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tv   PBS News Hour Weekend  PBS  August 13, 2016 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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captioning sponsored by wnet >> brangham: on this edition for saturday, august 13: the race for the white house focused on the key state of pennsylvania; in our signature segment, as silicon valley booms, some have a solution to skyrocketing rent-- living in their vehicles. >> yes, i would love to have a home. however, this is my home. i'm not homeless. >> brangham: and the boys kidnapped by the terrorist group boko haram. next on pbs newshour weekend. >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: bernard and irene schwartz. judy and josh weston. the cheryl and philip milstein family. the john and helen glessner family trust. supporting trustworthy journalism that informs and
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inspires. sue and edgar wachenheim, iii. barbara hope zuckerberg. corporate funding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we are your retirement company. 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, william brangham. >> brangham: good evening, and thanks for joining us. donald trump says he must win the battleground state of pennsylvania to win the white house, but opinion polls show he has an uphill climb. trump is down by about ten percentage points to hillary clinton in the four most recent surveys of pennsylvania voters, yet he told supporters in altoona last night, he fears voter fraud could propel clinton to victory in the keystone state. >> she can't beat what's happening here. the only way they can beat it, in my opinion-- and i mean this 100%-- if in certain sections of
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the state, they cheat, okay? >> brangham: there's been no evidence of widespread in-person voter fraud in pennsylvania or any other state. hillary clinton returns to pennsylvania monday to campaign with vice president joe biden in his home town of scranton. hillary and bill clinton released their joint 2015 tax return yesterday, revealing the couple earned $10.6 million last year, mostly from speeches and book royalties, and paid an effective federal tax rate of 34%. the return is posted on her campaign web site, along with ten years of tax returns from her running mate, virginia senator tim kaine. these releases and a new clinton campaign online ad are again pressuring trump to release his tax returns. trump, who is a billionaire, is the first presidential candidate in 40 years not to release any tax returns. the national weather service has issued a flood watch for southwest louisiana-- including new orleans-- until tomorrow afternoon.
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the warning came after ten inches of rain fell along louisiana's gulf coast over the past 24 hours, and six more inches were forecast for today. at least two rivers in louisiana are expected to crest this weekend to record levels, and the flooding is blamed for at least two deaths. louisiana governor john bel edwards said today the national guard and others have rescued more than a thousand people and a hundred pets from homes and cars in what he called" historic" flooding. >> because these are record floods, we don't know how wide the water is going to get in those areas. this is unprecedented, so we don't have records that we can go back and see who all is going to be impacted. >> brangham: governor edwards has temporarily moved out of the executive mansion in baton rouge after the mansion's basement was flooded. in syria, the biggest defeat for isis in more than a year. rebel forces in northern syria, backed by u.s. air strikes, say they've seized control of the city of manbij, near the country's border with turkey. a spokesman for the syrian
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democratic forces says their fighters freed more than 2,000 civilians held by isis militants. more than 100,000 civilians were displaced in 73 days of fighting. the loss of manbij deprives isis of a key route for supplies and recruits from across syria's porous border with turkey. manbij residents celebrated the isis defeat in the streets. some men shaved their beards, and some women burned burqas that covered their faces-- both required by isis' strict religious rules. these college students are working to address issues of race within the muslim community. read more on our web site at www.pbs.org/newshour. >> brangham: the islamic terrorist group known as boko haram gained global infamy for kidnapping close to 300 schoolgirls in nigeria in 2014.
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but the group has also kidnapped more than 10,000 boys over the past three years, according to human rights watch. what happens to these boys-- including boko haram's efforts to convert them into soldiers-- is the subject of an article this week co-written by "wall street journal" reporter drew hinshaw, who joins me now. before we get into your reporting, help us understand what is boko haram doing and what do they want and how long have they been waging this insurgency in nigeria and elsewhere? >> since about 2009, boko haram has been waging a really cover-upped-earth violent campaign, create an islamist state in the northeast of nigeria, chase away soldiers and generally attack people who don't subscribe to their ultraviolent ideology. >> brangham: your reporting detailed how boko haram has been kidnapping thousands of neez boys. you spoke to about a dozen or so who escaped boko haram. what did they tell you about
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their experience? >> i think they're all shaken by tunderstandably. the the astonishing aspect of it, a lot of them at 12, 15 years old, were responsible for raising children who were even younger than them. in one case we talked to-- he was 10 years old at the time who helped raised infant, toddlers, essentially to be jihadists. so you have in these kind of encampments, children raising children to be terrorist. >> brangham: why is boko haram taking these kid? what do they want to use them for? >> one employ i spoke to, boko haram expect to be martyrs. many adults are expected to die in battle and achieve martyrdom and looking for a new generation to keep their project going after they die in battle. some some ways they are successful. obviously the ones we talked to are the ones who escaped, the ones who said we've had enough. but all of them, without exception, said if you go to
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those camps most are genuine believers and really converted. >> brangham: but boko haram is the one doing the conversion. these kid don't come to them as radicals. >> even if they're coming as radicals they have no idea what they're doing. they're victims as much as perpetrators. some of them are guilty of heinous things-- rape, murder, killing-- all kind of horrible things. and yet they're also victims. they're also kids plucked out of villages, forced to watch beheadings, with all kind of indoctrination, beaten, starved, and at some point, they convert. >> brangham: we have seen the use of child soldiers in the past. what is different about this? is it the scale of the problem here? >> you have here a situation where you can't go talk to boko haram. in the civil war in lipeeria and sierra leone, a researcher with human right watch told me she went into guinea and spoke to some of the people and said, "hey, look, if you don't knock this off, one day you could faes
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a war crimes trial." and it worked. a u.n. envoy can't gh into rural northeastern nigeria and sit down with the leader of boko haram saying what you do is wrong. >> brangham: all right drew hinshaw from the "wall street journal." thank you. >> thank you, too. >> brangham: faced with some of the most expensive housing in the nation, many residents of the san francisco bay area are simply priced out of the rental market. an hour south of san francisco, in silicon valley, the mecca for high-paying u.s. computer and technology jobs, some residents are turning to cars, vans and r.v.s as places to live and call home. in tonight's signature segment, special correspondent joanne jennings reports how this trend exposes an unintended consequence of an economic boom for both the middle class and the working poor. this story is part of our ongoing series, "chasing the
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dream," about poverty and opportunity in america. >> reporter: mountain view, california, is home to hundreds of technology firms, from nasa's supercomputing division to tech giant google, which alone employs 20,000 people here. the city's unemployment rate is 2.5%, half the national average, and the median household income tops $100,000 a year. but there are perils to this prosperity, says mountain view mayor pat showater. >> so many people have come here that the rents, because of supply and demand, have gone through the roof. >> reporter: the median rent for an apartment or house is $4,390 a month, a 54% jump since 2012. >> it doesn't matter whether you make $100,000 or not; you haven't planned for a 54% rent increase, and it's caused a lot of people to be displaced.
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>> reporter: a small but growing number of the city's 80,000 residents are now living in recreational vehicles, vans and cars, like these on this street next to a park. >> this is my home, and i'm happy here. >> reporter: 59-year-old scott whaley moved out of his mountain view apartment into a mini-van last november, when he lost his job as a property manager. >> i just moved into my van. i said, you know, until i can find a place. this is my bedroom back here. >> reporter: whaley now lives in this used 1997 r.v. he bought for $10,000, depleting his savings. >> yes, i would love to have a home. however, this is my home. i'm not homeless. >> reporter: a couple miles away, across from an office park, marcia christleib also makes her home in an r.v. and this is bigger than some of the studios you've looked at? >> it is. >> reporter: even though she
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earns $65,000 a year as an environmental consultant for nasa, christleib says it's not enough to support her and her husband, dennis, who's looking for work. >> the only apartment we've looked at so far that looks like it's in a safe neighborhood goes for almost $2,400 a month. that's a huge portion of a salary, and we're just going to have to give up other conveniences. i still can only afford the things i could afford when i was making minimum wage, because everything else goes to rent. >> reporter: the christleibs tried to park their r.v. at a proper campsite, but the only facility in mountain view that provided power and water hookups is now a construction site. closed last year after a developer bought the property to build million-dollar townhouses. this summer, the city of mountain view counted 126 vehicles being used as homes. >> it's very difficult to get good numbers because homeless
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individuals are often trying to remain hidden. >> reporter: tom myers is executive director of mountain view's community services agency. >> people living in vehicles to this type of degree and number is completely new and completely unheard of in this community. people living in their vehicles is something that we are really, as a community, ill-equipped to be able to handle. >> reporter: delmi ruiz is preparing dinner in the cramped r.v. she moved into with her husband and three kids last november. ruiz has worked as a housekeeper in mountain view for ten years. her husband cleans offices. she says the landlord of their last apartment raised their rent three times in the year before they moved out. >> ( translated ): the rent started increasing, and we were no longer able to pay for it. >> reporter: so, why do you stay in mountain view? >> ( translated ): because we've always lived in mountain view. before, it was possible to live here and pay for rent because it
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was cheap. but it's become impossible to live here. >> reporter: for other displaced residents who choose to stay in mountain view, even an r.v. is too expensive. dwayne golstein makes $30,000 a year as a pathology lab technician, but he lived in this rented mini-van for two months. it was retrofitted with a mattress and window curtains. he says it was cheaper and had more privacy than the boarding house where he'd lived before. >> $200 a week for a bunk bed in a room with five other bunk beds. >> reporter: he saved money, but it wasn't easy. >> i really had to sit down and be honest with myself and say, could i get up every day and take the necessary discipline to not eat after a certain hour? make sure i could charge my devices every evening; get up in time if i need to move the van because of parking tickets and so forth. do that on top of the everyday rigors of getting dressed and being presentable for my
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employment. >> reporter: to keep himself clean and presentable, for $35 a month, golstein joined a 24-hour gym with showers. >> it's usually cold in the evening times when i go to the gym or when i come in, so i keep my sweater. this is my laundry, which i'll take the laundromat once a week. >> reporter: for those living in vehicles who can't afford a gym membership, the non-profit dignity on wheels offers mobile shower and laundry services. for his part, golstein has moved back into a shared apartment. some mountain view residents living in vehicles can easily afford an apartment but choose to save money and rough it. brandon, who's 23 and declined to give his last name, earns $175,000 a year as a software engineer. we agreed not to name his employer. he sleeps in this windowless moving truck parked a few blocks from his office in mountain view. he says he has all the amenities he needs at work.
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>> so, there are gyms on the campus where i work. there are showers there, naturally. they have cafes where you can grab breakfast, lunch and dinner. so, i thought it didn't make a lot of sense for me to replicate that whole environment at home, especially when i wouldn't be taking advantage of it. >> reporter: brandon's been living in his truck for more than a year and writing a blog about his experience called" from inside the box." >> it's a substantial sum of money that i would have just been effectively burning on rent. there's no equity being built up on anything. >> reporter: the savings helped brandon pay off his $20,000 student loan debt. he's now maxing out contributions to his retirement plan. a lot of people are blaming the high cost of housing on the tech companies and on the tech workers. >> yeah, you have all these high-paid workers coming into the area. people or landlords know they can charge more for rent. it ends up becoming totally unsustainable and intractable for people who don't have the sort of resources that these tech workers have. i think they're perfectly
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justified in blaming us. >> reporter: as the largest employer in mountain view, google recognizes its high salaries have contributed to an inflated housing market. rebecca prozan is a public policy manager at the company's san francisco office. >> obviously, our footprint creates pressure. it creates pressure on housing and transportation. but that pressure isn't just tech. it's not just google. it's all the industries that are creating the economy of the bay area. we all have to work together to figure out what we're going to look like, and how we're going to live. >> reporter: prozan did not want to address published reports about a handful of its employees living in vehicles to save money. >> i think the issue is that we don't necessarily want to comment on our employees participating in those activities. >> reporter: but she said google is committed to addressing the problem of homelessness in the bay area. in mountain view alone, the company has pledged $1 million for a "rapid rehousing" program. >> this specific grant will work to help those who are on the fringes-- either about to lose
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their home or about to get into a home in the form of time- limited payments, motel rooms, things of that nature-- to really make sure that people are able to have a home and not live in a car. >> reporter: several california cities have prohibited people from living in vehicles parked on public streets, but, in 2014, a federal appeals court struck down a los angeles law that it said "opens the door to discriminatory enforcement against the homeless and the poor." that caused l.a. and other cities to rescind their bans. certainly, mountain view officials hear their share of complaints. >> i have mixed feelings. you know, i feel sorry for the people that are there, but we pay a ton of rent to live in our building, and there's, like, a lot of garbage. >> reporter: the sites i saw were mostly clean, and people
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living in vehicles say the police have been tolerant. mountain view mayor pat showater says her approach is to offer help, not punishment. >> the intent is to get everybody the shelter that they need. it just doesn't seem like impounding somebody's vehicle, charging them many, many dollars to get it back when they don't have much money to start with, it just seems like, how does that help? what's the value of that? >> brangham: judging by the proliferation of tv shows, miniseries and podcasts about our legal system, you'd think jury trials are the norm. but a new analysis of federal court cases indicates that the trend is actually moving in a different direction. a story in the "new york times" last sunday showed, in 1997, of the 63,000 federal defendants, 3,200 were convicted in jury trials. but by 2015, even as the number
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of federal defendants grew to 81,000, jury convictions dropped by half to just 1,650. reporter benjamin wiser wrote the story and joins me now from maine to help us understand what's going on. so, benjamin what is driving this decline? >> there appear to be a lot of reasons. people particularly pointed out to me the sentencing guidelines which congress passed a number of years ago, mandatory minimum sentences which set a floor for certain crimes under which someone cannot receive a sentence. and as a result, there was at least, for a period and remains, an spentive that drives many defendants to decide that it-- you know, after a risk-benefit analysis, that it makes much more sense to plead guilty and take their resks at perhaps getting a lower sentence than if they go to trial and are convicted. >> brangham: is there a down side to this? just offhand, i can imagine some pretty considerable savings to taxpayers if we don't have an endless amount of jury trials
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going on. what's the down side here? >> you know, the most patrol issue that people pointed out to me, including a number of judges, is that so much in the criminal justice system does not happen in public but the one thing that does is a trial. and when you see a criminal trial before a jury, everything is out there. the government's evidence is tested. the defense, of course, gets its best shot. the public gets to see what's happening. and this is particularly important. and i have seen this in recent political corruption trials, for example, where the government got to lay out the evidence it was bringing. without trials, with only pleas, plea bargains, much of that happens behind closed doors and several judges to me said it's very disappointing that as the number of trials disappear, the public nature of what happens in the courthouse also vanishes. >> brangham: is the concern that this just tips the balance in well, too much in favor of prosecutions because their evidence never really gets scrutinized in court? >> well, some people say that, and there's a debate. prosecutors bring cases, and they would argue that they bring
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only the strongest cases, the cases that they believe they can win at trial. defense lawyers often feel from an ethical perspective, it really makes sense for their defendant to plead guilty if they really think they're going to get convicted at trial. and to some extent, the number of pleas that are hammered out allow the system to keep moving forward. but it is a fact that there are fewer criminal jury trials, and this number has actually been going down over the last 20, hitter, 40 years. just happens that in the manhattan federal courthouse that i've been covering tseemed particularly pronounced in recent months, and i began asking about it at the time. >> brangham: one of the negatives of this, as you quote in youristic a lot of federal judge just feel their jobs are incredibly boring. but are there other up sides to this, not having so many trials? >> it certainly is true, for a defendant a plea to perhaps one charge that does not carry, in the case we wrote about, a mandatory minimum sentence, allows a defendant not to spend as much time in prison as he might have had he gone to trial
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and been convicted. summer, this was an upside there. and in the case we cited, the defense lawyer who i quoted said, you know, this defendant really had no choice. he had been charged with two counts. one had a mandatory minimum of 20 years. the other had no mandatory minimum. however, the defense lawyer felt that their case was triable, that elements of it were weak, and that there might have been a shot at least, you know, make something progress on in the courtroom, but that would be never tested. >> brangham: as you report in youristic these mandatory minimums have been loosened somewhat recently. so is there any sense that this trend is going to change at all? >> it is a fact thereat number of trials trials has diminished in the federal court in manhattan, and statewide, and the federal courts dating back to 1980 nationally are seethe same trend. i don't know how it'sing if to change or if it's going to change. it's a tough question. >> brangham: all right, benjamin weiser of thes "new
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york times," thank you very much for being here. >> thank you for having me. >> this is pbs newshour weekend, saturday. >> brangham: fidel castro turned 90 years old today, the man who ruled cuba from its 1959 communist revolution until he stepped down as president in 2008. newshour weekend's ivette feliciano has more on how castro and cubans celebrated the milestone. >> felicidades, fidel! >> reporter: with a fireworks display at midnight, thousands of cubans crowded havana's malecon to pay homage to the man who ruled over them for half a century. a new museum exhibit in havana features a set of 300 rarely seen images of castro, many taken by his son, alex. to honor castro's 90 years, cigar roller jose castelar rolled a 90-meter cigar, setting a "guinness book" world record for the longest cigar. castro was always known to enjoy the country's most famous export. born in 1926, castro led the overthrow of u.s.-backed cuban leader fulgencio batista in
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1959. castro established the first communist state in the western hemisphere and stayed the course even as the soviet union, which supported his regime with billions in aid, crumbled. castro handed power to his brother raul in 2008, and, in his last public appearance in april, castro called on the cuban communist party to stick to its founding principles. today, castro released a letter through state media, thanking cubans for their support, reminiscing about his youth and criticizing president obama for not apologizing during a may trip to japan for the u.s. atomic bombings that ended world war ii. castro's letter made no mention of the u.s. normalizing relations with cuba or lifting the trade embargo that castro criticized for decades. commercial flights between the u.s. and cuba resume later this month, the first such flights since castro was 34. one man's efforts to rid the ocean of plastics takes a bold first step. >> at first a lot of people told
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me it was not possible. but really the only way to find out is to actually try and go and to it. >> brangham: finally tonight, the annual perceied meteor shower is peaking this weekend over the northern hemisphere. because of the gravitational pull from jupiter, these bit of comic debris are closer to earth and more concentrated than usual, doubling the number of meteors that can be seen dashing across the sky. the shooting star effect is created in this case when particles of dust from the wake of a comet burn up as they enter earth's atmosphere at 130,000 miles an hour. lastly, the best-known actor you never saw has died. britain's kenny baker played r2 d2, in the six first star wars movie. the three foot eight baker said he took the role as a favor to director george lucus. he was 81 years old. that's all for this edition of "pbs newshour weekend." i'm william brangham, good
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night. captioning sponsored by wnet captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: bernard and irene schwartz. judy and josh weston. the cheryl and philip milstein family. the john and helen glessner family trust. supporting trustworthy journalism that informs and inspires. barbara hope zuckerberg. iii. rporate funding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we are your retirement company. and by the corporation for public broadcasting, and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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♪ norberg: banwari lal sharma is a happy man. he and his family are celebrating the marriage of his oldest daughter. but as a child, banwari often went to sleep hungry, and as a boy ran away from his home, desperate to find work in the city. mannem madhusudana rao was once labeled "untouchable," a member of india's lowest caste. growing up, his family labored in the fields and worked the most undesirable jobs steeped in disrespect. today madhusudana and his family live in comfort as one of india's newest millionaires. just a few years ago, rama bhai was considered a thief,

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