tv DW News PBS September 29, 2017 6:00pm-6:31pm PDT
>> this is "d.w. news" live from berlin. showdown in spain over catalonia's plans for a separatist referendum. spain's government says the vote is illegal and must not go ahead but catalonia leaders insist everything is in place and that vote is happening. also coming up, america's relations with cuba hit a note. the u.s. is pulling out half its embassy staff and warning travelers to avoid the island after mysterious attacks that left some diplomats deaf.
dozens drown as they flee violence. the united nations is calling on myanmar's government to end what it terms the nightmare treatment of the muslim minority group. welcome to the show. it's good to have you with us. authorities in the spanish region of catalonia say they will proceed with sunday's independence referendum. madrid says the vote is illegal and must not take place. catalonia is home to more than 7 peotone 5 million people and already has a high degree of autonomy. separatists secured a narrow majority in the parliament after regional elections in 2015. it is unclear if that means most people are willing to back independence. still, the regional government is determined to find out and says everything is in place for sunday's vote.
>> these are the ballot boxes that the leaders of self-governing catalonia say its citizens will use to vote in the planned referendum from spain on sunday. authorities insist residents will be able to vote despite the ban from madrid. the mayor says for her the issue is personal. [speaking in other language] >> for me, the worst punishment would be to go out into the streets and not be able to give my citizens the opportunity to express their opinion and decide. i am not afraid of what the spanish government can do because we are not committing any crime. >> they are hoping sunday's vote will go ahead.
but the spanish government has other ideas. it says the planned ballot threatens the country's very foundations. >> this process is illegal and is based on illegal premises. the obligation of the rule of law and of every single government is to prevent it from happening. the secessionist initiative is only trying to destroy spain. in barcelona, farmers brought their tractors on to the streets to back their demand to hold the referendum. polls suggest people are evenly divided on how they would vote. what is certain is that tensions are already running high. >> le's cross over to our correspondent joining us from the spanish capital, madrid.
you've just returned from barcelona. how divided are people generally? >> you're absolutely right. people are incredibly divided over this issue. it was very interesting to speak to so many people about this on the streets of barcelona and what i felt was that people were very determined to have this referendum, whether they're on, you know, the pro independence side or against it. and there is also a lot of concern over what could happen on october 1. but what was interesting was that if you speak to people, it's become, in some ways it is a taboo subject and in other ways not. people are happy to talk about it with friends and family, but at the same time, they won't really talk about it that openly because they feel that maybe it is such a divisive issue with people with really strong feelings about whether catalonia should be independent or not. often it is best to leave it and just not discuss it. >> understandable people are avoiding that as kind of a
touchy issue. >> exactly. >> do you think the people will be allowed to vote on sunday? the spanish government seems to be doing quite a bit to stop them. >> you are absolutely right. the spanish government have confiscated 12 million ballot papers and also ballot boxes as well. they've shut down the catalonia government referendum website several times and it was sort of reopened. they opened it abroad. then of course the social media as well has been cracked down upon and they've basically said people shouldn't vote. there is talk of fines for people who go and work in the polling stations across catalonia. this is in sharp contrast to what the regional government are saying. they're absolutely determined for people to turn out on sunday and vote. and they've said polling stations, which will be in schools, will be opened and that there are ballot boxes. there was an event held on friday showing what the ballot
boxes looked like. so, you know, basically it is a complete and utter standoff. so it'll be very interesting to see whether people will turn out on sunday and from what i was saying before, people on the ground in barcelona. everybody seems quite determined to go out on sunday and go to the polling stations. >> people determined to have their voices heard. what can we expect on sunday? >> that's the million dollar question, and no one really knows. it is not often we actually say that. really nobody knows what is going to happen. what we do know at the moment is that the regional pleas in catalonia have been ordered -- the regional police in catalonia have been ordered to go to the polling stations at 6:00 in the morning on sunday and make sure they are locked and also to take away any ballot boxes. they've also said that, and this is where it's a little bit of a gray area. they've been also told that it depends, how should they act if
things get out of hand? obviously there is a bit of a concern, will it turn violent? i don't like to use that word, but you never know. people are very heated. there is a lot of tension. it'll be interesting to see and also it is worrying to see how the police, because they've been reinforced as well, with police officers from other parts of spain, it'll be interesting to see how they react to the protests and people turning over to the polling stations on sunday. >> we've seen pushes for catalonian independence in the past. this isn't a new issue. what makes it different this time? >> what makes it different doesn't mean catalonian independence movement is not new. particularly since around 2012 the regional governments have been very determined to hold a referendum and actually just a few months ago in the regional parliament they passed legislation which was essentially illegal and groundwork and a framework that would be implemented if catalonia did decide to vote,
yes, in a referendum for independence. that was immediately struck out by the constitutional court here in madrid. and of course the government has said that this is completely and utter h i unconstitutional. but the regional government has decided to ignore that and have pushed ahead with it and this is where we are in the situation basically the word to describe for it is utter confusion. >> utter confusion will continue on sunday when the vote either happens or doesn't. you'll be reporting for us, pablo foley. thanks for that. >> i will indeed. >> well, after losing its license in london, uber is fighting back. >> that's right. and fighting is the word. the new head of the service is on his way to london on tuesday fighting for his firm's survival in europe's biggest city. the capital's transport agency says it will not renew uber's license when it expires this weekend citing the company's poor record of corporate
responsibility. uber wants to appeal the ruling but it is beginning to feel the heat. on wednesday hundreds of activists marched through london calling for uber to grant basic workers rights to its drivers. uber has about 40,000 drivers in london. over 3 million customers. and we'll go to wall street now. are we seeing a major culture shift from silicon valley? after all, it is not just uber asked to change with the times. >> right. many of these innovative silicon valley companies are trying to disrupt industries and that usually means they don't play by the rules from the very start. their founders think differently and they have to. otherwise they wouldn't found the companies. think of facing multiple regulatory issues in various cities because it is hard to define a completely new
business model that is clark with the traditional one -- clashing with the traditional one. in uber's case, and in hotels, bnb. another shift is bay facebook right now, they have evolved from a social network to an opinion forming medium. they have to play by new rules. >> so the disruptors are being disrupted. now, moving on, september is usually seen as a bit of a cursed month for investors. now we're at the end. how has it been? >> september, 2017 was different ch the dow jones actually gained around 300 points surpassing the record level of 22,000 points. investors have been incredibly resistant and patiently waiting for their much longed tax reform. the stock performance is even more remarkable when you think about all of the historic
realities of the stock market, stocks typically having performed poorest during the months of september and the stock trader's almanac for example requires on average september is the month when the stock market usually is really performing the poorest in all three indices. >> it seems this year it is bucking the trend. sophie, thank you very much for that. have a good weekend. and moving to asia now, beijing has decided to ban bin coin. chinese regulators have warned service providers to stop accepting the crypto currency by the end of october or face consequences. one of the largest bit coin platforms bttc has said it would stop trading completely by tomorrow. in the last few days deals involving the digital currency have slowed to a trickle but china's clamp down hasn't really dampened interest. bit coin markets in neighboring south korea and japan have reported a surge in activity since the announcement.
now we've heard about catalonia all day. another independence referendum now except this one is actually already happened. almost 93%, an overwhelming victory for the kurds who backed independence but could kurdistan go it alone? >> supporters of the referendum celebrate the results as if an independent kurdish state were already a reality. kurdish leaders have asked the central government in baghdad to respect the will of the people and to start negotiating. this is the area in northern iraq that the kurds are claiming. the capital for the population of 5.5 million. the region already has a great deal of autonomy. almost all revenues of the regional government come from rich oil reserves, which rival many countries. the field is one of the largest oil fields worldwide.
what's more, the kurds are also sitting on other valuable natural resources. the region has large deposits of iron, copper, chrome, gold, and platinum. so the government in baghdad is fearful of a strong kurdistan. neighboring countries are putting on the pressure, too. iran and turkey fear that the kurdish minorities in their countries would want to join the newly formed kurdish nation. >> we have to prevent the iraqi kurdish regional government from making even more serious mistakes. it's important that the international community sides with iraq's territorial integrity and political unity. the iraqi government has refused to negotiate the results of the referendum, but the kurds get more confident with every passing day.
>> after a thaw in the united states relations with cuba, fresh troubles have emerged. the u.s. is ordering most personnel in the cuban embassy to leave the island following what it calls a series of attacks targeting diplomats. some embassy workers have reported injuries including concussions and hearing loss. u.s. authorities are now working to establish exactly how these mysterious injuries occurred and who could be behind them. for more, let's bring in our d.w. washington bureau chief. thanks for joining us. u.s. embassy workers allegedly under attack in cuba. these mysterious injuries, do we know what's causing them? >> the state department officials told us today that they don't know the means, the methods, how these attacks have been carried out, that because the devices used in these attacks have never been found. but of course there are a lot of speculations going on in the
u.s. media and some sources saying we are talking here about a sort of sonic weapon that emits sound waves capable of inflicting physical harm. we are dealing here with physical symptoms including as you said headache, dizziness, and even hearing loss. because the symptoms varied so greatly, doctors are consulted here in the united states and could so far not come to any conclusion what cause the trauma. >> all right. very intriguing. it sounds like something out of a spy movie. now, alexandra, the u.s. state department is pulling most personnel out of cuba. what is your take? is this about ensuring the safety of embassy staff or are we witnessing a real deterioration in the relations between the u.s. and cuba? something that a lot of people predicted would happen under president trump. >> yes, you're right.
the state department, itself, of course, says that the decision was necessary and was made to protect the health of the u.s. diplomats and the trouble warning was issued to protect u.s. citizens but we have to say that the whole case is so mysterious, at the beginning for example, you had officials talking about incidents. now they are talking about attacks. we still do not know enough to judge what's behind the whole case. we have to keep in mind that the president trump is convinced that his predecessor's decision to restore diplomatic ties with cuba was wrong and that he vowed to cancel, completely cancel the deal with cuba. but so far not much has really happened. but this decision today has to po -- has the potential of being a setback to u.s.-cuban
relations. >> very mysterious indeed. you know you'll be monitoring that situation very closely. thank you. it's been 10 days since hurricane maria slammed into puerto rico. and the situation for people on the island is dire. abandoned homes litter island. more than 3 million residents are still without power. they are struggling to find food and drinking water. the storm brought the u.s. territory's economy to a standstill with little hope of recovery in cy. a.t.m.'s are running out of cash. fuel is hard to find. many people are wondering how they're going to survive. for more on the situation in puerto rico i'm joined now on the line by our journalist in the puerto rican capital of san juan. thanks for joining us. tell us what the situation is like on the ground right now. >> hi.
i'm sorry i. trying hard to get back to normal. if that is possible. we have no water, no energy, no internet or phone connections. we are still basically stranded right now. we have lots of people dying in hospitals right now because they don't have the tools to survive. dialysis equipment or any kind of survival needs they have. so we are really having a very hard time right now. >> it is a desperate situation you're describing. when you talk to people, what is the priority? what do they need most? >> it depends a lot where the
damage is, you and your family, what you were exposed to, if you lived on the coast you probably don't have a home. so you are in a refuge. looking for food and the immediate needs like taking a bath and having your children get fed or something like that. if you live in the area of the island very hard hit you should be trying to get to water, trying to get food, trying to get gas to move around to look for, you know, whatever you need to go to war, to try to go to the school. you know, everybody has a very different situation, but, you know, it's no routine for anybody right now. >> not routine for anyone right now. are people in puerto rico still
hopeful that the u.s. government is going to provide aid to them? >> oh, yeah, i think most people feel the u.s. is partly responsible for what happens in puerto rico. >> responsible for the hurricane? >> no, responsible for what happens in puerto rico in terms of we are american citizens and also because puerto rico is a u.s. territory. what has happened, because of the hurricane, is just the worst part of a crisis that we have been living for the past 11 years, an economic crisis. where lots of people have migrated from puerto rico.
lots of people have lost their jobs. we have been living a very dire, economic situation, for the last 11 years. now with the hurricane maria, it just is like the turning point for the situation in puerto rico. >> so things were bad and now they're worse. >> yes. definitely. definitely. >> and trump's response to hurricane relief in puertrico has been controversial. what is the feeling toward him at the moment in puerto rico? >> frankly, i think that most of the people don't even know he will be here in a few days because they don't have internet. they don't have ways of seeing tv or, you know, and even if they know, i think that is not
a priority for nobody right now. so him coming to puerto rico is going to be unnoticed for locals. other than politicians, of course. it is, you know, i think people feel like he should take a look at what's happening here anyway. >> all right. thanks for speaking with u we wish you all the best for a swift and full recovery from the hurricane damage. united nations chief antonio gutierrez is calling on myanmar's leaders to end the nightmare facing rohingyas refugees fleeing the country. the comments come after the drowning deaths of dozens of refugees whose boat capsized off the coast of bangladesh. many are still missing. in the last month more than 500,000 rohingyas have fled myanmar because of a violent
crackdown by the country's military. >> scores of refugees line the beach in bangladesh, fleeing violence in myanmar when their boat capsized in the bay of bengal. most of the dead, women. and children. survivors are now burying friends and family but their journey is not over. this is where they're headed. a refugee camp in bangladesh. basic supplies are scarce. humanitarian organizations working here say they are overwhelmed. >> people need to be dry and clean and they need to have a place to sleep. these are the immediate needs. obviously for that we need money. bangladeshys have been very generous but individuals cannot address this need.
even the bangladeshy government cannot address this need. >> at the united nations the security council, frustration over the crisis is mounting. the united states is now calling for action against military leaders in myanmar. formally known as burma. we cannot be afraid to call the actions of the burmese authorities what they appear to be. a brutal, sustained campaign to cleanse the country of an ethnic minority. >> but myanmar rejects claims of ethnic cleansing. the buddhist majority state says violence against the muslim minority is not based on religion but to fight terrorism. >> there is no ethnic cleansing and no genocide in myanmar. ethnic cleansing and genocide are serious charges and they should not be used lightly.
>> as the u.n.'s most powerful body grapples for a solution, more rohingya arrive at the border with bangladesh. since august the number of rohingya fleeing myanmar has topped 500,000. >> german police are hunting for a man they say is black mayling companies for millions of euros by threatening to poisoning food including baby food. authorities have released footage of a suspect putting food products on shelves in a supermarket in southern germany. five jars of baby food contained a lethal amount of poison and they were later discovered. >> the man hunt is on. this suspect is believed to have placed poisoned baby food in this supermarket in the southern city. he warns other cities in europe are next. unless he's paid over 10 million euros. this is an exceptionally severe case of extortion. we have to assume that we're
dealing with a very ruthless extortionist willing to go to great lengths to get what he wants. who is even prepared to kill. in an e-mail, the suspect told several local supermarkets that he contaminated five jars. police say they were able to find all of them. the suspect has threatened to poison even more. police say he may have accomplices and are urging people to be alert and check supermarket products for potential manipulation. >> food in glass jars is usually vacuum sealed. so you should hear a pop when you open it. >> police have now released these surveillance photos, hoping for clues that could lead to his arrest. they say they've already received several hundred tips. >> a reminder of the top story we're following for you right now. thousands of students have rallied in barcelona to defend
what they say is catalonia's right to hold an independence referendum on sunday. the government in madrid says the referendum is illegal and it will stop it from taking place. that's "dw news" and you're up to date. as always don't forget you'll find the latest on our website dw.com. see you soon. [captioning performed byhe national captioning institute which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
♪ >> hi, everyone, and welcome to our highlights show with the best picks of the week. here's a look at what's coming up: ♪ gone in a flash local residents stage happenings for passing trains. model animals. a lithuanian photographer and his four legged motifs. up in the air. finnish acrobats perform at a berlin circus festival. ♪ >> one of the nicest things about travelling by train is that you can sit and gaze out the window. well anyone who did just that recenty between jena and naumburg in eastern germany might not have believed their eyes: that's because up to 1000