tv Focus on Europe PBS September 26, 2016 6:30pm-7:01pm PDT
>> hello, and a very warm welcome to "focus on europe." today we will show you just how differently the issue of integration can be handled. in sweden, young refugees are welcome. yet in hungary, this is not at all the case. as a result hungary is now attracting german migrants who say they no longer feel at home out of fear of refugees. >> it's foreign and people are panicked about what will happen when mosques are built. >> so they flee the refugees for hungary. >> more on that is coming up later in the program, but first to romania. a hospital is where one goes to
receive treatment in order to leave feeling healthier, but some families in romania believe that their loved ones' time in hospital was a death sentence. parts of romania's healthcare system are blighted by lack of investment, underpaid staff, and corruption. it has gotten to the point that the public is scared to seek medical attention if they are ill. a mother in bucharest is certain that her daughter, who was being treated for minor injuries, would still be alive if not for negligence and greed. >> ruxandra geambasu keeps coming back here, to be close to her daughter ioana. a doctor herself, she can't understand why ioana had to die. she was at a concert in the bucharest colectiv nightclub when it caught fire. dozens died in the ensuing panic. ioana was lucky enough to escape, but died later in the hospital, though not from her injuries. she died from an infection she picked up in the hospital.
>> there are moments i can hardly breathe and feel like someone's digging claws into my chest. in another medical system ioana's chances of survival would certainly have been good, and i say that not only as a distraught mother. >> ioana was brought to this hospital with burns on her hand. her mother, a surgeon who worked in a hospital for 25 years, blames her death on disinfectant manufacturer, hexi pharma, and its criminal accomplices. >> it wasn't negligence. it was a deliberate, criminal act. >> ioana's autopsy revealed that the cause of her death was a hospital-acquired infection with a very aggressive multidrug-resistant bacteria. diluted disinfectant from antiseptics manufacturer hexi pharma was to blame, the same
disinfectant that had been supplied to 350 romanian hospitals for years. journalist catalin tolontan and his team uncovered the scandal after receiving a tip. >> a man from the factory came and gave us documents proving the falsification. the ingredient lists show that the disinfectants were diluted there. and not just one or two products, but all of them, for more than a decade. we're witness to mafia-style activities, in which the authorities, hospital directors, the ministry of health and private companies are all in cahoots with one another. and that's angered people. >> tolontan brought samples of the disinfectants to an independent laboratory for
testing. the results showed that most were heavily diluted, around ten times weaker than their labels claimed. >> when the concentration of active ingredients is lower, the disinfectant's effectiveness is lower, too. some of he bacteria, fungi, and viruses are destroyed, but the rest survive and, in most cases, become even more aggressive. ultimately, they can become deadly. that's why it's very dangerous when disinfectants are not manufactured as prescribed with the right concentration of ingredients. >> hexi pharma earned millions buying disinfectants, diluting, and reselling them. just after the scam was exposed, the boss died in a car crash, but many also blame the ministry of health. the number of patients contracting bacterial infections in the hospital has almost
doubled over the past decade, but officials refuse to accept responsibility. >> the ministry can't comment or express an opinion on how these purchases were made, on what exactly happened, as we don't have the means to monitor all of this. we only develop healthcare guidelines. >> for ruxandra geambasu, who's founded an organization together with other victims' families, that sounds like mockery. this is the biggest health care scandal in romanian history, one that cost the health minister his job back in may. the state prosecutor is investigating the matter, and ruxandra is seeking justice for ioana and the many other victims who have died in romanian hospital. >> it's a horrible irony of fate. after 25-years of working in this system, my worst fears have
come true. my one and only child has become a victim of this system. >> this system has cost ruxandra geambasu her livelihood, too. she says she'll never be able to work in a hospital again. >> this summer our correspondent travelled across russia to talk with the people who live and work there. in our new series, "eastwards: stories about russia," we explore the conflict and contradictions of the continent's largest country.
in our first report, we head to bjairyesniky, a small town, often referred to as the russian atlantis. years of overzealous mining during the soviet era has lead to a very unstable future. the city is now sinking. residents live in constant fear of the ground literally disappearing under their feet. >> this town was built on salt, on the rare potash salt. >> for over eighty years, berezniki has lived from the potash. now it's at risk of being devoured by it. >> cracks are showing up everywhere. and they just keep coming. >> it's terrible. from the start, it's been terrible. >> berezniki, on the urals' western slope. it's known as the russian atlantis. the town is sinking. but it's people aren't giving
up. >> we're just waiting and hoping. >> the workday begins at uralkali, one of the world's biggest potash producers. >> we drive through tunnels of a mine eight times the size of the town above it. >> for decades, the miners have been digging, until they'd hollowed out an almost unimaginable 84-million cubic meters underground. >> it's an oppressive feeling to realize that this mine is gradually subsiding and collapsing. the soviet enterprises got too greedy and routinely disregarded the regulations. one day, water broke into the mine and began eating away at the salt layers. the rock ceilings collapsed into the flooded caverns. then the surface above gave way. sinkholes appeared in parts of the town.
uralkali has said that the remaining tunnels are safe. there's no danger to the residents of berezniki, they say. >> the ceiling is braced with these things called anchors. you can see the end of one sticking out there. it's inserted through a drill hole and fastens the ceilin to the stronger layer of salt above it. it stabilizes the whole thing. >> no attempt at stabilizing anything can help these people now. 12 years ago, irina and andrei khorov fulfilled a long-cherished dream when they bought a house of their own. now, cracks are appearing in the walls. the dream is in danger of falling like a house of cards. >> everything's getting cracks. there's a crack, another over there. the house is tilting. you can't get the doors open any more. it's pulling the house apart, and wecan't do a thing about it.
>> the khorovs' home is in the last row of houses at the edge of the danger zone. inside the zone, entire buildings have sunk several meters down. now the area's deserted. >> the fence over there is the edge of the danger zone. we're not allowed to step across that edge. but we have to live here. >> berezniki's train station is closed. it's too close to the danger zone to be safe. and the church, symbol of the country's resurgent religious life, is at risk of being swallowed up by the earth at any moment. 2,000 residents were evacuated from the tenement blocks behind this fence. uralkali let us look around the main shaft at the edge of town. nine years ago, a sinkhole hundreds of square meters wide opened up here and engulfed the administration building. these danger zones are kept
under video surveillance. some people who've lost property have been compensated, but not all. the khorovs have to fight for their fair share. the authorities have classified their house as "partially inhabitable." >> if it ends up falling down, we want to be prepared. we've been moving our valuables to friends and family, her winter fur coat and summer shoes, so we don't have to look for them in a panic. >> the official line is that the mistakes of the soviet era will not be repeated. safety for the people comes first. that's small consolation for andrei khorov. he says the authorities have been sitting on their hands. and they offered him far too little as compensation for the value of his house. >> our future is uncertain. our city government is just waiting for some house to collapse and kill somebody. maybe then, they'll take action.
>> they still cling to the hope they can reach some kind of agreement, one that would enable andrei khorov to build a new house on safe ground. he's not ready to abandon berezniki yet. >> coming up next week in our series, we are bringing you a story from st petersburg. there we find 16 families in one apartment. we take a peek inside everyday life in the so-called kommunalkas. it's not one to miss. the refugee crisis has threatened to tear the eu apart. with countries directly at odds such as germany, which opened its borders, and hungary, which aggressively keeps refugees out. there are now calls for hungary to be expelled from the eu. but there are those who support country's closed border approach, so much so that they are emigrating there. ironically, many of them are from germany.
27 years ago, hungary was the first place where the iron curtain came down and where many east germans fled to freedom. now people are fleeing germany out of fear their borders are too open. >> doris and georg kirsch from germany are about to close the deal of a lifetime, here in this village south of hungary's lake balaton. doris and georg kirsch have just bought a house. they're not planning to return to germany. >> i was scared in germany. >> you were afraid? of what? >> of the young men coming to germany. >> no one minds when families go to germany. everyone understands when it's families with children. we haven't been in germany for a
while, but on tv we saw that there aren't many families with children going there. instead it's all those young men. >> they say their friends in germany would like to leave as well, but most don't have the savings to leave. they're on the way to their new home. >> she's walking between those trees over there. you'll see her in a moment. >> she could be a hungarian muslim. look, you can see her now. but she looks more like she's indian, or something like that. there aren't many muslims in hungary. only about 1% or 2% of the population. >> they say they feel safe in hungary. for years, hungary's been a popular holiday destination for germans.
many have also moved there. hungary is predominantly christian and there are few immigrants, but hungary is also noticeably poorer than its neighbors to the west. behind the spruced-up lake promenade, this poverty becomes apparent. there are vacant homes, and houses are sold at rock bottom prices. real estate agents say most of their buyers are german-speaking. ottmar heide says they come because of the low prices. and for another reason. >> they leave germany because of the refugees and rising costs. eight out of ten inquiries are from people who want to leave germany because of that. >> on social media, there's a lively discussion among germans considering moving to hungary. real estate agencies along lake balaton say it's a trend. we head to the next property. ottmar heide is meeting another prospective customer, also from germany. michael muller says he also plans to leave germany for good.
he's shown around the old farm house. in recent months, muller has supported germany's right-wing, anti-immigrant afd party, but he's decided he wants to retire early and move to hungary. >> when i walk though the center of my town in the middle of the day, i rarely hear so much as a sentence of german that's grammatically correct. that shows me that even small towns aren't really german anymore. >> muller comes from a town in western germany. he believes that multiculturalism has failed in his country. so is he glad there are fewer refugees in hungary? >> yes, i think that's good. it wasn't really necessary to allow the mass movement of refugees through hungary. i mean, it wasn't a humanitarian disaster. people weren't about to die of hunger. they just wanted to move on. >> but scenes like this were commonplace in budapest last
fall. for days, thousands of refugees were stranded in the hungarian capital, under inhumane conditions. prime minister viktor orban ordered the construction of a fence to keep out migrants. many hungarians support this move. >> muslims don't belong here. hungary is a catholic country, and so is all of europe. islam doesn't belong here, period. >> eva is from hungary, and her partner is austrian. their neighbors are german. they've created their own little enclave, here in hungary. simone and lothar luther are helping with the renovations. they moved here about two months ago from central germany. for the good weather, the lake, and more. >> because there are no refugees here. because of the police presence. we've talked to locals, they feel safe.
they say the police patrol the town two or three times a day. that's great. >> simone luther quit her job as a hair stylist to move to hungary. she says she was afraid in germany. >> i wanted to go for a jog in the evening, but jurgen told me not to do it. we don't know these people. i don't want to be unfair, but it's foreign, and people are panicked about will happen if mosques are built. >> back in budapest, we show our footage to political scientist peter kreko. he's an expert on right-wing populism in europe. >> i was surprised at the very moment. i didn't know that it exists. >> he thinks the simplistic explanations favored by right-wing populists stoke the fears of ordinary citizens.
>> the populist approach will destroy the trust in the mainstream institutions without which a democracy could not operate at all. >> lake balaton has long been popular with germans, but now a new breed of germans are moving there. >> while some people think integration is failing in germany, sweden demonstrates how well integration can work. over the past year, among the influx of refugees into europe, thousands were children travelling on their own. many of them live in sweden. a country known for its well-developed system to rapidly integrate unaccompanied minors who often arrive traumatized, with some at risk of being radicalized. here, we go to the city of norrtalj where authorities, residents, and young refugees all work together so that everyone feels included.
>> it's good. >> marie larsen and her foster son ali are gathering blueberries. he's learning as much as he can about his new home, and in sweden, that means nature. >> it's good. afghanistan doesn't have blueberries like here in sweden. >> 17-year-old ali has been with the larsens since february. he was lucky to have found a foster family so quickly. he likes to practice football, but he's a bit shy and doesn't talk much about his long journey or the people he left behind in afghanistan. marie is a journalist. it's important to her that someone take newcomers like ali under their wing. her husband agrees. they've seen the news about attacks perpetrated by young refugees in various european countries. ali has, too, says marie. >> the swedish word for act, or
for terrorist attack. ali's always asking us what these words mean. sometimes, he gets the feeling he's being associated with something that has nothing to do with him. someone from the same country with the same religion did something, and now he's being put into the same pigeonhole. >> i wouldn't never take up a knife and kill someone. when someone does that somewhere, suddenly many people think all young afghan men are like that. >> no other community in sweden has as many unaccompanied minor refugees per capita as norrtalje.
last fall, the 57,000 local redents welcomed 500 young refugees, most from afghanistan and syria. most live in supervised group homes around town. the community has to invest a great deal into looking after the young people. they need to have someone looking out for them around the clock, either public sector employees or volunteers. the schools inspector, himself a german immigrant, tries to bring them together. >> the fire department's involved, the soccer clubs, the church, rotary, lions club, everybody's getting involved. without their help, it wouldn't work. this is a job that needs the entire community of norrtalje to pitch in. >> the young refugees have work to do too, like learning swedish, for example. but there's a shortage of teachers. mohammed alami has been in the country for six years and speaks the language well.
>> i work in a home for unaccompanied teenage refugees. i've been through the same things they have. i know the fears and see the stress in their eyes. >> to feel at home in sweden, the young refugees also need to understand local customs and rules. in cultural studies classes, those who've been here longer explain how things work. >> here, a woman can be the boss, that's completely normal. and it's customary to shake hands. if i have a female co-worker, i say "hi," and we shake hands. >> the young people also have very practical questions about daily life. >> in afghanistan, you wear clothes to suit the occasion,
but here, they've always got jeans and t-shirts on. >> ali learns about local customs from his foster family, too. they've given him a home, and try to be there for him when he has trouble communicating. >> misunderstandings can happen without our noticing them. when something seems odd, it's often just been a misunderstanding. but my sense is we get along well and we understand him. what worries me is how he'll respond if his asylum application is turned down. >> he's just been to the immigration agency for his big interview. nobody knows what'll become of it. he doesn't either. of course, he's worried.
>> they try to give ali support. now it's a question of asylum or not. ali and his foster parents might get an answer sometime in the next months. they all hope he'll be able to stay in norrtalje. >> ali is one case of many all over europe. hungary and sweden -- two countries responding to the same crisis, but in very different ways. is rapid integration the answer? or is shutting the door? let us know what you think about that or any of today's stories by getting in touch on facebook, email, or twitter. we always enjoy hearing from you. thank you for watching. see you next time.
steves: venice's sleek and graceful gondolas are a symbol of the city. from the start, boats were the way to get around among the island communities of the lagoon. to navigate over shifting sandbars, the boats were flat-bottomed, and the captains stood up to see. today's boats still come with gondoliers standing up and no rudder or keel. they're built with a slight curve so that a single oar on the side propels them in a straight line.
the art of the gondola survives in the quiet back canals. in this shop, the workmen, who needed to be good with wood, were traditionally from italy's mountains. that's why they maintain a refreshing alpine feel in this delightful little corner of venice. nearby, in an artisan's workshop, visitors are welcome to observe as he provides for the city's 400 gondoliers. working with traditional tools, graceful oars are carefully planed to be true and properly balanced. and each walnut forcola, the stylized oarlock, is like a sculpture -- handcrafted, one-of-a-kind, and honoring the city's heritage. a gondola ride is a traditional must for romantics.
gondolas are moored everywhere. wait till early evening, when the crowds are gone and the light is right. find a gondolier whose personality you enjoy, settle on a price, and hop in. man: [ speaking italian ] steves: on a gondola, you glide through your own private venice, far from the hubbub of modern tourism. lonely bridges, canals without sidewalks, and reflections of once-upon-a-time grandeur.
aleppo in syria. people there are desperate for help. a human rights group says renewed violence has left more than 200 dead. a u.s./russia brokered cease-fire collapsed last week when an aid convoy was bombed and the fighting resumed between government and opposition forces. houses in the city have been destroyed and many residents are believed to be trapped under debris. one resident spoke to nhk by