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tv   Focus on Europe  PBS  February 24, 2018 6:00pm-6:31pm PST

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>> hello, and a very warm welcome indeed to "focus on europe" with me, peter craven. now, all eyes here in europe are currently on the big sporting event. i'm talking, of course, about the winter olympics in pyongchang, south korea. the first athletes have begun to arrive. and one record has already been broken, with 92 nations competing, more than ever before. but the games are overshadowed by the problem of doping, with the whole russian team banned. and china has for many years also been suspected of engaging in systematic doping. but people have been reluctant to speak out, fearing tough reprisals. now, though, zhüh yin jin, once a leading olympic sports doctor
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in china, has been talking to our reporters. the 80-year-old has recently been granted refugee status here in germany. but still she lives in fear of the chinese authorities. >> at the age of 80, xue yinxian has had to begin a whole new life. she fled to germany a few months ago, together with her son yang weidong and his wife. the move from china to the shores of lake constance has meant a huge change for her. but even here, she lives in fear of the communist regime in beijing. and yet, she used to be part of that regime herself. as a sports doctor, she was responsible for china's top athletes during the 1980s. >> i was given this bag during the 1988 olympic games. i take it wherever i go. it's my last momento of that time.
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>> it was the pinnacle of her career. but she was soon to fall from grace. >> none of our friends dared to contact us anymore. our telephone was tapped. the police were always outside our house. >> she made herself unpopular by consistently opposing the doping of athletes. even when she was the head doctor for the chinese olympic team at the south korea games in 1988, she refused to keep quiet. 20 years later, when the games were hosted by china, it was the same story. she accused officials of state doping. >> i got great recognition for my work. but because i actively opposed doping, the state took everything away from me. that's the ruthless nature of an authoritarian regime. >> she and her husband came under growing pressure. in 2007, her husband got into a fight with an official.
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he fell and hit his head and died from his injuries. later, xue herself suffered two strokes, but the hospital refused to give her proper treatment. that was after she appeared on western tv, presenting detailed journals recorded during all the years she worked as a sports doctor, documenting the repercussions of doping. >> the world gymnastics championships in 1985 and '87 and the olympic games in '88. the athletes started coming to me because they were having health issues as a result of the doping. what was i to do? they would tell me about their worries. li ning was one of them. >> li ning is a gymnastics legend in china. at the 1984 olympics in los angeles, he won three gold medals, two silver, and one bronze. at the next olympics four years later, he was under the care of
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xue yinxian. she recorded everything. >> the 15th of february, 1988. it's less than a month since li ning received four testosterone injections from chen zhanghao. at first he felt fine, but then he became increasingly tired, he suffered from dizziness, and gained four kilos in weight. >> chen zhanghao was xue's colleague at the time. later, he was put in charge of the olympic team. they sent chen zhanghao to france, she says, "so that he could learn how to administer performance-enhancing drugs." the results were documented in scientific essays. germany's public broadcaster ard put those allegations to chen directly. >> we tried to speak with the chinese olympic committee at the ministry of sports about the doping accusations. our request is met with silence. but in 2012, chen zhanghao,
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china's former head of olympics doctor, commented on the use of doping substances. >> the united states, the soviet union, and france were all using them, so we did as well. >> xue yinxian is convinced that china is still doping its athletes, continuing the program introduced in the 1980s. li ning is now a millionaire sports entrepreneur in china. for the 2008 games, he was brought in for a high-wire act during the opening ceremony in beijing. yang weidong says his mother was ostracized because she refused to take part in the doping in the 1980s. many of those who were athletes at that time are now themselves sports officials in china. >> you have to ask yourself whether those athletes now regret what happened back then. if not, then it's obvious that the next olympic games will also be doped.
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>> xue yinxian is convinced she did the right thing, even if her fight against doping now means a life in exile in germany. >> now, she was murdered by her husband because she no longer wanted to face regular beatings. birgül is her name, and she's one of hundreds of turkish women who are killed each year, many by their husbands and other family members. women's organisations blame the policies of the ruling conservative-islamic akp party for the increase in the violence that they say has become part of women's everyday lives. birgül's family, meanwhile, have been mourning her death for months. >> the pain is still very real. this family is in mourning for birgül. the 35-year-old was murdered in june of 2017 by her husband, who had abused her for years. she'd been afraid to leave him.
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>> birgül always said, what will happen to my children if i leave? they need a father. and if i come to stay with you, it will hurt the whole family. we could never have imagined that it would go as far as this -- her death. >> birgül was married at the age of 20. after the wedding, her husband regularly beat her. even when she was heavily pregnant. her cousin says this went on for 15 years. one night the situation escalated dramatically. her son tells us she left the house in a panic after her husband became violent. >> my father pulled a gun from the cabinet and loaded it. i stood in his way and said, "please, father, don't do this, don't ruin our lives." he hit me and used the weapon to push me aside. the he left the house.
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>> outside, on the streets of an istanbul suburb, he shot and killed his wife. later, he told the police that she had offended his honor. ipek bozkurt is a lawyer representing birgül's family. she says violence against women is on the rise in turkey. >> if a man knows he could get away with killing a woman or hurting a woman, he could get away with getting a very low sentence, it just motivates. gender-based discrimination by itself leads to increase of violence against women. >> this video garnered a lot of attention in the turkish press. a man hits a woman riding the bus because of her outfit, which in his opinion was not modest enough. such incidents are becoming increasingly common in turkey,
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according to these women. which is why they've set up what they're calling a women's parliament. the aim is to provide support and also to draw attention to the growing violence. >> like almost every woman in turkey, i've been harrassed on the way to the bus or the train. the men who do this draw strength from the government, which practically tells them, go ahead, you have a right to do this. >> the organization has called a protest rally in the evening. they're angry about government plans to water down a law that offers women some protection from violence. women here fear that the governing party's focus on religion will come at the cost of women's rights. birgül's cousin sevgi has joined the demonstration. before her cousin was murdered, she probably wouldn't have taken to the streets to make herself heard in this way.
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>> i wish we didn't have a reason to demonstrate. i wish i didn't have to be here today. but our loss is so great, and the trial hasn't even begun. >> birgül's husband is in custody. but six months after the crime, there's been no date set for a trial. turkey's justice system is overwhelmed. her family continues to hope that justice will be served. >> and that justice will surely remain elusive as long as president erdogan continues to insist that equality between men and women is, as he sees it, against creation. more than 50% of all russians, it seems, believe in supernatural powers like black magic and religious miracles.
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what appears to have happened is that magicians, astrologists, and fortune tellers have stepped into the huge spiritual vacuum that followed the collapse of the soviet union. indeed, it's said that russia now has fewer doctors than faith healers. goline atai has been exploring this world of superstition and mysticism. >> the altay mountains -- this is where russia borders mongolia, kazakhstan, and china. it's a destination for generations of pilgrims who come from miles around seeking spiritual guidance. legend has it that this is a place to embark on a path of inner change. >> the locals always say that if you think out loud then your thoughts come true. it is important to remind yourself of that in spiritual places like these. >> those who come here call themselves modern pilgrims. they're interested in yoga, healing rituals, and
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self-discovery. yelena gomayun acts as their spiritual guide. she regularly leads groups of stressed city dwellers to the altay mountains. >> i was here a year ago, and all my wishes were fulfilled. i came to relax, but also to find miracles. >> gomayun directs the visitors to the healing icons of the village monastery. and the confluence of the two rivers is the place to wish for a spouse. >> i think we russians in particular were always on a quest for meaning. that's the way we are. i remember being a small child in the soviet union, and one of my relatives went to a healer. that kind of thing was normal. >> we've come to a village in southwestern russia, to visit
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the home of nadya melgunova. she says women like her used to be burned at the stake. nowadays, doctors refer their patients to her. she's known as the babushka, the village matriach. nadya offers treatments with water, wax, and prayers. but she only treats people who've been baptized. >> there you go. you were really scared. but now the fear has almost gone. everyone comes to me. rich, poor, even healthy people. if people are afraid, i can heal them. i can help fight against the evil eye, sore throats, bad skin, inflammation. lots of things. >> hundreds of kilometers away from nadia's village is another
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place where people arrive from moscow and beyond, hoping for miracles. >> i was diagnosed with cancer. i want to be treated here. maybe i'll be cured. >> to be honest, i came because i was interested in how to deal with my husband's alcohol problems. i think alcohol is the number one problem in russia. >> in the former soviet union, belief in the supernatural was widespread. nina kulagina, who claimed to have psychic powers, conducted psychokinetic experiments in the 1960s under the watchful eye of government intelligence agencies. shortly before the soviet union collapsed, a self-professed psychic named anatoly kashpirovsky appeared on tv to conduct mass faith-healing sessions to millions throughout the soviet bloc.
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and the faith healer juna davitashvili is said to have helped soviet leader leonid brezhnev and later president boris yeltzin. nearly 30 years later, countless healing services are now available online. the patriarch of the russian orthodox church considers president vladimir putin's rise to power a miracle of god. he also foresees an impending apocalypse. it's not unusual for a police officer to ask a priest to bless a location where numerous car accidents have occured. christ has become an antidote for misfortune. sociologists point to depression, anxiety, and a disoriented society as an explanation for the rising belief in the supernatural. >> people have no idea what's going to happen in the near future. they plan their lives from one
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paycheck to the next -- maybe a few months at most. >> back in the altay mountains, yelena gomayun insists healers are more than a rural phenomenon. she says her clients from moscow couldn't get by without people like her. >> my clients work with psychics, energy therapists, fortune tellers, maybe a good psychologist, or me. >> this interest in the supernatural appears to be a step back into the past, as a strategy to cope with an uncertain future. >> and we go to europe's southeast now to albania, which hopes to one day join the european union. and the country's leaders warn that without the support of the eu, many young albanians could turn to radical islam. like the more than 100 young men from just one small area in the
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east of the country who traveled to iraq and syria to fight for islamic state. most were recruited by a group of hate preachers trained in saudi arabia. our team spoke to one of these fanatical jihadists responsible for the radicalization. >> leshnica is a village just like any other here in eastern albania. but with one difference -- dozens of young men left this traditional farming community to go to syria and fight for the so-called islamic state. this woman's son ervis was one of them. her family blames the man who persuaded him to go. >> almir daci called me from syria and told me ervis was killed by a bomb. >> don't mention almir daci's name in this house! he was a criminal and a murderer! >> our son got mixed up in this in tirana.
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>> they destroyed our son. >> they were at a mosque for three or four days, and he became a fanatic. >> ervis went to syria in 2012. a local imam named almir daci persuaded him to go. he recruited young men from the village to join i.s. many of those men died in syria. he was also killed. it was in this mosque that he first preached to the young men. since then, many believe the mosque is cursed. this man tells us the jihadists polluted islam with their propaganda. >> people don't come to the mosque anymore. this is a large mosque, with space for up to a hundred people. even for friday prayers, the most important day, only two or three people come. >> altogether, this area around lake ohrid saw over a hundred young men leave to join islamic state. nine of the self-appointed imams who persuaded them to go are now
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in a high-security prison in fushe kruje. they were convicted of recruiting for a terrorist organization. after months of trying, we're finally able to speak to one of them. he still believes he did the right thing. he only has one regret. >> i made a mistake back then. i should have been the first to go and save our muslim sisters from being raped. but instead, i was busy advising my brothers to go and save the people. that was from 2012 to 2014. back then it wasn't illegal to go to syria -- you could get a flight directly from tirana. >> he and eight other i.s. recruiters went on trial in 2016. altogether they were sentenced to 126 years in prison. of the young albanians that they persuaded to go to syria and iraq, over half are now dead or
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missing. at the local pub in leshnica, the subject of islamic state is taboo. the men get upset when we try to ask questions. they say they have more important things to worry about. >> our biggest problem is that we don't have jobs. >> the local mayor admits the economy is a problem. but he doesn't believe that was what persuaded so many to join i.s. >> they were good young men. we were all shocked when we heard they'd gone to syria. of course it's true that the economic situation is very bad here. but that wasn't just the case for them, but for everyone who lives here. >> one albanian analyst who has studied this phenomenon tells us the young muslims were specifically targeted to be radicalized. he says the trail leads back to saudi arabia and other countries in the region.
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>> so what happened was that most of the imams at the time, they used to pursue their studies in those countries, and they came back not with an albanian, old, traditional islamic point of view, but they came back with a new political religious ideology. >> for the farmers of leshnica, it's had devastating consequences. not only are they mourning their dead, they still live in fear of the radical imams now in prison. they say they're continuing to sow hatred in albania, even from behind bars. >> dogs are great. i love them. there is though one little problem, though -- the dog poo that dirties pavements, pathways, and parks in many european towns and cities. but now the spanish city of malaga has introduced a scheme that uses a doggie dna database to crack down on dog owners who don't remove their pet's canine
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excrement. is it working? let's find out. >> these dog owners have no idea that they're about to get a visit from the police. environmental officers are carrying out a new and previously unheard-of task -- to make sure all these dogs have been dna-tested. >> from january 15, there's been a fine. right now we are just passing on the information. but next time it'll be an actual fine. >> let's say terrier jacky deposited one of these on the ground. how can you know who it was? in parks and residential areas, there are untold numbers of unpleasant surprises like this. but not any longer. owners who fail to scoop the poop will now face a 500-euro fine. and that's reasonable, say many malaga residents. >> i agree with it. the fines have to be a deterrent so the owners clean up the poo. the fines have to be really
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high. >> dna testing of dog poo to find the owners who are flouting the law -- that's what the malaga city council decided a year and a half ago. councilors are pleased that the project is now finally getting off the ground. >> there's broad consensus on this course of action within local government. >> the city gave the green light to the ambitious project, one that's never been implemented on such a large scale in europe. but how do all the dogs get registered? veterinarian emilio takes blood samples and sends them off for testing. the dogs get a tag on their collar, so the police know that they've had their dna samples collected.
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>> in this way, you can register all the dogs in the city. >> but the reality is a little different. for the authorities, the likelihood of catching anyone in the act is still quite low. only around 20,000 dogs out of a population of 100,000 in malaga have had their dna registered. and it seems likely that it's the law-abiding owners, the ones who are more likely to clean up anyway, and not the miscreants, who take their dogs in for testing. most of the fecal samples that end up in the lab come from unregistered dogs. rafael had his mixed-breed dog's dna registered. but he says with the new regime in place, he's feeling the pressure.
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>> 500 euros for a repeat offender seems reasonable. but for the first offense? what if you always do the right thing, but then it just happens that you forget to bring a plastic bag? >> and what about dogs belonging to tourists? there'll be no fine for them and no tests. still, the city sees itself as a trailblazer. so clean up after your dog, or there'll be a high price to pay. >> and with that sniffy story, that's all for today. if you'd like to see any of our reports again, just visit our home page at dw.com or our facebook page, dw stories. but until next time, it's bye-bye and tschüss! [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
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steves: the dramatic rock of cashel is one of ireland's most evocative sites. this was the seat of ancient irish kings for seven centuries.
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st. patrick baptized king aengus here in about 450 a.d. in around 1100, an irish king gave cashel to the church, and it grew to become the ecclesiastical capital of all ireland. 800 years ago, this monastic community was just a chapel and a round tower standing high on this bluff. it looked out then, as it does today, over the plain of tipperary, called the golden vale because its rich soil makes it ireland's best farmland. on this historic rock, you stroll among these ruins in the footsteps of st. patrick, and wandering through my favorite celtic cross graveyard, i feel the soul of ireland.
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