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Need to Know, July 22, 2011: Famine in Somalia, nuclear waste storage, Eric Cantor and the debt ceiling

This week, the United Nations declared a famine in parts of southern Somalia — the worst famine reported in the region in 20 years. We speak with the United Nations Refugee Agency to discuss how the famine has led to an estimate 4,000 Somalis fleeing the country daily in search of refuge.

We also travel to New Mexico to investigate a the nation’s only operating deep geologic nuclear waste disposal site. In the age-old debate over how to store the U.S.’s nuclear waste, could this plant offer a potential solution?

Also: We speak with anthropologist Gabriella Coleman, who has spent time researching the world of hackers like Anonymous and LulzSec.

And: Political reporter Jeff Schapiro sits down with us to discuss congressman Eric Cantor, the Republican who has emerged as a leading opponent of the White House’s attempt to broker a deal on the debt ceiling. Historian Richard Brookhiser also joins us  to discuss the larger implications of Washington’s recent impasse over the deficit.

Check your local listings for details.

Watch the individual segments:

The revolution will not be firewalled

Alison Stewart sits down with author and anthropologist Gabriella Coleman to discuss the tricky and complicated world of hackers.

Eric Cantor walks a fine line

Need to Know interviews Jeff Schapiro, a political reporter and columnist for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, about Republican Congressman Eric Cantor, who has emerged as a leading opponent of the White House’s attempt to broker a deal on the debt ceiling.

Richard Brookhiser on divisions within the GOP

Need to Know turns to historian and senior editor at the National Review, Richard Brookhiser, for a broader perspective on the recent political machinations in Washington, and the age-old discussion over the size of government.

A solution for nuclear waste?

As the U.S. continues to try to resolve the decades old issue of what to do with nuclear waste, Need to Know visits a possible solution, a half-mile below the desert in New Mexico. The Department of Energy’s WIPP (Waste Isolation Pilot Plant) is the nation’s only operating deep geologic nuclear waste disposal site. Alison Stewart goes underground for a tour.

Famine in Somalia: ‘A race against time to save lives’

Millions of Somalis are at risk of starvation because of the worst drought in decades. Recently, nearly 80,000 people have left Somalia for refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia. Some of the hardest-hit areas in Somalia are controlled by the Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab, which has complicated getting international aid to those who have not left the region. Need to Know speaks with Adrian Edwards of the U.N.’s Refugee Agency in Geneva after he returned from visiting Somali refugees at camps in Ethiopia and Kenya.

Watch more full episodes of Need to Know.



  • Kamyacuu

    Hello Over there , Am Kamya James a Pastor at Set Free Christian Church here in Lugazi Uganda East Africa , it’s sad news to hear that 800000 people in Somalia are suffering hunger /lacking of food.
    please am ready to go there and help in any work that is available to make sure that the situation comes down , i have a bachelor degree in Social work and also a degree in theology, so any organization that might be in need of me to go and  volunteer there in Somalia and ready to go and offer free services and Somalia is my neighboring country  .
    my contacts are here below
    Set Free Christian Church 
    P.o Box 314 Lugazi Uganda
    East Africa.
    Tel +256782349364

  • Dennis Franklin Nester

    The DOE ‘knew or should have known’ safe burial of nuclear waste is impossible! It will leak out of any containment. It continues to generate heat and vent invisible, deadly radiation to the atmosphere. The most cost-effective way is to backwards engineer nuclear waste to zero and eliminate it at each nuclear power plant and produce electricity from the heat. Pay workers twice as much to neutralize it and guarantee international security. The disasters at Fukushima, Chernobyl, TMI etc. are on going catastrophes. When we pollute our own water forever…what will you do? 

  • Terimelton

    I just found this show a few weeks ago and I must admit that I am impressed overall. Although I skip thru the political portions, the overall news is well covered and interesting. I especially like how Alison Stewart, and no I don’t know how to spell it, but how she addresses issues fairly and shows both, or more, sides of issues. And she lets people answer her questions without cutting them off, a lost art I think.