tv Focus on Europe PBS April 7, 2018 6:00pm-6:31pm PDT
♪ michelle: welcome to fokus on europe. i'm michelle henery. thanks for joining us. after defecting to the west, a former russian double agent is found poisoned on a park bench in england. this isn't the plot to a spy movie, nor is it tale from the cold war. this attack happened in modern day britain, and the government is convinced that the kremlin is behind it. in the city of salisbury in southern england, the former russian spy sergei skripal, seen here shortly before the assault, and his daughter were found unconcious after being exposed to the deadly nerve agent novichok. both are now fighting for their lives. just a few days later, another russian in exile fell victim to
a suspicious attack, nikolai glushkov, a businessman wanted in russia on fraud allegations, was found strangled in his home in london. these attacks are both a chilling echo of the murder of alexander litvinenko in 2006. the russian spy was considered a traitor. after settling with his family in britain, he too was poisoned. our reporter met with his widow who talked about how other exiled russians now fear for their safety. reporter: it's a difficult time to be a russian exile in london. marina litvinenko is a critic of the kremlin. her husband, alexander, was killed in london by russian agents, and now another friend of hers has been murdered. marina: nikolay glushkov is a person who i knew very well. and i just, can't just believe who wanted his death and why he was killed. reporter: nikolay glushkov was a
russian businessman who'd fallen out with the kremlin. now, police are investigating who killed him in his house in south london. litvinenko shows us a list on the website of the russian embassy in london. the kremlin had accused glushkov of fraud and wanted him to be tried in russia. marina: they gave a list, names of people who they want to be extradited. on this list is name of nikolay glushkov. it's bla, all this what we saw in russian websites, it looks like a hit list. reporter: litvinenko's own husband, a former spy who turned against the kremlin, fled to britain with his family. in london, he was poisoned with radioactive polonium. a later inquiry ruled that president putin probably approved his assasination. marina: it was a message very serious that russia stayed behind of this crime. i don't like that we need to
wait for another death to understand what we have to do. reporter: alexander litvinenko's widow is now meeting with british politicians. she wants the u.k. to take a tougher stance against russia. the chair of the all-party parliamentary russia group, mp chris bryant, is on her side. he has himself been the target of attacks by the russian ambassador in london. chris: he has tried to get the speaker to stop debates on russian affairs. he's tried to interfere in the internal elections at the house of commons. he's tried to get me removed as chair of the all party russia group because i'm gay. it's a very odd way of doing diplomacy. reporter: the new attacks make many in london's russian community in mayfair uneasy. alexander litvinenko was poisoned here. another putin critic, yevgeny chichvarkin, has set up a luxury wineshop here. yevgeny: nothing will stop to kill next person. the secret service has killed a few people.
and the idea that people who live here have to be live in fear. shut mouth up forever. reporter: together with politicians like chris bryant, marina litvinenko is lobbying for tougher sanctions against russia. such as personal sanctions, like visa restrictions, against putin's entourage. marina: we need to show to people who take money from russia state, from ordinary russian, and bring this to the u.k., enjoying this luxury lifestyle. and most of them they are , members of very close circle of mr. putin. this need to be restricted. chris: the whole of europe and nato needs to take a very clear, long, steady look at how the russian state is trying to eat
away at the soft underbelly of the liberal democracies of the west. it's trying to turn what is good about our countries, in britain and in germany, against ourselves, because we do believe in fair play and the rule of law. reporter: for marina litvinenko, it's about continuing her husband's fight, against dirty money being brought to the u.k., and against corruption in russia, which she feels is behind the murders in london's streets. michelle: turkey's conflict with kurdish nationalists is at boiling point. in afrin, a kurdish majority city in syria, an ongoing turkish military operation to gain control over the area has angered many kurds. and that anger is spilling over into germany. people of kurdish origin here say they feel let down by the lack of response from europe. now tension between the two communities is escalating. reporter: every day more images of carnage and bloodshed in
afrin, syria, appear on can sivas' computer in berlin. he's dedicated himself to the struggle for the independence of his kurdish people. he can barely control his outrage. can: how would you feel, if you saw people injured like this? and it just keeps going on? and especially when you realize it's being done with arms from germany? i'm completely disappointed, i really am. reporter: germany's kurdish minority are taking action, not always peacefully, german authorities suspect, and not just in the berlin office of the nav-dem, which has ties to the pkk. the kurdistan workers' party is banned in germany. investigators are following up indications that the kurds might be behind a series of attacks on businesses and facilities. sivas blames the turkish-dominated mosques for the tense atmosphere. can: every week, they reach tens of thousands if not hundreds of
thousands of people in the sermons. things like that can ruin our democratic co-existence here and have very direct consequences for us activists. it can be personal threats, or just an odd atmosphere, or personal animosity. reporter: one such mosque, or what's left of it, stands just a few hundred meters away in berlin's reinickendorf district. in early march, it was destroyed in an arson attack. it had been run by the turkish ditib organization, a branch of the religious affairs presidency in ankara. the head of the youth league at the mosque would rather not say who he suspects was behind the attack. bilal: they wanted to stir up hatred. but we won't be provoked, as you can see by the posters. we won't fight hate with hate. hate can only be defeated with love. reporter: friday prayers are held on the street in front of the burnt-out mosque in frosty temperatures.
there's talk of love and understanding. but worshippers in ditib mosques have also prayed for victory for the turkish military in northern syria. representatives of turkey's governing party don't see anything wrong with that. in spite of the appeals for peace and understanding young , turks in germany are increasingly calling for retribution. >> in case we caught one of them red-handed, why not? reporter: there could be trouble? >> then, of course, there could be trouble. reporter: german authorities hope to prevent trouble between the two fronts by posting more police in front of turkish institutions. the berlin neighbors are worried. >> to have them fight it out in germany is just not right. and this whole gathering is all out of proportion. if something had happened in a church, you certainly wouldn't see such a crowd here. reporter: the police are also out in force for the main event
celebrating the kurdish new year in hanover. emblems of the banned pkk keep turning up, so the police threaten to close down the event. ♪ reporter: tensions are rising. can sivas, from berlin, follows the event from inside the organizers' sound truck. he sees the ban of the pkk as kowtowing to the turkish government. at the same time, he can't accept pkk-linked websites calling for attacks on turkish facilities and even offices of germany's governing parties. but he does see germany as an ally of the kurds' turkish enemies. can: we're getting a lot of sympathy, but the state and government are pursuing the wrong policies. and we oppose that, just like we oppose the turkish state and government but not the turks themselves. reporter: while the german government tries to appease
ankara, the rage among kurds like can sivas is growing, as is the danger of more violence between kurds and turks in germany's streets. michelle: imagine discovering that you lost your job by finding someone else sitting at your desk. that's exactly what happened to one of poland's most famous tv personalities. she was known for being impartial, objective and critical in her reporting, values that many say upset the ruling law and justice party. as poland's government seeks to gain more control over the media, journalists like beata tadla are coming under increasing pressure. reporter: journalist and presenter beata tadla is getting ready for an appearance on private broadcaster nowa-tv. she was once among the most recognizable faces on the public channel tvp. but then, the broadcaster came under the control of the right wing, conservative government. beata had pictured her future differently.
beata: i came to work in the newsroom, but sitting at my computer was somebody else who was supposed to go on air for me. the director said he liked and valued me, but unfortunately, i didn't fit into the new concept. reporter: the new concept was largely the government line. from one moment to the next, she will and over 200 coworkers had been replaced by broadcast journalists close to the ruling party. the government labeled the measure the minor media bill. beata: it was a very touching moment for me to see all the people take to the streets in protest against it. to know that people didn't want propaganda, and they knew very well that this bill would make polish television the mouthpiece of the government. reporter: a new director general loyal to the governing party was appointed for tvp. since then, the broadcast
schedule has undergone major changes. the news reporting reflects state interests, pointing out him that the party had kept its word on building new roads, while frequently criticizing the european union and germany. jan ordynski's a former tvp journalist. as the head of a journalists' association, he's been watching the restructuring of the nation's media with some concern. jan: the aim is absolute control of the mass media. the standardization of news reporting, of the kind the government wants to see. reporter: there's another association of journalists closer to the government. they describe the changes at tvp as an almost natural process. krzysztof: the public media have indeed changed radically. now, there's a kind of media balance in poland. the private media tend to follow the opposition, and the public media stay closer to the government camp.
♪ reporter: private broadcaster tvn has been questioning the government's political motives, and feeling the consequences in the form of demands for back taxes, and steep penalties for allegedly illicit reporting on a demonstration. the broadcaster is owned by an american investment group. under pressure from the united states, the charges were dropped. oppositional newspapers have not been spared. the gazeta wyborcza was born in the solidarity union movement of the 1990's. the government keeps a close and suspicious eye on its editorials. now, its economic basis is coming under attack. editor-in-chief jaroslaw kurski looks over the articles for the next edition. one deals with the power of the state security services. the paper has already had a response to its criticism.
jaroslaw: they won't let us run advertizing any more. we're having problems with circulation, because we can't sell at the state airports or filling stations any more. and the state agencies have canceled their subscriptions. reporter: there were even plans to break up the entire publishing group, on the pretext that papers, internet and video portals should no longer run under the same corporate umbrella. but, with right wing, conservative media using these very same structures, this attempt has been nipped in the bud. what remains is an initiative to limit foreign ownership to 15 %. beata tadla's current employer broadcasts a mix of politics, local content, and entertainment. and it serves as a refuge for her and other coworkers coming from the public tvp. beata: it's too bad it happened like this. i wouldn't call the current staff at tvp journalists any more. journalism is supposed to describe the world and tell us
how it really is. but they only repeat the party line. reporter: not all the workers fired from tvp were lucky enough to find other jobs in journalism. some gave up and went into other professions. times are very hard right now for journalists in poland. michelle: having a holiday home on a beautiful island is a dream for many people. but for some owners in majorca, it's become a nightmare. squatters are blighting the balearic island, and getting them out is often slow and costly. squatting has become more common in spain since the financial crisis, due to the rise in poverty. but some of the so-called okupas in majorca are simply doing it not out of desperate need, but because they can. ♪ reporter: normally anyone with a holiday home on the balearic island of majorca is the envy of their friends. but many of these owners are
currently faced with an unenviable problem, squatters, known here as okupas. it's police officer carlos orozco's job to track them down. here he's checking on a community north of the capital, palma. carlos: this is a newer housing development, comprised of detached or semi-detached homes. this one here, number 24, is a squatted house. you can see, it's a large, single family home. reporter: most of the squatters are gitanos, as spain's romani people are called. carlos: they either climb over the gate or break it down. here they've removed the lock. they do the same with the entrance doors. then they install new locks so no one else can break in. they rip out electricity and water meters, then tap into these utilities illegally. reporter: if okupas aren't driven off the property within
the first 48 hours, it's hard for officials to have them removed. sonja: the spanish constitution says every spaniard has the right to a decent home. clearly that stands in direct contradiction to the ownership rights of those affected. but the police aren't free to make the decision about whether the person inside the home has the right to be there or not. that's the job of the justice system. reporter: this property in playa de palma belongs to frank zingelmann from hamburg. but the last time he came to majorca, there was a nasty surprise awaiting him. frank: when i arrived, i was a little surprised to see what looked like a mattress lying in my courtyard. at first i thought maybe a homeless person had climbed over the wall. once i'd opened the entrance gate, three dogs came running at me, forcing me to get back into my car. then i called the police.
reporter: meanwhile, the home invaders are sitting at his kitchen table, sleeping in his beds, and selling off his possessions, like his tv. frank: i have no idea what it is like inside now or whether anything's still there. reporter: we try to find out. >> why are you occupying this house? >> it belongs to my aunt. reporter: how many of you are there? >> just my aunt and her daughter. reporter: and that's all? do you know that this house belongs to a german man? and then the situation escalates. >> clear out or i'll call the cops. delete everything and turn the camera off. delete that, you can't film me. >> get out. scram. or you'll get a punch in the face. put that down.
reporter: meanwhile, officer orozco has received another tip. this house is still being squatted, but its occupants will be evicted soon. jose: would you want to come in? carlos: how long have you lived here? jose: we've been here for around six months. the eviction order came, but we haven't left because we have nowhere to go. i don't have a job. i live from selling scrap metal, and more or less whatever comes. reporter: jose's son eduardo is 17 and lives the life of a vagabond at other people's expense. but he wants to change that. eduardo: i quit school. but now i want to look for job training, so i can get work eventually. reporter: living on the margins of society, they take what they
can get. jose: it'd be worse if i had to sleep in a car or under a bridge. that's why i squat houses. it's more humane. that's the way i see it. reporter: but few owners of squatted homes are likely to share his point of view. michelle: the spanish parliament are working on a law to implement fast-track trials for squatting and apply stiffer penalties. when i lived in paris, friends and i would spend evenings doing what the french are known for, whiling away countless hours over a leisurely meal in a bistro, all in the name of la belle vie. but of course this was before the advent of smoking bans and smart phones when not all communication could be done virtually. nowadays, the traditional french bistro is slowly dying. but the mayor of a small village
in champagne is fighting to keep them alive. ♪ reporter: the small town of bar-sur-aube, in the champagne region of northeastern france, was once home to 22 bistros. today just six remain. for mayor philippe borde, part of the french way of life is disappearing with the bistros. so to make sure the remaining establishments survive, he's doing all he can to help their owners. philippe: hi rudy, how are you? >> next year you're getting a really big terrace. reporter: the cafe du palais closed two years ago. now the mayor has purchased the business with the town's money. he plans to reopen it, otherwise its liquor licence will be lost for good. philippe: personally i think
it's important to save this tradition, because the bistro is a meeting place. historically in france the bistro is a place to meet after work or on weekends. reporter: the mayor's remarks reflect the sentiments of many residents of the town especially , the older ones who've already lost their favorite haunts. >> there was once a bar here and the cafe du commerce. it was really nice, but it closed. now it's an optical glasses bar, but that's something else entirely. i'm disappointed 'cause it was a really nice place. reporter: but things have changed in bar-sur-aube. bistro owner bruno lorillere and his daughter nina say that people aren't as spontaneous as they used to be, and they fail to appreciate the nicer things in life.
bruno: the nicest things in life are unexpected. you meet someone in the bistro, have a drink, and leave only three hours later. that's the unexpected side of life. reporter: the town's mayor is pinning his hopes on the younger generation. he likes the concept proposed by mathieu urbain. the 23-year-old wants to open a champagne bar here, in the heart of the champagne region. he aims to attract tourists and locals alike. mathieu: a champagne bar, that's something people here haven't seen before. you've got to make people want to see what's going on inside and to give them the desire to come back again. when they walk in the door, they should say, wow. reporter: but bruno lorillere, who's tried just about everything to draw more guests
to his establishment, has his doubts about that idea. bruno: we're a town in the champagne region. you can find champagne in every cellar, see it everywhere. it's not like opening a bar in a place without champagne. reporter: the town's mayor says the bistro experience is about philippe: when we go on holiday, what do we do in the evenings? we go out to the village square to be among people, not sit all alone in our little hotel room every night. reporter: so it'd be nice if people did that a bit more often in bar-sur-aube. because without its bistros, france would lose much of its savoir-vivre. michelle: it would be hard to imagine france without bistros. let's hope that day never comes. if you would like to find out more about any of today's stories, visit our facebook