saudis have denied this. the flight patterns almost certainly would move in a somewhat different direction. and saudi arabia in any case is not going to confront a full-scale israeli attack. is this credible? no.
>> iran presumably would respond to any attacks. so what kind of responses would you expect to see? >> it has a very limited, relatively ineffective air force. its radar systems, its air defense systems are, in general, very old. virtually obsolete. it has some modern russian missiles which are clustered around its most-important points. but they're very short range. it might be able to get some kind of attrition of an oncoming israeli attack, but the fact is it would probably do more to disperse what it has than to try to successfully defend. >> anthony cordesman, thank you very much for joining us today. >> thank you. and now to afghanistan, where at least two more american servicemen were killed today in a july attack. july has been the deadliest month for u.s. and nato forces in the afghan war. today's attack raises the death toll for american troops this month in afghanistan to at least 37.
from europe today, there were dramatic pictures of the wildfires that had been sweeping through several mediterranean countries. in southern spain, fires threatened several neighborhoods forcing hundreds of residents to flee their homes. five firemen have been killed battling those flames. and then on the french island of corsica, firefighters struggled to contain fires there that have already consumed thousands of acres. the fires are being fueled by a record heat wave across southern southern europe. also from europe, there was more troubling economic news today. the british government reports that britain's economy shrank by nearly 1% in the second quarter of 2009. worse than economists were expecting. still, that is better than the first three months of the year when it fell nearly 2.5%. ben king of itn has this report. >> reporter: for one company, at least the recession is definitely over.
like most businesses, the wind screen repair specialist auto glass was hit by the acute downturn at the start of the year. but they've bounced back. hiring more than 200 people over the past few months. >> well, it's been an interesting six months for us after a fairly slow start of the year, which reflected what was happening in the general economy and particularly the automotive trade. we've had a really much better, much healthier few months in the summer. stimulated by a lot of the work that we've been doing on our brand. >> reporter: their sales' pitch is recession-friendly, fix the crack in your wind screen early, they say, and you don't have to replace the whole thing later on. but those less adapted to hd times haven't fared so well. the economic output fell by near 3.8%. in the second three months of the year. a lot worse than economists had been expecting.the average esti but it's still a big improvement on the first quarter of the year which output fell 2.4%. the worst figure since 1958.
economists were expecting a better number this quarter because business survey suggested improving confidence and rising orders. >> it may just be that the lags between the improving surveys in the official data are taking a little bit longer, but concern must be that there is a more fundamental loss of momentum. i think whatever scenario materializes, growth is going to be fairly anemic and the recovery is going to be fairly bumpy so we're absolutely not through the worst of this. >> reporter: today's figure will make life difficult for the chancellor. his budget this year was based on a full cost that the economy would shrink by 3.5% in 2009. critics said it was optimistic at the type. this data makes it look even more so. the road ahead is now uncertain. optimistic pundits still think growth could return later this year, but after today's news, it looks a little less likely.
>> that was ben king of itn. well, you might think with all of the bad economic news these days, a lot of people would be seeking solace, the old-fashioned way, at their neighborhood pub. but even the bar business hasn't been immune to the fallout of global economic process. nina from itn reports. its last call for many at these revered english institutions. >> reporter: the pub used to be the corner stone of british life. but now boarded up booth sites are now become a familiar site. 6,000 breweries have closed in the last century. and today more bad news for pubgoers. the rate of closures is the fastest that the uk has seen since pub numbers have been tracked. in 2006, two pubs were closing every week. in 2007, that number rose to 27. and now the uk is closing 52 pubs every week. the total number of pubs in this country has dropped by nearly
250,000 in the last 12 months to a total of around 350,000. >> this says an awful lot about incomes, job insecurity and financial insecurity in britain's households at the moment. the reason they're not going to the pub is not because they don't like the pub, it's because they feel they need to hang on to their cash. >> but back in the 19th century it was the pub where people went when times were tough. back in the mid 1800s there was one on every street corner. the industrial revolution brought together large number of men in factories who would work and drink together. it was the pub where they preferred to be. >> our homes were kind of cold and dark and you wouldn't really spend time there unless you were eating and sleeping. and in the last hundred years or so, if you think about the 1920s, within a space of ten years, we got central heating, electricity and things like radio at home. so the home stuff had become much more of a place where you would spend your leisure time. >> reporter: and why pubs were
popular in the 20th century, for decades they remained a male preserve, as two pubgoers today told us. >> if you go back to the '60s, '70s when we were young and our girlfriends would not dream going into a pub on their own and ordering a drink. they would always wait or have to be with a male to go in, which is you know contradictory when you think about the way that the modern world works. >> reporter: up until the 1970s, in many pubs unaccompanied women weren't allowed to order over a pint. it was a sin that women alone were probably known as prostitutes. but now pubs are female-friendly places. in fact, many have changed beyond all recognition. pubs and winegoers will compete for space in these high streets and these are places for women too. you can have a glass of chardonnyour friends, even order a bite to eat and it's these pubs, the ones that have diversified into food and provide a vertical drinking environment that are
doing well. it's a so-called old man's pubs or the backstreet boozers who were closing. >> pubs themselves have to change if they're going to compete because society's tastes have changed. people are drinking less beer than they used to be. people want too to places with their children and so the old image of this sort of beer-oriented, male-oriented pub you know we have to move on from that. >> reporter: community-style pubs have been in decline for over a century. so should we be worried that a few more are closing? pubs have always mirrored society's needs. these days drinking at home is cheaper so those pubs that will survive are those that offer more than a pint. >> nina of itn. turning to latin american, the deposed president of honduras, manuel zelaya. defied those who ousted him and reentered his homeland today. zelaya between the a town near the nicaraguan/honduras border and then surrounded by a mob of
report e reporters. secretary of state hillary clinton described the former president's actions today as reckless. >> for more on hondouras you can visit our own website. to hear from "worldfocus's" own peter eisner. peter spent many years as a correspondent in central america. just go to worldfocus.org. it is now time for our friday roundtable in which we look back at some of the week's top stories. this week we'll be answering some questions of yours, actually. ones that have been submitted by twitter and one more topic that you wanted to hear about, secretary of state hillary clinton's trip to asia and also look at the escalating war in afghanistan as casualties mount some of our allies and raising questions about how the war is being fought. and finally take a closer look
at vice president joe biden's trip to ukraine and georgia. and just what was he doing there? we are joined once again by dan rather, the former longtime anchor of the cbs "evening news" and by ian bremmer, the president of the political research and consulting firm, eurasia group. nice to have both of you back. >> thanks, good to be back. >> start with afghanistan. more american casualties today. this is the deadliest month. the war has been going on now for nearly eight years. and i think the question that many americans are asking, just where is it going? >> nobody knows. and that includes the president and his top advisers. you have to see it as one battlefield -- afghanistan and pakistan. we're engaged, we the united states, mostly on one portion of the battlefield in afghanistan, but you must see this as afghanistan and pakistan as one so far as the battle to achieve our goals there. >> even most americans to see us fighting in one place and that is afghanistan. >> and that is where we are mostly fighting. i agree completely with dan. you think about the entire war,
the old great game, right? as one chessboard. and the war's being fought on both sides. and the taliban are on all sides of the board. but we've got the white pieces. we're being kept to our side. we're not likely to win that way. as you've seen with the operations in helmand province, as the u.s. has been engaging, the afghani fighters have melted away. we can do some protection of the population. i think that will work. and you can help to shore up karzai and whoever the future presidents of afghanistan as the mayor of kabul, but that is very different from actually coming up with the sort of progress that would be required to allow for a long-term support internationally. the u.s. and europe, to continue this thing. that's probably not going to happen. >> you made a very important point here that the taliban and their allies, including al qaeda, are fighting a traditional guerrilla war based on the mayo model, which is when the enemy is strong, retreat. when the enemy gets strung out, harass. when the enemy gets weak, attack.
so the marines who i think have done an outstanding job in helmand province. they're very well trained. they put the emphasis more on soft power than on firepower, but they're faced with the situation. anytime they get strong, the enemy disappears. anytime they get strong or isolated in a smaller unit, they get attacked. >> but when does this war become a political liability for the president? >> right now, it is a political liability. it's his war. he made it so. that is during the campaign. he preached the gospel of -- de-emphasize iraq, emphasize iran. it's his war to win or lose. he just doesn't know how to win it. >> i think it's not a political liability yet because his top ten priorities are all domestic and they will be and that will get the air time as long as the recession is as deep as it presently is. and also until the u.s. gets the big 1,000 killed in afghanistan, they're not at 800 yet. and frankly i know that part of the back of the envelope numbers
of how long gates thinks that he can continue to go in afghanistan is before they hit those headlines. >> all right i want to move onto secretary of state, hillary clinton, her trip to asia. she began this trip by saying that the united states was not going to focus on north korea. she sort of made that equation there like a spoiled child getting too much attention. then spent the rest of the trip talking about north korea. what goes on here? and does that do us any good in this relationship? >> i think not. i'm sure the secretary of state would argue otherwise. but north korea is an extremely definite place to get any handle on at all. and by the way things have developed this meeting in asia about north korea, i think that the north koreans walk out the winners at least in short and medium term. >> did secretary of state clinton not come across so well on this journey? >> i think she's had a difficult time over the last few months, frankly. she had the injury. the iran policy has gone obama's way but not so much hers. that's been commented on.
and now north korea. look, these are difficult foreign policy problems. the bush administration didn't do it very well. obama's not either. and hillary clinton getting goated into it by the north koreans, calling her, says sort of between a schoolchild and a penchant. the only job clearly that you would want to have in north korea is being a speechwriter for kim jong-il. >> the only fun. >> you know nothing else that you would want to do. >> the free reign to criticize anybody in the west and call them ridiculous names. >> and one more thing to keep in mind, the background of this is kim jong-il is ill, very ill from all reports. that they have a successor in place, one of his sons. but it makes it very, very difficult to do any business at all with the north koreans. >> what do they want to be, left alone during this period? >> no, well, they want to be left alone in terms of the power play in that part. but they want to fail as a power in their region. and they're very determined. they're very smart and very difficult. and he made the point, that secretary of state just had a difficult time, not just with the north koreans, but right across the board.
it has not been a good past six months for her. it raises the question of how long she will stay? i'm not predicting she won't stay the full obama term but it raises the question. >> let's mention real quickly. we had vice president joe biden. he was in the former soviet republics, ukraine and georgia. what was he doing there? >> the united states has been trying. hillary clinton talked about it. that was a relatively successful moment for her when she met with russian foreign minister. she said that she wanted to reset the relationship between the united states and russia. but the meetings that obama had in moscow were, at best, middling. the meeting with medvedev went well. >> so it's just a followup to that? >> it's a bit of a followup to that because theemáates is still committed to its relationship with georgia and ukraine and the russians see it as a zero sum game. they want these guys out. they're not going to get nato enlargement anytime soon because the europeans will stop it from happening but they do want to show and this is an issue that biden's been following, you know, for decades, running
foreign relations committee in the senate. want to show that the u.s. is still actually committed to these guys on the ground. >> dan, you said that ukraine's the key to russia. >> no russian leader could survive, allowing the united states to increase its influence by any significant amount in ukraine and that's part of our problem and part of, no doubt, what was in the heavy background of joe biden's trip there. make one other point. and that is that i agree that i think that the trip did not go well, the president's trip to russia. what we don't know yet is whether any secret agreements, any meeting with the minds, the russians, i believe said to him, listen, we have helped you in afghanistan, we've helped you time and time again, we're not geng for it. all we get is trouble for it. and that's right at the core of the continuing problem of u.s./russia relations. >> we'll have to leave it there. dan rather, ian bremmer, thank you both. >> good to be with you. >> thank you. for more on afghanistan, you can watch dan rather's report
"the raid on imam sahib" next tuesday night on the cable network hd net. people have been killed, another nine injured in a crash between a bus and a gasoline tanker. the accident happened in the southern russian city. footage from the scene shows rescue workers removing the injured. officials believe the tanker truck veered into the bus. any issue of traffic deaths in russia is a serious one. a recent report by the organization where economic cooperation and development named russia as the worst in traffic fatalities among 30 countries surveyed. as our partner abc of australia reports, russian officials are hoping that a graphic new ad campaign will make a difference. >> reporter: evgeni chuck is returning to the road in moscow where his close friend nikolai was killed in 2007. the 22-year-old was racing
another car, apparently reaching speeds of up to 160 kilometers an hour when it all went horribly wrong. >> he dn't see the parked car. he crashed into it. it's exactly here. >> reporter: the car he'd been racing also crashed and its two occupants died as well. those three killed in just one accident were among more than 33,000 reported deaths on russia's roads in 2007. a recent study for the organization for economic cooperation and development has found that among its 30-member countries, russia is the worst for road deaths. driving experts say there are many reasons for the appalling statistics. one is the condition of the roads. they may be the butt of jokes on websites but former parliamentarian and the head of the group, called the movement
of russian motorists says they are no laughing matter. >> translator: if you drive through russia, you will see that only about 8% to 10% of roads are up to modern standards. >> reporter: another reason cited is that driving laws have been too lax and the fines too low. the government has been toughening up the laws and increasing fines. targeting key areas such as speeding and drink driving. the authorities have also tried to shock drivers into changing their ways. a series of confronting tv ads have been made, but they've rarely hit the public eye with the major state-run stations reportedly refusing to air them because they were too brutal. russian motoring experts say that to bring about real change to the country's driving culture and to save many more lives, the government has to do more than tighten the laws. it also has to ensure that the police properly enforce them. one of the major problems, experts say, has been corruption. with officers being bribed to turn a blind eye to those
breaking the law or trying to extract money from drivers who have done nothing wrong. the traffic police force, they argue, needs an overhaul. >> translator: when the road police are unprofessional, when they've been badly corrupted the problem of sorting out this mess with their help is like extinguishing a fire with petrol. >> reporter: evgeni feels that changing russia's driving culture will be slow and painful as many more suffer the fate of his friend. scott, "lateline." >> if you are out on the road this weekend, we hope that you and your loved ones stay safe. that's "worldfocus" for a friday night. remember, you can always catch "worldfocus" online anytime at worldfocus.org. we hope you have a good weekend and we'll look for you back here on monday. until then, have a good night. "worldfocus" is made possible, in part, by the follow funders --