tv Focus on Europe PBS April 6, 2015 6:30pm-7:01pm PDT
♪ damien: welcome to focus on europe, bringing you the best personal stories behind the headlines. i am damion mcginnis. and on today's program, in britain, all eyes on trafalgar square. in norway, isolating and islamist extremist. and in belgium, smoking through a legal loophole. despite an official cease-fire, there is still no sign of peace in ukraine. fighting between kiev forces and pro-russian separatists hasn't ended.
as a result, increasing numbers of refugees are flooding into neighboring countries, including to moldova. some of those refugees are not only local people fleeing war zones in eastern ukraine, but also young men from other parts of the country who don't want to be drafted into fight. reporter: for nazar, things are almost like home when his mother irina gets ready for play school. but nazar's home is nearly 1000 kilometers away in eastern ukraine, in a war zone. the family has fled and parents try to hide the situation from their child in vain. irina: he hears us talking and he doesn't believe us. he asks, when are the bad men going away? i want to go home. and i say, why do you think
there are bad men there? he says, i don't know. so i say there aren't any bad men. reporter: while her son is in day care, irina and her mother watch videos coming from ukraine . they are glad they escape the violence on time. more and more refugees from the war in ukraine are coming to moldova. so far the country has been able to take them in, but officials are expressing concern. >> the numbers are very worrying, particularly when you look at the staff we have and the available accommodation and the financial resources we have to help them. reporter: impoverished moldova has a generous law governing the rights of refugees. people fleeing war zones get the right to stay, modest financial
support, and most importantly, a work permit, all within months. irina's husband dima has found work as an electrician. together with moldovan colleagues he's laying telephone lines in a new hotel. the job not only provides an income he desperately needs, but has made him feel welcome in the country. >> i feel quite normal here among the mulled avian spirits that people are very friendly% and i haven't experienced anyone insulting me or treating me badly. reporter: the way people in moldova see it, there are old ties linking the two countries. they are still close. >> it's good that our country is helping the ukrainians. that's wonderful. >> in the soviet era, we were one country. that is why we moldovans have to
help the ukrainians. reporter: help is essential, because ukraine is beset by war and despotism, says taras. the qualified engineer is scared to reveal his identity. he was called up for the ukrainian military although he had an exemption. he tells us it was torn up in front of his eyes. taras: of course i refused. i told them i would not sign anything. they locked me up for four days and beat me. i saw that i would only get out of there if i signed. reporter: he was taken home under police guard to pack. he managed to escape through the window with nothing but his passport. friends helped him reach moldova. moldova officials refuse to acknowledge him as a refugeen, because he doesn't come from a war zone.
he has -- he's helped by a lawyer and has told the authorities what the ukrainian police would do with him and showed pictures of what happened to another objector who was deported from moldova. taras: i explained my situation to them and they said they would investigate it great now i'm waiting for the answer. reporter: moldovans are observing the situation in ukraine with concern. in the early 1990's, moldova experienced a similar conflict when the province of trans nistria broke away with russian support. today soldiers face off at the border. no one knows how long the piece will hold. there are fears that the conflict could break out again. >> i'm very scared. war is the worst thing there is, and i am afraid. >> i don't think we will have a
conflict like that again. the politicians are moving in the right direction. reporter: dima doesn't want to imagine the war in ukraine spilling over into moldova. the family has managed to find some normality here, and they are clinging to it. where else could they go? so they talk about going back home to ukraine. >> it is very hard to leave your town. i don't want to be anywhere else but home. reporter: the longer the conflict in eastern ukraine goes on, the more that dream recedes into the distance. damien: and now, to the next in our special series in which we
focus on the squares, piazzas and plazas of europe. today were off to trafalgar square in london, traditionally one of the spots were protesters demonstrate. like many areas of britain, it's not a place where people can spend time on observed, as our reporter in london has been finding out. reporter: there is nothing admiral nelson can't see from up there. but he's not alone. everyone who crosses trafalgar square, london's biggest public space, is under constant surveillance. nobody knows exactly how many cameras there are in london. but on a single day you can be easily filmed 300 times. in europe, this is the closest you get to a surveilled society on one of the most closely watched squares. these two will also watch you like a hawk. rosy and lizzy, harris hawk who
have been here busy as pest control birds in order to keep pigeons away, i'm told. wayne: we have got lizzy here, she was up on canada house, on the top of the roof and we had a little mouse by the wall just over there and she come down, swooped and gobbled it. reporter:their favorite spots is located in the southeast corner of the square. here scotland yard hollowed out a lamppost in 1926 and adapted it for police purposes also installing a telephone. from now on the square was under surveillance. anthony: if this is the center of london, if this is where all the big demonstrations were taking place, if this was where trouble was likely to come from, it was vitally important that the police could keep abreast of
what was going on. and one of the earlier demonstrations in 1886 demonstration the police tried to be in plain clothes in among the crowd and that proved a complete failure because they could not get their messages out to say where the demonstrators might be going to cause trouble. so having a fixed box where indeed the policeman could actually be inside if he wanted to be protected from the public was seen as a big advantage. reporter: today the police box is only used to store street cleaning equipment. what would i have found here at the time? >> not a lot. just a telephone basically, and i guess maybe a report book to fill in. reporter: at earls court, antony shows me what police boxes typically looked like. towards the end of the 1960's, the increased availability of walkie-talkies signaled the beginning of the end for the police box. georg: thanks a lot for taking
me through the air of police boxes from the beginning at trafalgar square to the end here at earls court. antony: i hope you are not under too much surveillance as you go around. reporter: unlikely. 20 years ago the british government act a major expansion of the cctv network, but now funds are being cut and cameras shut off. studies found that cctv had little effect on crime deterrence, other than car crimes, tells me david mery, spokesperson for no-cctv. nevertheless, the system is being upgraded. david: instead of having all of these old cctv cameras they are replacing them with much cheaper cameras which are higher in resolution, wireless, internet-based, so they can control the remotely -- them remotely and share the much more easily. reporter: already police forces in the u.k. have access to an
extensive automatic number plate recognition network initially intended for collecting a congestion fee. now they can track all car movements and with face recognition software, david warns, they could also track people. >> to be watched you don't need surveillance cameras anymore, or camera teams for that matter. your mobile phone has become the device to observe others. reporter: you can see who crosses london bridge or the iconic seabright crossing at abbey road, made famous by the album cover of the beatles. private and domestic webcams provide a close to real-time insight into the lives of londoners, including of course trafalgar square. after all this surveillance frenzy i decided to withdraw to the one spot on trafalgar square where it all began. here i can monitor others but no one will see me. at least i thought so. georg: i think we are done.
reporter: who knows when your own mobile really switches off and stops watching you. damien: being spied upon by our own mobile phones. if you have thoughts about that or any of our stories, do get in touch on twitter or send me an e-mail via our website. sharon in the u.s. him out to say she was touched by the story of hakima, a lady who transports heavy loads on her back, and wants to help her by a rickshaw. we are still in touch with hakima, so i will e-mail you details about how you can do that, sharon. since the terror attacks in paris early this year, security forces across europe have been keeping a especially close eye on potentially dangerous islamist extremists.
including in norway, where convicted hate preacher mullah krekar has served the last few years in prison after making death threats. he's also alleged to have links to islamic state. he's now been released from jail. but because he is seen as a national risk, a norwegian court has ruled that he should be banished to an isolated village. local residents are not happy. reporter: on a fee your in central norway there is a village that is hard to pronounce for many, k yrksitteroya. police officer anette ertvag controls her beat. most of the time, nothing happens. there is hardly any crime or political extremism and
kyrksaeteröya. -- in kyrksaeteröya. the peace and quiet could soon come to an end. this man is expected to be moving here soon. mullah krekar is norway's best-known and most dangerous islamist. he is said to be responsible for bloody terrorist attacks in his home country, iraq. the authorities cannot deport him because he would be tortured or executed in iraq. instead, the norwegian justice ministry is planning to send him to kyrksaeteröya. residents of the village are less than pleased. they say their home is not
siberia, and they have already taken in 200 refugees. native residents and newcomers frequently meet for coffee and cake here it is the mayor fears a religious fanatic could disrupt what he says is successful integration. stale: this mullah krekar is one of those people who's always giving interviews and making threats. that is disruptive. it has been conversation topic number one in the village café, on the street, and among the neighbors. >> we don't want views like his here at all. we are totally unsettled. is mullah krekar coming or not? and the more time to goes by, the more of us are saying, no, we don't want him here. reporter: in the asylum-seeker''
hostel, no one once to a knowledge they convicted terrorist, at least not in front of the camera. they say assuring lee you can't even recruit people here to speak out against kerry cagers of mohammed -- caricatures of mohammed. >> i keep the profit in my heart. i don't care what others have to say about him. reporter: the local residents don't want krekar to come here, and krekar doesn't want to go. he was granted asylum in norway in 1991 but was said to have returned to iraq in the meantime in order to organize terrorist attacks. he has been in preventive custody after again issuing death threats against critics of islam. many norwegians now say that's where he should stay, and conservative politicians are supporting that position. >> that this man who poses a
threat for the country can run around freely contradicts the norwegian people's conception of the rule of law. that's why we should keep him locked up until we can't deport him back to iraq. reporter: the norwegian government has been trying to expel the committed extremist for more than a decade. the norwegian media is following the political campaign with a critical eye. for the norwegians became concerned after attacks on journalists in paris and copenhagen. >> there has been a clear increase in the number of muslim groups with radical positions here in recent years. that has alarmed police and politicians and they are on alert for a possible terrorist attack. reporter: but officer annette ertvag doesn't seem alarmed. if the convicted criminal comes to kyrksaeteroya he will have to report to her at the police
station three times a week. annette: we will treat him the way we would any other case. i will ensure that public safety is guaranteed. we are certainly not afraid of e assignment. reporter: nearly everyone in norway has now heard of kyrksaeteroya. all the villagers want to do is get out of the headlines. many say they fear when the enemy of the state arrives, their lives will be turned damien: and now to austria, where a chemical which was once used as a pesticide is now causing panic in farming communities. hexachlorobenzene or hcb, w used in ausia as pesticide until the 1980's. but today it is bad because it's poisonous and may cause cancer. the problem is that a cement
factory has allegedly for years been burning waste contaminated with hcb, leading to fears that local people have been slowly pooned. reporter: when cordelia and robert opriessnig enter their barn, fear goes with them. fear for their animals, their health, and their livelihood. the organic farmers in gorts chitz valley in the austrian state of carinthia have been most affected by the hcb scandal. for years, the animals in the valley may have been eating plant fodder contaminated with hcb, short for hexachlorobenzene . the substance is carcinogenic, damages dna and a great story slowly in the vironment. the entire area with its nearly
8000 inhabitants is affected area above all, mothers with small children are afraid and angry that officials are not taking their concerns seriously. >> at the moment they are hushing it up. they're investigating it, but it should have been investigated much earlier. reporter: the agent cb problem was first over dramatized and then played down, critics hearsay. but how did the toxic substance get into this beautiful countryside? for years, the factory belonged to the donauchemie chemical company put its chlorinated waste in a landfill in the valley. it was covered with layers of slaked lime to seal it off. but the dump began to leak and had to be cleaned up. all the waste was to be burned in a nearby cement kiln. but instead of the plant residue free combustion, the hcb spread
around the valley, possibly for months or years. the hcb may further increase the cancer risk. >> if the exposure had not been stopped, we would not be able to exclude a health risk to the population. reporter: the wietersdorf cement works, considered responsible for the hcb admissions, has already paid up several million euros in emergency aid. elevated hcb levels have been foun in breast milk and blood of residence of the valley. a local dairy had to close down for a time because hcb levs in a cow's milk was over allowed levels. for the opriessnigs, it has been a nightmare. as organic farmers they need to maintain even stricter levels of contaminants. now all their animals might end up as hazardous waste. cordelia: the lambs will probably have to be destroyed. reporter: the fertility of their
sheep has gone down dramatically. the people here fear not only for their animals health but their own. the talks in hcb is invisible. it can't be smelled or tasted. reporter: in many european countries, consuming small amounts of cannabis is tolerated. the paradox is that buying weed is often against the law. in belgium smokers have come up with a legal way of helping people grow their own. reporter: the man rolling this joint is terminally ill. omer scheire speaks openly about his mortality. after enduring years of agonizing pain, the cancer patient began smoking cannabis. the classic painkillers did not ease omer's torments. >> i took so much of that garbage. it never helped me. the only thing that helps me is this. reporter: "this" is cannabis.
omer's son used to buy it for him on the street. the quality was poor. it was often cut with hairspray, lead, or even mold. today joep oomen comes around with omer's fresh harvest. joep founded the belgian cannabis social club, and omer is a member. reporter: in 2006, the cannabis social clubs public founding lead to arrests, trial, and convictions. but joep and his associates won on appeal. we are on our way to one of the 17 heavily secured secret rooms scattered across belgium where the cannabis social club grows its hemp. each of the club's 380 members owns exactly one plant, the maximum that the belgian state tolerates.
club membership to use our 25 euros a yr, and each gram of marijuana costs another seven euros. it pays for electricity, water, rent, and the gardener. the club is not permitted to make a profit. joep oomen's goal is to displace the illegal dealers. >> they don't care about health and a good product, they just want to wake -- make money. reporter: this is all going on directly of the doorstep of the eu commission, which seems aware of belgium's liberal approach. no one at the commission would give us an interview on the topic. fo years, dana spinant has held the title coordinator of the anti-drug unit of the european commission. but in videos she always repeats the mantra that drug policy does not fall within the eu's purview. >> it is simply and clearly a
national competence. reporter: that is confusing, since the european union claims authority for its own drug strategy. but ms. spinant declined to give us an interview on cannabis legalization. >> weed like to talk. reporter: that is a clever name of a european citizens initiative. the organized marijuana smokers wanted to collect a million signatures within 12 months. if they had succeeded, the eu commission would have been required to address the issue of legalization. but wed lied like to talk failed miserably. only 170,000 eu citizens signed the petition. damien: so it looks like we won't be seeing a legalization of cannabis anytime soon. that's all for today.
thanks for watching and see you next week. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] steves: i'm meeting my florentine friend tommaso at i fratellini, a venerable hole in the wall much loved among locals for its tasty sandwiches and wine sold by the glass. -grazie. -tommaso: thank you. and when you're done, you leave it on the rack. steves: boy, it's intense in the city. tommaso: yes, it is. well, if you want to leave the tourists, let's cross the river, and let's go to where the real florentines live and work. -steves: what's that? -tommaso: the oltrarno area. steves: there's much more to this town than tourism,
as you'll quickly find in the characteristic back lanes of the oltrarno district. artisans busy at work offer a rare opportunity to see traditional craftsmanship in action. you're welcome to just drop in to little shops, but, remember, it's polite to greet the proprietor. your key phrase is, "can i take a look?" -posso guardare? -man: certo. steves: grazie. here in this great city of art, there's no shortage of treasures in need of a little tlc. this is beautiful. how old is this panting? woman: this is a 17th-century painting. steves: from florence? woman: we don't know. -maybe the area is genova. -steves: genova. each shop addresses a need with passion and expertise. fine instruments deserve the finest care. grand palaces sparkle with gold leaf, thanks to the delicate and exacting skills of craftspeople like this. a satisfying way to wrap up an oltrarno experience
is to enjoy a florentine steakhouse, which any italian meat lover knows means chianina beef. the quality is proudly on display. steaks are sold by weight and generally shared. the standard serving is about a kilo for two, meaning about a pound per person. so, both of those for four people? woman: yes. steves: the preparation is simple and well established. good luck if you want it well done. man: i am hungry, yeah. oh, look at this. ah! steves: oh, beautiful. [ laughs ] man: wow. steves: chianina beef. -woman: white beans. -steves: okay. perfect. man: and that one. steves: so, the meat is called chianina. tommaso: that's its name, because it comes from the chianti. steves: oh, from chianti. okay. and tell me about this concept of the good marriage of the food, you know? tommaso: well, when you have the chianina meat, you want to have some chianti wine, and they go together well. they marry together. we say, "si sposano bene."
glad to have you with us on this edition of "newsline." it's tuesday april 7th. i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. japan's imperial couple is about to make a journey to pay respect to the past and look to the future. they'll travel to the pacific island nation of palau to a major battleground of world war ii. the official visit comes ahead of the 70th anniversary of the end of the war and is aimed at bringing the two countries even closer together. emperor akito and empress michiko's two-day tour begins wednesday. their schedule includes a visit