Skip to main content

tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  January 1, 2020 3:00pm-4:01pm PST

3:00 pm
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> schifrin: good evening and happy new year. i'm nick schifrin. judy woodruff is away. on the newshour tonight: backing down. a crisis ends, when demonstrators leave the u.s. embassy compound in iraq. then, nuclear north. kim jong-un announces a "new strategic weapon," and warns that north korea can withstand u.s. sanctions. and, new year, new laws. from electric cars to minimum wage increases, 2020 rings in new rules across the country. plus, warnings from antarctica. the dangers penguins face in a warming world. >> some species are going to be major climate change winners, and there are going to be others species that are no loer able to thrive on the antarctic peninsula.
3:01 pm
>> schifrin: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> consumer cellular.
3:02 pm
>> supporting social entrepreneurs and their solutions to the world's most pressing problems-- skollfoundation.org. >> the lemelson foundation. committed to improving lives through invention, in the u.s. and developing countries. on the web at lemelson.org. >> supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. commitd to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information at macfound.org >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> schifrin: iraqi militiamen, supported by iran, have
3:03 pm
withdrawn tonight from the u.s. embassy compound in baghdad. they pulled back after a second day of violent assaults on the u.s.' largest, and most expensive diplomatic complex. the siege was sparked by u.s. air strikes against militia sites over the weekend that killed more than two dozen fighters. we'll have a detailed report, after the news summary. in afghanistan, the taliban staged a series of attacks on security forces, killing at least 26. the attackers struck in kunduz, balkh and takhar provinces, all in afghanistan's north. last weekend, taliban officials said they agreed to a cease- fire, but gave no start date, and there's been no let-up in the violence. a pro-democracy movement in hong kong that began last spring, continues into the new year. hundreds of thousands joined an annual march today that, by nightfall, descended into violence. protesters vandalized banks and businesses with ties to mainland china, and threw fire bombs. police fired tear gas and arrested about 400 people.
3:04 pm
new year's day brought only slight relief to parts of australia ravaged by some of country's worst-ever wildfires. but, after flames cut off several coastal towns, the death toll rose to 17. john ray of independent television news has our report. >> reporter: in the small town of mallacoota, residents return to their homes to find nothing left to salvage. >> all of my possessions have been completely incinerated. there is simply nothing more, except ash. >> reporter: there is now a brief lull in the winds that whipped up this firestorm that sent thousands of residents fleeing for their lives, and holiday makers trapped on the coast to shelter at sea. firefighters have been reinforced by the military to bring emergency supplies to ravaged communities, and to help count the cost in a toll of
3:05 pm
death expected to rise. >> today is the day where it's safe to do so, that our police and emergency services can actually go through the properties that have been lost, and in some circumstances make some very horrible findings. >> reporter: many of those who died had stayed behind, in a doomed mission to protect homes and sinesses. for now, in the towns, the fires only smolder. but in the hills, they still rage. and the calmer weather that has allowed australia to take stock of this catastrophe may be only a brief reprieve. >> there is every potential the conditions on saturday will be as bad or worse than we saw yesterday. >> reporter: searing heat in a country left tender dry by years of drought. fire has tested australia to destruction. >> schifrin: that report from john ray of independent television news. severe flooding hit indonesia's capital, jakarta, overnight, after monsoon rains dumped 14 inches during new year's celebrations. at least nine people were killed, and thousands were forced from their homes. rescue workers evacuated women
3:06 pm
and children in inflatable boats, while others swam through floodwaters, past submerged homes and vehicles. at the vatican, in a new year's message, pope francis denounced violence against women. he likened it to profaning god, and called for a greater role for women in world decision- making. he also apologized for striking out at a woman in st. peter's square last night. francis was shaking hands when the woman grabbed him and yanked him toward her. he slapped her hand, and turned away, visibly angry. but today, he said he had made a mistake. >> ( translated ): love makes us patient. so many times we lose patience, even me, and i apologize for yesterday's bad example. >> schifrin: the woman involved in the incident has not been identified. back in this country, president trump is again talking about cracking down on underage vaping. he said last night that sales of some flavored e-cigarettes might be halted.
3:07 pm
the "wall street journal" reported the food and drug administration will ban all flavors except menthol and tobacco. the president promised a sweeping ban last september, but never followed through. and former national basketball association commissioner david stern has died. the league said he passed today about three weeks after suffering a ain hemorrhage. stern led the n.b.a. for 30 years, and oversaw its huge growth for basketball in the u.s. and worldwide. in 2014, he was inducted into the basketball hall of fame. david stern was 77 years old. still to come on the newshour: backing down-- the crisis ends at the u.s. embassy compound in iraq. the nuclear north-- what stark warnings from north korea mean for the future of talks with the u.s. new year, new laws-- changing rules for what you can and can't do in 2020. warnings from antarctica-- penguins face the perils of climate change. and much more.
3:08 pm
>> schifrin: in baghdad over the last day, there was a sense of crisis-- american diplomats trapped in the embassy. u.s. troops on the embassy roof, ready to fire into crowds. today, the siege is winding down, but the larger u.s. iran tensions remain high. after the most significant standoff outside a u.s. embassy in years, demonstrators in baghdad today stood down, and declared victory. >> ( translated ): after the achievement of the intended aim of this stance, we pulled out from this place triumphantly, and we soaked america's nose in dirt. ( chanting ) >> schifrin: for 24 hours, supporters of the iran-backed militia kataib hezbolah staged a sit-in, scaled the embassy walls, and broke the reception
3:09 pm
area's windows. ( chanting ) they demanded the u.s. close the embassy and withdraw its more- than-5,000 troops from iraq. they were responding to sunday's u.s. air strikes against members of the same militia. the u.s. blames the group for killing an american military contractor, and attacking u.s. bases in iraq 11 times in the last two months. on cbs monday, secretary of state mike pompeo blamed the iranian government. >> this is state-sponsored terror. this is iranian-backed terrorism that took place, that threatened american interests. >> schifrin: during the sit-in, u.s. troops fired tear gas and stun grenades to push back demonstrators. helicopters flew over the embassy and dropped flares. and, the u.s. reinforced the embassy, deploying marines from kuwait, and 750 additional soldiers from the u.s. the u.s. was concerned iraqi forces alone couldn't handle the situation. iraqi forces at first allowed demonstrators to stream toward
3:10 pm
the embassy, inside the normally restricted green zone. eventually, they tried to act as a buffer between demonstrators and american troops. today, they continue to act as security. but the end to the crisis in baghdad does not reduce larger u.s.-iran tensions. yesterday, president trump tweeted that iran "will pay a very big price! this is not a warning, it is a threat. happy new year!" today, iran supreme leader ayatollah ali khamenei denied iran played a role, and mocked president trump. >> ( translated ): that gentleman has again tweeted. they tweet, speak or write articles, and he has said "we see iran responsible for this situation in iraq, that iran is controlling this and we will respond to iran." first, you can't do a damn thing, this has nothing to do with iran. second, be logical! >> schifrin: outside the embassy, there are still a few hundred holdouts. and a few miles away, a separate demonstratn-- thousands of
3:11 pm
anti-corruption protestors fill baghdad's tahrir square. they have been in the streets since october, demanding less sectarianism and more economic opportunity for all iraqis. now, two people with first-hand experience with the parties involved in the embassy standoff. sarkawt shams is a member of the iraqi parliament representing the kurdistan region. he joins me from the city suleimaniya. and, douglas silliman was the u.s. ambassador to iraq until early last year. he is now the president of the arab gulf states institute, a washington think tank. the siege is over, but do you right now have criticism of both the iraqi forces that allowed some of these protesters, these demonstrators, these members of the militia to get so close to the embassy, and you have criticism of what started this, the u.s. airstrikes in iraq over the weekend. >> right, both countries to blame, both parties to blame for the starting of this crisis.
3:12 pm
first, the u.s. unit lateral action against the shiite militias of the west, some of them, and it was a mistake, it was a mistake by iraqi forces protecting the green zone, the international zone where the u.s. and many other embassies and the iraqi institutions like parliament are located there. >> schifrin: you were in the embassy until recently last year. sarkawt shams says did the iraqi forces do enough to keep the people away from the embassy, but also that the u.s. did not do enough to actually tell the iraqi government before these air strikes this weekend. >> first of l, in the short term, the iraqi security forces guarding the green zone and the diplomatic establishment obviously did not do enough to keep the protesters from attacking the embassy and it was
3:13 pm
only after the attack was underway and there was damage to the wall and the reception are that they called in the iraqi counterterrorism service which are the equivalent to have the u.s. special forces. this issue is broader and can be put in a cup of contest texts. the iraqi government mas hast not done enough to prevent the shiite militias, but that's too broad a concept, these irregular forces that are n part of the iraqi government have not been controlled by the government adequately to prevent the from conducting attacks against iraqi institutions or diplomatic institutions. so that's the first issue. the second issue is a larger context. there is still a context of consistently trying to poke the united states into action. you saw this in the gulf of oman months and months ago, the shooting down of the u.s. drone and, more recently, in october, the attacks on sdi arabian oil
3:14 pm
installations conducted by iran, looking for that pressure point that is going to get the united states to react or hopefully, in iran'syes, overreact to the iranian provocation and, up until this attack that killed an american, there was not a u.s. military response. >> schifrin: sarkawt shams, there has been a push by the same militia that we saw doing these attacks and this demonstration outside the embassy to evict the u.s. from iraq. will parliament now be more likely to take up the question of evicting the u.s. from iraq? >> i don't think so. it's going to happen in the parliament. it was not the parliament who invited the u.s. army to iraq, it was the then prime minister abadi and came at the request of the iraqi government, not parliament. the iraq military doesn't need the u.s. army, which i think they need them now. they can just ask them to leave, and they will leave eventually
3:15 pm
in a few days. we don't need a bill in the parliament to push the foreign forces, taking the issue, the isis to the rliament that we've seen these leaders, they don't want the u.s. forces to leave, they just want to show up and just make it a case for the people, by the people. that's not a real step toward removing u.s. forces in iraq, that's just a political show. >> schifrin: mr. shams, are you worried the military response will play into iran's hand? the iran has been goading the u.s. to attack and are you worried iraq has become the main theater for the proxy war between the u.s. and iraq? >> that's already happening and that's the fear of all iraqis, including the kurdish government, iraq to be thrown into a proxy war between the two nation. both nations are important to iraq, both have strategic lerelations with iraq and we cannot ignore and favor one over
3:16 pm
the other one. we want both countries to have their conflict resolved elsewhere, not in iraq. he already nose iraqi institutions are weak, the economic institutions and we have a prime minister who can not really execute his full constitutional power due to he resigned and we are awaiting a new prime minister. so we are in a very fragile and a very dangerous region, and we require support from the united states, and we know that it's really easy to start a war, but it is going to be almost impossible to win the peace. >> schifrin: the reality is -- i would reframe the entire question because it is not a war between the united states and iran on iraqi territory. the goals of the united states in iraq are internationally recognized. we have got a 17-country coalition to help iraq defeat i.s.i.s., finally, and to train
3:17 pm
and mentor the military. we have been working with the i'm f, the world bank, the united nations, the european union, n.a.t.o. and a number of other international organizes to build iraqi institutions so iraq can be an independent, sovereign state and exercise its own sovereignty possibly in the international community. it is iran that has been undermining the iranian -- the iraqi constitution, putting its proxy forces or supporters into positions in the iraqi government and not obeying the laws and the constitution of iraq, and so, this is not the united states versus iran, this is the world versus iran, and the goals of iran are to essentially swallow iraq politically, economically and give itself security, strategic depth. the world want to see iraq fully integrated into the international community in a positive way. >> schifrin: sarkawt shams, there has been a push by the
3:18 pm
militia the same way we saw these attacks and a push outside the em embassy to evict the.s. from iraq. will parliament be more likely now to take up the question of evicting the u.s. from iraq? >> i don't think so. first of all, it was not the parliament who invited the u.s. army to iraq, itas then the prime minister abadi that came at the request of the iraqi government, not the parliament. the iraqi military state doesn't need the u.s. army, which i think they need them now. they can just ask them to lea and they will leave eventually in a few days. >> schifrin: ambsador suleman, former ambassador to iraq. sarkawt shams, thank you very much to you both. >> thank you. >> schifrin: north korea's leader kim jong-un has announced
3:19 pm
he will no longer abide by a moratorium on nuclear and long- range missile tests, and he warned north koreans of a "long confrontation with the u.s." direct talks with the trump administration are stalled. for more on all of this, we turn to naoko aoki, an adjunct political scientist from the rand corporation, and a former journalist who has been to north korea 18 times. thank you very much, welcome to the "newshour". >> thank you. >> schifrin: what are your main takeaways from kim's statement? >> i think this is a major policy shift from -- to an answer on weapons development, strategic weapons development and an emfa signs self-reliance in terms of the economy and this is because north korea sees prolonged confrontation with the united states, and it think it's unlikely that sanctions will be lifted soon. >> schifrin: so let's take each of those in turn. the first one you talked about, strategic weapon, that's the word that kim used. let's take a listen to a newscaster reading what kim had
3:20 pm
to say about that. >> he confirmed that the world >> ( translated ): he confirmed that the world will witness a new strategic weapon, to be possessed by the d.p.r.k. in the near future. he said that we will reliably put on constant alert the powerful nuclear deterrent capable of containing the nuclear threats from the u.s. and guaranteeing our long-term security, noting that the scope and depth of bolstering our deterrent will be properly coordinated depending on the u.s.'s future attitude to the d.p.r.k. >> schifrin: so there is two points there, one what is is a new strategic weapon, but also tend phrase, "depend tong the u.s. attitude," how important are those terms? >> we don't know exactly what the new weapon will be but it is likely to be something qualitatively new, some component, at least, but we don't know what that is going to be. it could be something to enhance the survivability of north korea's nuclear weapons, and the nditional part is also important, as well. if you read the report
3:21 pm
carefully, a lot of the things are conditional on what the united states would do. so there's a little bit of flexibility in what the north koreans may do. >> schifrin: flexibility in opening so that these talks maybe aren't dead? >> yes, so they didn't completely shut the door to diplomacy, and i think that is important, although things do not look very optimistic right now. >> schifrin: at the top, you laid out the two takeaways, the one strategic weapon, but, two, also the message of resilience, the message of a long confrontation with the united states, and we've gotten language from kim himself that i can read, and let's read that right now. he said the present situation, warning of long confrontation with the u.s., urgently requires us to make a fait accompli that we have to live under sanction tabis hostile forces in the future, too, and strengthen the internal power from aawe suspects. so cutting through the chase of that, you've got t messages, one, the long confrontation, and we have to be resilient, as he
3:22 pm
said, right? >> yeah, that's correct. so kim jong un is preparing to public for a long confrontation with the united states which may involved -- which is likely to involve some sort of sanctions for the foreseeable future, and, so, lowering expectations for the lifting of sanctions and preparing the public for economic hardships ahead. >> schifrin: and what's the implication of that? has he said that before and ho will north kores receive that? >> well, it's a policy shift because, in april 2018, he said that his policy of pursuing both economic -- economic development and nuclear arms development at the same time has been accomplished, and he's going to shift more emphasis on the economy. well, this is sort of going back to that point where, well, the united states, from the north korean point of view, the united states is continuing with this anti-north korea, its
3:23 pm
hostile policy toward north korea and, therefore, we have to strengthen both. >> schifrin: strengthen both the economy or the nuclear weapons or the nuclear system and that's the strategic which leads to the takeaway. so, i mean, if ehe's talking about a long confrontation, he's talking about new weapons, and the u.s. is not budging, as far as we know, are we going to go toward more confrontation and more back to where we were in 2017, fire and fury? >> well, that's certainly a possibility. and tensions are likely to rise, but we don't quite know yet by how much and that will depend a lot on what both sides do. >> schifrin: so meaning the united states doesn't necessarily have to go down the path of more confrontation nor will north korea go down the path itself? >> that's the optimistic view, of course, but we could certainly see a return of what we saw in 2017, but it could, given the political u.s. presidential elections, the political calendar an everything
3:24 pm
else, it could mean icould be somewhere below that. >> meaning the united states and the trump administration right now as you see it has noer in ratcheting up tensions? >> and also north korea nite want to antagonize china, for example, by conducting icbm tests or nuclear tests, so that is also a factor that could play in their calculations. >> schifrin: naoko aoki of rand corporation, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> schifrin: on the final day of 2019, illinois governor j.b. pritzker pardoned more than 11,000 people convicted for possessing low levels of cannabis. he said hundreds of thousands of others could see their records expunged. >> we are giving people a new lease on life. we will never be able to fully
3:25 pm
remedy the depth of the damage that's been done, but today, here in illinois, we can govern with the courage to right the wrongs of the past. >> schifrin: the governor's announcement came as illinois becomes today the 11th state to legalize marijuana. as lisa desjardins explains, that's just one example of scores of new laws going into effect today across the country. >> congress and the president have been dom night almost monopolizing the headlines lathy, but the states are arguably doing more that changes the law, including a sweep of new state laws going into effect today, from criminal justice reforms and higher minimum wages to the cost of electric cars. reed wilson a correspondent and joins us from the "newshour" west studio. let's start with criminal justice reform.
3:26 pm
illinois has wiped out thousands of arrests and reverse convictions over marijuana, a small amount of marijuana possession as part of the legalization of the drug for recreational use, but this is also a part of a broader criminal justice reform across the country. take us through what's happening. >> yeah, we've seen congress acting on criminal justice reform as one of the major initiatis this year, basically the only thing they could agree on on a bipartisan basis. but it likely started in the states, and we've seen the push toward expunging records for minor drug crimes, especially in states where marijuana is now legal, and we've seen this effort in places like california, new jersey and elsewhere. now, of course, in illinois, as their recreational marijuana law takes effect. in other states, new york has ended cash bail. it's another one of the -- another trend we're starting to see in bluer states, a recognition that a lot of low-income residents who find themselves in jail can't afford to bail themselves out and, in some cases, plead guilty to
3:27 pm
crimes they haven't committed just in order tore get them ovals out of jail quickly. and in states like new jersey and kentucky, we've seen a push towards reenfranchising felons who were once in jail and now, once they're t of jail, get the right to vote back. the theory behind it is basically the more you are reintegrated into your community, the less likely you are to offend again and head back to jail. >> i also want to talk about minimum wages going up. curreny, the federal minimum wage, as people know, $7.25 an hour, that's about $15,000 for someone working fullime. but now we're seeing today, 21 states are seeing increases in their minimum wages. what's motivating these states to have a higher minimum wage going forward? >> so the federal minimum wage has not changed since 2009, and, as you can imagine, inflation has not slowed down and basically makes that purchases power of that $15,000 far less than it was a decade ago. what we've seen in recent years
3:28 pm
is a push both through state legislators and ballot initiatives to raise the minimum wage to 12, 13, 14, even $15 an hour, and what a lot of the states are doing are taking incremental process. one state might pass a bill to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour but, by, say, 2022. so it will rise a dollar an hour this year and another dollar an hour next year to lessen the burden and also raise the minimum wage. another thing we'vseen across the country this year is teacher salaries on the rise. you might remember, about a year and a half ago, there were significant teacher strikes in kentucky and oklahoma demanding higher wages. democrats and republicans didn't want to see the same strikes in their own backyard. so in places like arizona where i am now they proactively raised
3:29 pm
teachers' pay. >> texting and driving, i think florida is make that a pmary offense now. >> one of the things we're seeing is governments across the country are trying to figure out how to handle theig tech giants that are disrupting so many industries across the country, whether a bill like california's ab5 which treats dig workers for uber, lyft and door dash as actual employees, that passed last year and will take effect in the new year, though challenged by the big companies i just mentioned. in states that are raising costs of electric vehicles, that's a recognition that, as more of us buy prius or teslas or smings like that, the revenue from gas taxes will go down. people putting less gas in their car means less money for roads and infrastructures in the states, so the states are trying to figure out how to regulate the new types of electric cars so the drivs of those cars are still paying into the funds that pay for our national
3:30 pm
infrastructure. >> what are states likely to be talking about this year? >> i think we'll see three broad trends that have some form of bipartisan cooperation. the first is about ncaa athletes and whether or not they can profit off the use of their image enlight upment. california passed a bill last year that would allow athletes to get mon imr from endorsement deal or video game appearances and we've seen a number of bills introduced in bipartisan basis in minnesota, florida and new york and i think that's going around the country next year. another thing sortf related is sports betting. sports betting is a billion-dollar industry and some are saying they will be able to take some form of revenue in a form of tax from what has otherwise been an underground economy. we've seen legislation pass opened a bipartisan basis in several states in 2019 and that trend will continue in 2020. the last thing i would point to is state budgets. we've gone through a decade of
3:31 pm
economic expansion. states have taken in more revenue than budget for, that's good, but states are worried about the downturn. recovery won't last forever so a lot of states are socking millions if not billions away in the rain ae day funds, almost doubled what they were already from the last recession. so a bit of a bipartisan agreement, trying to save money now in advance of what's going to be an economic downturn whether next year or a couple of years down the road. >> reid, thanks for watching the state governments. reid wilson of the happy hill new year. >> thanks, lisa, you, too. >> schifrin: there's no place further south on earth than antarctica, a virtually uninhabited continent, covered almost entirely by ice. william brangham traveled there last winter to meet a man who's dedicated his life to studying
3:32 pm
three species of penguins, and how they are adapting to a rapidly-changing environment. it's an encore report in our weekly series, "leading edge of science." >> hi, buddy. >> brangham: for more than 35 years, ron naveen has been coming every year to antarctica to do something he still can't believe he gets paid for: research and count penguins. >> i can't believe it. i have the best job on the planet. >> brangham: is that right? >> well, i'm a penguin counter, for god's sake. can't beat that, can you? ( laughter ) >> brangham: no, i don't think you can. naveen is a former lawyer for the environmental protection agency, but he left government work back in the 1980s to start oceanites, a non-profit that tracks the health of three penguin species that breed on the antarctic peninsula. it's home to millions of these charming, occasionally awkward, flightless birds. >> they're really funny. they're like little human beings. they're waddling around all the time. they look kind of silly and
3:33 pm
stupid and late for dinner, and all that stuff. but they're just cute as hell, and i love spending time watching their behaviors. >> brangham: the antarctic peninsula is the 800-mile-long stretch of land that branches off from the northwest corner of the continent. this region has been warming faster than almost anywhere else in the world. and naveen says that warming is having a dramatic impact on penguins. >> because i have been coming here for so long, i have seen these changes. i have seen the penguin populations of certain colonies thin out pretty dramatically. one colony that we studied at deception island has gone from an estimated 90,000 breeding pairs, to 50,000, or fewer. >> brangham: wow. >> 50,000 or fewer. >> brangham: 90,000 down to 50,000? >> yes. >> brangham: that's a huge drop-off. >> right. but these penguins can teach us something about life on the planet. >> brangham: we first met naveen and his colleague, seabird biologist grant humphries, in the southern argentinean city of ushuaia. they were preparing for their annual trip south.
3:34 pm
ere, they met with dr. heather lynch, an evolutionary biologist from stony brook university, who was just returning from a similar expedition. she and naveen have long partnered in this penguin research. >> some species are going to be major climate change winners, and there are going to be other species that are no longer able to thrive on the antarctic peninsula. and the changes that we have seen have been so rapid that it's really important that we're down here every year to monitor them. >> brangham: the research teams hitch rides on the various tourist ships willing to give them a lift to the bottom ofhe world. and for more than two weeks, we followed naveen and humphries on this remarkable continent, as they trudged through snow, hiked up rocky peaks, and went into areas few humans are allowed to see. the three different species they have been tracking here are adelies, with the distinct white circle round their eyes; chinstraps, named for that tn marking across their faces; and gentoos, with the orange beaks. >> antarctic penguins are just unbelievable animals.
3:35 pm
they have been around for 60 million years >> brangham: grant humphries says these birds have long survived and thrived in me of the most inhospitable terrain on the planet. >> they look like rugby balls, you know? ( laughter ) they just don't look like they're made for anything, and here we are on top of thisill here. they have come up from the water and hiked up through deep snow, up over the rocks and all that to get up here. and it's not like they have hands. i mean, it is spectacular how hardy these animals are. >> brangham: the sound that we hear them making, when they put their head up, and make that cry, what are they doing there? >> they're displaying one to another, hee-haw, hee-haw, the donkey call of the penguin. >> brangham: but are they communicating something with that? >> this is my nest. you're my mate. this is my territory. >> brangham: in the summer, when it's a balmy 20 to 30 degrees out, the birds seek out some clear ground, where they build these piles of rocks for nests. after their chicks hatch, the penguins head back to sea for
3:36 pm
the winter. penguins are generally monogamous. roughly 80% to 90% stick together for life. that doesn't mean, though, that when they come back to nest each summer, it's all marital bliss. >> the male will come back, claim his rocks, and start displaying. and, hopefully... >> brangham: that's the "come hither, ladies," sound? >> "come back to me, my lady from last year." and she hopefully will show up within 10 or 14 days. and, if she doesn't, he's going to take and get it on with whatever available female comes by. i mean, he's ready to go. and, of course, you see these fights, which are presumably between the two females when wife number one shows up late, finds somebody else in the house, and they have a battle royal. >> brangham: because she wants to be back with her mate from before? >> well, she doesn't understand who this other bird is that is sitting in the nest, and he's got a lot of explaining to do. ( laughter ) >> brangham: life here for the birds has never been easy.
3:37 pm
there are predators everywhere, from the sea, like this leopard seal, and from the sky, like these skuas flyi overhead, constantly raiding penguin nests. but now they're facing a host of new threats. krill, the tiny shrimp-like creatures which are the penguins' main food source, are declining. they're being heavily fished to supply the booming fish- supplement industry, and everything down here eats krill, including the resurgent population of whales. but climate change is also believed to be harming them. that's forcing penguins to dive deeper and travel further in hopes of finding food. the warming on the peninsula is also causing another, seemingly contradictory effect-- more snowfall, which makes it harder for the birds to breed. that seems counterintuitive, that a warming environment brings more cold snow. >> yes. the interaction between that warmer air and the cold sea surface temperature means that you're actually getting sort of
3:38 pm
more evaporation. you're getting rain. you're getting snow. things that wouldn't normally happen on the peninsula over the course of a whole season. and that heavy snowfall prevents these birds from being able to breed, because it packs down on top of them. the nests fail. >> brangham: it's all led to a rapid decline for the birds on the peninsula. adelie populations have dropped by nearly 75% since 1990. chinstraps have, in some locations, dropped by half. >> we're quite concerned about adelies and chinstraps. we're seeing colonies that are getting close to blinking out, and it could very well be likely that, in our lifetime, we will see adelie and chinstrap penguins completely disappear from the antarctic peninsula. >> brangham: but, remarkably, the gentoos are actually thrivin-- their numbers have grown six-fold over the same period. researchers believe it's because they have adapted and are now eating more fish, instead of krill. and, as the breeding season gets harder, they're re-laying their eggs a second time. >> there's a real lesson for us, that, as people, as communities,
3:39 pm
as cities, we're all going to have to figure out what's going to work in the future. and it may look very different than what's worked in the past. >> penguins are us, you might say. they breathe the same air. they have to have food, a good home, a good environment. if one of those falls out of synch, it's troubling. so, my question, you mig say, in a very general, euphemistic way, are we going to be gentoos in the future, or are we going to have a sinking population, like some of the chinstrap and adelie populations? >> brangham: meaning, are we going to figure out either how to stop this warming or how to adapt to it? >> i don't know if we're going to be able to stop it. what i have been focusing a lot upon is whether we're going to be able to adapt. >> brangham: at 73, ron naveen is also learning to adapt. new technologies like drones and satellites are now used to count penguin colonies from above. but he says old-fashioned manual counters like him will always be needed to verify what's
3:40 pm
happening on the ground. and even after all these years, he admits that saying goodbye to this magical place is never easy. >> i get very wistful and teary- eyed, to be honest. it's my last day in the antarctic for this season. i do want to come back. i'm intending to come back. i have been doing this forever. i want-- i'm not ready to hang up the penguin clicker. but i will have a few moments later this afternoon with my favorite guys, sitting down there communing with them. and i will go back to the ship and have a big fat smile on my face. i'm the luckiest guy on the planet. >> brangham: for the pbs newshour, i'm william brangham in antarctica. >> schifrin: communities across the country have seen their local newspapers print fewer
3:41 pm
pages, less frequently, and in some cases, witnessed those newsrooms collapse entirely. several recent studies paint a grim picture of the decline in local newspapers in the u.s. and the impact it's having on our politics. jeffrey brown has our look. a recent report by pan america was entitled losing the news, a decimation of local journalism and the search for solutions, and the evidence comes in news room jobs lost and papers shut down. according to the report, at least 200 counties in the u.s. have no newspaper at all. the internet, of course, helped change the economics of the news business, as advertising migrated online, and the internet offers new ways for all of us to get news, but what's happening and what's been lost at the local level? for that, i'm joined by chuck plunkett, he a former editorial page editor for "the denver post." in 2018 he protested layoffs of the news room staff after the paper was taken over by a hedge fund. he's now directors of the news
3:42 pm
corporation at the university of colorado-boulder, a media program for student journalists. and charles sennott, a veteran journalist and founderrenned c.e.o. of groundtuth project that founded report for america which helps train and replace reporters in local news rooms. welcome to both of you, charles sennott, help us define the problem and its causes. in broad terms, how do you describe the current situation? >> i think the crisis in journalism in america has become a real crisis for our democracy. as you pointed out, there are nrmtzs across the country that are seeing their staffs decimated. we are seeing communities where their news organizations have closed up and ne away. there are 2,000 newspapers that have completely shut down, 2,000 communities without a newspaper. 1300 no longer have any local news coverage at all, no one watching the store from small towns to medium-sized cities.
3:43 pm
when we lose 30,000 reporting jobs, as we have in the last ten years, what we lose san ability for us to have a shared set of facts on a local level, and for us to have a civic debate on a local level, and i think we're really seeing a fraying of communitieas a result. >> brown: so, chuck plunkett, you've seen this up close. put it in specific and even personal terms, what's not getting covered? what are we missing? >> i mean, here in denver, it's a perfect example. it's happening across the country. when i started at "the post" in 2003, there were nearly 300 journalists, now there are 70. that's means fewer reporters covering the city hall, the state house, the important beats like cops, business. studies have shown when ther are fewer reporters in communities that corruption inevitably starts to grow, taxes start to go up, voter participation starts to drop. >> brown: i mentioned, of
3:44 pm
course, the changing business model and you both have watched that, so, in the interim and some of the solutions, charlie, you're addressing one of them, it is part of this nonprofit movement. tell us about your project. >> sure. what we're trying to say is we need to have a movement to confront this challenge to local rerting in america, so we started report for america as a real service project to say, this is a call to service for a new generation of journalists to come forward and serve these local communities. as chuck pointed out, there are greet needs to cover education, to cover health issues, to cover rural areas where no one is really having their story told, so what we are trying to do is create a kind of teach for america or city year for journalism and to deploy young journalists in the host news room. the host news rooms will now take in 1250 report for america corps members, as we call them, and we're really trying to put
3:45 pm
boots on the ground so we can say the best way to confront the crisis is going to be with real human beings doing real reporting and answering the need. >> brown: chuck, if the economics don't work so well anymore the way they traditionally did for your industry, is it only projects like that, nonprofit, experimental, relatively small, evenf trying to -- even if having an impact in? >> every little bit helps, jeff. i fear that we need something much bigger than that. for years and years and years, before the rise of the internet and things like craigslist and facebook, the rule of thumb was that traditional newspapers got 80% of their revenue from pricey print ads and classifieds and things like that. when ads shift to online and people can go to craigslist, that revenue just evaporates. so the dopes that had really -- the denver post that had top
3:46 pm
level reporters andphone photojournalists and the whole ballpark, suddenly you find them in a situation where they need a lot more money to be able to pay the bills, and trying to go the subscription model or the nonprofit model, the courageous experiments you're seeing out there, isn't really getting the job done. i came around to the idea that a public funding option to help subsidize, to help backfill some of that, 80% of the revenue that's been lost is going to be critically important to keeping our democracy alive and healthy. we need our watdogs, we need the people who are journalistically trained to get out there. you need a source to go to that's reliable, that speaks for the community, that's trusted and is considered one of the most plugged-in members of the community like the "denver post." >> brown: we're talking about economics but we're also at a time where journalism and journalists are contested areas, facts and truth are contested
3:47 pm
and you're both now working with young people, you're working with what you hope is a new generation of journalists. charlie, what do you say to people coming into this? >> what we say to young people is, look, you can go into a community and you can be of service to that community and you can change things. right now, too many communities have no one watching the store. there's great journalism that can be done to go out into these communities and uncover really important stories that matter to the community. so, jeff, you and i came of an age when journalism had a big future to it and you could get into these jobs. we want to restore the pipeline for a new generation of journalists to come forward and we really want to urge them to reply. you go to report for america.org and apply for these positions. >> brown:huck, you're working at yafort now, so you're with young people. what a they coming to you for, and what are you saying to them? >> our students have a lot of passion. they look at the orld that they live in and they fear that it's chaotic and that it's full of stricksters and a lot -- as much
3:48 pm
as the internet gives us woerful information and tools to use, it also brings a lot of mischievous activity, and they look at the state of the country and they see that there is a lot of disconnect and anger, and they have a real passion for wanting to do something about it and get involved and being able to develop the skills that it takes to go far beyond the kind of citizen journalism that's needed. >> brown: chuck plunkett and charles sennott, thank you both very much and happnew year. >> happy newier. year. >> schifrin: returning to climate change, global water supply faces constant and worsening threats: rising temperatures, over-consumption, poor management. it's a challenge pushing scientists, politicians and designers to seek innovations that could lead to new sources of water. john yang has this encore report. >> yang: situated on the edge of the sahara in southern morocco, mount boutmezguida gets only
3:49 pm
about five inches of rain a year. but what it lacks in rain, it makes up for in fog, which blankets the area for about half the year. so, that's where residents have now turned for their water-- harvesting it from fog. alongside scientists from the german water foundation, the moroccan non-profit dar si hmad has set up what's said to be the largest fog collection project in the world, about 19,000 square feet of nets called cloud fishers. as fog rolls through, the mesh traps freshwater, which drips into a receptacle. a network of pipes takes it to the villages below, where about 1,000 people every day use it for drinking and watering plants and animals. jamila bargach is director of dar si hmad. >> the fact of having water has radically transformed the life
3:50 pm
of the women, who used to walk for hours to get water, one and two. there was always the fear of not having enough water. right now, that fear is not there anymore. >> yang: but in other places, the fear remains. experts say there's a global water crisis, with at least two-thirds of the population living in areas that lack water one month a year or more. this summer, chennai, india, has had to rely on water deliveries from tanker trucks. a poor monsoon season left all the city's reservoirs dry. >> the relationship between water supply on the one hand and water demand on the other hand. >> yang: betsy otto directs the world resources institute's global water program. >> we're seeing really significant shifts, much more erratic rainfall. snowpack and glaciers, that have been very important sources of slow-release water to much of the world, are disappearing. so we're seeing really significant changes from global
3:51 pm
climate change. >> yang: while collecting water from fog may sound revolutionary, it's actually an ancient technique and one found in nature. an african beetle captures fog droplets with small bumps on its back. and, archaeologists have found evidence it was used centuries ago in the middle east and south america. how can we get as much water as possible from fog today? with climate change and high consumption making water scarcity a growing problem around the world, researchers are tackling that question. one technique is being tested here at this farm at virginia tech. >> we're fog harvesting. >> yang: industrial design professor brook kennedy is part of the team that developed the fog harp. it uses tightly-placed vertical wires, as opposed to crisscrossing mesh. >> either they tend to be too open, so a lot of fog passes through them, or they're too tightly woven, and so the fog droplets get stuck. what we have done differently
3:52 pm
here is that we have removed the horizontal wires, and this prevents the water droplets from getting stuck. so they quickly, through gravity, drop away. >> yang: tests have found this design to be at least three times more effective at capturing water than traditional nets. for kennedy, this was a case of biologically-inspired design, influenced, in part at least, by california redwoods. the towering trees draw most of their water from fog accumulating on their needles. >> the solution isn't embedded with circuits and other high- tech accoutrements or features. it's a fairly simple solution, but yet, by just tweaking meaningfully the design, really at a small scale, the results are rather dramatic. >> yang: in cambridge, massachusetts, m.i.t. scientists are trying to take the innovations surrounding fog collection even further. they have discoveredhat
3:53 pm
zapping air rich in fog with a beam of elecically-charged particles draws the droplets toward the mesh, dramatically increasing its ability to collect water. >> right now, the system is off. so you can see that this plume can pass through the mesh unaffected, and then it goes around. but when we turn the electric field on, the plume vanishes instantaneously and then water starts collecting on that mesh. >> yang: the idea is to use the system on power plant cooling towers. almost 40% of all freshwater taken om u.s. rivers, lakes and reservoirs is set aside for that critical purpose. m.i.t. mechanical engineering professor kripa varanasi leads the team. >> we have been able to fundamentally change the trajectory of these droplets. in fact, we saw these drops that are going away make a u-turn and come back. and so we went from a half to a
3:54 pm
couple of percent efficiency, to almost 100% efficiency. >> yang: while both the projects are promising, the expert, the scientist, and the designer agree-- water innovation must be coupled with better water management. >> we're going to have to find new ways of storing it or capturing it in places that used to have more water than they will now have. yes, it's important to have those technologies, but that alone is not enough. >> water is a very passionate topic for me, coming from india, where water is a major crisis. it's a big societal problem, and not as simple as "you have a power plant, i can sell you this thing." >> it's not going to be the only measure that needs to be taken. i mean, i think conservation, in combination with other techniques, working in unison, will help us tackle water scarcity. >> yang: that combination may mean the difference betwee losing or maintaining one of the most basic elements of life on earth. for the pbs newshour, i'm john yang.
3:55 pm
>> schifrin: and that is the newshour for tonight. i'm nick schifrin. join us online, and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, happy new year. i hope you had a good day. thank you. and see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> when it comes to wireless, consumer cellular gives its customers the choice. our no-contract plans give you as much-- or as little-- talk, text and data as you want, and our u.s.-based customer service team is on hand to help. to learn more, go to consumercellular.tv >> fidelity investments. >> american cruiselines. >> bnsf railway. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and individuals.
3:56 pm
>> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org >> you're watching pbs.
3:57 pm
3:58 pm
3:59 pm
4:00 pm
♪ >> hello, everyone, and welcome to "amanpour & company." this holiday season, we're dipping into the archives and looking back at some of our favorite interviews from the year. so here's what's coming up. >> i fear there's going to be a massacre. >> pakistani prime minister imran khan warns of a bloodbath in kashmir. a candid interview with pakistan's leader amid ongoing tensions with india. then... >> ...sort of what it is, is a book about freedom, it's about a young man who's seeking freedom but does not quite understand how complex that request actually is. >> acclaimed author ta-nehisi coates takes us inside the magical and devastating world of his new novel "the water dancer." plus, the mayor of san francisco, london breed, tells her incredible story how she rose from poverty all the way up

76 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on