PBS NewsHour for November 15, 2018 - Part 1
<Show: PBS NEWSHOUR>
<Date: November 15, 2018>
<Head: PBS NewsHour for November 15, 2018 - Part 1>
<Sect: News; International>
<Byline: Catherine Rampell, William Brangham, Dan Bush, Amna Nawaz, Nick
Schifrin, Carl Dinnen, Cat Wise, Judy Woodruff>
<Guest: Judy Ellis, Jamie McCrary, Tiana Straub, David Beasley, Scott
<High: The death toll from California`s deadliest ever fire rises even
higher, as residents begin the long road to recovery. The Food and Drug
Administration restricts the sale of some flavored electronic cigarettes,
aiming to reduce smoking among teens. Lawsuits and recounts continue in
Florida. Electric scooters have cities trying to manage a difficult
balancing act. The director of the World Food Program warns of imminent
famine in Yemen due to the ongoing civil war. What is the U.S. Forest
Service doing to combat sexual harassment within its ranks? Three female
veterans give their Brief But Spectacular take on recovering from PTSD.>
<Spec: Women; Forest Service; Crime; Military; World Food Program; Yemen;
War; Politics; Technology; Science; California; Fires; Death; Disasters;
Food and Drug Administration; Health and Medicine; Youth; Florida;
Elections; Senate; Congress; Donald Trump; Government>
JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I`m Judy Woodruff.
On the “NewsHour” tonight: The death toll from California`s worst fire rises even higher, as residents begin the long road to recovery.
Then: The Food and Drug Administration restricts the sale of some flavored electronic cigarettes, hoping to reduce smoking among teens.
Plus, lawsuits and recounts in Florida. We have the latest on the still uncalled governor and Senate races, as many votes are still being counted.
And inside the battle over electric scooters. The spread of a new shareable technology has cities trying to manage a difficult balancing act.
JUAN MATUTE, Transportation Expert: Their incentive is to saturate the market with as many as possible and make it as convenient as possible to use, get people trying it.
JUDY WOODRUFF: All that and more on tonight`s “PBS NewsHour.”
JUDY WOODRUFF: The tally of death and destruction keeps growing in the Northern California wildfires. Officials now confirm 56 dead, up to 300 missing, and 8,800 homes destroyed in and around the town of Paradise.
Cat Wise reports from nearby Chico, where survivors have taken refuge.
CAT WISE: A Wal-Mart parking lot in Chico now home to hundreds of wildfire evacuees. Donated clothes and shoes have piled up in what is now a tent city, with daytime temperatures in the 40s.
Matthew Flanagan is one of many who fled from nearby Paradise last week when the Camp Fire destroyed the town of 27,000 people.
MATTHEW FLANAGAN, Evacuee: There are more evacuees, more people running out of money for hotels. And families, they`re staying with people, but they can`t stay there forever. And we tried to get back up to see our houses yesterday, and they say it`s going to be four months. So Paradise is gone.
JENNIFER FITZGERALD, Evacuee: Everything I have ever known is gone. All my family and friends, all their houses and businesses.
CAT WISE: Jennifer Fitzgerald is here with her daughter, 7-year-old- Brooklyn. Fitzgerald worked as a house cleaner in Paradise, but her home burned and she didn`t have renters insurance.
Do you have any thoughts about the days ahead, what`s going to happen to you?
JENNIFER FITZGERALD: No. I have no clue, none. What can I -- I can`t really do -- there`s nothing to do. I mean, all the good -- all the jobs are closed right now in Paradise, so I don`t know what to do. It`s hard.
CAT WISE: Last night, the two slept in a car borrowed from a friend.
JENNIFER FITZGERALD: I`m just kind of bouncing around right now, staying in this car with my friends, at friends` house, family`s house. It just depends where I`m at that day.
CAT WISE: And you have your daughter with you, Brooklyn, who`s 7. How is she doing?
JENNIFER FITZGERALD: She`s OK. I don`t think she really kind of knows what`s going on yet. I mean, she does. But she keeps asking where her stuffs that and why she can`t have it.
CAT WISE: Another woman, Loretta Goodwin, is caring for her grandson. She has nothing left, and is relying on donated diapers and stuffed animals.
LORETTA GOODWIN, Evacuee: We really thought we were going to go back. We should have got this, we should have got that. But, yes, it was heartbreaking.
CAT WISE: It will take years to rebuild this area. Like many others, Suzanne Kaksonen worries how she will afford a hotel or other temporary housing in the meantime.
SUZANNE KAKSONEN, Evacuee: I just want to go home. I don`t even care if there`s no home. I just want to go back to my dirt, you know, and put a trailer up and clean it up and get going. Sooner, the better. I don`t want to wait six months.
CAT WISE: This makeshift shelter has so far been supplied and staffed by volunteers only. But winter weather will only worsen the conditions here.
MAN: It`s going to start raining shortly, and this is unsustainable if it`s raining.
CAT WISE: The mental and physical health of evacuees are a growing concern as well. A layer of thick smoke still hangs over Paradise and surrounding communities. Officials say the ash and mix of toxic chemicals has created hazardous air quality conditions for the survivors.
Meanwhile, fire crews are making progress. They have now contained 40 percent of the Camp Fire. And recovery teams continue searching the charred debris for bodies, with scores of people still missing.
In Southern California, more than half of the fast-moving Woolsey Fire that burned through Malibu is now within containment lines. But just 35 miles northwest of Malibu, still another fire broke out this morning in the hills near Saticoy.
President Trump will visit California on Saturday to meet with people displaced by the wildfires -- Judy.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Cat, we see you`re still at that Wal-Mart parking lot. You talked to so many people today. We heard from some of them just now. But what are some of the other people saying that you have talked to? What are they facing?
CAT WISE: That`s right, Judy.
We`re still here at the Wal-Mart parking lot. And, frankly, the people we were meeting with today, many of them didn`t have much before the wildfires, and they`re really struggling now. We met with one older gentleman who told us he was a Vietnam vet and has COPD.
He`s really having a tough time of it now with the smoky air. For the most part, this camp has been run by volunteers. It is a bustling place at this point. But we`re told by one of those volunteers who has, frankly, been here for almost a week that they`re a bit frustrated that there hasn`t been more of a government presence here.
We learned a short while ago that they`re actually going to be closing down this camp on Sunday, and part of the reason for that is they`re very concerned about weather that`s expected next week. It`s expected to rain, and these tents behind me are actually in an area, I`m told, that floods after rain events.
So they`re going to be trying to shift people into Red Cross shelters around the area.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Is it surprising that there isn`t government help, that this is all volunteer at this point? Because I would think these people are in need of so many things.
CAT WISE: That`s right, Judy.
I mean, that`s the case at this particular location. We just spoke a short while ago with a Butte County spokeswoman, who told us there have been plenty of donations. In fact, they`re overwhelmed in many locations with donations.
But at this point, they really need financial contributions, and they steered to us three organizations that are on the Butte County Web site, the North Valley Community Foundation, the Schools Fire Relief Fund, the United Way of Northern California Camp Fire Fund.
But, of course, Judy, what`s really needed now is shelter for these folks. And before the wildfires, there was a less than 2 percent vacancy rate in Butte County. So where all of these folks will be headed in the days and weeks ahead, that`s very much up in the air at this point.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, we can certainly hope at the very least, when people hear of these organizations, they will -- some or many will reach out and make a contribution.
Cat Wise, reporting for us from Chico, California, near where those terrible fires were, thank you, Cat.
CAT WISE: Thank you.
JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day`s other news: A pre-winter storm spread across the Eastern U.S., leaving six people dead and causing mass power outages.
Saint Louis got as much as eight inches of snow, with two to six inches falling from Washington, D.C., all the way north into New England. The storm had already triggered car wrecks across the Deep South on Wednesday, especially in Mississippi and Arkansas.
All but one of Florida`s 67 counties finished machine vote recounts today for the Senate and governor`s races. Palm Beach County missed the deadline, citing equipment problems.
In the Senate contest, Republican Rick Scott had a razor-thin lead over Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson, ensuring a further recount by hand.
Meanwhile, Democrats picked up a U.S. House seat in the state of Maine. They have now gained 36 seats, with a handful of races still outstanding.
Meantime, the current House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, insisted today that she has the votes to become speaker come January. She dismissed claims that disgruntled Democrats might have the votes to block her. Pelosi initially served as speaker from 2007 to 2011. She said she is confident of returning to the post.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), House Minority Leader: I have overwhelming support in my caucus to be speaker of the House, and certainly we have many, many people in our caucus who could serve in this capacity. I happen to think that, at this point, I`m the best person for that.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Pelosi is 78. Opponents say it`s time to give younger Democrats a chance to rise.
In Saudi Arabia, the kingdom`s top prosecutor announced that he will seek the death penalty for five men charged in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. The writer was killed at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, last month. He had been critical of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
But Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir claimed today that the prince wasn`t involved.
ADEL AL-JUBEIR, Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister: This was a rogue operation. We have a better sense of what happened. This was individuals exceeding their authority and going beyond their mandate. And these individuals made a tremendous mistake. And for this mistake, they will pay a price.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Also today, the U.S. Treasury imposed sanctions on 17 Saudis who have been linked to Khashoggi`s murder.
Taliban fighters in Afghanistan killed 30 policemen overnight, the latest in a string of attacks. This time, the target was a police outpost in Farah province, near the Iranian border. Unofficial tallies show that at least 45 Afghan soldiers and police are being killed or wounded daily.
British Prime Minister Theresa May defied calls today to step down over her Brexit deal. That came as two Cabinet ministers quit, along with several junior ministers. They charged that the deal leaves Britain too closely tied to the European Union.
Carl Dinnen of Independent Television News has our report.
THERESA MAY, British Prime Minister: Serving in high office is an honor and privilege. It is also a heavy responsibility.
CARL DINNEN: But Theresa May is nothing if not resilient, and says hers is a Brexit deal that protects the economy.
THERESA MAY: I believe that this is a deal which does deliver that, which is in the national interest, and am I going to see this through? Yes.
CARL DINNEN: She`s not going anywhere yet. This morning, Dominic Raab became the second Brexit secretary to exit the Cabinet, saying the deal has terrible flaws.
DOMINIC RAAB, Former Brexit Secretary: The first one is the rather predatory terms being proposed by the E.U., which I feel would threaten the integrity of the United Kingdom. Basically, what that would do is definitely, if not permanently lock us into a regime which I believe would be damaging to the economy, but devastating to the public trust in our democracy.
CARL DINNEN: Soon after, the work and pension secretary, Esther McVey, did resign writing: “I cannot defend this. I cannot vote for this deal.”
But Mrs. May still warned M.P.s to back her, or risk Brexit.
THERESA MAY: We can choose to leave with no deal. We can risk no Brexit at all. Or we can choose...
CARL DINNEN: Yet there were hostile voices all around the Commons.
JEREMY CORBYN, Leader, Labor Party: The government must now withdraw this half-baked deal, which is clear doesn`t have the backing of the Cabinet, this Parliament, or the country as a whole.
SARAH WOLLASTON, Member of Parliament: At this stage, we should be back to the people, present them with the options, rather than us just stumble on regardless.
CARL DINNEN: And within minutes of the debate ending, Mrs. May`s position had become more tenuous yet, as the leader of pro-Brexit Conservatives called for a vote of no-confidence in the prime minister.
JACOB REES-MOGG, British Parliament Member: This is about not having confidence in the current leader and believing that the deal simply doesn`t work.
CARL DINNEN: Yet other Brexiters remain in the Cabinet, Michael Gove, rumored to be in the running as the new Brexit secretary, Penny Mordaunt, seen entering Number 10 for talks.
Mrs. May has weathered the storm today, but the outlook for her and for her Brexit deal is deeply unsettled.
JUDY WOODRUFF: That report from Carl Dinnen of Independent Television News.
Refugee officials in Bangladesh have scrapped plans to start sending Rohingya Muslims back to mostly Buddhist Myanmar. Today`s decision came as refugees protested against the effort. Some 700,000 Rohingya live in Bangladesh after fleeing army-led violence in Myanmar.
The European Court of Human Rights ruled today that Russia`s arrests of opposition leader Alexei Navalny are politically motivated. The court ordered Moscow to pay $71,000 in damages. The decision is legally binding, but Moscow has delayed complying with previous rulings.
Back in this country, a tech rebound helped Wall Street break its losing streak. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 208 points to close at 25289. The Nasdaq rose 122 points, and the S&P 500 added 28.
And longtime country music star Roy Clark died today at his home in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Starting in 1969, he hosted the TV variety show “Hee-Haw” for nearly a quarter of a century. He was also a Grammy winner who excelled at a wide range of instruments. Roy Clark was 85 years old.
Still to come on the “NewsHour”: the FDA proposes new restrictions on electronic cigarettes; recounts continue in Florida`s narrowly contested governor and Senate elections; the director of the World Food Program warns of imminent famine in Yemen due to the ongoing civil war; and much more.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is taking new steps to try curbing the rise in underage smoking and vaping. The agency announced new guidelines for retailers selling flavored e-cigarettes, stopping short of an outright ban.
But, as Amna Nawaz reports, the agency did move to ban sales of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, something tobacco companies have long opposed.
AMNA NAWAZ: The move to ban menthol cigarettes is the biggest tobacco measure taken by the FDA in nearly a decade, although it may take more than a year before it can be fully implemented.
The new rules on many flavored e-cigarettes, however, kick in much sooner, just three months from now. The FDA will limit sales at convenience stores and elsewhere to age-restricted areas that are supposed to be closed off to kids under the age of 18.
E-cigs and vaping have grown by huge numbers. More than one out of five high schoolers in the U.S. used an e-cigarette during the past year, more than three million in all.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb is the FDA commissioner, and he joins me now.
Dr. Gottlieb, thank you for making the time.
I want to ask you about the new rules today. A lot of people expected an outright ban when it comes to the flavored e-cigarettes. You stopped short of that. Why?
DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB, FDA Commissioner: Well, I don`t think the policy we now say was different than What people expected.
There was some reporting last week about what we might do, and that reporting was consistent with what we ultimately announced today. What we`re doing is, we`re putting in place significantly enhanced age- verification requirements in retail establishments for retail outlets that want to sell the fruity-flavored e-cigarette products, because we know those are being used by a lot of kids.
And we have to address this really sharply increasing rate of youth use that we`re seeing in the marketplace. And so a lot of those products are now going to be sold in adult-only vaping stores and other adult-only establishments that can age-restrict people who come in.
If a convenience store still wants to try to sell those products, they`re going to have to put in place measures like having a separate room where they can effectively restrict access to the room, card people before they go in the room.
So there`s that opportunity. But I think what you`re going to see happen is, most of the sales of those products are probably going to going to migrate to establishments that already do put in place age verification requirements as a result of the measures that we`re intending to take.
AMNA NAWAZ: On the age verification front, though, that will stop who`s able to purchase the products, but not necessarily who uses them, right?
And we already know that a lot of younger kids often get the product from people who are legally purchasing them over the age of 18. So how do you enforce something like that?
DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB: Well, that`s right.
I mean, there`s no -- there`s no magic bullet here. There`s no one solution that`s going to affect this. We`re taking a range of steps to try to put downward pressure on the rate of the youth use.
And we really need to see these are trends reverse. It`s not enough to just slow the trajectory of the youth use. We need to see these trends start to reverse. And so we took initial steps today to try to do that. We think the measures we took are robust. They`re going to have an impact on the market.
But if we don`t start to see these youth use rates come down and come down sharply, we`re going to be back here taking additional steps. And we now have in place monitoring, we have in place enforcement activities. We`re going to be going into these retail establishments to see if the products are still being sold to kids at the same levels that we have seen in the past.
But if we don`t see a change in the marketplace, we`re going to have to take additional steps.
AMNA NAWAZ: You mentioned that there will be a change in the marketplace you would like to see.
We`re going to probably see a big one when it comes to the menthol ban, a significant dent, based on that action you took today. And you said something earlier on a media call that you hosted briefing people about the decisions today, citing some of your clinical experience working in some African-American communities.
And we know that there is disproportionate use of these menthol cigarettes in communities of color in America. I`m curious if you could tell me a little bit more about that. What did you see was the effect and what do you hope will be the effect of this band?
DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB: Well, look, I took care of hospitalized patients. I worked in an inpatient setting in urban environments. And a lot of the disease that I took care of was the consequence of smoking-related illness, a lot of the disease and the death of that I saw.
So, I saw the consequences of smoking firsthand. And I`m a cancer survivor myself, so I know how grueling a cancer diagnosis can be. And that has impacted how I think about this issue. But I also have a mandate as a public health official and I have a legal mandate under the law to try to affect these.
The menthol in particular does disproportionately affect certain communities. It is true, if you look at youth use of cigarettes, seven out of 10 African-American kids who use traditional cigarettes use a mentholated cigarette.
And for kids between the age of 12 and 17 overall, all kids, 54 percent use mentholated cigarettes. We know that the flavors in the cigarettes, menthol in particular, is something that attracts kids to cigarettes and makes it easier for them to smoke.
The menthol actually masks some of the distasteful effects of smoking.
AMNA NAWAZ: Dr. Gottlieb, I have to ask you about another concern that`s been raised. It was raised during your confirmation process as well. And that was that you were financially invested in a chain of vaping lounges.
Soon after your confirmation, you gave that e-cigarette industry five more years to come into compliance with regulations. And then, as I mentioned earlier, a lot of people thought there would be an outright ban on one of those products that you stopped short of.
So the question is, is any of that, your financial investment in that industry, is that influencing your decisions? Are you taking it easy on the industry?
DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB: Well, I don`t think we ever said that was going to be an outright ban on the e-cigarettes.
What we said all along is that we felt that the e-cigarettes offer an opportunity for adults, but we need to take measures to try to restrict access to the kids. And we took pretty robust steps today. So I don`t -- I don`t know where you`re getting that statement from that we said there was going to be an outright ban. The agency never said that.
And I would know because I speak on behalf of the agency. We did extend the compliance dates on the e-cigarettes when I initially came aboard, again, to try to give them time to come in with applications to the agency, to try to demonstrate what they need to demonstrate to remain on the market, because we do -- we do recognize that there may be an opportunity for adults using these products.
But the same time we did that, we sought to regulate nicotine and the combustible products, traditional cigarettes to render them minimally or nonaddictive. And so what we`re trying to do is make the traditional cigarettes less attractive for adult smokers and try to migrate adult smokers hopefully off of nicotine altogether, and for those who still want to get access to nicotine through an inhaled route, perhaps through an e- cigarette, which I think most people recognize represents the potential for a modified risk alternative to traditional smoking, to traditional cigarettes.
So there is a potential public health opportunity here. That`s why I have been interested in e-cigarettes for a long time as a potential public health opportunity. But I have said all along, and I said at my confirmation hearing, that opportunity can`t come at the expense of addicting a generation of kids on these products.
And that`s what we`re seeing right now. We`re seeing a generation of kids become addicted to nicotine through e-cigarettes. And we`re going to step in, and we`re going to stop it.
AMNA NAWAZ: Just to clarify, sir,are you still financially invested in those same vaping lounges and the industry?
DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB: Oh, of course not. I was divested before I came aboard FDA.
AMNA NAWAZ: Understood.
Now, you mentioned there`s going to be additional monitoring on all these rules and regulations moving forward. How quickly do you think you will be able to tell if they`re working or not?
DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB: I think fairly quickly.
The additional enforcement is in place right now. We have considerable resources behind looking at retail establishments to see if the sales are still going on. And we have our own surveys in the marketplace right now.
So I think we`re going to get a snapshot of what`s happening pretty quickly. Things aren`t going to change overnight. These trends got under way over the course of a long period of time. So it`s going to take some time to reverse these trends. But I think we`re going to get a pretty quick snapshot of whether or not we`re having the impact that we intend to.
AMNA NAWAZ: FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb, thank you for your time.
DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB: Thanks a lot.
JUDY WOODRUFF: As we reported earlier, most Florida counties have finished the machine vote recount in three statewide elections today.
In the Senate race, incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson trails Republican challenger Rick Scott by nearly 13,000 votes. That is still within the 0.25 percent that triggers a hand recount.
The “NewsHour”`s digital politics editor, Dan Bush, has been in South Florida watching all this up close.
And he joins me now.
Hello to you, Dan.
So, first of all, as we said earlier, it was just Palm Beach County that seemed to have missed the deadline. But now we`re hearing it may have been Broward County as well. What do we know about that?
DANIEL BUSH: That`s right, Judy. We`re just hearing reports now that Broward County missed the reporting deadline to finish the machine recount, which was 3:00 p.m. today, by about two minutes, which still means that 65 of Florida`s 67 counties finished the machine recount on time.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So let`s talk about the Senate race.
As we just said, it looks like the separation between Bill Nelson and Rick Scott is within that 0.25 percent margin, which triggers a hand recount. So what happens now?
DANIEL BUSH: That`s right, Judy.
So the recount resulted in a -- in an outcome that was under that 0.25 margin that you noted, a law put in place in the state after the 2000 election. That triggers the hand recount. That`s starting tomorrow morning at 7:00 a.m. sharp.
And an election official told me in Broward County a little while ago that it`s supposed to start right on time, more or less, and the deadline for that is November 18, so just a couple of days for them to go through a universe of tens of thousands of votes, 42,000 everywhere in Florida, and then an additional set from Broward County of undervotes and overvotes.
Those are votes where -- ballots where voters either voted for multiple candidates in a single race or left it blank. Those are the votes that officials are going to be going through hand by hand in the next couple days.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, now, separately from this, Dan, there has been a lawsuit filed over provisional and mail-in ballots. Tell us where that stands.
DANIEL BUSH: So, Democratic incumbent Senator Bill Nelson and the Florida Democratic Party filed a lawsuit in federal government challenging a state law that requires signatures on provisional ballots and mail-in ballots to match the signatures in state voter registration records, saying that it was unconstitutional, violated equal protection rights, and makes it harder for voters to vote.
And a judge just this morning issued a narrow ruling, allowing the state to go back and review about 4,000 of these ballots to see whether or not they should be recounted. But Democrats had hoped for a broader ruling, potentially something that would strike down the existing state law or even require the state to automatically look at, you know, all of these votes.
That didn`t happen. So we will have to see where it goes from here. And as soon as the ruling came out, Republican Governor Rick Scott, running for the Senate seat in Florida, appealed the ruling. That`s now going to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. We will see where it goes from there.