tv Focus on Europe PBS March 3, 2018 6:00pm-6:31pm PST
>> hello, and welcome to "focus on europe." i'm michelle henery. all of europe is watching pyeongchang as athletes gather from all over the world to compete in the 2018 olympic games. all, perhaps, except for many russians who refuse to watch in protest at their team being banned because of doping practices. some russian athletes with a clean track record are allowed to take part under the olympic flag. but many people in russia are outraged. here in moscow, they are demonstrating against the decision. some athletes prepare their entire lives for the olympics. so it comes as no surprise that some of russia's top competitors were left frustrated and angry by being excluded. while many critics hoped the ban would force the country to
tackle the doping issue, people across russia complain that this is all part of a conspiracy against their country, a feeling shared by some of the suspended athletes. >> it was an unexpected blow for ivan bukin, but being barred from the olympics hasn't stopped him from training. he and his partner alexandra stepanova have been skating together since they were children, and working towards their first olympic games for eight years. but the international olympic committee hasn't invited the 24-year-old to pyeongchang. it considers russian athletes guilty until proven innocent, and suspects ivan of doping, which he denies. >> they say you aren't invited, but they haven't told us the reason. it seems they suspect us of something, but they haven't told us of what.
and i think they have to tell us. how can you accuse someone of something and not say what it is? >> not inviting athletes for no reason -- it's so strange. it's like we haven't been invited to a birthday party. but this is the olympics. >> among the athletes, the russian olympic ban clearly remains a hot topic. ivan's appeal against the decision to bar him was just rejected. he is one of over 100 athletes who aren't on the list. in russia, their situation is seen as political. at a concert called "russia in my heart" in moscow, the doping scandal is portrayed as part of an anti-russian campaign. world war ii, sanctions, and now the olympic games -- we are strong, no matter what hits us -- that's the message here. the olympic biathlete anton shipulin is one of the guests. he was also barred from
competing in pyeongchang. >> all our strongest athletes weren't invited to the olympics. this is unprecedented. >> raising the national colors here isn't much of a consolation for shipulin. his fellow athletes in south korea have to make do with a neutral flag. the russian athletes in pyeonchang are officially competing as individual "olympic athletes from russia," not as the russian team. still, their entrance for the opening ceremony has drawn a bit of an audience to this sports bar. most of those watching are angry about how the olympic committee has treated their athletes. >> politics shouldn't be mixed up with the olympics. it's a peaceful event based on friendship between nations. >> we should have taken part with our national flag and uniform at any cost. we should have ignored all the sanctions against us and not been afraid of anything. >> dmitry navosha, the head of a well-known sports site, thinks
the doping scandal has taken on a dangerous political slant in russia. and he blames the government for not trying to solve the problem. >> in russia, doping isn't seen as a problem that has anything to do with sports or as a violation that needs to be punished. instead, it is seen as the next phase of a new cold war. and that's bad because it means doping can't be discussed in a reasonable way. the attitude towards doping is seriously problematic here. it isn't a taboo in russia, it's seen as a tactical maneuver. >> doping is supposed to make athletes faster and stronger. ivan argues that's why it they wouldn't help in his discipline anyway. he says ice skating is about coordination and grace elegance. >> i can't speak for anyone else. but i can vouch for myself and say that i am clean and that i have never taken anything in my life. >> instead of fighting for medals at the olympic games,
ivan and alexandra can only look back at their last big performance at the european championships a few weeks ago. at the time, they didn't know they wouldn't be at the olympics, and they won a bronze medal in the ice dancing discipline. >> when i wasn't invited, it was really hard for us for a few days, but then things got easier. and now we understand that life has to go on. we have to think of our next goal. >> one of those goals will be the next olympic games in four years. and they'll be ready for a fair fight for medals -- without doping, they say. >> an open and borderless europe has brought prosperity and opportunity for many. but there are those who take advantage of this and make their fortune from crime. german police are trying to crack down on a family clan based in croatia that is said to
be responsible for thousands of burglaries throughout europe, including here in germany. but while the alleged criminals can travel freely between eu countries, the arm of the law all too often ends at national borders. >> the trail goes cold in bjelovar in northern croatia. according to investigators, members of a local family-clan of burglars are behind thousands of break-ins in germany. reporters aren't welcome here. this house is a focus of the investigation. the cars outside are expensive and have german license plates. >> can i talk to you for a minute? >> put the camera away! >> can you tell us what you know about burglaries in germany? >> speak croatian! just you wait! >> we're ambushed, our camera team attacked with tomatoes.
for months, reporters with german tv have been researching one of the biggest burglary gangs in german criminal history. a gang that operates throughout europe. it's believed to be reponsible for one fifth of break-ins in germany. >> 500, maybe even 1000 break-ins, by just this one part of the gang. >> the perpetrators have made off with stolen goods worth millions and flaunt their spoils on social media. their victims are traumatised. >> it's an invasion of your privacy. to me, that's the worst. >> the investigation carried out by munich police resulted in multiple arrests. but hundreds of other members of
the gang remain at large. the first breakthrough in the investigation came unexpectedly. in the district of lehel in munich, plainclothes police officers observed three young women behaving suspiciously. erika d., romina d., and anita m. attracted attention when they entered this house. when they left it a short while later, they were stopped and searched by police. the police found classic burglar tools sewn into their clothes. further questioning by special investigators revealed links to organized gangs. in bavaria and across germany, solve rates for break-ins are low. but police hoped that this case would prove different. >> once we arrested the women who carried out this break-in, we wanted to find out who was behind it, who's pulling the strings, whether it's a major network. that was the first step.
>> the police uncovered a clan of roughly 500 members, active across europe and based in croatia. police believe it could be behind thousands of break-ins, stretching over several years. >> what you can see here is just a part of the wider clan. but that's the part we're focused on. as you can see, they're all related. they're all members of the same family -- none from the outside, nothing external. >> investigators have one woman in particular in their crosshairs. biserca v. the police refer to her as the princess. zagreb, the croatian capital. home to the woman police believe is the most skilled burglar of them all. biserca apaprently lives here, with other members of the clan, in the suburb of sesswette. we ring the doorbell.
>> does biserca live here? >> yes, but she's not here right now. >> will should be away for long? -- she be away for long? >> i think she's gone to the coast. >> a man appears. giacomo v. is the princess's brother. he's known to police as a suspect in eight burglary cases in hessen. >> from germany, the german cops think that you're responsible for many crimes in germany. >> no comment. >> she's supposed to be the best. is she the best? >> what's that supposed to mean? there's no one here. >> she's supposed to be very good at breaking into houses. >> i'm not saying anything. we're not going to comment.
>> hasta la vista. >> how come so many suspected criminals are at large in croatia? even within the eu, investigations across borders are complex. on home turf, the clan keeps a low profile, according to a local policeman who wants to remain anonymous. >> in all honesty, i see these houses, i see what's happening. but unless a crime is committed in croatia, there's nothing i can do. i can only have someone put under observation if i have a suspicion that they're perpetrating crimes. >> working in collaboration with german authorities, croatian police have seized a haul of suspected stolen goods. two investigators from munich are here to collect it. >> we've got a cartier watch that's worth a lot.
lots of jewelry and art objects. we've got our work cut out for us. >> this haul could be used as evidence in germany. four leading members of the clan are about to go on trial in munich. the authorities haven't cracked the gang yet. but they're getting there. >> while criminals from croatia are taking advantage of open borders, so, it seems, is a highly contagious pig disease. germany is known for its beer, football, and its love of pork. after all, the country gave the world the ubiquitous hot dog. but now pig farmers are on high alert for african swine fever. it is spreading westward across europe with new cases already in neighboring poland. without an available vaccine, hunters are now actively culling wild boars to stop the spread. no pigs in germany have yet been infected, but farmers worry the
disease could still prove fatal for their industry. >> his finger's on the trigger, he's ready to take aim. but this hunter isn't interested in deer. jan nehring's target is wild boar. one down. hopefully, many more to go. hunting season is officially over. but since the outbreak of swine fever in eastern europe, fear is growing that the disease will soon reach germany, too. some 50 hunters are tracking wild boar hoping that a cull will keep the disease at bay. satisfied? >> no, that wasn't a great shot. the conditions aren't great. i shot a boar that had already been shot, but a bit too low
down. i took aim through the branches in the hope i'd hit it. >> most of the huntsmen tracking wild boar here in mecklenburg have hit their target. they get 25 euros per hog, thanks to a regional incentive introduced to protect domestic pigs. for now they're still healthy, but african swine fever is threatening to creep into germany. andreas kühling and his brothers keep around 10,000 pigs in a farm that's just 60 kilometers from poland, where there have already been a few hundred cases of swine fever. it's not dangerous to humans, but the kühlings are worried that business will take a hit.
>> at this point no one can really tell how our partners in the pork industry will react, if they'll still buy healthy meat even though it comes from a region where there's swine fever. >> of course we're nervous. personally, i think it's only a matter of time before african swine fever reaches germany. it's just a matter of when, and how severe the outbreak is. >> but how would swine fever reach germany? infected wild polish boars will hardly cross the river oder. in fact, it's humans that play a major role in the spread of the disease. motorists from eastern europe could unwittingly bring it into the country. a half-eaten sausage sandwich tossed out of a car window and eaten by a wild boar could be all it takes. >> the likelihood of the didease reaching germany is very high.
but the fewer wild boar there are, the less likely it is the disease will spread. as hunters, we have a responsibility to farmers and to society. >> the german farmers' association has called an emergency meeting. the kühlings are attending. according to conservationists, the expansion of corn production has boosted wild boar populations, increasing the risk of swine fever. the association president rejects the accusation. >> it's not just corn production, and this needs to be filled out -- spelled out, but a large number of conservation measures too that help wild boar feel at home here. >> the farmers' association has called for a 70% cull of the country's wild boar population. here in mecklenburg, the 41 hogs shot today were all healthy. >> we are hopefully helping ensure that the disease doesn't spread as fast as it would if we did nothing.
but can it be stopped? >> we can only speculate. >> we won't be able to prevent swine fever. >> that's not very encouraging. >> we still have to take measures, for the sake of our >> jan nehring and his fellow huntsmen will do what they can to stop african swine fever spread ing westwards. reducing boar populations might help contain that spread, but it won't prevent it. >> a decade ago, the republic of kosovo declared its independence from serbia after a bloody war - leaving ethnic albanians and serbs trying to figure out how to live side by side. despite this, the eu hoped that by proceeding with the accession of both serbia and kosovo, all of this would change. but the recent murder of prominent kosovo serb politician oliver ivanovic in the city of mitrovica has been a setback for these hopes. our reporter went to mitrovica to see how the people there live with a tense peace.
>> the bridge over the river ibar in the kosovo city of mitrovica is supposed to connect the albanian-dominated south, and the serbian north of town. but 10 years after kosovo became independent, the bridge has not helped bring both sides together. an eu-funded construction project for a meeting point on the bridge has stalled. one year ago, the serbian side even erected a barricade in protest. which later was removed again. and so far, a eu-funded roundabout is only finished on the albanian side. ardita hajra is an albanian student. she grew up amid the mitrovica conflict. she was 10 when kosovo became independent from serbia. >> until i was 18 to 19 years, something like that, i didn't cross the bridge.
>> currently, only albanians use the bridge, stolling along it in an apparent display of normalcy. in the background, serbian flags mark the northern part of town. none of the serbs ever rest on the benches atop the bridge. >> it is not normal, if it would be normal, it wouldn't be divided ethnically by a bridge. bridges are used to connect people, not to divide them. >> ardita says she now does her shopping in the northern, serbian part of the city. but she says many older albanains are still too scared to venture there. >> see now these two men, they are walking towards the right side. >> on the right side. probably they live in that bosnian neighborhood. but they quickly turn around. >> they dont feel secure to cross the bridge. >> ardita asks them why they turned back.
>> some people are still scared, they don't want go there. it would be good if everybody went everywhere, regardless what -- of their nationality. >> 20 years have passed since the kosovo war that pitted serbs and albanians against each other. and 10 since albanian-dominated kosovo became independent. but kosovar society remains deeply divided. >> it's a fake idea that we have been grown up with, and that's how we -- by lying to others we lie to ourselves, and that's how we keep telling ourselves that it is not divided city. >> the serbian-dominated norther part of mitrovica. these serbian flags were put up by the north's mayor. he follows the party line of neighboring serbia. but attempts have been made to try to bring both sides together. he wanted to bridge the divide -- oliver ivanovic, a moderate nationalistic politician of the
kosovo serbs. then, in late january, he was killed in front of his party offices in a drive-by shooting. the suspected perpetrators -- serbian criminals, nationalists, or both. the assassination came as a shock to milos golubovic, a social worker trying to bring young serbs and albanians together. >> mitrovica is not a safe place. there is lots of incidents. the problem with the courts is a big issue because they are not processing cases. >> the judiciary stopped working years ago. the murder of moderate serb ivanovic occurred in a de facto legal vacuum. >> you know, the impression in people is that if he can be killed, like, then i, ordinary citizen, what can i expect? >> in the northern half of mitrovica, there's a pervasive feeling of insecurity and fear of crime.
the police are passive. most cars don't even have number plates -- serbian nationalists don't recognize license plates issued by the independent kosovo state. >> they allow people to let them drive without license plates. >> most shops in the north still work with serbia's currency dinar, although kosovo's official currency is the euro. after the kosovo war ended, milos golubovic studied in the northern part of mitrovica. he saw his future there. >> before, i would say that i'm 100% sure that i would stay here but now, i'm not so sure. >> many on the albanian side of town think like him. half of all albanians in kosovo today are younger than 30. just like ardita hajra. she's preparing for her final university exams. and then she wants to enrol in a
masters program, somewhere outside kosovo. >> a bridge normally brings people together, but here it tears them apart. one of my first memories of traveling through france was visiting some of the country's stunning chateaus or castles in the countryside. aside from the famous ones like their site -- versailles or chantilly, there are thousands across france from tiny estates to elaborate palaces. but many of them are in danger of decaying beyond repair. so a frenchman devised a solution -- that is, if you fancy owning a piece of history. >> it's like a castle straight of a fairy tale -- surrounded by turrets and a moat, yet partially reclaimed by nature. the château de la mothe-chandeniers dates back to the 13th century. pillaged during the french revolution, it underwent a major reconstruction in the 1800s.
gutted by fire in 1932, the chateau's fallen into disrepair as its owner lacks the funds to restore it. but now help is at hand, thanks to crowdfunding. for just 50 euros, anyone can become the proud owner of a castle, though just one of many owners. like la mothe-chandeniers, many french chateaus are just waiting to be rescued. julien marquis heads the adopt a chateau association. here he's speaking to a woman who lives near the château de la mothe-chandeniers. he's hoping to win her over to the idea of restoring the property, and she's very receptive. >> i have a relationship with this ruin. it's a living ruin, with a soul that lives through the changing seasons. >> julien marquis has made it his goal to save as many such
ruins as possible. his association estimates that some 600 of france's more than 30,000 chateaux are endangered. >> in a decade, it will be ten times as many. the danger is great, because no one's considering how to maintain or reutilize them. >> that very day, the chateau's neighbor becomes a prospective owner. soon afterwards, the 500,000-euros target is reached. in the end, over 1.6 million euros comes together. the château de la mothe-chandeniers has been saved. and its more than 18,000 new owners can all feel like they're the king of the castle. >> that's all for today. thank you for watching. see you next time.
that come with being a pilgrim. just 5 miles before the spanish border stands the french basque town of st. jean-pied-de-port. traditionally, santiago-bound pilgrims would gather here to cross the pyrenees and continue their march through spain. visitors to this popular town are a mix of tourists and pilgrims. at the camino office, pilgrims check in before their long journey to santiago. they pick up a kind of pilgrim's passport. they'll get it stamped at each stop to prove they walked the whole way and earned their compostela certificate. walking the entire 500-mile-long route that's about 15 miles a day, with an occasional day of rest. the route is well-marked with yellow arrows and scallop shells. the scallop shell is the symbol of both st. james and the camino. common on the galician coast, the shells were worn by medieval pilgrims as a badge of honor to prove they made it.
the traditional gear has barely changed -- a gourd for drinking water, just the right walking stick, and a scallop shell dangling from each backpack. the slow pace and need for frequent rest breaks provide plenty of opportunity for reflection, religious and otherwise. for some, leaving behind a stone symbolizes unloading a personal burden. the first person to make this journey was st. james himself. after the death and resurrection of christ, the apostles traveled far and wide to spread the christian message. supposedly, st. james went on a missionary trip from the holy land all the way to this remote corner of northwest spain. according to legend, in the year 813, st. james' remains were discovered in the town that would soon bear his name. people began walking there to pay homage to his relics. after a 12th-century pope decreed that the pilgrimage
could earn forgiveness for your sins, the popularity of the camino de santiago soared. the camino also served a political purpose. it's no coincidence that the discovery of st. james' remains happened when muslim moors controlled most of spain. the whole phenomenon of the camino helped fuel the european passion to retake spain and push the moors back into africa. but by about 1500, with the dawn of the renaissance and the reformation, interest in the camino died almost completely. then, in the 1960s, a handful of priests re-established the tradition. the route has since enjoyed a huge resurgence, with 100,000 pilgrims trekking the santiago each year.