tv PBS News Hour Weekend PBS October 11, 2015 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by wnet >> sreenivasan: on this edition for sunday october 11: turkey mourns the victims of terrorist bombings that killed almost a hundred people. in our signature segment, will upcoming national elections move myanmar, toward greater democracy? >> we will try to build a government that reflects the will of the people and respects the people! >> sreenivasan: and, houston's low-cost plan to increase bus ridership. next on pbs newshour weekend. >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: lewis b. and louise hirschfeld cullman. bernard and irene schwartz. judy and josh weston. the cheryl and philip milstein family.
sue and edgar wachenheim, iii. corporate funding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we are your retirement company. additional support has been provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting, and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. from the tisch wnet studios at lincoln center in new york, hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: good evening and thanks for joining us. thousands of people gathered in the turkish capital of ankara today to condemn the worst terrorist attack in that nation's recent history. families and friends of some victims gathered today to mourn. at least 95 people died when two bombs exploded at a rally by ethnic kurds protesting the escalating violence between turkish security forces and kurdish separatists. today families also waited for news about the 160 people still being treated in hospitals. no one has claimed responsibility for the attack
near ankara's main rail station, but turkish officials are pointing to the islamic state, or isis. some demonstrators blamed lax security by the government of turkish president recep tayyip erdogan, which is waging a military campaign against kurdish fighters in the southeast part of the country. yesterday's bombings came as turkey is also partnering with the u.s. campaign against isis militants in neighboring syria and iraq. turkish president erdogan said today national parliamentary elections in three weeks will not be postponed. joining me now via skype from istanbul, turkey, to discuss the impact of the bombings is "wall street journal" reporter emre peker. z you lived there for several years, you've been working for the journal for a few years there, how bad are these tensions now. >> hari, thanks for having me on the show. it's pretty bad. this is kind of unprecedented and unchartered territory that we're in. we're in the lead up to snap elections. we had elections in june that
could about turkey's first hung parliament since 2002 and violence has been escalating ever since then. both domestic threats with kurdish insurgents and foreign strets stemming from islamic state and the instability in iraq and syria, have been sort of bedeviling turkey. and that just in the midst of all of this, when some 14,000 people were gathering for a peace march, that, you know, been hit by the deadliest terrorist attack in the nation's modern history, is quite devastating. >> sreenivasan: what is thesentt when you go to get groceries yesterday, or-- what are people feeling like in the wake of this attack especially since some of that explosion was televised. >> it kind of depends on where you are going and who you are talking with. the country has been going through a very polarizing period recently. and that's been sort of playing out in the aftermath of yesterday's bombing
attack as well. some people you talk with adamantly blame the government and the president's political ambitions for the blast, accusing the government of warmongering for political gains. whereas supporters of the government and the president blame kurdish militants, prokurdish political party, that they say is supporting terrorism and say that foreign forces and leftist militants and so forth are trying to destage lyze the country to undermine a decade of progress that turkey has lived through under mostly the president's rule. >> sreenivasan: has thisstrengts resolve to try and justify the bombing campaigns against the pkk or softened it any. >> we haven't heard much on that. the pkk yesterday declared a
unilateral ceasefire saying that they wanted to safeguard free and fair elections. there has been increased security measures taken in the majority kurdish southeast which i guess both the pkk and the prokurdish hdd were afraid would hamper military's access to the ballots. so in order to-- some of the security measures the pkk declared a unilateral ceasefire but on the same day pkk rose balm being killed, the police officer and military has responded to these operations by launching wide spread raids and also air strikes against pkk camps in northern iraq on sunday claiming to have killed dozens of pkk militants. >> sreenivasan: emre peker joino much. >> thank you. >> the united states is calling
>> sreenivasan: the united states is calling for restraint as violence between israeli soldiers and palestinian protesters continues to escalate. today, israeli troops fired tear gas at rock-throwing palestinians in cities in the west bank. israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu blamed the palestinian authority for inciting the unrest, following a series of palestinian stabbings of israeli citizens. israel struck what it called weapons sites belonging to hamas inside gaza today, retaliating for a rockets fired from gaza into israel yesterday. a gaza official said the airstrike killed a pregnant woman and her two-year-old daughter. in washington, a former staff member for the republican-led house of representatives committee investigating the 2012 attack on the u.s. consulate in benghazi, libya, is claiming the investigation improperly targeted democratic secretary of state hillary clinton. air force reserve major bradley podliska, a self-described conservative republican, told cnn today he was fired in june for trying to conduct a non- partisan investigation. >> hillary clinton has a lot of explaining to do.
we, however, do not need to shift resources to hyper-focus on hillary clinton. we didn't need to de-emphasize and in some cases drop the investigation on different agencies, different organizations, and different individuals. >> sreenivasan: in response, benghazi committee chairman trey gowdy says he never instructed podliska to focus on mrs. clinton, and the committee is not doing so. podliska's accusation follows house majority leader kevin mccarthy's statement that the benghazi probe has hurt secretary clinton's approval ratings. >> sreenivasan: after decades of military dictatorship, the southeast asian nation of myanmar, also known as burma, is gradually shifting toward democracy. the nation of 56 million people held free elections three years ago for a limited number of seats in its 664-seat parliament. on november 8, there will be a nationwide election for all the seats in parliament not reserved for the military, which retains
a strong grip on power. now, the country's most well- known politician is leading the charge for change. in tonight's signature segment, correspondent kira kay and producer jason maloney, from the bureau for international reporting, tell us what is at stake. >> reporter: in a small town in central myanmar, also known as burma, aung san suu kyi, the world famous democracy activist and nobel peace prize winner, is running for re-election. she's trying to hold the seat in parliament she first won in 2012, after the country's military regime finally ended her 15 years of house arrest. now 70 years old and known as mother suu to her supporters, she leads myanmar's main opposition party, the national league for democracy. >> ( translated ): we will try to build a government that reflects the will of the people and respects the people! >> reporter: but aung san suu kyi is banned from ever serving as myanmar's president.
in the 2008 constitution, the military regime excluded anyone with foreign family members from holding the highest office. her late husband was british; so are her two sons. right now, the national league for democracy holds less than 7% of the seats in parliament. but if her party does well enough in november, she may have leverage to negotiate an end to the ban. >> ( translated ): only if we win this election can we follow the true democratic path of mother suu. only then will our country develop. that is why this election is important! >> ( translated ): the people will have equal rights. that is not the case right now! >> reporter: and that was not the case 25 years ago, when myanamar's military refused to recognize the results the first time the n.l.d. won a national election. >> ( translated ): in 1990, you voted for our national league for democracy. but the government didn't give power to the n.l.d. instead, they tried to break us apart and oppressed us.
this is a second chance for people to pick a government that they want. >> reporter: after the military rejected the 1990 election, the country plunged into repression and isolation. american companies stopped doing business there. western allies also cut off trade and investment. myanmar became uncomfortably dependent on china. then the devastation of a massive cyclone in 2008 convinced reformers in the government they needed to open to the rest of the world. by 2012, the generals who ruled the country surprised many by releasing aung san suu kyi and hundreds of other political prisoners, allowing limited demonstrations, and easing censorship. >> if you look at the trajectory, it is remarkable, because no one expected this country to change in the ways it has that quickly. >> reporter: derek mitchell has had a front row seat to this transition. in 2012, he became the first u.s. ambassador since the 1990 clampdown.
>> you have civil society talking to parliament about legislation, conversations occurring. you have political parties like the n.l.d. legal and campaigning. you have labor unions forming. and altogether there's much more free media than there was, three to four years ago. >> reporter: mitchell say u.s. policy has shifted from condemnation to collaboration, with the dropping of most sanctions. president obama has visited myanmar twice in the past three years. >> i do not believe we've moved too quickly at all, and i think we've made the right decision, and i think a lot of what has occurred has been with the encouragement and the leverage of united states diplomacy. >> reporter: u.s. investment remains limited. but myanmar's asian neighbors are investing much more, making overall foreign investment 25 times what it was five years ago. a.t.m.s are a new and welcome sight. the telecom sector is booming, as this once hermit nation goes from an absence of cell phones
and the internet to an almost overnight infatuation with smart phones. young people are returning home to join the information revolution. these entrepreneurs at the i.t. hub phandeeyar attended college in the u.s. and singapore. >> instead of returning back to the u.s. i just continued to stay here and actually applied for a job. there's so much more here, and i wanted to be a part of it. >> this country needs a lot more innovation, and there are a lot of gaps you have to fill. a lot of things missing that we don't have here. i kind of feel responsible to do it. >> reporter: the easing of government press censorship brought editor aung zaw and his reporters back to their homeland. he founded his news magazine while in exile. >> we've been seen as an enemy of the state. we were blacklisted here in this country. but things started changing in this country. last three years, we've been back here, set up an office, here i'm sitting here with my colleagues.
>> reporter: still, aung zaw keeps his headquarters in neighboring thailand, skeptical the changes of recent years are permanent. >> i think there are some leadership who took a risk to open up without knowing the consequences. once you open up, it's difficult to close it down because of it is people's desire. at the same time the former regime leaders, particularly the military, it is very naiïve to assume they will give in very easily. >> reporter: in myanmar's parliament, aung san suu kyi walks the halls as a celebrity, with her own paparazzi in tow. but the real power here is on display when buses disgorge dozens of military officers in uniform. 25% of the seats in parliament are reserved for them, and, since the constitution says all changes need a 75% majority, these men in green hold an effective veto over anything they don't like, including amending the constitution to
allow aung san suu kyi to run for president. since being elected to parliament, she has courted the military in the hope of changing the constitution, but failed. >> i think aung san suu kyi was the key who helped to open the door for them. who asked the west to lift the sanctions, to lift the pressure. and what she got in return? nothing! >> reporter: one of aung san suu kyi's proteges in parliament is fellow party member zayar thaw. >> we try our best, but it doesn't reach our goal yet. yes, we admit it. >> reporter: the newshour met him before he was first elected in 2012. a long-shot candidate, he was part of the national league for democracy sweep of the 43 seats contested that year. he hopes in november his party will build on that momentum to force greater change. >> our country is not in the democratic system, not yet. it's more like a transition period. so this year election, people can show we want to stop
military ruling the country. they can show it with the voting. >> reporter: besides the limits imposed by the constitution, there are other setbacks to democracy here. the country's main university, onermhuttered after students rose up against military rule, reopened. but when students recently protested for more of a say over their own education, the government's response was reminiscent of past brutality. >> ( translated ): only with a better education system can our country develop. as a student, i felt responsibility. that's why i joined the protest. >> reporter: 22-year-old ei pone and 21-year-old kyaw zin thant were with a group of protestors confronted by police this spring. >> ( translated ): they dragged us to the trucks to go to the prison. they started beating us while we were walking. they kicked us when we fell down. >> reporter: around 50 students remain jailed, charged with public unrest and bringing shame to their country.
>> ( translated ): we are now supposed to be free to participate in political activities, but students got beaten violently, losing our human rights. the international community should keep a close eye on this government. >> we're not satisfied that there have continued to be arrests based on protests that should be legal whether they got permission or not. there's no place in a democracy for that kind of activity. >> reporter: another worrying trend here is the rise of religious nationalism-- for the past few years, a divisive and sometimes violent strain on society-- and now a political force as well. a handful of prominent monks are taking advantage of freer speech to spread anti-muslim propaganda. they are finding a receptive audience in this 90% buddhist nation. their fiery sermons inspired boycotts of muslim-owned businesses and fueled sectarian violence, like the 2013 attacks in the central city of meiktila,
were 43 muslims and one buddhist monk were killed and entire neighborhoods razed. now, the monks have created "ma ba tha"-- "the association for the protection of race and religion." ma ba tha spokesman parmaukkha says the 9% muslim minority puts the country at risk. >> ( translated ): indonesia, malaysia, afghanistan all were once buddhist countries. now they are all islamic countries. i don't want that to happen here. >> reporter: ma ba tha triumphed this summer when myanmar's parliament passed laws drafted by the monks limiting interfaith marriage and religious conversions. now, some ma ba tha are criticizing aung san suu kyi and her party, because the n.l.d. opposed the race and religion laws. >> ( translated ): we have to encourage people to vote for candidates who will ensure our race, our religion, our country will not disappear. >> it's dangerous and particularly as elections come, the kinds of division and the
fear that is stirred up. >> reporter: to ensure november's voting is as fair and transparent as possible, election monitors are being trained around the country- sessions sometimes paid for by the u.s. 93 parties are running, fielding 6,000 candidates. the current majority party, made up of former military members, is campaigning hard, taking nothing for granted. aung san suu kyi's party needs to win two-thirds of the contested parliament seats to achieve a governing majority. how the military accepts the election results, or does not, will be a major test of whether myanmar's transition to democracy is for real. >> sreenivasan: see more of our reporting from myanmar, including a look at the growth of the internet and smartphone use. visit us online: pbs.org/newshour.
>> sreenivasan: in the past few months, houston has transformed its public bus system to make it more user-friendly and attract more riders. every route changed, in an attempt to improve service. in this installment of "urban ideas," special correspondent karla murthy tried out the new system, and brings us this report. >> reporter: janis scott starts almost every morning on this corner at the bus stop near her home on the east side of houston. even though she knows how to drive, she prefers the bus. she rides the bus so often, she's known as the bus lady. >> i tell people if you can't remember my name, say "hey, miss bus lady!" i said i'll turn around, i'll answer! >> reporter: two months ago, the bus routes janis had taken for the last 30 years changed overnight. houston's transit authority,
known as metro, revamped the entire bus system to make the routes simpler and faster with better connections, at almost no extra cost. >> good morning! hi, how you doing? >> reporter: our first bus arrives, the number 30. in the past, buses ran infrequently, and many didn't run after 5:00 p.m. or on weekends. >> so, essentially we've had a long-term decline in bus ridership. >> reporter: christof spieler is one of the architects behind the new system. he's an urban planner and sits on metro's board. >> so we just asked a question, what would this bus system look like if we started over from scratch. >> reporter: the old bus routes ran on a radial system, a hub and spokes, with the high frequency routes going through downtown. but as houston grew into the fourth largest city in america, with over two million people spread out all over the city, spieler says, that old system no longer worked. >> the radial system was based on a time when everybody worked in the same place and not a system that really made it easy to move around the city. >> reporter: now those bus
routes run on a grid, creating more logical transfers, and run more frequently, all over the city. janis is retired. she spends her days going to museums and lectures. >> i'm a volunteer. >> reporter: today, she's is on her way to a public meeting on transportation on the city's west side. she's chosen a route that will take us on three different buses. she says it's not the most direct way, but will show us how the new routes connect. >> reporter: here's one of those transfer points. we cross the street to catch our second bus. before, this bus would come every half hour. now, it's every 15 minutes. >> reporter: oh, look. there it is. >> there it is. >> reporter: that was fast. designing the new system took about two years, and janis served on one of the planning committees. >> if you're not at the table, you may end up on the menu. and i didn't want that to happen to me, because at one time, metro was considering cutting service. >> reporter: she says for a lot of people the bus isn't a choice. it's the only option. >> they need to get to grocery
stores; there's a lot of food deserts in this town. a lot of people don't have access to health care in their immediate area. oh here it is right here. >> reporter: we pull up to the eastwood transit center for the last leg of our trip. to catch the 25 bus-- before this bus didn't come here- which is a major hub for people on the east side. >> we had those connections, but we were never waiting more than a couple minutes. it was like bam, bam, bam. that was great. >> reporter: janis and i arrive at our final destination. looks like someone's not happy with the metro. on the bus sign, we found a note someone left for metro. it says, "this is crazy." >> with a change this big, you're never going to make everybody happy, that's the unfortunate reality of it. but we're definitely hearing that my bus comes more often, i don't have to look at the schedule anymore. >> reporter: can you call it a success yet? >> no, i mean i think we really need a year, two years to really see how it changes. >> reporter: houston metro is aiming to boost its ridership by 20% over the next two years.
>> this is pbs newshour weekend, sunday. >> sreenivasan: iran has test- fired a long-range ballistic missile. on state run television today, iran broadcast the apparently successful launch of the missile named "emad," the farsi word fo" pillar." the emad's range is more than 1,000 miles, according to the center for strategic and international studies, in washington. iran's defense minister said of the missile test, "there is no intention of aggression or threats in this action." an iranian court has reached a verdict in the espionage case against u.s. journalist jason rezaian. but it's not clear when the decision will be announced. iran arrested rezaian, tehran bureau chief for the washington post, 15 months ago for allegedly collecting and disseminating confidential information, rezaian holds dual u.s. and iranian citizenship. his last closed-door court hearing was two months ago. washington post executive editor martin baron said today, "the only thing that has ever been clear about this case is jason's innocence." two independent reviews find a
white cleveland police officer was legally justified in using lethal force when he shot and killed a 12-year-old black boy the reviews released last night say officer timothy loehmann did not use excessive force confronting tamir rice outside a recreation center last november. a retired f.b.i. agent and a colorado prosecutor say loehmann couldn't have known rice was not holding a real handgun, because a 911 call had described "a man waving a gun." prosecutors weighing criminal charges against loehmann commissioned the reviews. tomorrow on the newshour, contributing editor soledad o'brien begins a three-part series called "congo's hope," about an african nation emerging from years of war. >> what was your childhood like? one meal a day because you can not afford. but i'm actually glad all those things happened to me. >> really? why. >> because it teached me. that is what helped me to come back here and
help. >> sreenivasan: and finally thee nation will soon automatically register anyone who gets a drivers license to voalt, california governor siend the new motor voter law last night, 6.5 million eligible californiaans are not registered including half of the state's 18 to 24 year olds. california will become the second state after oregon to adopt automatic voter registration when the law takes affect in january. that's all for they dition of pbs newshour weekend. i'm har aye sreenivasan, thanks for watching. captioning sponsored by wnet captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
>> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: lewis b. and louise hirschfeld cullman. bernard and irene schwartz. judy and josh weston. the cheryl and philip milstein family. sue and edgar wachenheim, iii. corporate funding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we are your retirement company. additional support has been provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting, and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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