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tv   Focus on Europe  PBS  April 25, 2016 6:30pm-7:01pm PDT

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damien: hello and welcome to "focus on europe" -- with some of the very best human stories behind the headlines from all over europe. i'm damien mcguinness. thanks very much for joining us. on the programme today, saving the programme today, saving -- on the programme today, saving norway's fjords. turkish delight for syrian refugees. and why the amber of poland is more than just a trinket. but first the northern english town of rotherham. a place, which for many of us from the u.k., has become synonymous with one thing -- a shocking sex abuse scandal.
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for a decade-and-a-half, hundreds of vulnerable teenage girls, many of them underage, were groomed and sexually abused by gangs of men. and what made the case even more disturbing is that many of the people who were supposed to protect the girls ignored what was going on. some police officers even blamed the girls themselves for the abuse. and because many of the perpetrators were of pakistani origin, some officials turned a blind eye, because they were nervous of being branded as racist. but now, one of the survivors is using her traumatic experience to help other victims. >> rotherham is a typical northern industrial town. but now, it's also known as "the most shameful town in britain." it's where hundreds of children and teenagers were groomed and sexually abused. jessica was one of them. sixteen years ago, the now 29-year-old was basically still a child when she met a man who turned out to belong to a gang whose members were largely of pakistani origin. >> he was 24, smartly dressed.
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i was quite enamored with him. he was kind and gentle. he came into my world and he found out everything there was turned know about me. what music i like. who my friends were, my family were, what school i went to. what my interests were, my hobbies. >> jessica never suspected that this kind and friendly man, ten years older than she was, was a drug dealer and child molester. she gave everything up for him, isolating herself from her friends and family. only gradually did he start to reveal his true, violent nature. jessica, overwhelmed and helpless, went alo with everything. jessica: he used to beat me. i was in over my head. at my age, i did not even know
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it was physically possible to do that to someone. >> shame kept her from confiding in anyone, even her sister. but her parents, who had briefly met the man, sensed their daughter was suffering. jessica's father would spend evenings searching the pubs and hotels of the city, trying to find his daughter, who sometimes disappeared for days at a time. her family was gravely concerned and turned to police early on. >> they used to threaten us. threatened to remove me dad from the police station. >> that was the experience of many families in rotherham, whose children fell into the grip of the pakistani gangs of child molesters. rumours were rife about the gang' criminal dealings. they victimized some 1,400 children and teenagers in rotherham. but neighbors remained silent, and for years, the police covered up for the perpetrators. jayne senior was part of an
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independent youth project helping victims of sexual violence. she was one of those responsible for bringing the scandal to light. jayne senior: we had a lot of comments about not wanting to upset the muslim communities. this has actually caused more damage then if we did ask a gone into those communities 10 years ago and said this is happening, can we work together? >> nearly 200 police officers in rotherham are under investigation, but much remains unclear. there's a great deal of shame over the matter, and questions about the scandal are unwelcome, not just within the muslim community. >> no. >> we have to finish work. we have to go on. >> sorry. >> i cannot talk about it.
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sorry. >> the police commissioner has failed to do his job. and a lot of people in the council building have the failed to do their jobs. at the minute, we have government and our town. they are solving things, which is good. hopefully, it will get done soon. the media makes it too big, i think. >> jessica was finally able to have her story heard, and with the help of a victims' support organization, she filed charges against her abuser, arshid hussein. he's been sentenced to 35 years in prison in one of the first trials against the rotherham gangs. jessica's mother did not live to see the sentencing. her family believes she died of grief. the trial ended just two months ago, and jessica hasn't yet recovered from her experiences. the best thing for her is to be with people she trusts.
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jessica: i want to focus on my health and spending time with my family. in the investigation has taken up so much time. it went up to one half years -- up two and a half years. >> jessica intends to continue helping to uncover the child sex abuse scandal. she encourages other women to file charges against their abusers. but that activism has also made her a target of threats in rotherham. damien: clearly, a very brave young woman. joining me now in the studio is susanna doerhage, who made that report. now, susanna, when you were out filming in rotherham and talking to local people what was the atmosphere in the town like? susanna: it is very bizarre. the people do not want to talk about it, because it was very scandalous. we had to film in private because it was dangerous for
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jessica. the man who tortured her raise in prison now, but his friends are still outside. damien: four other young woman in that region, how risky is it to be out at night and to be on your own as a young woman? susanna: it is still risky, because the men are still there. there is still a woman telling the stories, who met one mother. she had an older daughter, who is still in this group and cannot go out, even if she is late. damien: the women themselves, it is difficult for them to break away from these almost relationships they have with their abusers. susanna: that is the problem. that means they are sometimes living with them for years. these are very horrible relationships. even a horrible relationship, it is difficult to break out. some even have children with these men. damien: i remember when the
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scandal broke, it was really big news in britain how has a change society? susanna: the police will take very seriously what young woman tell them. they did not take it seriously, because these young women often came from poor families. they just did not listen to them. damien: because these were young women the police thought were themselves at fault for what happened. susanna: yes. they thought the woman were lying. perhaps, there is all so complicity with these gangs, because of their arch rock dealing gangs. -- because these are gerard dealing gangs -- these are droid dealing -- drug dealing gangs. damien: how part of the race aspect is in the story? susanna: they do not realize the asian-british committee in the
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motto veil and, they do not realize what happened. we talked to a taxi driver, and he said he is sure these women are just trying to get money in the end. damien: it is a very complicated situation. susanna: we also met a young boy, pakistani british, who told us it was hard for him at school, because he sees young girls and he does not want them to be raped. damien: it is a very complicated and disturbing story. we'd love to hear your thoughts about it, and in particular how you'd react if a young person in your family was affected. you can reach me on twitter, email, or facebook. let me know what you think about that or about any of the stories on today's show. i don't know about you. but i always imagined scandinavia was exemplary when it comes to looking after the environment. and when i was last in norway, i was amazed by the beauty of the norwegian landscape. but norway is also one of the few nations where tipping mining waste into the sea is allowed. even into the country's stunning fjords. which is why local people living
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near one particular fjord in southwest norway are particularly worried. >> today's catch is pretty good. plenty of monkfish, cod, and tusk. eiliv erdal has been fishing the waters of the forde fjord for many years. after a short career in the military, he decided he'd rather work and live surrounded by nature. eiliv erdal: on a beautiful day like this, it is impossible to understand that someone would think it a good idea to destroy this beautiful scenery. i think the only natural thing to do is live here and enjoy the nature. as the people here do. or as a tourist. >> the fishermen here are under pressure from a mining company that wants to begin extracting a mineral found in the cliffs of the fjord. erdal fears that if the miners are allowed to get to work, the
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days of plenty here in the fjord are numbered. by the time operations are in full swing, he says, he'll probably be out of a job. eiliv erdal: they're going to take the top off the mountain, and then they are going to quarry it out then start tunneling in. the worst part is that the waste from the production goes into the fjord, and they will fill it up to 250 meters, destroying local life in the fjord. damien: -- >> the norwegian government has given the firm nordic mining a license to exploit the resources. politicians in oslo hope the project will create jobs. there's little work to be had in the region. vidar helgesen: it is about balancing industrial
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jobs, value creation, with effects on the natural environment. when in this case we have given approval for this industrial development, it is based on thorough environmental impact assessment. >> people in the village are very worried. together with conservation groups, they're demanding a ban on the marine disposal of waste from mining. only five countries in the world still allow it. opponents say if the project goes forward, the seabed in the fjord will take generations to recover -- if it does at all. hanna louise thingnes: the company admits it will die, but they say it will be the same after 50 years. but it will not. it has taken thousands of years to shape of this environment and the sea, and all of the animals and fish will not be here. some will come back them up a
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will not be the same as it is now. >> nordic mining is after the mineral rutile. it's used as a pigment -- for example to make the brilliant white in toothpaste. the company wants to extract it for the next 40 years -- which would create 250 million tons of slurry. eiliv erdal: the whole area around us is going to be the wasting ground. >> erdal is also worried that toxic sludge could be carried out into the open waters of the north atlantic. many people here rely on the fjord for their subsistence. around half of erdal's income comes from either fishing or tourism. eiliv erdal: it means a lot to me, locally growing up. i am 47 now, and i am really looking forward to the catch this time of year also. >> the family also runs a cafe right on the water of the fjord. guests come here to enjoy the
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breathtaking natural surroundings and home-style norwegian food. traditional baked goods, and of course, lots of fish. the mining company claims that fishing is little more than a hobby for the people here. that accusation makes the fishermen angry. eiliv erdal: it is a selling point, that it is a clean fish. to say it is a hobby, it is interesting -- it is more people working with regard to nature in this area then nordic mining is providing. >> many of the families in the area that will be impacted most by the mine are refusing to accept the government's decision. hundreds of demonstrators have blocked streets leading to the site. some have been hit with stiff fines. erdal is happy that his problem is now a topic all over norway. despite the opposition, nordic mining has been pushing ahead. tracks like these left by digging equipment are fresh.
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the boreholes help illustrate exactly how deep the company plans to go. it's a long way to the bottom. eiliv erdal: i hope this is the biggest hole they are going to make. >> eiliv erdal hopes that in the end, the social and economic costs of the mining project on the forde fjord will eventually cause the company to cave in. he dreams of building and running a hotel on its crystalline waters. one that -- of course -- would serve fish. damien: next, to turkey, which after years of being practically ignored by the european union, is suddenly being taken extremely seriously by politicians. now that's because turkish help is being seen as crucial to solving the refugee crisis. but here in germany, dealing with turkey is extremely controversial. some people i talk to are nervous of relying on the turkish government, which they
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accuse of clamping down on freedom of speech. but chatting to others, i've also noticed a certain amount of anti-turkish prejudice that is deep-seated in some sections of european society. which is one reason why many europeans just don't realise how much turkey is already doing to help syrians fleeing war. particularly in the border city of kilis, where there are now more refugees than local people. >> what they're doing is creating something beautiful, that will bring pleasure to others and put a smile on the face of a child. after years of war, misery, and death, these syrian women have found a new purpose in life here in the turkish border city of kilis. najlaa sheekh used to be a teacher in damascus. she fled the fighting three years ago and set up this project called "kareemat," meaning proud, independent, and generous women. >> as i walked through the
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streets of kilis, i saw all these syrian women with nothing to do. i asked them whether they had any skills. many told me they could sew. i told our turkish landlord about it, and he offered me money. so i bought some fabric and equipment and invited the women to my home. and that's how we got started. >> their toys are selling well. most of the women working here have children, so najlaa has also set up a kindergarten. she now employs 20 syrian women. a landlord giving money to his tenant to start up a project is surely a rare event, but that's what happened here in kilis. before the syrian civil war, kilis had 90,000 turkish residents and a small syrian community. but when the fighting broke out in syria, refugees began pouring into the city. 130,000 syrians now live in kilis, which lies just ten
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kilometres from the border. turkish flags still fly in the centre of town, but the influence of the syrian arabs is evident right across the city. most of the refugees live side by side with the turkish residents in modest accommodation, paying cheap rent. but a few thousand syrians are also housed in a refugee camp on the edge of town. hasan kara is the mayor of kilis. he says his city has been so successful in integrating the refugees that he believes it qualifies for the nobel peace prize. and so, he's more than happy to support the kareemat project. he releases a dove of peace for the cameras. this particular initiative doesn't quite want to get off the ground -- but kara remains optimistic. >> i invite the united nations
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and all the aid organizations of the world to come to kilis and see how hospitable people are here towards syrians, even though the economy is not doing well and our options here in kilis are limited. >> he's certainly right about one thing -- en thoughhere are now more syrians in kilis than turks, there have been attacks on refugees or refugee in it's a model of integration. so the mayor has started up an official campaign -- calling for the nobel peace prize for kilis. and to prove to us how well syrians are doing in kilis, he takes us round the local shops, where many of the refugees have found employment. >> i've lived here for four years. some turks are nice, others don't treat us so well. but all in all, we're living here together well.
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>> our boss is turkish, and she treats us like sisters. >> this is the sunny side of kilis. but the civil war continues just ten kilometres away, and often overshadows life here on the turkish side. two shells landed in kilis while we were there -- one just 50 metres from a school, a second hit a residential building. it's impossible to know whether they just strayed across the border or were a targeted attack. a short while later, some turkish residents complain about the syrians in their town. >> i don't want all these syrians living here anymore. i want them to go. we can't do this anymore, they need to leave. >> there's no work here because of the arabs. i'm out of a job. there's more and more coming. >> but najlaa sheekh says that's not the opinion of the majority. she and her husband are convinced that relations between turks and arabs here in kilis
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could hardly be better. >> when i walk around kilis, the vegetable man greets me, and so does the hairdresser. we have a good relationship, and they're very friendly to me. i do not get that in syria. >> najlaa would love to have her relatives in syria join her. but turkey has closed its doors to syrian refugees. so for now, kilis won't be getting any more newcomers. even this exemplary town has its limits. damien: whenever i get to poland, one of my favourite destinations in many towns and cities is the amber market. amber is, of course, a speciality of poland. tens of millions of years ago, scandinavian conifers ended up buried in sediment in the baltic sea, where their resin hardened to lumps of golden amber, often with insects still visibly trapped in the translucent stones.
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until recently, amber was mainly seen as bargain trinkets for tourists. but today, it's becoming more and more valuable -- and not just as necklaces and earrings, as we found out by taking a tour of a rather unusual collection of amber on the polish baltic coast. >> lucjan myrta's life's work. the largest private collection of amber in the world. the artist and collector is proud of every piece, every picture, every figure. he made all of them himself. myrta has turned around four tons of raw amber into art over the course of his career. he started with a single kilo. the collection is now worth around 40 million euros. >> this piece is dedicated to the sea. down here at the bottom, i've created the seabed. further up are different fish. and then up on the surface and
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above it is the world of birds and plants. >> demand for amber is growing. many chinese, for example, believe it has healing powers. buyers have offered to purchase myrta's works -- possibly to turn them into cheap jewelery. and wealthy russians have also shown an interest. they wanted to buy the entire collection and ship it to moscow as a gift for vladimir putin. but myrta wants it to remain in poland. >> they were a bunch of greedy middlemen who wanted to grab as much as they could for themselves. but their greed got them nowhere. there won't be a permanent exhibit in the kremlin. >> this is what raw amber looks like -- fossilized sap from trees that lived millions of years ago. only when the dull chunks are cut and polished do they reveal their true beauty. prices for amber have risen to giddy heights in the last few years.
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but the artist and collector isn't interested in money. myrta dedicated this masterpiece to his daughter ewelina, who died when she was 23. the treasure chest is his magnum opus. the artist worked on it for 12 years. around a ton of amber went into its construction. a work worthy of being displayed in the famous st. petersburg "amber room," which was lost during the second world war. myrta's huge private collection is made up of thousands of individual works. as he grows older, he is beginning to think about his legacy. >> i don't have any grandchildren and don't need money. my only wish is that the works will be exhibited. >> and the collection grows by the week. when he sees a piece of beautiful amber, lucjan myrta is driven to turn it into art.
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and he says he never runs out of ideas. damien: impressive. well, that's all for this week. do let me know what you think about furniture made of amber or any of the stories on today's show. next week, michelle will be back again. and she'd love to hear your thoughts, too. so do tweet or email us your comments. but in the meantime, it's goodbye from me and the whole team here and look forward to seeing see you next time. ♪ [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] gyxqñqrqyqiqiqñq
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hello there. welcome to nhk "newsline." it is tuesday, april 26th. i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. u.s. president obama is planning to increase america's military presence in syria. he says he's deploying more u.s. troops to the country to maintain momentum against islamic state militants. >> and we continue to make progress. pushing isil back from territory that it controlled. so given the success, i've approved the deployment of up to 250 additional u.s. personnel in syria, including special forces to keep up this momentum. >> obama

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