tv PBS News Hour PBS May 5, 2015 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: is the islamic state group behind sunday's shooting in texas? for the first time, the militant group claims responsibility for an attack in america. sorting out what is homegrown and what is ordered from the middle east. good evening, i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. also ahead this tuesday, is the food we eat real? consumer worries drive menu makeovers for a dozen big companies. >> woodruff: plus: >> it's not fun thinking about death. >> woodruff: from living wills to hospice care, the cultural and spiritual divides over planning for the end of life. >> in the african american
community, to put your loved one in a place like hospice, it was something that you never even thought of. >> ifill: and, two women from different sides of a long and bitter conflict take tourists on atypical tours of the holy land, that include the west bank. >> i think its good we see for ourselves the way people live. >> i'm not sure what i was expecting, but not such a normal place. >> woodruff: those are some of the stories we're covering on tonight's "pbs newshour." >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> lincoln financial-- committed to helping you take charge of your life and become you're own chief life officer. >> and the william and flora hewlett foundation, helping people build immeasurably better lives.
>> and with the ongoing support of these institutions 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. >> ifill: president obama nominated u.s. marine general joseph dunford junior today to be chairman of the joint chiefs of staff today. dunford commanded u.s. and coalition forces in afghanistan in 2013 and 2014, and he's had a meteoric rise through the ranks. in the rose garden, the president said he's been extraordinarily impressed. >> i know joe. i trust him. he's already proven his ability to give me his unvarnished military advice based on experience on the ground. under his steady hand, we've achieved key milestones including transition to afghan responsibility for security, historic afghan elections and
the draw down of u.s. forces. >> ifill: if confirmed by the senate, dunford will be the second marine to chair the joint chiefs. >> woodruff: u.s. attorney general loretta lynch promised federal help today to baltimore as it considers some re-training of its police force. lynch visited the city to meet with students, and religious and political leaders. she also met with police officials and with the family of freddie gray. his death sparked riots in the city last week. six police officers have now been charged in the case. >> ifill: former arkansas governor mike huckabee has entered the republican presidential race for 2016. he made the announcement today in his hometown of hope, arkansas, and played up his economic populism. >> 93 million americans don't have jobs, and many of them who do have seen their full-time job with benefits they once had become two part-time jobs with no benefits at all. we were promised hope, but it was just talk and now we need
the kind of change that really could get america from hope to higher ground. >> ifill: huckabee ran for the republican nomination before, in 2008, with a strong appeal to social conservatives. he's the sixth candidate to join the g.o.p. field for 2016. >> woodruff: in nepal, search teams kept digging in a mudslide that buried an entire village in last month's earthquake. the site is on a popular trekking route. this video, from an american mountain biker, captured the instant the quake struck. a moment later, a torrent of earth crashed down on the trail and the bike. the rider survived, but the quake's overall death toll has now passed 7,500. >> ifill: the mediterranean sea is the site of yet another disaster involving european- bound migrants. the humanitarian group "save the children" reports "dozens" of people drowned sunday as their dinghy deflated. that's based on survivor accounts. the associated press obtained
video of the rescue. it shows people frantically climbing ropes to a cargo ship. others grasped for lifesavers. >> woodruff: for the first time, a u.s. secretary of state set foot in somalia. john kerry sought to bolster efforts against al-shabaab militants allied with al-qaeda. kerry met with somalia's president at the heavily guarded mogadishu airport, and he invoked "black hawk down", when dead american soldiers were dragged through the streets in 1993. >> as everybody knows, more than 20 years ago the united states was forced to pull back from this country, and now we're returning in collaboration with our international community and with high hopes, mixed obviously with ongoing concerns. >> woodruff: kerry also talked of taking steps toward reopening a u.s. mission in somalia. >> ifill: lawmakers in france today moved toward legalizing broad surveillance of terror
suspects. the lower house of parliament approved the bill and sent it to the french senate, over the opposition of civil liberty groups. the bill gained momentum after islamist militants killed 17 people in paris in january. >> woodruff: back in this country, the state department announced new rewards to track down four top leaders of the islamic state group. the government will pay, collectively, up to $20 million for information on their whereabouts. >> ifill: the city of los angeles is accusing wells fargo bank of pressing its workers to open unauthorized accounts, and charge customers "bogus" fees. the "los angeles times" reports the city has filed a civil suit to stop the practices and impose financial penalties. wells fargo blames rogue employees, and says they've been disciplined or fired. >> woodruff: and on wall street, stocks sank after word that the trade deficit hit a six-year high in march. the dow jones industrial average lost 140 points to close back near 17,900, the nasdaq fell 77 points, and the s-and-p 500 slid 25.
also today oil closed above $60 a barrel in new york, for the first time since december. >> ifill: still to come on the newshour: combating homegrown terror threats; what's coming out of the food we eat, and why; how end of life care, like hospice, varies widely by race; a bird flu outbreak threatens to cripple the midwest poultry industry; unlikely business partners offer unique tours of the holy land; and poet elizabeth alexander's powerful memoir on the death of her husband. >> woodruff: now, the latest on the weekend shootings in garland, texas. two attackers were killed there sunday, outside an exhibit and contest of cartoons considered offensive by many muslims. today, a major militant group weighed in. the post on their radio website
was the first time the "islamic state" has claimed responsibility for an attack on u.s. soil. >> ( translated ): two soldiers of the islamic caliphate carried out an attack on a drawing exhibition in garland, texas, in america showing insulting drawings of the prophet. and we tell america that what is coming will be even more bitter and harder. >> woodruff: but investigators questioned any direct connection between the militant group and the shooters in texas. the white house echoed that caution today. >> this is still under investigation by the fbi and other members of the intelligence community to determine any ties or affiliations of these two individuals they may have had with isil or other terror organizations around the world, so it's still too early to say at this point. >> woodruff: what is known is that the two gunmen were american muslims living in arizona. they wounded a security guard outside the garland, texas, event center-- before a policeman shot and killed both of them.
one of the attackers-- elton simpson-- had been convicted of lying to the f.b.i. in a terror investigation in 2011. kristina sitton was his defense lawyer. >> i never saw any indications that he was violent. i always saw the peaceful side of him. we would be meeting for hours at a time and he would ask if there was an office where he could go and pray. >> woodruff: the second gunman-- nadir soofi-- lived at the same apartment complex as simpson, in phoenix. his mother spoke today in houston. >> he's an intelligent kid. but to be convinced to do something like this is beyond me, it's just beyond me. >> woodruff: meanwhile, a group of islamists in pakistan held a memorial service for simpson and soofi today. a cleric said the two men should be praised as martyrs. >> woodruff: separately there is heightened security in new york city tonight, as the french satirical magazine, charlie
hedbo, receives an award from a writers' group for courage in freedom of expression. twelve people were killed in january when gunmen attacked the magazine for printing cartoons with the image of mohammad. to take a close look at threats here at home, we turn to juan zarate, former deputy national security advisor for combating terrorism under george w. bush. juan zarate, welcome back to the program. so islamic state claiming responsibility. do you believe they are responsible? >> well it depends on how you define "responsibility." it's clear the islamic state is inspiring actors around the world to fly their banner and to attack, including in western capitals. the real question for counter-terrorism authorities is are they actually directing these kinds of attacks, and is there evidence that they actually deployed these two individuals to attack. i think the working theory now is this is more about inspiration than direction but i think we'll have to see how the facts play out and what the investigation brings. >> woodruff: why is that the working theory? >> well, i think the sense is
that these are two individuals who had been in the united states for some time, of course, hadn't perhaps traveled to train in syria and iraq. no evidence that these are foreign fighters of the type that we worry about being trained and then deployed back, but there is a concern judy and we've seen this with with the use of social media by the islamic state that there could be peer-to-peer direction. we've seen this in the context of recruitment. the recent case of the somali-americans traveling to syria, being pulled by one of their come patriots. you could have the reverse work, as well. you could have the islamic state using social media to actually direct attacks in a strategic way, and it's the pervasiveness of both the information environment we're in and the strategic calculus that these individuals are engaged in. they could pick a target like this they know is ripe for attack this prime target for assassinations by extremists they know this is target that could have strategic impact.
>> woodruff: what does this mean for those who work in counter-terrorism? how do they know where to direct their resources and what to focus on? >> it's a huge challenge. the director of the f.b.i. says they have investigations in all 50 states around suspect individuals who may be inspired by groups like the islamic state to attack. you have the problem that the islamic state and al qaeda still are trying to inspire actors and individuals to attack where they are perhaps not even to travel to syria or afghanistan, and the reality is you're never quite sure when somebody like these two actors may be animated by a particular event a particular activity, and so for law enforcement authorities, it's about prevention and prediction and that's incredibly hard when you don't have clear markers of activity. >> woodruff: how much do events like this one, i mean, we talked about how authorities in texas spent months getting ready for this event over the weekend near dallas and as we mentioned, there is an event
tonight in new york honoring the work of "charlie hebdo." do authorities just naturally have to worry about every event like this? >> i think they do now, judy. i think the reality is we're in an ideological as well as a terrorism threat environment, where these kinds of events where freedom of speech is being advocated rightfully. also presents a target for extremists who know they have particular types of targets they want to hit, particular messages they want to send with the types of attacks they engage in and so the environment is very much ripe for these kinds of events and attacks where individuals just by the environment itself understand where they need to attack. they don't need to be deployed by baghdadi of amman alzahawari. >> woodruff: so does this mean they need to rewrite the playbook every day? >> i think that's right.
you have somali-americans going to syria. you have north african frenchmen going to yemen. you have all of these threats emerging in very different ways with these groups trying to inspire individuals in small spells to attack in place. >> woodruff: juan zarate, we thank you once again. >> thanks, judy. >> ifill: for years, consumers have heard warnings and worries over what's in their food. increasingly, the industry is taking notice, too. the panera chain was the latest to make a move. it announced plans to remove 150 or more artificial ingredients, sweeteners, and colors by the end of next year. last week, chipotle said it plans to remove many genetically modified ingredients. kraft has also said it will eliminate synthetic colors and artificial preservatives from its famous orange-colored
macaroni and cheese. and tyson's chicken has pledged to phase out the use of anti-biotics in the production of chickens by 2017. some of these changes have been praised, some have been met with skepticism. we look at what's happening, and what consumers should keep in mind, with allison aubrey, who covers food and nutrition for n.p.r. and michael moss, the author of "salt sugar fat: how the food giants hooked us." welcome to you both. al ahmad, why are these companies making these moves now? how dangerous is the problem they're trying to fix? >> i think in a word the reason why these companies are making these changes now is that they're talking to their customers, and consumer sentiments has really changedment people want things that are natural. people seem to have developed aballergy to things that seem artificial. today i talked to panera's lead chef. he told me starting a couple years ago they started looking into all of the additives in their food. they came up with hundreds of things in the food supply. they started asking two
questions: what is this stuff and why is it there? when they found things that they didn't know why it was there, there was a cosmetic reason for it being, there they decided, hey, let's look for a work around and probably the best example of this is mozzarella. people had become accustomed to very very white mozzarella. it's often treated with titanium dioxide to bleach it. so panera said, well you know if our mozzarella isn't the whitest shade of white, then let's take it out. so they did. and consumers like that kind of thing. consumers like the idea of simpler ingredients. >> well, michael moss let's talk about that. titanium dioxide sounds pretty dangerous. but we also are talking about antibiotics in chicken which makes a really big chicken right? i wonder how dangerous that really is. >> well the danger is the key word here. i think many of these ingredients are simply artificial, not
wholesome-sounding but really pose no danger. i was looking at the panera list. there are all sorts of things that pose no health risk at all to anybody including vanilla. i asked the company. they said we just prefer to switch over from an artificial vanilla to the real thing. i think allison hit a point here. much of what this is about are these food giants trying to regain the trust of customers who are caring more and more about what they put in their bodies and caring less and less for some of the strategies we've seen from the processed food industry over the years. >> >> ifill: well, for instance allison, genetically modified ingredients carries the smack of something artificial, but how do you get that out of a food chain for a sandwich shop where it might affect the sandwich bun, the meat in the sandwich? >> well for instance, if you take the sandwich as an example, a few years ago there was an episode where subway found
itself in a kerfuffle over a compound. people were saying why is this compound in my subway bread. it turns out it is also found in yoga mats because it works on texture, and in dough it helps soften or keep the right texture for dough. in yoga mats it softens out or gives the yoga mat the right consistency. it seems crazy, right that you would have the same compound in a yoga mat as you have your bread. so you start asking a few questions, is there a risk? well, the risk according to the f.d.a. are non-existent when it comes to the amounts that are found in the bread. scientists love to point out that the dose is the poison the dose makes the poison, right? so there have been some studies where you look at industrial workers who are exposed to this compound, and you start to see issues of breathing or yaz mark but in the tiny tiny doses that we would be exposed to them in bread, the f.d.a. has said, you
know, this stuff is okay. the problem is consumer sentiment has shifted and consumers are saying hey, if this is a compound in my yoga mat, i don't want it in my bread. >> ifill: michael moss, how much of this is simply about consumer sentiment and business imperative, and how much of this is about making our food the healthier? >> i think almost all of it is business imperative. some of these companies really i think do deeply care about the health profile of their products. another factor, though, they're getting more pressure from start-up ventures, you know, low capital but taking high risks and swooping in and looking at the entire food system in this country like they looked at the telecom industry back in the 1970s. everything from farming to distribution to warehousing to how you store produce in your kitchen is all being rethought. i think the food giants are realizing that one of the big myths of them is that they can innovate. and they can't innovate like
they used. to they're going to have to turn to these smaller companies for fresh ideas which these days to people mean natural, simple plain ingredients i can understand and feed my kids without worrying. >> >> ifill: would labeling be enough, if they just said, this is what's here or something that's unpronounceable is inharntly undeniable? >> i think transparent is only part of the solution, because if you have to do a lot of communication about why something with this long gobbledygook name is in your food, if it takes you longer than five seconds to explain that, you sort of lost people. and so that's part of the issue here. i think what's happening is we're moving to a time when consumers have just accepted that simpler is better. if something isn't cooked the way you would cook it in your own kitchen you should be sceptical. that's where we are as a
society. >> ifill: so michael moss, we should be bracing for more of this? >> bracing for more and i'm thinking waiters and waitressing are going to be bracing for more customers coming in going not where is that beef from, but like where is that vanilla from and what's up with that sunflower oil, is it organic or not and how many pesticides? you pine for the days when food was food what your mom and dad served you, you didn't snack between meals. but i think this is all good. i think caring about this stuff up to a point, as long as we don't start freaking out too much and lose that basic love for food, which is is what it should be all about, this is all good. >> ifill: michael moss, author of "salt, sugar and fat: how the food giants hooked us," and allison aubrey of npr, thanks so much. >> thanks so much for having me. >> thanks, gwen. >> woodruff: end-of-life
planning is gaining favor with more and more americans. but lagging behind this trend are african americans who, more so than whites and latinos, are skeptical of options like hospice and advance directives. special correspondent sarah varney begins our report in los angeles. this story was produced in collaboration with our partner kaiser health news. ♪ ♪ >> reporter: dr. maisha robinson, a neurologist at the university of california, los angeles, is on a mission to change how black seniors die in america. >> hi! >> let's talk. >> yes, ma'am. >> reporter: dr. robinson grew up a pastor's daughter in tennessee. now, she's working with pastors like bishop gwendolyn stone, in los angeles to urge black families to plan for the end of their lives. >> if we kind of look at the bible, all the people, of course, that jesus healed, all died. they went on to die.
i think it's an awesome idea to remind people. they know, but of course they don't want to hear it. >> it's not fun thinking about death. >> reporter: african americans are more deeply religious than other racial or ethnic groups: three out of four pray daily and more than half attend weekly church services. in many black churches, the belief is that only god-- not a doctor or a patient-- decides when a life ends. >> i believe that he's got a home for me on high that's not made with human hands. >> reporter: but stone says there's a basis in scripture for planning ahead. >> and just like jesus prepared his disciples for his death, we ought to be preparing our disciples for our death, amen? >> reporter: there is an ideal image of a "good death" in america-- a clear, legal directive reflecting a patient's wishes and avoiding painful and unnecessary medical treatments. but this ideal image is often at odds with the realities of black spiritual life and the lessons
african americans carry forward from their painful history. as late as the mid-1960s segregated hospitals were common, and legal, throughout the united states. even in so-called "mixed race" hospitals, black patients were often housed on separate floors and given inadequate care. the notorious tuskegee syphilis study, a government-led experiment on black males lasted until 1972 and killed more than 100 men. kimberly johnson is a geriatrician and associate professor of medicine at duke university. she says for african americans the history of abuse is not a cultural artifact. the toxic distrust of the health care system is still deeply felt today. >> they receive care in facilities that were largely either segregated or facilities where they or their parents or their grandparents would not have been allowed and as a result, they are really
suspicious of the kind of care they receive. >> reporter: dr. johnson says black patients and their families then are understandably skeptical when a physician suggests withdrawing medical treatment or stating their wishes in advance. researchers have found about 8% of african americans-- compared to 43% of whites-- have an advance directive or living will. and, regardless of income, researchers also find african americans, regardless of income, black patients are more likely than whites and latinos to forgo hospice and say they want to be kept alive on life support, even when there's little chance of survival. hospice has been much more successful reaching white, middle-class patients. but here in buffalo, new york, an influential group of african american pastors and their wives are confronting the skepticism and fears about hospice in the black community with personal stories and prayer. narseary harris and her husband, pastor vernal harris, lead the prince of peace temple church of god in christ in buffalo. two of the harrises three sons, paul and solomon, died from
sickle cell disease, an incurable condition that causes the red blood cells to bre down. paul endured a painful and prolonged death at age 26. >> in the african american community, to put your loved one in a place like hospice, it was something that you never even thought of. it didn't matter how ill the person was, we believe that if they were, alive, it was our responsibility to, to take care of them until they passed. >> reporter: when their next son, solomon, grew gravely ill narseary says a palliative care specialist urged them to choose hospice. >> he said, "mrs. harris solomon doesn't have a lot more time. and i really want to recommend hospice care for you." i said, "we don't want hospice!" he said, "mrs. harris, let me just," he says, "you don't have to make a decision right now, but let me just introduce you to hospice buffalo." and i said, "okay, we can, we'll do that." i said, "solomon, you okay with that?" and he said, "okay."
solomon moved into his parents home and soon caregivers from hospice buffalo arrived. >> they explained what they were going to do, and solomon said "okay, so when do i have to go?" and they said, "you're not going anywhere." >> yeah. >> you're gonna stay right here. >> yeah. >> reporter: looking at family pictures, the harrises recalled how both sons had convulsed with pain, a problem that solomon's hospice nurses addressed. one son's death wholly redirected the passing of another. >> to see paul go through that kind of pain, and solomon within days, going from days of that kind of excruciating agony, to being able to sleep, literally go to sleep and not see him, you know, go through that. that was the-- i can't even tell you. >> reporter: at the harrises'
church, word spread quickly that at home. solomon was dying, peacefully, at home. >> reporter: narseary harris has been sharing her story with the wives of black pastors across western new york and urging them to help re-shape the community's views about hospice. >> reporter: but back in los angeles, at a gathering of black seniors, the challenge dr. maisha robinson faces in changing minds is unmistakably on display. >> i want them to do whatever they can. that means they can resuscitate me, to hook me up to a breathing machine, to take and put i.v.'s in me, keep me hydrated, do not starve me to death like they did my mother.
>> reporter: robinson says doctors have to be more clear about their motivations when it comes to end of life decisions. >> it's the intention that is unclear, many times, in the minds of african americans. they don't know what the intention of the physician is. and so, i think we just have to be much clearer about why we're trying to have those conversations and suggest that, or we'll continue to see a pattern of people who really want life-sustaining interventions even when there's limited potential benefit. >> reporter: changing those beliefs seems a daunting challenge, especially when startling racial health disparities remain. but for pastors like gwendolyn stone, easing the pain of death is a worthy calling. for the pbs news hour, i'm sarah varney in los angeles. >> ifill: the growing outbreak of bird flu is now the largest ever seen in this country. more than 21 million birds, including three million turkeys in minnesota, have been killed or are set to be euthanized. a state of emergency has been
declared in three states, iowa minnesota and wisconsin. but the virus has also surfaced in 11 other states, and farmers are increasingly worried. the federal government today agreed to add another $330 million to the $84 million in emergency funds it has already set aside to help cover farmer claims. u.s. agriculture secretary tom vilsack joins us now to explain why. secretary vilsack, you're a proud son of iowa. how would you add up the economic impact so far? >> it's certainly devastateing to every individual farmer that's experiencing this, but this represents about one-third of 1% of all the chickens and turkeys in the country today so it's devastating for the individual farmer. we're there to help and work with that farmer to get through a very tough time. the impact on chicken and turkey prices is at this point unknown. it's potentially could not have any impact at all given the small number that we're dealing with relative to the overall
number of chickens and turkeys in the country. it may have an impact on eggs. we'll have to see. >> ifill: the federal government is devoting just north of $400 million to alleviate this. what kind of debit can that make? >> we're not sure that all $400 million will necessary will be used. at this point in time it's the outward bound number we're working with. as of today we're looking at probably $84 million in indemnification costs, which includes paying farmers for the fair market value for the chickens and turkeys that have to be depopulated as well as the clean-up costs which can be extensive in order to ensure facilities are properly sanitized. >> where did this come from? >> most likely from asia, from wild ducks and geese that develop a.i. and resistance to it, which ultimately in commercial sized operations and even in free range chickens that are commercial they don't have that resistance. so it's fatal for them.
but it's not fatal for the wild birds that are spreading it throughout the u.s. >> ifill: the last time we talked about bird flu it was an asian bird flu and there were humans involved humans who died. had there been any concern or any investigation into whether this can make a leap here from species to species? >> there is no indication of that. there's no indication of any human situation or human illness link at this point. this is at this point in time unfortunately focused on those individual farmers who are suffering through a tough time, and we're encouraging the farmers who have not yet been hit by this to take appropriate biosecurity approaches and controls in their operation to try to mitigate and potentially avoid this happening on their farms. >> ifill: what are you telling them to do? what could actually stop this from spreading? >> well, there are a couple things potentially. time is probably the key at this point. as the weather gets a bit warmer the virus will potentially be killed by it. birds ultimately over time will develop a resistance, and the
u.s.d.a. at our poultry lab in georgia is currently working on a vaccine. i know that there are some private enterprise, private settingor labs also working on a vaccine. >> ifill: now, in minnesota especially, the chickens who have been involved have been as i understand it, of the egg-laying population. does that... is there any reason that humans who are consuming eggs should be at all concerned about that? >> no, that's not the issue here. the issue is unfortunately primarily agriculture. it's not human health at this point in time. that's why we have been focusing at u.s.d.a. to make sure producers do what i they can to protect their interest and to make sure we're there to help them if this unfortunate situation occurs at their farm. >> one final question about the turkeys which are involved. is this something that's going to affect turkey suppliers, turkey consumers come turkey-eating time this fall? >> you know gwen, it's unlikely. for this reason: unfortunately,
a number of countries have decided to ban all poultry and turkey sales to their country, exports from the u.s. which is unfortunate. we think a more appropriate way is to regionalize those ban which meanings our export numbers will be down so domestic supply could be up. so consumers might actually see more supply, not less supply of turkey and chicken. we're still uncertain in terms of the impact on eggs. about 100 billion eggs a year are produced. iowa obviously being the number-one egg producer. it represents roughly 9% of overall egg production. we're still looking at relatively small percentages of the overall food supply. >> ifill: secretary of agriculture tom vilsack thanks so much. >> you bet. >> woodruff: in israel, prime minister benjamin netanyahu has just one more day to form a coalition government following march's election, or someone else will be asked to try.
his efforts hit a snag monday when his foreign minister, avigdor lieberman, quit his post and announced that his party would join the opposition. netanyahu shocked many when just days before the election, he reversed position and said there would not be a palestinian state if he remained prime minister, a statement he softened after his victory. despite that and many other setbacks to the peace process, our special correspondent martin seemungal recently met two remarkable women who have chosen to blaze their own trail forward through the painful realities of the region. >> reporter: elisa moed is an israeli, christina samara is a palestinian, and they are doing something rare, some would say revolutionary, in this part of the middle east, they're in business together. >> first of all it feels good to have a friend and a partner in business who is an israeli and doing this on a very personal level. >> reporter: they are seasoned
tour operators who met by chance when they were invited to take part in a panel on marketing the holy land. >> christina and i spent a lot of time together and we found that we really had a shared vision about the type of program that we would like to do and we could do if we worked together. >> reporter: a typical holy land tour will begin in jerusalems old city-visit sites revered by muslims, hear about jewish history, see the western wall, pray at the church of the holy sepulchre, visit nearby bethlehem and go north to galilee, christina and elisa's tour goes to those places. >> the israelites coming from the transjordan the jordanian side crossing to the land of israel. >> reporter: but also, deep into the west bank. >> we thought that by working together it would provide travelers with what they really want which is to see israel and the palestinian territories, one
tour in an authentic way where they can meet people and really learn about their cultures. >> reporter: on this particular day the tourists are christian evangelicals from houston, they signed on because they believe in what elisa and christina are doing. >> i think that it shows a peace, it shows a coming together that doesn't normally happen and i think that's a beautiful integration and i'm >> few tourists make this journey into the west bank, it is largely under israeli control, a source of violent conflict with the palestinians for decades, in places israel's presence is obvious, sometimes not so. when the tour stops at this gift shop few realize that because of a line on a map one aisle is under joint israeli-palestinian control, the next aisle under the full control of israel. shop owner mahmoud ghazal sometimes uses it to make a point about the palestinian
cause. >> we are peaceful people the palestinian people. they are looking for peace to have peace in the country, but we cannot have the occupation sitting on our areas and in our cities, it provokes the people. >> reporter: modern history then is as much a part of this tour as the ancient history, which is why the bus goes to nablus, a big city in the heart of the west bank under full palestinian control. >> nablus is considered a hotbed of palestinian militancy-- but the tour organizers think its important that they visit here. jacob's tomb is nearby, and there is an ancient market in the old city here, still bustling. tension is low right now, but security is always a concern. >> in the morning we check whats going on in the news, the bus driver and the guide are very aware of the procedures. >> we believe its very safe, we take every precaution ahead of time calling what have you and
working with locals. >> reporter: a few in the houston group admit they got some worried questions from family. >> they were like, "oh, you're going to those places and you're doing those things, and are you sure that's okay?" >> reporter: and they say standing in the center of nablus was a little unsettling at first. >> we feel we stick out like a sore thumb, for sure. >> reporter: there is the language barrier, but some manage to interact. >> i think its wonderful that the trip that our church set up is going to spend so much time in palestine, we always see what we see on the news, and i think its good we see for ourselves the way people live. >> i'm not sure what i was expecting, but not such a normal place. >> reporter: definitely not the place you would normally see an israeli jew on the street. for elisa there are risks being here, but she believes in what
she is doing. >> people only see a small slice of life on most of the typical holyland tours, to come to nablus is to get an entirely different experience that you're not going to get anywhere else >> reporter: they call their tour company "breaking bread journeys" and food is a big part of the daily routine. going into homes on both sides sharing meals with israelis and palestinians. >> we want people to understand get a deeper feel for the communities and all the different religions that are here. >> i think many people that we visited they truly, they genuinely want peace so that gives me some hope, that that is something attainable. >> reporter: the tour even stops at one of the many israeli settlements in the west bank, har bracha is famous for its wine. the settlements are widely seen as a big obstacle to peace, the international community views them as illegal, israel disputes
this. har bracha is on the list because these tourists want to hear from both sides. nir lavi tells them the settlers are in the west bank because of an ancestral connection. >> this connects us very much. if you ask us how come we live here what are we looking over, we're looking over our roots. >> reporter: its an obvious difficulty, they're saying that i think the palestinians are saying with some truth to it that they have lived here for milillenia as well. i don't see how this will be solved. >> reporter: chris seay is the pastor leading the group from houston. >> reporter: we believe there is a lot of truth on both sides to this thing and the reality is its only when we come together that we can see other people
perspective, having cultural experiences not trying to take sides in some of the battles that take place, we want to be here and be pro-israeli and pro palestinian, we want to be pro peace. >> reporter: as a palestinian christina had never been to a settlement before she co-founded breaking bread journeys, she admits it hurts to listen sometimes, but feels strongly that it needs to be part of the tour. >> these are people telling their story to the tourists and this is what we want them to hear they can make up their own minds about the situation maybe they get a deeper understanding for all the different people they meet here and this is what we're offering them, regardless of what my personal feelings are. >> i don't know what's going to happen moving forward but i can say that i think that we're making a difference in our own little way. >> reporter: two women from different sides of a long and bitter conflict, working together, hoping it will become a model for others. for the newshour i'm martin seemungal in the west bank.
>> ifill: now a poet finds the words to tell her own story of grief. jeffrey brown has our conversation, fresh off the newshour bookshelf. >> brown: the story seems to begin with catastrophe but, in fact, began earlier and is not a tragedy but rather a love story. those are first lines of a new memoir byñi poet elizabeth alexander titled the light of the world. the catastrophe occurred in 2012, the sudden death of her husband of a heart attack just days after his 50th surprise birthday party. >> there's just a strangeness of absence. >> brown: it's so unnatural that he's not coming to dinner. >> unnatural, but someone's things are around, someone's smell is around, someone's garden is coming up that he planted, finding a book and
seeing the page marked where he was reading, all of that trace is what i found you know, it takes a while even though, of course, you know, sadly, you know that they're not coming back. >> the love story is the one they shared for 16 years, raising two young boys soloman and simon, now 17 and 15. >> a happy marriage is hard work. so we worked to make our marriage and our family, but did i feel awash with fortune even as we struggled through the struggles of the day? absolutely. praise song for the day. >> brown: elizabeth alexander came into the national spotlight in 2009 when she read her poem "praise song for the day" at barack obama's first inauguration. >> all about us is noise and bramble thorn and din.
>> brown: she's the author of six books of poetry, one of them "american sublime" a finalist for the pulitzer prize, and she's a professor of african american studies at yale university. it was in new haven that she met ficre, an immigrant from eritrea who fled war. one of the things that gives the story such resonance is such an american story, a black woman, a decentdant from slave families, immigrant man escaping war starting his life anew. >> well i'm so happy that you see it that way because i wasn't aware of it in the writing, but it is absolutely true the americanness of it, the americanness of, you know, immigrants at what stage in the american story and also many american marriages are mixed in some way that you wouldn't expect, you know, not just straightforward religious mixing or black person and white person
coming together but mixing cultures with some kind of baseline of understanding that draws you to the person who is your partner. >> brown: in addition the his family ficre had two great passions. there was cooking, he was a chef and had a restaurant in new haven. >> this is an early water color. >> brown: and then there was his painting. >> and this painting which i love, which i see every day when i open my eyes, is called "visitation." and it is an allegory of our first meeting in ficre's studio in new haven. >> the walls of alexander's apartment, she moved into manhattan last year are filled with his work. >> i was very surprised that i started writing almost immediately after ficre died. i didn't think it was anything that was going to become a poem or become a memoir. i just knew they was keeping track of things in some kind of way, not even looking at what i did not even thinking much about it but just doing it.
>> brown: keeping track of what, your feelings? >> i wouldn't even call them feelings. i would call them perceptions and living and surviving. writing was actually my feet on the earth. it felt like that was how i knew that i was anchored to something and that i needed to track what i was moving through, even though i wouldn't say it was cathartic or it helped me move through my grief. it wasn't like that. it was actually now that i look back on it, more profoundly about processing the world through art and writing. >> there's a line where you say how much space for remembering is there in a day. >> mmm. >> that struck me because much of the book is sort of remembering little things. >> yes. >> a recipe of his maybe. >> i feel it's a book of praise that's a poet's prose. >> brown: a poet's prose? >> a poet's prose in they felt it came from the same visceral place that poetry comes from.
it came word first and word by word and always with attention to music. the chapters are not prose poem, but they're short they're condensed. they have the economy of poetry because that's kind of how i'm wired. "i knew i could not undo what happened. i knew i couldn't really fix anything in time, but i think that in writing we do try to fix moments so that somehow they're captured and that's... i just wanted to be very careful. i wanted to be precise and precisely ask myself what i saw and felt and knew and remembered. >> you must have now become part of a conversation of grief in a sense. do you tell people what you learned or is this an offering of learning? >> grief is so singular even as it is universal. we've all been through it, and we will all come to it. that is the truth.
so i wouldn't presume so say i did it this way so you should do it this way or anything like that. every family every person, we all know our griefs and our challenges. they just come at different times in different ways. so he and i had each known them in different ways at different points. and his loss was the biggest one, the most consequential one but in that honestly was the blessing of having known him. no one is guaranteed love. no one is guaranteed children. no one is guaranteed the sink nisty that we have. so i was very aware always that that was something that was indelible. >> the book is "the light of the world." elizabeth alexander, thank you so much. >> thank you very much for the conversation. >> ifill: elizabeth alexander shared two of her late husband's favorite dishes with us, spicy red lentil tomato curry, and spaghetti with a hundred onions. find those recipes, on our home page, pbs.org/newshour.
we have a late-breaking development, the u.s. senate joined the house in passing a republican budget blueprint for the first time in a decade. it's not biding but calls for cuts in medicaid and food stamps while increasing spending on defense. with republicans in control of the majority, it was approved on a near party-line vote 61-48. the measure now sets up a budget showdown with the president and democrats. >> woodruff: on a trip to africa for the clinton foundation former president bill clinton stopped in liberia yesterday and praised its president, ellen johnson sirleaf, for making progress combating ebola. if no new cases are identified later this week, the country could be declared "ebola-free," a far cry from the depths of last year's outbreak. later tonight on pbs, frontline reveals the story of how the disease unfolded across africa.
journalist dan edge spent four months in western africa tracing the path of mistakes. >> narrator: the government and metabiota had no system in place to monitor people who had been in contact with ebola victims. this lack of contact tracing meant that hundreds of cases went undetected. >> and a month is a disaster. >> a disaster, yes. we wasted time. >> it was wrong, yeah. >> narrator: the outbreak had now spread to three countries: guinea, sierra leone, and
liberia, some of the poorest states in the world. four neighboring countries risked infection at any moment. the who was considering declaring an international health emergency, which would have acted as a global distress signal. but officials were concerned about causing panic. >> at that time, i think all of us thought, "wait a minute. let's be cautious, let's see how it evolves. we are deploying people in the field, we think we are making headways." with hindsight, if i went back to june 2014, i would probably be saying something entirely different. i'd probably be standing up and calling my director general and saying, "please do it." >> narrator: the who opened a new coordination center in guinea to try to improve the response across west africa. >> there was absolutely no change at field level. still the very same few
organizations on the ground doing the work. no additional people coming to support. more people at coordination level, more useless people, more meetings to be organized. but on the ground, on the field impact: zero. >> woodruff: "frontline" airs tonight on most pbs stations. >> ifill: now, to our newshour shares of the day. two balls of fire caught our eye that might be of interest to you, too. a fiery explosion sent molten lava, rocks and gas flying almost 300 feet into the air on sunday, on hawaii's kilauea volcano. it was triggered by the partial collapse of a crater wall, a section of the wall had broken off and splashed into a lava lake. that bubbling lake rose to a record-high level last week. it sits in a crater within a crater. the area around the volcano has been closed off to visitors since 2008, and no one was injured.
and out beyond any human life, eruptions of a different sort. the sun is home to the largest explosions in the solar system. a nasa observatory team captured these wing-like flares, from solar eruptions over a six-hour period last month. and yesterday, it released images showing a massive eruption of solar filament-- snake-like, unstable bursts of plasma spanning millions of miles. find all of our newshour shares on our website, pbs.org/newshour. >> woodruff: also on the newshour online, remember that science or english teacher who inspired you so many years ago? well today is a good day to reflect, because it's "teacher appreciation day." to celebrate, we asked fourteen educators why they chose to teach. find their responses, on our home page. that's at pbs.org/newshour. >> ifill: tune in later this
evening, charlie rose talks with u.n. ambassador samantha power. >> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonight. on wednesday, we'll look at how starbucks is offering their employees a chance at a college education. i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. we'll see you on-line, and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us here at the pbs newshour, thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf the engine that connects us. >> lincoln financial-- committed to helping you take charge of your life and become
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