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tv   Focus on Europe  PBS  January 21, 2017 6:00pm-6:31pm PST

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>> welcome to a very special new years edition of focus on europe, i'm michelle henery. we are wrapping up 2016 by taking a look back at some of our best reports of the year. and what a year it was! we've seen just how divided this continent is. it was a shock to many europeans when britain voted to leave the european union in the brexit referendum. the fishermen in cornwall, however, are elated. >> bye-bye brussels! now we can spend our own money on what we think is right. >> the fishermen of norway would like to do just that - in this case, take back the control over their fjord and do what they think is right. norway's government has approved a controversial plan for a mine that environmentalists warn may
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damage the fjord's fish stocks. fishermen like elliv erdal, rely on the region's fish for their livelihoods. but all of that may soon change. elliv fears the plans won't just kill the fish but end his way of life. >> today's catch is pretty good...plenty of monkfish, cod and tusk. eiliv erdal has been fishing the waters of the forde fjord for many years. after a short career in the military, he decided he'd rather work and live surrounded by nature. >> on a beautiful day like this, it is impossible to understand how someone could think it is a good idea to destroy this beautiful scenery. i think the only natural thing to do is to live here and enjoy the nature as people here do or as a tourist.
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>> the fishermen here are under pressure from a mining company that wants to begin extracting a rare mineral found in the cliffs of the fjord. erdal fears that if the miners are allowed to get to work, the days of plenty here in the fjord are numbered. by the time operations are in full swing, he says, he'll probably be out of a job. >> they're going to take the top off the mountain and then they're going to quarry it out. then they start tunnelling in. the worst part is that the waste from the production will go into the fjord and they will fill it up 150, 200 metres and destroy the local life in the fjord. >> nordic mining is after the mineral rutile. it's used as a pigment -- for example to make the brilliant white in toothpaste.
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the company wants to extract it for the next 40 years -- which would create 250 million tons of slurry. >> so the whole area here is going to end up a waste ground. >> erdal is also worried that toxic sludge could be carried out into the open waters of the north atlantic. many people here rely on the fjord for their subsistence. around half of erdal's income comes from either fishing or tourism. >> it means a lot to me. i grew up locally. i caught my first salmon when i was four. now i'm 47 and i'm also really looking forward to catching salmon this year. >> the family also runs a cafe right on the water of the fjord. guests come here to enjoy the breathtaking nature and home-style norwegian food -- traditional baked goods, and of course, lots of fish. the mining company claims that fishing is little more than a
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hobby for the people here. that accusation makes the fisherman angry. >> it's a selling point that it's a clean fish. so to say it is a hobby is quite interesting. there are more people working in jobs dependent on the nature in this area here than nordic mining is providing. >> many of the families in the area that will be impacted most by the mine are refusing to accept the government's decision. hundreds of demonstrators have blocked streets leading to the site. some have been hit with stiff fines. erdal is happy that his problem is now a topic all over norway. despite the opposition, nordic mining has been pushing ahead. tracks like these left by digging equipment are fresh. the boreholes help illustrate exactly how deep the company plans to go. it's a long way to the bottom.
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>> it's quite deep, i guess. i hope this is the biggest hole they're going to make. >> eiliv erdal hopes that the high cost of the project will lead it to be abandoned. he dreams one day of opening a hotel overlooking the forde fjord. one with a restaurant that would -- of course -- serve fish. >> while over the year we have covered conflicts throughout europe - as well as the impact wars in other parts of the world have had on the continent, a story we did in the ukraine reminds us how experiencing such traumas can effect someone throughout their entire life. rayisa majstrenko survived babin yar, one of world war ii's most notorious massacres, when over 30,000 jews were murdered on the outskirts of kiev. although she was just three years old when she first witnessed the misery of war, she remembers.
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>> raisa maistrenko did not walk this road to babi yar for many decades. but after the monument for the murdered children was erected, the dance instructor has come here repeatedly with her pupils. >> my words are always -- this monument could have been for me. but i survived. >> in the early autumn of 1941, nazi germany's army, the wehrmacht, captured kyiv. soon after, some bombs exploded in the center of the city, killing german soldiers. >> special units have been ordered to fight the fires and secure the strategic roads. >> the ss and german and ukrainian police ordered all the city's jews to assemble on september 29, and to bring only essential belongings. a kilometer-long line of people
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was marched off, including the 3-year-old raissa and her family. >> i saw the grown-ups' legs. i called them 'white grandpas'. they only had underwear on -- long-johns and undershirts, stained with blood. all around were the germans and their local helpers. the people on the sidelines were screaming, 'they're taking these people to be shot, don't protest, or they'll shoot us, too.' >> there is no film documentation of the mass executions, but a german soldier took a few photos that show the waiting jews and the clothing of the victims. more than three decades after the atrocity, the soviet union finally erected a monument to the victims in babi yar. and it was a long time before raissa was able to face her past.
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>> my grandmother never talked about it. she was silent for fear of traumatizing me. she didn't say what happened here. and that's why i didn't start dealing with it until 50 years later. >> she started thinking about the massacre long after she had a family and headed a dance school. and she visited the memorial site. then raisa wrote the choreography for "babi yar." it helped her overcome her trauma, but each performance is still a tightrope walk. >> it's an ambivalent feeling.
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on the one hand, as a professional, i make sure my pupils do everything right. but if they do everything right, then i'm overcome with emotion. >> today, babi yar ravine is overgrown with vegetation. the place where almost 34,000 people were shot dead in just two days is hardly recognizable. raisa escaped the murders because her ukrainian grandmother pulled her out of the line of the doomed. >> we just ran away, to the cemetery over there. my grandma ran until she couldn't run any more. then, she fell to the ground. we huddled between the gravestones all night. >> raisa survived hiding in cellars until the nazis were defeated. many years ago, she encountered a german tour guide at another memorial site in poland. >> i looked at him and i could see he had taken the whole
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burden of the german nation's guilt upon himself. you understand? and that's when i reconciled with germany. before that, of course, i was embittered. >> today, rayisa's husband is buried in the cemetery where she escaped the murderers. and one day, the place where she was rescued will be her final resting place. >> raissa somehow found a way to come to terms with her past and forgive those who murdered her you family. our reporter gunnar koehne has lived and worked in turkey for over 20 years. in the last few years, he has witnessed first hand how the climate for those who are critical of the government from academics to journalists has deteriorated. and after the coup, things only got worse. many newspapers, magazines and tv stations were closed, several journalists were taken into
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custody including one of gunnar's friend's. we follow gunnar as he tries to find out what happened to him. >> they came for him in the early hours of the morning. aydin engin was led from his home by the police. he's not the first turkish journalist to be arrested in this way. aydin abi, as the 75-year-old newspaperman is respectfully called, is a good friend and conversation partner for us german journalists in istanbul. i'm very worried about him. he has never tired of explaining and commenting on turkish politics for us, like he did this july after the failed coup. and always with a touch of humor. >> this is the first coup that hasn't landed me in jail. >> on november 1st aydin engin's column in the turkish daily newspaper cumhuriyet, was blank. the public prosecutor claims that engin's writings support terrorism. we've only ever heard him call
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for peace and reconciliation in turkey. i encounter an angry crowd in front of cumhuriyet's building. engin was one of 13 leading journalists for the paper who were arrested. >> every day, innocent people are thrown in jail! enough is enough! >> cumhuriyet is one of the last turkish newspapers that criticizes erdogan's government. supporters guard the entrance, day and night, to discourage the police from arresting even more of the staff. this is the office where engin writes his columns. he has been writing for cumhuriyet for 25 years --though there have been some interruptions. the remaining editorial staff is working on a new edition in the next room. the mood is glum, and the police are waiting outside. not far away, i meet up with
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engin's wife, oya baydar and we talk about what we can do for here husband. baydar is a writer known beyond turkey's boundaries. her novels have been translated into german and english. the two of us browse through bookshelves. >> i'm currently working on a novel. but i'm so preoccupied with worry that i can't write a single line. >> the couple has braved hard times together. after the military coup of 1980, baydar and engin had to flee turkey. they lived in exile in germany for 12 years. engin drove a taxi to support the family. she says the political situation in turkey is similar to the way it was back then. >> i have german as well as turkish citizenship. but to go into exile again?
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at our age, we'd rather go to prison. >> life on the streets of istanbul goes on as usual. but the country is being put to the test. engin has repeatedly warned about the danger of civil war. that angered the erdogan government. even after three days, none of us is permitted to speak to him. this is the notorious police headquarters of istanbul. engin and his colleagues are being held here in the anti-terrorism section. finally, after five days, we get good news -- engin is being released under restrictions due to his age and the state of his health. >> i was treated decently, but i've never seen such a trumped- up indictment. we will not bow to this pressure! >> i meet with engin at cumhuriyet's office the next
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morning. he has to stand in for editor-in-chief murat sabuncu, who is still in jail. >> i'm doing ok, but my heart is with my colleagues who are still in prison. we don't know whether cumhuriyet will survive. but i told my young colleagues don't ask what tomorrow brings! produce a good paper today. it's our newspaper. >> that's all the time he has for me. tomorrow's edition has to be planned. even if it should turn out to be the last issue of cumhuriyet. >> since our brother aydin has returned, we feel stronger again. we're happy. now we'll produce a good newspaper. >> aydin engin once said that, in 50 years, he has survived three coups and three prison stays.
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one thing is clear -- he has no intention of giving up. >> gunnar told us that despite about a dozen employees at the paper being arrested, it defiantly published the headline "we do not give up." another group of people who refused to give up are fishermen in britain. when the british government held a referendum in june, asking the public to decide whether to leave or remain in the european union, the country's fishermen voted overwhelmingly to leave. they feel that they have suffered the most from eu policies, namely one that limited their access to their own waters. our reporter went to a small town in cornwall on england's southwest coast to ask if they had any regrets. >> cornwall isn't far from europe, but most of the people here don't want to have anything to with the european union. nearly 60% of cornwall residents voted to leave the eu.
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in the harbor town of newlyn, the fishermen in particular resent brussels. they regard the eu fishing quotas as pure harassment. they say the french steal their fish and now they finally have their sea back. >> bye, bye, brussels! now we'll be able to spend our own money on what we want to. and we'll stop giving money to waste on all the things brussels wastes their money on -- the french farming industry. and we haven't seen anything out of it. no benefit. >> i'm surprised at how many did vote for it. and it worked. what happens from now on, nobody knows it. it's early days. we'll see how it goes. it can't get any worse. >> turbot, mackerel, and cod. in newlyn, everything revolves around fishing, as if there were no other issues in europe.
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even though the new ice-flaking machine was paid for with eu subsidies, the workers here are relieved at the result of the referendum. they think the only ones who will be hurt are the bankers and bosses in london. >> a lot of londoners and major cities want to stay in europe, but it's obviously the fringe counties away from the major cities that want out. we're the ones that are struggling more and they seem to be getting everything, you know? it should be a lot better for cornwall, for definite, and especially for newlyn. >> others are less optimistic. alex lake is bewildered. for more than 15 years, she has supervised eu projects in cornwall. in that time, the eu has poured about a billion euros in subsidies into the region to fuel new economic fields like handicrafts, media, and the digital industry. now alex is worried about more than her own job. she sees the rural region's
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whole structural transformation endangered. >> if the uk is out of europe, remote regions like this will remain insignificant. there are bigger priorities to our u.k. government and the politicians that are in our u.k. government than a small region with a small population at the end of the country. >> most people don't see this danger. they are deeply embedded in their traditional way of life. jamie is a cook in his own restaurant. he voted for the brexit because he expected that, without eu fishing quotas and regulations, fish would become cheaper. but now he's not so certain. >> to be honest, it came as a shock. i mean, i voted out, but i thought i'd be in a minority. so for me personally, you know, i was actually quite shocked by the out vote. i didn't think it would happen. i wouldn't describe myself as particularly happy about it.
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there's a lot of uncertainty. so now the hard work really begins, you know. i don't think it's something to celebrate, it's something to think about and to start working towards the future. >> it's clear what cornwall's fishermen plan to do -- work harder so they can export more fish to france and spain, without interference from brussels. >> well, just hopefully everything's looked at a little bit clearer and a bit more fairly. it's actually somebody in our country making the rules instead of somebody in another country, you know? somebody making the rules about the waters they know nothing about. see what happens from here. >> but the brexit already has a down side for the fishermen. newlyn's harbor was going to be modernized with eu funding. and that won't be happening now. >> the swiss government has built what is considered the world's longest and deepest railway tunnel through the alps. it is a technological feat that
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allows the transport of more freight faster. but as with so many of the conveniences of modern life, the tunnel came at a cost. six workers died and several houses had to be demolished. while most residents were resettled, one chose to be left behind. vairner vullker refused to embrace the rapid pace of change around him and stayed in his lifelong home -- that is, until he caught site of the bulldozers approaching. >> the new gotthard tunnel has changed werner walker's life. ten years ago he still worked as a hill farmer. now he spends most of his time sitting on a plastic chair with a cigarillo, watching the traffic go by. the 84-year-old has come to terms with his lot. in any case, he says grumbling is not his thing. >> there are lots of trucks that
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honk and wave. >> does he wave back? >> yes. >> he's a man of few words. he lives alone in his caravan, surviving on canned vegetables, lemonade and tea. there's no television, no internet, or telephone. the folk music on the radio is quite sufficient he says. he doesn't feel lonely, but he is having difficulty walking now. >> good health is what counts. i don't need anything else. nothing else matters -- it's no use having money if you're sick. >> possessions mean nothing to him. perhaps that's how he was able to bear losing everything he held dear for the first 75 years of his life. his house in rynacht was
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bulldozed to make way for the tunnel. it was where he grew up and worked as a farmer. he had eight cows and worked hard to eke out a living. but he was happy. it was only when the diggers moved in that he finally left his home and bought the caravan. now ten years after his house was torn down, he's come back for the first time to see his former property. there's an information center there, a soulless building from the alptransit company that built the tunnel. it's clearly not easy for werner walker. there are so many memories attached to this place. but he won't say anything negative about the tunnel. complaining is pointless, he says. you can't turn the clock back. did he know this was here? >> yes. >> what does he think? >> it's ok. >> doesn't it make him emotional to be back here?
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>> it's forgotten. >> pushed away? >> yeah. >> less than a hundred meters away, trains are thundering past at record speeds. the journey from zurich to lugano will take two hours. that's a reduction of 45 minutes. up to 65 passenger trains and 260 freight trains will pass through here daily. 20 minutes later, the passengers then emerge in the south. it's the start of a new railway age that's quite foreign to werner walker. all his life he's never left the canton of uri. he doesn't feel like celebrating, even though the eyes of the world are on the local town of erstfeld because of the opening of the tunnel. all he wants is to get back to his caravan. >> i can't live in a village
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full of people, i need to be out in nature. >> even if that nature is sliced through by a busy highway. still, walker has got quite used to it all - and despite everything, perhaps he is indeed happy with his lot in his old age. >> werner walker was able to make peace with his situation, but for many others two thousand sixteen has been a year of division and polarisation. so, we'd like to toast to the new year and to a greater understanding of each other. thank you for watching and happy 2017. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit]
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