Skip to main content

tv   America Tonight  Al Jazeera  December 10, 2013 9:00pm-10:01pm EST

9:00 pm
>> that they say will avoid another goth shutdown. the tentative deal that needs to be voted on by both houses sets federal spending for the next two years. tensions are rising in the ukraine in the stand offbetween police and anti-government protests. thousands of demonstrators have rallied in the night in kiev's independence square. they're angry the country has turned back on a deal with the europe union. president obama is flying
9:01 pm
home at this hour after taking part to a tribute to nelson mandela in south africa. nearly 100 heads of states were there. rainy weather may have kept some away. about 95,000 capacity stadium was only two-thirds full. the controversial handshake between president obama and cuban president raul castro is getting plenty of attention. the gesture triggered strong criticism from cuban-american lawmakers. those are the headlines at this hour. i'm john seigenthaler. "america tonight" is next. on "america tonight," remembering mandela. >> this is a day of celebration and not to mourn. >> talk of reconciliation and a
9:02 pm
handshake that reminds us of healing yet to come. l.a. confidential the latest scandal to rock southern california's law enforcement. allegations coming from behind cars. >> some members of the sheriff's department consider themselves to be above the law. and feeding frenzy. the main attraction on the northern california coast this season and what's drawing those big crowds. good evening. thanks for being with us. i'm joie chen. the legacy of nelson mandela lies in his leadership and both
9:03 pm
determined resistance and forgiveness, as world leaders honored him in johannesburg every gesture evoked his life presence when the presence of political rivals gathered together to commemorate his life so a small moment that some will see to the parallels to the relationships mandela had to key players of the cold war. the falling rain couldn't dampen the spirits of the thousands who came to celebrate the life the man hailed as the father of a new south africa. to his people as tata, father. >> i'm enjoying and celebrating the life of ta t ta to the fullest. this is a day of celebration and not a day to mourn. we are grateful for this great man. >> it was a day where tributes and eulogies were an icon, but this rare gathering of the world's leaders of all political
9:04 pm
strifes could not happen without some reflection of history and of conflict. the nation's president jacob zuma faced boos, reflecting unhappiness with his leadership. by contrast his predecessor who was forced to resign in 2008 was greeted with cheers. and then there was the handshake of history. president obama paused from his wave at the speaker's podium to briefly acknowledge the cuban president, raul castro, only the second time in 60 years that an american president has done so. so significant the white house later put out word, no, it wasn't a setup. in his eulogy the first black u.s. president underscores his ties to the first black leader of the new south africa. >> over 30 years ago while still a student, i learned of nelson
9:05 pm
mandela and the struggles taking place in this beautiful land. it stirred something in me. it woke me up to my responsibilities to others and to myself, and it sent me on an improbable journey that finds me here today. and while i will always fall short of madiba's example, he makes me want to be a better man. >> the british prime minister echoed the praise for mandela's moral reform. >> he really was a politician. he was a leader of political movement. he achieved great things as the leader of that political movement. we should think of him like that. he just was a particularly good politician, good at getting what he wanted but also a very, very good man. >> a little more now on history. that handshake at the memorial
9:06 pm
service and relations with cuba. looking back to the first months after his release, as mandela made his triumphant tour of the united states, it's easy to forget mandela in that time was still in many circles a still controversial figure. in south florida his comments led to a blow-back even leading to a sort of public protest. sometimes time truly does heal even the most political wounds. >> honoring nelson mandela with a proclamation wasn't spob to be controversial. >> it seemed juvenile to me that they refused to issue a proclamation which they gave to the corner bartender if they opened up a new store. >> but six area mayors and the governor denounced the civil rights leader after he thanked cuban president fidel castro, the palestinian liberation
9:07 pm
organization's yasser arafat and gaddafi for the support of the anti-apartheid movement. >> during the darkest days, the cuban government provided assistance to the anti-apartheid movement, specifically nelson mandela's african congress. nelson mandela's position was, i am not going to denounce anyone who helped me. your enemy is not necessarily my enemy. >> but the powerful cuban and jewish communities of south florida were outraged. they pressured local leaders to snub mandela. >> it was one of the best days in the history of miami and one of the worst, because the great nelson mandela came to miami. we had an opportunity to hear and see this great man personally. unfortunately, his presence here caused political leaders to snub him. >> it outraged and energized members of the african-american
9:08 pm
community. they had a tourist boycott from fort lauderdale to miami beach. >> this great fight for freedom that nelson mandela led did not deserve for him to be treated that way. >> reporter: this so-called quite kwet riot lasted almost three years. >> the boycott was harming our city tremendously, millions each year were lost in the tourist trade because the black community was furious. >> reporter: former miami beach mayor gelber wanted to end the costly chapter in his city's history. in 1965 he had a nelson mandela day. >> there was a firestorm. some of my bers friends stopped me in the street and said, how can you do that? there were phone calls, and my wife received one that said let him burn in an oven talking
9:09 pm
about me. i was fully aware of all the political implications. i really didn't give a damn. >> reporter: it was another year before the boycott ended in 1993. smith says the boycott was a success. it became leverage to promote greater economic opportunities for african-americans in the hospitality industry. it also led to the construction of the first african-american owned hotel and convention center on miami beach. years later smith would visit mandela after he was elected the south african president. >> what i learned from mr. mandela that, one, nobody hands you a dream, especially the bigger the dream, the less likely that somebody is going to hand it to you and the bigger the dream, the bigger the sacrifice. >> how did mandela view his treatment in south florida all those years later? smith said mandela forgave him detractors and said he understood where they were coming from. he hoped in the intervening years they, too, had learned to respect his position, even if
9:10 pm
they couldn't agree with it. it was, inteed, a fleeting moment with few words, but president obama's handshake with raul castro in johannesburg got quite a bit of notice on the united states. on twitter the greeting was denounced by one. one tweet highlighting it on international human rights day while activists face repression in cuba. another linking it to an imprisoned u.s. contractor in cuba. the last and only other time an american president shook hands with a communist president of cuba was in september of 2000 when bill clinton greeted fidel castro at the united nations. was that handshake a random gesture between two international leaders, or was there more to it? consider that the united states and cuba have not had diplomatic relations since the cuban revolution, since 1959 and the ouster of president batista. we turn to antonio mora of "consider this." he's also cuba and a long time
9:11 pm
resident of miami. you've seen these politics play out, and i wonder about this particular event between president obama and mr. castro and the perceptions of it. the white house is quick to come out and say, no, this was not a setup. this was not preplanned. is that how it seemed? >> it's hard to say, joie. as i watched, if he had avoided shaking raul castro's hands it would have seemed small-minded and offensive to the spirit of the man they were there to honor and his spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation. i don't think he had much of a chance but to shake his hand. if he snubbed him, we'd talk about that, and the i think the reaction to that would have been even worse. my question really is for the white house folks. where were the advance white house people in planning? they certainly could have figured out some way of president obama getting to his seat and not having to walk right past raul castro, so that raised questions. on the other hand the president in his speech had a clear
9:12 pm
criticism of leaders like raul castro who ended up going there to celebrate nelson mandela but then repressed their own people at home. >> so we saw some of those tweets, some of the social media considerations on all this. it was quite inflamed, and it might be hard for people in the united states to understand the level of emotion, even the small gesture might have started. >> look, you have to remember, these are two brothers who have held control over a country dictatorally and tie ran in this casally for more than half a century. there are very, very strong passions. it's a terribly oppressive regime and the congresswoman in miami spoke out very strongly. she said that she thought it was nauseating to see the president of the united states shake the hands of a person she called a thug, a murderer who had bloody hands. she said that it would be a propaganda coup for a tyrant.
9:13 pm
marco rubio, the senator from florida, also tweeted out and said that the president should have asked raul castro specifically about easing freedoms that mandela was associated with and demand that that would exist in cuba. i'm not sure in that circumstance the president could have gone that far. there are certainly very, very strong passions for very, very good reasons because so many cubans have been oppressed and so many cuban-americans lost their members of their families, they were in prison. right now we've got an american citizen, alan gross, in prison unjustly and has been for four years. >> so let's talk a little bit about mr. ross and this comment about the notion it was a propaganda boon. what kind of reaction has there been in cuba? has it been played heavily there? >> she may be wrong about that. the initial reaction is muted. yalani sanchez who is a
9:14 pm
well-known blogger named one of the most 100 influential people in the world by "time" tweeted out today that had -- the handshake was not shown on cuban national television in their newscast, which i thought was very interesting. the international edition of grand ma the official cuban newspaper does not have any reference to it on its website. the spanish language version has a reference to the fact they shook hands, so it's sort of buried. it doesn't seem like the cuban government is playing it up big, at least not initially. they may not until after the fact. the initial reaction is surprisingly muted in cuba. >> antonio mora, thank you for being with us. >> my pleasure. after the break on "america tonight," a troubled history and new allegations against the top cops in l.a. county corrections.
9:15 pm
we'll look at charges of abuse behind bars. and later on our program, churning the waters. the spectacular show off the coast of northern california. what's drawing the crowds? consider this: the news of the day plus so much more. >> we begin with the government shutdown. >> answers to the questions no one else will ask. >> it seems like they can't agree to anything in washington no matter what. >> antonio mora, award winning and hard hitting. >> we've heard you talk about the history of suicide in your family. >> there's no status quo, just the bottom line. >> but, what about buying shares in a professional athlete?
9:16 pm
9:17 pm
in los angeles county jail system is the largest in the country booking in some 150,000 inmates a year. it has long been alleged, though, that it is also one of the worst. several investigations have found that it is a place where prison officials commonly beat and abuse inmates. now the federal department of justice has issued criminal indictments against 18 current former members of the sheriff's department. "america tonight's" michael okwu reports from los angeles. >> it was the culmination of an fbi probe that began two years ago into the los angeles county sheriff's department and the jail system it runs. prosecutors say they found a wide scope of illegal conduct, including assaults on inmates and on those visiting prisoners. andre is the u.s. attorney for
9:18 pm
the central district of california. >> the federal investigation found these incidents did not take place in a vacuum. in fact, examples of illegal conduct alleged in these indictments demonstrated that certain of the individuals and certain of that behavior had become institutionalized. >> reporter: two sheriff's deputies, one in charge of training new officers were indicted for allegedly beating an inmate at the twin towers correctional facility, strike, kicking and pepper spraying the man. five other deputies were charged with falsely arresting visitors at the men's central jail including a diplomat from austria trying to visit an austrian inmate. among the most serious allegations, that two ranking prison officials were part an elaborate scheme to hide an inmate after learning he was an fbi informant. as part of the conspiracy they allegedly falsified records to make it appear the inmate was released after which he was
9:19 pm
rebooked under another name. >> some members of the sheriff's department considered themselves to be above the law. instead of cooperating with a federal investigation to ensure that corrupt law enforcement officers would be brought to justice, the defendants in this case are accused of taking affirmative steps designed to ensure that the federal government would not shine light on illegal conduct that violated basic constitutional rights. >> following the indictments, los angeles county sheriff spoke with reporters. >> we have fully cooperated with the federal bureau of investigations and we'll continue to do so. we have a very strong partnership. please know that i respect the criminal justice system and no one is above the law. >> all of this comes a little more than a year after baca agreed to reform practices within the jail system when an investigation by the county board of supervisors blamed him for the problem of excessive force. baca is facing several
9:20 pm
challenges in his bid for re-election next year. among the deputies charged, to lieutenants whose jobs ironically were to keep the prison safe and safely investigate any alleged crimes committed by sheriff's personnel. speeth of peter aliasberg of the aclu in southern california who said the feeling within the organization that in the last several years this is the absolute worst jail system in the country in terms of the violence, the abuse, and the failure to correct its own problems. we understand that the county board of supervisors is now calling for greater oversight. keep in mind that the sheriff's department is an independent agency, if you will, that is run by an elected official who is beholden only to voters. for whatever reason here in l.a. county, those constituents tend to give them a rubber stamp. no living sheriff has lost
9:21 pm
office in an election year since 1932, joie. >> remarkable. thank you for being with us. we wondered how it came to light. we'll introduce bob olmstead a former commander of the department itself. he blew the whistle on the jail. you have a long history in law enforcement there in l.a. county. you are the highest ranks voice to come out to disclose these kinds of details. how bad was this abuse? a lot of people say a jail is never an easy place. how bad was this abuse? >> thank you for allowing me to be here. i do have a long history, 33 years myself, and i follow in my dad's footsteps who was in the sheriff's department and my son wants to follow as well. unfortunately, we didn't leave it a better place when i retired. the abuse was so bad when i went up the chain of command, everybody ignored it. they said that's how the business is, and we can't change
9:22 pm
the culture. i said not only can we change the culture, and when i was the captain in the mid-central jail, i changed the culture and lowered the force. they refuse to do it. at that particular time i went to my boss, lee baca, the sheriff on two separate occasions and told him i needed to talk to him and he refused to listen and turned around and walked away. at that particular point i had no recourse. i went through the chain command up to the top. being in a paramilitary organization the only way i felt to handle it was to retire and go outside the organization and that's what i did and report it to the fbi. as a result, hopefully we'll have a lot of changes come down, of which mr. baca agreed to handle all 86 recommendations out of the blue ribbon commission, the citizens commission against jail violence. i think this is what needs to be done, but i lay all this failure at the feet of lee baca and and his underling at the time, it is undersheriff, paul tanaka.
9:23 pm
>> you, too, are running in the next election for sheriff early next summer. you're running yourself against mr. tanaka and sheriff baca himself. is this a political environment you entered into? is your criticism based on a political notion that these are guys you want to run against, and this is a job for yourself? >> absolutely not. this started three years ago when i came outside the organization to report this. i didn't even decide to run. i had no indication or inkling to run until about four months ago when i threw my hat in. i was waiting for someone else to step up to the plate who gave us all the impression he was. when he bailed out, i felt a duty, really a duty to step up because nobody was going to take on these two individuals, baca and tanaka, and their failure led to all this. that's the sad part. what happened yesterday did not need to occur. all of this is preventedable, and that's not what happened. they allowed this to occur, and
9:24 pm
i put this at their feet. >> we want to bring into the discuss less freeman who is a crime reporter who has reported on l.a.'s criminal justice for two decades. we understand it's not just mr. olmstead, and you hear from other voices within the department about concerns people have with the department today. >> hi, joie, and hi, mr mr. olmsted. yes, i never quite experienced anything like this in 25 years of reporting on criminal justice that for the last two years i'd get e-mails weekly from people inside the department who said, i thought i'd never talk to a reporter, but i can't stay quiet anymore. that is what happened with bob olmsted. he became a whistleblower when he couldn't get any action actually out of the chain of command, that he went outside to the press and to the fbi. what was interesting, joie,
9:25 pm
about these indictments is there's a beginning. it was a weird sigh of relief that occurred among sheriff's department watchers in los angeles yesterday when these indictments came down because it -- there's been so much talk among residents and among those who work in the department and want an honest department, and that's what they tell us. they feel there hasn't been accountability. however, the thing is the highest-ranking department members that are indicted in these 18 indictments are two lieutenants, and they're the two that were in charge of two teams who hid this federal informant named anthony brown for 18 days with this elaborate computer scheme where they would check nipple in and out every 24 hours. >> it is quite a complex story. we encourage people to follow up on all the reporting you've done and others have done as well on
9:26 pm
all this. for both of you, i wonder if you can see a way for the department to be fixed. we're talking now the recommendation for greater oversight, but i'm not sure what that means because as you both noted, the allegations go up the food chain here. >> well, we're hoping that they will go higher on the food chain. >> mr. olmsted. >> absolutely. i've been an investigator for years myself, and normally what happens is they go after the low-lying fruit. that being said, you talk to the individuals and find out if they're willing to work. if that's the case and the feds decide to go to that arena, it goes up higher within the chain of command. >> it's just systemic now? >> i believe it is. from a standpoint of failed leadership only. 98% of the men and women on the l.a. county sheriff's department is good, hard-working people. it's the failed leadership that created this particular aspect. >> celeste.
9:27 pm
>> i watched the lapd go through a scandal that was not this extravagant, but it was pretty bad. they were lying on the stand, beating people up on a consent decree. it was a huge, huge national scandal. and the los angeles police department, when it got good leadership, the first transformative chief is bill bratt on is coming back to new york. he went to roll call to every station and said this stuff doesn't go anymore. the honest cops got a chance, and that department changed. so i know that can happen. >> the ramparts scandal it was known throughout the country. it's a cleaner department today. is that possible? after all, you talk about the l.a. county jail, the biggest jail system in the country. is it possible to be fixed in the same way? >> i know it can. >> this is a lot more complicated. >> i ran the jail system over
9:28 pm
there, mid-central jail, and i know it can. the one year i had it we lowered forces by 30% and with nor overtime, personnel or cameras or nothing. you have to be a leader that's out there and walks around. like celeste says, you need to talk to people. we need trust in the organization. that's the failure at this particular point, and the only way to get better is by new leadership. you won't solve the problems with the current leadership now. >> we will note that sheriff baca is running for his fifth term, so there's a lot of support for him in the past. we appreciate you being here with us to give us insight here. thanks very much. >> thank you. >> thanks, joie. after the break, honoring mandela's legacy while giving voice to the south africans left behind. tñ
9:29 pm
9:30 pm
9:31 pm
now a quick snapshot of stories making headlines on "america tonight." gm is rolling out a new name that's breaking some barriers. mara bara has been named the company's newest ceo. she's the first female chief of a major u.s. car company. one year after the extradition to the united states, two british terror suspects plead guilty of charges supporting terrorists. they raised cash online and recruited fighters and supplies for the taliban. leaders of the free world unite for a selfie, president obama and prime minister cameron and the daneish prime minister poezed. michelle obama was cut out of the picture. lawmakers reached a budget deal that will head off risk of another government shutdown on january 15th, but bear in mind every deal involves compromise.
9:32 pm
al jazeera's libby casey joins us from capitol hill. what kind of deal is this? i understand it will cover the sequester cuts we heard about. >> it includes $63 billion of sequester relief, the across the board spending cuts that were designed as a threat to congress. this would kick in, and of course, they kicked in and now they're part of the reality. just roll some of those back split evenly between defense spending and nondefense, things like head start. the important thing is who inned this deal? patty murray and paul ryan, a senator from washington state and a congressman from wisconsin. one democrat and one republican. it's the to of them at the table all along. they unveiled the proposal tonight. we are already hearing a but of push-back from the general populous members of congress who weren't included in these inside negotiations, so even though they put the proposal on the table, it's not a done deal yet,
9:33 pm
joie. >> libby, explain this to us. any deal, we understand, involves compromise, but also it helps to understand what the pressures are on all of this. after all, they have on capitol hill the specter of the last government shutdown sort of hanging over their heads, right? >> reporter: absolutely. murray and ryan weren't trying to accomplish a grand bargain, and they admitted tonight it doesn't tackle big entitlement reform for major tax code reform. instead they went small. it does fund the federal government for two years, and it sets spending levels so appropriators in congress can hammer out their budget. this last sutdown in october got the federal government funded until mid-january. we could in that all over again unless these numbers work out, unless the ryan/mare ray plan is able to take wings and get passage in both the house and senate. so a small bargain, but as both
9:34 pm
of those members of congress pointed out in this climate, even that is an accomplishment. congressman ryan mentioned this is the first time since 1986 that a divided congress, that is, parties in control of differing sides of house and senate, that they've been able to put forth a bipartisan proposal of any kind. so in that sense it is significant. >> yeah. help us to understand where the money does, in fact, come from. it's not coming from taxes. are we going to see it in other places? payments that we make as well, tariffs and fees? >> we get the final details of this plan tonight. paul ryan promised it would go live on the budget committee's website. so we'll get the hard numbers. we are looking at things like changes to the federal employees pension plans and also possibly some user fees but they were careful to say no new taxes. a lot of this is just able to use better numbers because the economy has improved and so they're able to slice and dice a little bit $85 billion in budget savings overall.
9:35 pm
that's what we're talking about. that will leave us a deficit reduction of $20 billion. this is just a two-year funding sketch, though, so it doesn't go beyond that. but it would if it works out prevent a big showdown in january and another one next october like the one this past year. >> and perhaps get those lawmakers out of capitol hill and home for the holidays later in the week. so we know that that's what they're looking forward to as well. libby casey reporting to us from capitol hill. looking across the world now, it has been 14 years since nelson mandela's presidency in which he promised not only racial equality but economic equality. still, though, even today in some parts of the country, the chasm of economic inequality continues of all things to grow. just 30 miles away from the scene of mandela's memorial service is a part of south africa that has seen little change in one of the country's very poorest areas continues to be riddled with crime and corruption. nick takes us into the world of
9:36 pm
a township still lacking very far behind. >> reporter: in the poorest corner of johannesburg a tv barely receives the memorial. this is diepsloot where crime is high, sanitation low and garbage rarely collected. here like every where else they mourn a man think consider a saint. for decades 73-year-old mir yam struggled working for white families. she wouldn't miss a minute of today's service. >> my whole family. somewhere, somehow he's up there. >> reporter: she spends her days cleaning and selling chickens. she was a baby when mandela was elected president in 1994. >> if it wasn't for him, we wouldn't be free. he went to jail for 27 years for us to be equal. >> reporter: freddie runs a bar.
9:37 pm
it's noon on tuesday, but it's busy. here they toasted tata or father. >> what have we achieved because of him, and what we learned, how to live with other people. >> reporter: mandela didn't only promise racial equality, he also promised economic equality. >> overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. while poverty persists, there is no true freedom. >> reporter: as for this town of 100,000 say his legacy has fallen short. that economic vision still hasn't been realized. across the country whites make six times the amount blacks do and here unemployment is about 50% and most of the homes are no bigger than shacks. this township is only 30 miles from the memorial service, but this isn't the south africa the nearly 100 heads of state are talking about.
9:38 pm
no mattress in here? >> no, no mattress. >> reporter: this is where freddie lives, behind his own bar. >> this is my property. i have that plaque right there. >> reporter: you've been here 12 years and sleep on the floor and have no bathroom. >> for sure. >> reporter: why do you stay here? >> i don't have any where else to go because i'm here for survival and to make sure they get something to eat. >> reporter: scratched beneath the service and some say they're too worried about their daily lives to attend a memorial service. >> we don't have hope anymore. we don't have hope. since we have been here 19 years, we only have achieved this. >> reporter: freddie shows me pictures of his five kids that
9:39 pm
live 200 miles away. he's come here to try and make a living, but his patience is wearing thin. >> we cannot take this anymore. it's painful, you know, to be here working. we have south africa. >> reporter: down the road miriam enjoys a more comfortable home, but she said so long as diepsloot suffers, black south africans are not truly free. is there any hope for south africans living in diepsloot? >> there's no life in diepsloot. it's dirty. people are fighting. it's noisy. there's no life. >> reporter: are there jobs? >> there's no jobs. there's no jobs.
9:40 pm
>> reporter: her family gets by with this vegetable stall, but she admits she would leave this town if she could afford it. >> every day, every morning you found someone is being killed, you know. >> reporter: that frustration spilled over at today's memorial. south africans booed the man who was supposed to carry mandela's torch. an embarrassing rebuke of president zuma and echoed by president obama. >> there are too many people who happily embrace madiba's legacy of racial reconciliation but passionately resist modest reforms that would challenge chronic poverty and growing inequali inequality. >> in diepsloot that message resonates. today was about honoring a great man, but here they didn't think they'd still be struggling this hard for this long. >> correspondent nick schiffer reporting to us from south africa.
9:41 pm
nelson mandela's body will lie in state for three days beginning on wednesday. south africans and some international visitors can pay their respects to the former president at the union buildings in pretoria. that is south africa's seat of government. we'll cover it all. ahead on "america tonight," there's plenty of fish in the sea. taking the bait and drawing big crowds on the california coast.
9:42 pm
coming up on "consider
9:43 pm
this."
9:44 pm
this time of year around the holiday season we're used too seeing feeding frenzies athe mat, but how about on the high seas. we go to monterey in northern california where a huge migration of whales and other sea creatures has scientists trying to figure out why they have shown up and how long they plan to stick around. >> anybody have any whales this morning? >> starting to see a few. >> michael has spent the last 25 years here on the clear blue waters of monterey bay, a two ho-hour drive south of san francisco.
9:45 pm
he started as a surfer and fisherman and runs sanctuary cruises. >> there are two humpback whales here. >> he knows the whales so well he can pick them out by their tails. >> we know these individual whales. we do see it pop up here, it has a distinctive hunch on its back. >> reporter: this year he has quite a few whales to keep track of. typically there are as many as 20 humpbacks in the bay, but right now they estimate there are 10 times that many, over 200. they come here to feed on an explosion of anchovies. >> we've had an unusual gloom of an choef vees this year. they're having their last feast before they go to their breeding ground. >> so they tank up before they go to mexico to romance once another. >> that's correct, and give birth. >> where there are this many whales, there are more whale watchers.
9:46 pm
>> tail coming up, and down she goes. >> they have a lot of locals that work for our company, but we get a lot of folks from germany, the netherlands, france, spain. >> reporter: this really is a unique environment in the world? >> exactly right. >> reporter: california whale watching generates $20 million a year according to a recent ucla study. that's part of a $2 billion national industry. with this season running longer, that figure will be higher. >> we take 30 to 35 people per day, and that is going on since june. >> reporter: wow. 30 to 35 people a day? >> sometimes more. >> reporter: it's not just tourists following the whales. packs of sea leones, seals, dolphins and pelicans scramble in the wake hoping to feed off the scraps. it's a frenzy of fins and flippers, and then suddenly the water goes still. bonnie brown, a sanctuary tours biologist explains why.
9:47 pm
i notice while we're out here, the sea life goes crazy and then disappears. what's happening there? >> so what's happening is sea lions and the whales are diving down working together to gather the an choef vees out here currently, and they all pop up around the same time push the anchovies up to the surface of the water. >> reporter: how many anchovies can a whale eat a day? >> they can eat up to a couple tons of anchovies or food in general a day. >> did you see that fluke? >> reporter: yet, they still haven't depleted the supply. a few months ago there was so many anchovies in nearby santa cruz harbor they exhausted all the oxygen and died to the dismay of local residents. so why the huge number of anchovies? >> that's a good question. >> reporter: baldo is a research biologist at uc santa cruz. scientists still aren't sure
9:48 pm
where there's so many tiny silverfish here this year, but it could have something to do with the disappearance of the natural predator the giant humboldt squid. >> they disappeared a couple of years ago, so maybe we're seeing the lag aftereffect of the removal of this predator. that's purely speculative. >> reporter: there's more anchovies and more humpback whales. across the pacific their population is at near record highs. in the 1960s it was a different story. humpbacks were near extinction, so the international whaling commission banned hunting them. at the time there were just 1400 left. today there are over 21,000. >> 25 years ago here in the monterey bay, it would have been unusual to see any humpback whales, no matter what time of year. >> reporter: there's so many in august a group of hawaiian fishermen petitioned federal authorities to take it off the endangered species list. he cautions despite the dizzying
9:49 pm
amount of wildlife in the bay, there might be reason for concern. >> short term, absolutely, yeah. it's great for the animals that feed on fish. what is a harder question to answer is this canary in the coal mine. >> he said climate change could affect the ocean's eco-system, causing major shifts in 3450i gratary patterns. take for example the giant squid that came to the bay and disappeared. they may have been driven by changing water temperatures. >> global warming didn't transport squid to monterey bay, but it may have shifted the structure of the environment that allowed for the invasion of the species. >> reporter: he says if the waters continue to warm, it could have devastating effects on the ocean's eco-system. >> that's a pathway that will lead to an ocean that's warmer all over. the end point of that particular model output is a collapse in productivity in the long-term. >> reporter: back out on the
9:50 pm
bay, captain zach knows first hand what's at stake. even after 25 years he still revels in the beauty of marine life here. you see these every day, and you still say, wow. >> you bet. no, we live for this. i love it every time i see it. a humpback whale or any whale with that fluke, it's just amazing and gives you a good idea for how magnificent and elegant these animals are. >> reporter: we're used to a lot of bad news coming out of the ocean. we talked about the acidification and other effects of climate change, but being here among the whales and seeing how massive the pacific is, how full of life it is was really a reminder that there is some good news in the ocean from time to time. >> you know what? my folks actually lived in monterey and i know what a huge draw these whale tours are. so tell me, if i were to get out
9:51 pm
there this week or month, do i have an opportunity to see these enormous animals moving in through the monterey bay coast? >> normally you would be absolutely out of luck, but that's amazing about this season, yes. right now you can still go out and catch them. there are still anchovies in the bay and they will stick around and eat as long as the food is good. that's true for at least another week. >> that's great. tell me about the health of the whale population overall. we see this in december, unusual. is this a sign that the whale population overall is becoming more healthy? >> you know, in the short term the sense is very positive. in the 1960s there were as you heard in our segment only 1600 or so whales left, and nu there's over 21,000. there really is a clear sense that the regulations on whaling have been very good for the population. that said, no one had really agree on why this anchovy balloon took place. while it may be a cyclical fluke
9:52 pm
or a seasonal thing, it may be an effect of global warning in general. it can be that the general warm patterns of the ocean change where fish live and move. so there may be darker times ahead, but for the moment this seems to be a very happy day for the whale. >> now, we have been concerned on the east coast in florida, the recent stories about the florida everglades and whales that stranded themselves, several dozen pilot whales stranded in the everglades, 22 of them have been confirmed dead. is there any explanation from scientists about why this happened? >> yeah. you know, that is just a heart-breaking story. pilot whales, which are very, very distinct from the humpback whales travel in big pods. yeah, this 51-whale pod was really decimated. the noaa objectors observers who came in to observe the situation say these whales show signs of
9:53 pm
malnourishedment. they have been affected by a virus. there have been cases in the past where interference in the earth's magnetic field messed up their navigation. what's so sad about the case is those kinds of whales are very, very social, and so even though it is practically suicide to be remaining in 18 feet of water how they are, they won't leave the stranded breatheren. they stick around as in mourning. >> so sad. thank you very much for being with us. >> thank you, joie inches. looking ahe had on "america tonight," trapped in trauma, the overlooked victims of military sexual assaults. >> i'm ashamed we've been talking to victims for last the 40 years and had hearing and nothing was done. >> did you ever think that you could become a victim of sexual assault? >> no, absolutely not.
9:54 pm
men are supposed to be the protectors. they're not the ones to denigra denigrate. as congress debates how to prevent sexual assaults in the pill tear, lawyer ya jane speaks to men who kept their abuse secret for decades. that's wednesday here on "america tonight." coming up next, your final segment here. food insecurity beyond our borders, a british market stocked up with perfectly fine, healthy leftovers. we check out social supermarkets coming up next.
9:55 pm
>> audiences are intelligent and they know that theirtñ
9:56 pm
of course, there are stores and then something calmed the social supermarket. it's new and it could be a game changer. the deals aren't for flat screens and smartphones, though. they're for food of all things. al jazeera's nate barker reports from south yorkshire. >> as austerity measures take hold here in the village of goldthorpe the poorer are getting poorer. they hope to help those most in
9:57 pm
need, some of whom have relied on handouts at emergency food banks to survive. 500 locals have been offered exclusive membership together with key cards to access the store. >> it's a social enterprise. it's about using surplus food for social good and the people that benefit the most from that are those people that need food. >> all come from the country's large supermarkets that would have been thrown away. maybe misshapen or mislabeled. this is about much more than low-cost food. it's about encouraging people back into mainstream society. >> i've been here twice now since it opened. people around here haven't got a lot of money. >> reporter: more than 1,000 similar stories have opened in spain and greece during the global recession. 20 more on planned for the u.k.
9:58 pm
next year. nigel green is also set to benefit from the new supermarket. he manages spiraling costs by growing his own food. >> prices in supermarkets and stuff are really high. it's really highs. all of them, you have to grow them. >> reporter: like many this winter, nigel is forced to choose between eating and heating his family home. >> we have about 15 pound a week on electric and gas. you have to make a choice on what you want. >> reporter: the u.k. is the world'sixth largest economy, but 1 in 5 live below the state poverty line. hard times now call for creative solutions. not just an american
9:59 pm
problem. al jazeera reporting. that's it for us on "america tonight." if you'd like to comment on any of our stories, logon to our website, aljazeera.com/americantonight and join the conversation on twitter or on facebook. we'll have more of "america tonight" tomorrow. "saturday night live"
10:00 pm
cl welcome to al jazeera america. i'm john siegenthaler in new york. here are the top stories: a bipartisan breakthrough on capitol hill, republican representative paul ryan and democratic senator patty murray announced an agreement to avoid a government shutdown. [ singing ] tens of thousands took part in the memorial in south africa. one of the loudest cheers was for president obama who called nelson mandela a giant of history. a handshbe

54 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on