tv PBS News Hour Weekend PBS September 3, 2017 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by wnet >> thompson: on this edition for sunday, september 3: north korea conducts its most powerful nuclear weapons test yet, and claims it was a hydrogen bomb. cleaning up from hurricane harvey in houston. and restoring rome's ancient monuments with private funds. next on pbs newshour weekend. >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: bernard and irene schwartz. the cheryl and philip milstein family. dr. p. roy vagelos and diana t. sue and edgar wachenheim, iii. dr. p. roy vagelos and diana t. vagelos. the j.b.p. foundation. the anderson family fund. rosalind p. walter, in memory of abby m. o'neill.
barbara hope zuckerberg. corporate funding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we're 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. ank you. from the tisch wnet studios at lincoln center in new york, megan thompson. >> thompson: good evening and thanks for joining us. president trump met with his national security team this afternoon, saying the united states is weighing, in addition to military options, stopping all trade with any country that does business with north korea. this after north korea announced it had detonated a hydrogen bomb in its sixth and most powerful nuclear test yet, and its first since september of last year. asked by reporters today whether he might order an attack on north korea, mister trump replied: "we'll see." north korea called the nuclear
test "a perfect success," and the underground explosion did register many times more powerful than its last one. just hours before the nuclear test, north korean state-run media released photos of dictator kim jong un inspecting what it said was a small hydrogen bomb that could be used as a warhead on a long-range intercontinental ballistic missile. north korea said the weapon tested today was an advanced hydrogen bomb designed for such a missile. there has been no independent confirmation of that, but an unnamed u.s. intelligence official told ruters, he had no reason to doubt it. scientists say the significance of a hydrogen bomb is that it makes for a lighter warhead with more explosive yield relative to size and weight. president trump and other world leaders denounced this latest test, mister trump saying on twitter: north korea's "words and actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the united states"" he said, "north korea is a rogue nation which has become a great threat and embarrassment to china, which is trying to help
but with little success." china, north korea's main ally" strongly condemned" the test, and urged the north to stop what it called its "wrong" actions. japan's prime minister shinzo abe said the test was" absolutely unacceptable" and agreed with president trump that the international community must step up its response. at the request of japan, south korea, the u.s., u.k., and france, the u.n. security council plans an emergency meeting tomorrow morning. this afternoon, u.s. defense secretary james mattis spoke for the administration, outside the white house. >> we have many military options and president wanting to briefed on each one of them. we made clear that we have the ability to defend ourselves and our allies, south korea and japan. from any attacks and commitments among allies are iron clad. any threat to the united states or its territories including g guam or our allies will be met
with massive military response, response both effective and overwhelming. >> thompson: to help us understand what this all means, we're joined from denver by christopher hill, the dean of the josef korbel school of international studies at the university of denver. among his many diplomatic posts, mister hill has served as ambassador to south korea and has headed the u.s. delegation at talks on the north korean nuclear issue. first start off describe the difference between a hydrogen bomb and other nuclear weapons that north korea has tested. how much more of a threat is this? >> well, it's just a much bigger bomb. it's something on the order of eight to ten times bigger than anything they have tested before and it's much bigger than the bombs that were dropped in nag sag key and hiroshima. it speaks to the fact they are deadly serious don't just want little symbolic deinterpret they have very serious program toward
a serious end, would need to be extremely concerned about it. >> thompson: talk about being concerned what kind of destruction could a bomb like this cause and how big is the threat to the united states? how could weapons like this reach? >> well, it's a function of course of the missile that it's used on. also a function of whether they can marry up a hydrogen bomb to a missile, so-called deliverable weapon that they have been talking about. they say they can do it. i don't think too many experts believe they had the experience yet it's very complex, you have to send a missile into near outer space, it has to come down with enormous heat and need to survive. then detonate. a lot of questions there. but no question that they are really moving ahead with this and they are taking aim at the united states. and i think it's not just to protect themselves against a supposed u.s. attack on north korea, rather it's an effort to
essentially hold us at risk in the event that we have to go to war to protect south korea. >> thompson: last week they launched a ballistic missile over japan, today we have this. do you think that this signals an escalation in the aggression by the north koreans, can you talk a little bit more about what their goal is with all of this? >> well, first of all, it does look like an acceleration and aggressiveness, it can can also be a testing program. a lot of these things are technical in nature, they are testing various delivery systems and weapon systems. but whatever it is, it's a very serious program. the serious program essentially not just sort of a one-off deterrence this notion if you attack us we'll launch a nuclear weapon at you. it's clear that they have in mind a capacity such that were they to be in a war with south koreand u.s. to say, okay, we're
at your side, our requirements in the alliance the north koreans would say we're not so fast, we i can hit your homeland and wipe out a with one of our hydrogen weapons. of course, the u.s. response, if you do that we'll wipe you out. north koreans go, game on. the issue is really, would the -- could the north koreans put a u.s. president fulfillment alliance requirements at the same time, creating a situation where u.s. population centers are at risk. that is an extremely serious matter right now. >> thompson: secretary mattis warn the of a massive military response, what should the u.s. be doing? >> well, i think the u.s. needs to be doing sort of all the things it's already doing. ratcheting up sanctions, et cetera. but i think it's very important that the u.s. has a sort of action plan to see what could be done to retard the north korean program. it need to be done really
together with china. issue with china not so much the issue of sanctions, although obvious china needs to do more to uphold the sanctions regime as they have been doing lately. the issue is really to have an understanding with the chinese about what our expectations are for them and what their expectations are for us. kind of deep dive. i think it's important to understand that we can't just give that through tweets in the night or occasional phone call we have to have a in-depth discussion with the chinese about exp >> thompson: though many residents of texas and louisiana have returned to homes they evacuated due to hurricane harvey, 37,000 people remain in shelters in texas, and 2,000 in louisiana. more than 50 people have died or are feared dead due to harvey, according to "the houston chronicle."
the federal emergency management agency, fema, says it's received 507,000 registrations for disaster aid, and has approved about a third of them at a cost of $114 million dollars. at the vatican today, pope francis offered his prayers for those afflicted by severe flooding in the u.s., as well as in india, nepal, and bangladesh. today, president trump and the first lady attended services at saint john's episcopal church, near the white house, as part of a national day of prayer for harvey victims. the trumps saw the storm damage in person yesterday, during visits to lake charles, louisiana, and to houston. tat's where we find newshour weekend special correspondent marcia biggs, with this report on recovery efforts there. >> reporter: this is what it looks like inside the kitchen of matt and marianna kremer's home in west houston. floodwaters are up to the counters. that's part of their sofa, which floated in from the living room. just last night, for the first time since harvey hit, houston officials ordered a mandatory evacuation for their neighborhood, where floodwaters
have yet to recede. today, matt tried to get back to check on their home, but police turned him away. even though marianna is eight months pregnant, the kremers initially decided to stay put and ride out the storm. but their living room slowly turned from this, to this. >> you've got to hold mommy's hand. >> reporter: six days ago, they decided to flee. mariana filmed the family boarding a good samaritan's boat that rescued them, along with their three-year-old son, george, a dog and two cats. not knowing where they would go, she posted the video to facebook. >> so sad to leave our home behind but grateful for this brave man to picked us up. now what, question mark? we don't know. >> reporter: and you still feel that way? >> and i still feel that way. >> reporter: mariana says her streets were clear until the city released water from two reservoirs, an effort to keep antiquated dams from buckling. >> that's the part i just can't
get over, why weren't we warned? >> reporter: are you angry with the city of houston? >> i just don't understand why the communication wasn't better. they should have known that the neighborhoods behind the bayou were going to be severely affected. yet, nobody said anything to us. why? that's not okay and i want answers. i feel like the sacrificial lamb. >> reporter: residents of a nearby, flood-ridden neighborhood that is also under an evacuation order took time this weekend to protest being barred from starting to repair their homes. >> i think a lot of us are frustrated because we want to get back to our homes, we want to start fixing stuff. >> we have a lot of these folks can't even get into their homes yet to start taking up the carpet and sheet rock and just at least stop the deterioration. >> reporter: the kremers are now in limbo, living with marianna's parents in the town of katy, a- half hour from a home they can't reach or inhabit, about to have a second child.
>> we are one of the lucky ones, but we can't live with my family forever. unless you have insurance, which 80% of the people affected do not. there's no answers for the rest of us. >> reporter: with no flood insurance, they've applied to fema for aid, but their case is still pending. all they can do is wait. >> thompson: houston is an industrial city, central to the nation's oil and gas industry, and home to one of the busiest ports in the country. it's also home to more than a dozen of the 41 superfund sites in texas. those are areas contaminated with toxic waste that the federal environmental protection agency is charged with cleaning up. this week, reporters from the associated press surveyed seven of houston's superfund sites to assess the damage from harvey. ap reporter michael biesecker joins us now to discuss this. i wanted to first ask you can you describe us to what these superfund sites are?
what are they contaminated with, are more they more dangerous than the chemical plants and refineries around houston? >> they're legacy pollution sites. most were created in the 1950s and '60s when environmental regulation were much weaker and often because industrial process water they are next to rivers, lakes. so, these are pcbs, heavy metal like lead and arsenic that have been in the soil in sediment at the sites for decades. the epa's job try to clean those up and find responsible parties, the companies who originally called the pollution see if they can pay for the clean up. when they can't taxpayers are on the hook we pay to clean up the sites as funds become available. >> thompson: can you tell us what did you guys find and what are the threats from the flooding? >> well, there are about a dozen superfund sites in the greater houston area, ap journalists were ail to make it to seven of those sites. would prioritize ones we knew in
100-year flood plains which are the areas most likely to flood. and we found all seven have been unin -- in undated by water. the risk posed depends a lot on what remediation has taken place through the years, soil and sediment been removed, have they been capped with a fiber that is weighted down to try to prevent flooding. both the epa and environmental watch dogs have been warning about these sites close to waterways for a long time. they are at risk of flooding. >> thompson: the epa is defensive about your reporting, today they put out a statement saying that the article is misleading, they say that they have conducted assessments hats 41 sites at 28 have not been damaged. 13 have been damaged. they say they worked to secure the sites before harvey hit. how do you respond? >> well, you know, epa can speak for itself, for their calling our reporting misleading, if you read their -- read carefully they confirm what our reporting
said which is, yes, there are 41 sites throughout texas. yes, epa has been able to inspect two sites in corpus christi. but in the houston area which suffered much more dire flooding, epa has not yet been on the ground at those sites. now they say from aerial photography that 13 sites appear to have flooded in texas including the ones around houston that we you are. but we asked why our reporters were able to make it to these sites and epa said it was still too dangerous for them to send crews out to assess the damage or to collect samples to monitor weather -- whether pollution has spread. they hope to get there next week. why we were able to make it there and why they weren't would have to ask them. the administrator of epa has been on on the record saying he thinks that projections of climate scientist, is that hurricanes will be stronger and wetter. are alarmistsist it's knots an issue at this point they seem to
be planning for 'dregsing. we asked whether hurricane harvey had altered administrator pruitt's perspective on the risk from climate change, response we got was from an epa spokeswoman who said that was an effort to politicize the tragedy. >> thompson: all right. michael biesecker, associated press, thank you so much for being with us. >> good fob with you. >> thompson: to read the full report from the associated press, visit our website at pbs.org/newshour. >> thompson: the 2,000-year-old colosseum, in rome, is visited by nearly five million people every year. but maintaining the site, and italy's many other ancient treasures, is a large financial burden for the italian government. now, it's relying on donations from private businesses to keep its cultural legacy in tact for tourists. newshour weekend special correspondent christopher livesay has the story, from rome. >> reporter: more than 2,500 years after its founding, rome
is a bustling world capital with its history proudly on display. ancient romans believed they'd built an eternal city. some structures are magnificently preserved. for others, the centuries have taken their toll. this is what the colosseum, built in 70 a.d., looked like just a few years ago. discolored by pollution with loose stones at risk of falling. this is what it looks like today. the exterior gleaming after two years of patching cracks and cleaning the soot and dust. before and after. what makes this restoration in this part of the world so unusual is private money paid to preserve a public treasure. the first phase of a 25-million- euro, or $30 million, donation by an italian fashion company, tod's. the government approved and oversaw the work. barbara nazzaro is the colosseum's technical director. how important is a restoration like this? imagine if tod's hadn't donated 25 million euros?
what would be at stake? >> we usually do preservation and maintenance works. but, you know, all this money it's a great help. because we have it at the same moment, and we can do the external part at one time. otherwise, we would do it piece by piece, and it would take a lot of time. this is a historic image of the monument. >> reporter: preserving the colosseum meant leaving certain archeological aspects in tact, like these holes. many once had lead in them to help fasten the stones and decorate the arena, but during the middle ages, scavengers stripped the metal out to melt down and reuse. the pockmarked surface is now considered a key historic feature. restorers have cleaned over 32,000 square feet of stone. that was just on the outside. now they have to start the same process on the inside. so are these bricks ancient roman? >> of course. >> reporter: it's the next phase of the colosseum project,
repairing passageways wild animals and gladiators took to the floor of the colosseum, where they fought to their deaths. that's expected to take another year-and-a-half. all of this paid for by tod's. why did this fashion mogul have to intervene to restore the colosseum? why wasn't the state already giving it the care that it needed? >> the state was giving it care, but not 25 million euros. >> reporter: daniel berger, a former manager at new york's metropolitan museum of art, is an advisor to italy's culture ministry. tourists do pay about $14 to visit the inside of the colosseum and fees to other sites. but it's not enough, says berger, to cover the cost of italy's rare problem: too many relics and ruins. >> it certainly is probably the world's most numerous concentration of works of art of paintings, of sculptures, of buildings, of churches, of archeological remains. all of these things are concentrated in this country,
which is blessed to have all this, but cursed, because it's something that it cannot maintain by itself. >> reporter: the italian government has pledged to spend a record billion euros, about $1.2 billion on new restoration projects, including for the ancient city of pompeii and the uffizi gallery in florence. but that's a fraction of what's art, artifacts, and archeological monuments all over the country. and berger says, unlike the united states, italy doesn't have a great tradition of philanthropists willing to fill the gaps. >> i think in the united states people have this idea that we are lucky. we emigrated to a country that made us relatively comfortable, and we have to give something back. the europeans in general don't have that feeling. they've always felt that the state, whether it was the king, the princes or the government, is responsible for maintenance of something which is public and that is the culture.
>> reporter: berger says that attitude is changing as italy follows america's example, spurring altruism with tax breaks for companies that donate to cultural institutions. rome's spanish steps, built in the 18th century, were just cleaned and restored with money from the jewelry and luxury goods store bulgari. fashion house fendi has donated $3 million to restore the famous and now spotless trevi fountain and other fountains in rome. the government credits tod's president, diego della valle, for kicking off this movement. but paolo pastorello says the private money is not always being used in the right way. he's president of restauratori senza frontiere, or restorers without borders, a nonprofit which promotes the preservation of artistic heritage. he says the colosseum restoration needed more time and money. >> was it a perfect work? no. in my in opinion the colosseum work was not perfect and not even finished. everything was not completely
cleaned, and sometimes some was too much cleaned. these are carbonaceous deposits that should have been removed. >> reporter: pastorello has complained to italy's prime minister about the quality of the work, but the italian government has said it's satisfied and has only praise for the companies that sponsored the renovations at the colosseum, the trevi fountain, and spanish steps. though consultant daniel berger points out, private funds are no magic bullet. >> it's a bottomless pit. these monuments need constant restoration and care. when you get finished with something like the colosseum, you practically have to start all over again. because some plants are sprouting up again. >> reporter: we noticed a few weeds were already growing back at the colosseum. when can we say that all of the work on the colosseum is done? >> never. every day we have new work. >> reporter: rome's cultural heritage comes with an eternal maintenance bill.
>> this is pbs newshour weekend, sunday. >> thompson: the nine-square mile blaze that's threatening homes just north of downtown los angeles is now the city's biggest wildfire ever. residents of more than 700 homes in l.a., burbank, and glendale have been ordered to evacuate. the fire, which erupted friday, has destroyed three homes. officials said today the fire is 10% contained. up the coast, san francisco is dealing with scorching heat, recording back-to-back days of 100-degree temperatures yesterday and friday, for only the third time since the 1870's. overseas, indonesia, the world's most populous muslim nation, urged myanmar today to stop its military crackdown against minority muslims there known as rohingya. myanmar officials say 400 people have been killed in recent clashes between soldiers and rohingya insurgents, who claim myanmar's 1.1 million muslims
are persecuted. the government considers the insurgents a terrorist group. the united nations says about 73,000 rohingya refugees have crossed the border into bangladesh in the past 10 days. in saudi arabia, the governor of mecca declared the annual five- day islamic hajj pilgrimage over. an estimated 2.3 million muslims from around the world made it to the holy city this year to pray and perform religious rites. all muslims who are able to are supposed to make the pilgrimage to mecca at least once in their lifetimes. american astronaut peggy whitson has returned to earth, after setting a record for space endurance. the 57-year-old whitson parachute-landed in kazakhstan today, along with two crewmates in the russian-made soyuz spacecraft. whitson spent 288 days, or nine months, in orbit and on the international space station. her lifetime total of 665 days in space is more time off the planet than any other u.s. astronaut in history, male or female.
finally tonight, walter becker the lead guitarist, bassists and cofounder of steely dan, he formed with donald fagan in 1972 the many hits included ruining the years, deacon blues. he was 67. and pulitzer prize winner john ashbury died he one the pew liters is in 1975 for his collection delve portrait. ashbury of 90. that's all for this edition of pbc "newshour weekend," i'm megan thompson. have a good 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. the cheryl and philip milstein family. sue and edgar wachenheim, iii. dr. p. roy vagelos and diana t. vagelos. the j.p.b. foundation. the anderson family fund. rosalind p. walter, in memory of abby m. o'neill. barbara hope zuckerberg. corporate funding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we're 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.
the live audience doesn't intimidate you, right? not a bit. no? okay. you came from very modest circumstances-- modest is not the word. very few people in the world are known by one name. they started me with a campaign called, "what is an oprah?" you're a big share-holder in weight watchers. that is a sign, when weight watchers says: "let us help you." [audience laughs] have you ever thought you could actually run for president? i thought, "oh, gee, i don't have the experience, i don't know enough, i don't know--" and now i'm thinking, "oh." [audience laughs] woman: would you fix your tie, please? oh, people wouldn't recognize me if my tie was fixed, but, okay. just leave it this way. all right. [♪] [rubenstein speaking on-screen text]