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CBS Sunday Morning

CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley
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December 30, 2018 10:30 am

CBS Sunday Morning

CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley

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December 30, 2018 10:30 am

Encyclopedia Britannica is turning 250 - look it up!; What's next for Washington in 2019? What's next for the Middle East in 2019? What's next in Asia? What's next in Europe and Russia?; 

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Customers that had business expenses, no taxes. Good morning. I'm Jane Pauley, and this is Sunday morning.

The last Sunday morning of the year, 2018. For some of us, the encyclopedia brings back memories of childhood trips to the library, journeys through the pages of a treasure trove of all kinds of information. On this, the 250th anniversary of the Encyclopedia Britannica, Luke Burbank has done a little research. Long before you could Google it or ask Alexa, there was the Encyclopedia Britannica, which turns 250 this month. It was useful combining scholarship with practical information. Living in the age of information, then and now.

Ahead on Sunday morning. As we said, year's end is a time to look back, but it's also a time for new beginnings. With a little help from our CBS News correspondents the world over, among them Seth Doan, throughout the morning, will gaze into the crystal ball.

If we don't have border security, we'll shut down the government. A good Brexit for the country. As we close the book on 2018, we'll remember some of the peaks and a few of the valleys, and then it's on to the new year. From the Far East to the Middle East, Europe to America, we'll go around the world and look ahead to 2019, later on Sunday morning.

All coming up when our Sunday Morning podcast continues. Encyclopedia. A book or set of books providing information on all or many branches of knowledge, generally in articles alphabetically arranged.

Luke Burbank takes us to sea for Cover Story. Americans are awash in information. Most of us walk around with devices that give us instant access to all the knowledge in human history.

For me, this is where it all began. But before you could google it, and long before we met Alexa, there was Britannica. You think of one of the great inventions in the history of books, and that is the encyclopedia.

I learned how to write by copying articles out of Britannica. Ted Pappas is executive editor of Encyclopedia Britannica. This is an original first edition of Britannica. Which turns 250 years old this month.

Founded in 1768 in Edinburgh, Scotland, Britannica was the brainchild of Colin McFarquhar, a printer, and Andrew Bell, an engraver. Also, they had an editor named William Smelly. William Smelly was a great editor. He was a very learned man.

The only problem? His wonderful capacity for drinking. And yet somehow, these two men with no formal training, and one very drunk editor, managed to write and publish the first edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. It was useful combining scholarship with practical information. And some guesses? A very short article in California here, our entry from 1768, spells California with two L's and says, it's a large country of the West Indies.

It is uncertain whether it be a peninsula or an island. From those humble and somewhat factually challenged roots, grew a great tree of knowledge. This is knowledge in depth. Large authoritative essays. Considered by many to be the definitive resource of information over the years.

But just think of it. It's a device by which all the knowledge, or most of the knowledge of the world at any one given time, is collected in one place. But there were also challenging times for the company.

The Great Depression of the 1930s, for example. Folks did not have disposable income, a lot of it to spend on encyclopedias. Britannica had to find a way to stay relevant. Enter the Answer Girls, an elite corps of women who would research and answer any question a Britannica owner might have. So you would write your question on a postcard, attach one of these stamps, and then Britannica in return, one of the women from the research center, would type up and research up to a 10,000 word report as an answer to your question.

In fact, Katharine Hepburn's character in Desk Set is said to be modeled on the Answer Girls director. Then there's The Whole Set Club, people who've read an entire edition of the books, including George Bernard Shaw, Tesla founder Elon Musk, It is like the Mount Everest of knowledge. And writer A.J.

Jacobs. How long does that take? That took about a year and a half, and reading six hours a day, every day.

The hardest part, he says, was actually trying to keep all those facts and figures to himself. I had all this knowledge, I kind of wanted to share it, and my wife started to fine me $1, penalized me $1 for every irrelevant fact I inserted into conversation. But she would say, you know, I have a headache, and I would throw in, oh, you know, the Bayer Aspirin Company patented heroin back in 1898, and then she would be like, well, that's a dollar. Have you looked at one of those before?

No. These days, it's rare that students, like these fifth graders at Eisenhower Academy in Joliet, Illinois, would even pick up a physical copy of Britannica. When I first saw it, I was kind of amazed, because it was kind of a variety of everything, because on this page you see animals, people, ancient illustrations. I immediately went, this literally looks like Wikipedia. Of course, the information on Wikipedia could come from anywhere, but it's actually relatively reliable compared to what else is out there. You know, with great power comes great responsibility kind of thing.

Which is where David Mickelson comes in. My initial goal was to be like this encyclopedia Britannica for urban legends. Mickelson runs fact-checking website, from a tiny office in his home in Tacoma, Washington. The site started as a hobby, debunking odd rumors, if you can believe it, about Walt Disney. Was he frozen, by the way?

No, he wasn't. But some 25 years later, the page gets around 20 million visitors per month, people hoping to separate fiction from fact. The very idea of what the objective facts of our world are, are really up for debate right now. Well, some people you're just never going to reach or never going to convince. The people who are willing to take a critical or a skeptical look at something are the ones that you need to reach.

And those are the people Britannica is hoping it can still reach, through its various online tools. The hope, and idea really, being that now, maybe more than ever, facts actually do matter and not all information is created equal. So you guys are really trying to sort of fight the good fight of putting real information into the world.

Absolutely. We're trying to surface and bring to people. We're not going to wait for folks to come to us. We've done it for 250 years.

I think we'll do it for another two and a half centuries. So what's ahead for us in the new year? We've asked our CBS News correspondents around the world for an assessment. And we begin with Chip Reid in Washington.

The witch hunt, as I call it, should never have taken place. A couple of developments involving the U.S. and Russia today. If we don't have border security, we'll shut down the government. If you think this year has felt like a political rollercoaster ride... You are a rude, terrible person. might want to fasten your seat belts even tighter for next year. It has the potential, I think, to be one of those cataclysmic years that historians write about. Susan Page of USA Today says President Trump's battles of the past two years will pale in comparison to those he'll face when Nancy Pelosi and her fellow Democrats take control of the House on January 3rd. He's been president for two years with no effective congressional oversight of himself or of his administration, and that is about to change. House Democrats will have subpoena power, and they plan to use it to compel testimony from a parade of potentially incriminating witnesses and to uncover secret documents, including the president's tax returns. But that could turn out to be a sideshow compared to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into allegations that the president colluded with Russia and obstructed Mueller's investigation. What's in the report is still largely a mystery.

There have been virtually no leaks from the special counsel office. So this could be an absolutely blockbuster report when it does come out. I think it's hard to imagine that it won't be. If it is, and perhaps even if it isn't, the fired-up, newly elected House Democrats are expected to demand that the president be impeached. And if Pelosi goes along, they'll probably succeed. But let me say of impeachment, you can't be political about it. But only the Senate has the power to remove a president from office. And with the Senate in Republican hands, that is unlikely, barring a truly staggering revelation from Mueller.

With the government shut down now in the middle of its second week and a bitterly divided government on the horizon, the chances of actually getting something done in Washington in 2019 are getting dimmer by the day. This is Seth Doan in Jerusalem. Here in the Middle East, division, strife and shifting alliances have emerged, including that unlikely one between Israel and Saudi Arabia against a common perceived enemy, Iran. And proxy wars have flared.

Unpredictability is the most common denomination in the Middle East. Alon Pincus is a former Israeli diplomat. For people who have a passing knowledge or interest in the Middle East, what should they be looking for in 2019?

Three things, I think. The expansion of ISIS and Hezbollah, ISIS is not dead by any measure. The major question of Iran's compliance with the nuclear deal and the absence of a viable Israeli-Palestinian peace process. In Yemen, a ceasefire is raising hopes amid the grinding conflict. While technically the conflict is Yemen's government versus Houthi rebels, it's really Saudi Arabia versus Iran. With the Saudis having used weapons provided by the U.S., it's civilians who've suffered. Only now because of the pictures of Yemeni children starving to death, is there enough attention. Saudi Arabia's role in this conflict came into sharper focus amid fallout from the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. With blame stretching all the way to the top, it exposed the thuggish side of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's reign. Inside the kingdom, criticism is squashed. Not so in Israel, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing very public pressure.

There are police recommendations to indict him on bribery, obstruction of justice and several other counts. So, in terms of Israeli politics, I see a very tumultuous year ahead of us. Tumultuous is a word that certainly applies in Syria. And that was before President Trump's decision to pull American troops out of Syria.

And that was before President Trump's decision to pull American forces out of the country. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has gained background from rebels, as we witnessed firsthand. We are here inside Eastern Ghouta. This is the front line of this war here in Syria right now. And Syrian troops have just told us that they are fighting one of the main opposition groups that is just over there. But it was in the northern city of Aleppo where we got a glimpse of how and beyond by looking back. This is reminiscent of another time? Of the great time of Syria before the war. An evening of music and peace, a side of the Middle East too rarely seen.

This has been Tracy in Asia, where a little bit of history may be repeating itself in 2019. After meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for the first time in Singapore this past summer, President Trump says he's ready for round two. The goal of a second summit is to get North Korea to finally start taking steps towards denuclearization. North Korea did not launch a single missile in 2018 or conduct any known nuclear tests.

Ready, two, one. We were there in May when they claimed to destroy their main nuclear testing site. This is where they have conducted five of their six nuclear tests over the last couple of years. And you can see they have now strung up explosives in there.

They plan to blow this up so they can no longer use it. But North Korea has not allowed international inspectors to verify that the site is actually unusable, despite saying it would. And satellite images show that Kim Jong-un's regime is still rapidly developing its nuclear weapons program. They think they can outsmart the Americans in this regard. Victor Gao is an expert on international relations in Beijing. In 2019, do you think we'll actually see concrete steps taken by North Korea to give up its weapons?

It's highly doubtful. As far as denuclearization is concerned, I don't think there is any concrete sign that things will move in the right direction. The scene could be said for the relationship between the U.S. and China. The world's two largest economies remain locked in a bitter trade war. Both sides are now trying to diffuse tensions before a March 1 deadline, when the U.S. is threatening to impose even higher tariffs on Chinese goods. 2019 is the year we're going to find out whether or not this is just a trade war, the beginning of a Cold War, or worse.

Sean Rhine runs the China Market Research Group in Shanghai. He says the Chinese government may not view this as a simple trade war, but rather the United States trying to contain China's rise. 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the Communist Party's takeover. And President Xi Jinping will want to project strength. I'm very concerned about Trump underestimating the resolve of President Xi to demonstrate to the world that China is now a rival superpower to the United States. As for Japan, come April, Emperor Akihito will become the first Japanese emperor to abdicate in 200 years. At age 85, he's handing the reins to his eldest son, a peaceful changing of the guard in the world's oldest continuous hereditary monarchy.

This is Charlie Daggida in London. Brexit. Brexit. No Brexit. A good Brexit for the country. Brexit, that word that dominated debate in Britain in 2018, will define its future in 2019. Prime Minister Theresa May faces a March deadline to broker the U.K.'s exit from the European Union after fending off a no-confidence vote from opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn.

If he wants a meaningful date, I'll give him one. 29 March 2019, when we leave the European Union. Across the English Channel, French President Emmanuel Macron is facing his own crisis. Paris has become a city under siege, with protesters squaring off against riot police over a fuel tax hike. Every now and then, a group of rowdy demonstrators will try to burst out into the side streets and avenues, and they're met with a wall of riot police. The so-called yellow vest protesters have a growing list of demands, which includes Macron's resignation. In Rome, the sex abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church to its core continues to deepen as more victims come forward from around the globe.

Pope Francis is facing increasing calls to respond to cases involving high-ranking clergy. Here in Moscow, the focus in 2019 will be the results of the Robert Mueller Russia investigation and its impact on American-Russian relations. Now, there were celebrations behind those Kremlin walls when President Trump was first elected, but the mood has darkened since then. You may recall that after cozying up to each other at the Helsinki Summit, President Trump sent shockwaves around the world by appearing to side with President Vladimir Putin over alleged Russian interference in the U.S. election. I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today. That was then.

This is now. Sergey Markov is a Putin insider. After Donald Trump canceled a meeting in Buenos Aires, the Kremlin was a little bit dissatisfied that Donald Trump looks so weak that he is even not able to meet with Vladimir Putin. But there is one transatlantic relationship that has never been stronger. An American in the royal court after Meghan Markle's marriage to Prince Harry last May.

2019 will see the birth of the couple's first baby, an exciting moment for any new parents, even if their child is only seven in line to the throne. I'm Jane Pauley. Thank you for listening. And please join us again next Sunday morning. Hi, podcast peeps. It's me, Drew Barrymore.

Oh my goodness. I want to tell you about our new show. It's the Drew's News Podcast. And in each episode, me and a weekly guest are going to cover all the quirky, fun, inspiring, and informative stories that exist out in the world because, well, I need it and maybe you do too, from the newest interior design trend, Barbie Corps, to the right and wrong way to wash your armpits. Also, we're going to get into things that you just kind of won't believe and we're not able to do in daytime television, so watch out. Listen to Drew's News wherever you get your podcasts. It's your good news on the go.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-27 07:29:09 / 2023-01-27 07:37:52 / 9

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