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tv   PBS News Hour Weekend  PBS  December 17, 2016 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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captioning sponsored by wnet >> stewart: on this edition for saturday, december 17: president-elect donald trump names his budget director and wraps up his post election tour; syrian civilians struggle to escape aleppo; and, in our signature segment, a surge of american tourists to cuba and the scramble to accommodate them. >> reporter: how busy are you? >> we are full almost the whole year/ >> reporter: so you get financial security? >> yes. i'm also learning how to be a businesswoman. >> stewart: next on pbs newshour weekend. >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: bernard and irene schwartz. judy and josh weston. the cheryl and philip milstein family. the john and helen glessner family trust-- supporting
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trustworthy journalism that informs and inspires. sue and edgar wachenheim, iii. barbara hope zuckerberg. corporate funding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we're your retirement company. additional support has been provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting, and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. from the tisch wnet studios at lincoln center in new york, alison stewart. >> stewart: good evening, and thanks for joining us. today, president-elect donald trump finished his so-called" thank you" tour of some of the 30 states he carried in last month's election to win his electoral college majority. this afternoon, he appeared in mobile, alabama, a state where he won 63% of the vote. last night, mr. trump told a crowd of 11,000 supporters in
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orlando, florida, as commander- in-chief, he'll deploy the u.s. military sparingly, though not when it comes to the islamic state in iraq and syria, or isis. >> for too long, we've been moving from one reckless intervention to another, countries that most of you've never even heard of before. it's crazy, and it's going to stop. a trump administration will focus on the vital national security interests of the united states, and that means crushing isis rapidly and defeating radical islamic terrorism. >> stewart: today, mr. trump announced his pick for federal budget director: republican congressman mick mulvaney of south carolina. an ally of house speaker paul ryan, mulvaney has served in the house since being elected as part of the tea party wave in 2010. he advocates deep spending cuts
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and was willing to shut down the government over raising the nation's debt ceiling. president-elect trump calls china's confiscation of an american underwater drone in the south china sea two days ago" unpresidented." he said on twitter today: "china steals united states navy research drone in international waters, rips it out of water and takes it to china." later, china said it will return the drone its navy seized 50 miles northwest of the philippines' subic bay, where the u.s. once had a military base. the pentagon says the return results from "direct engagemen"" with beijing. the u.s. says the drone was conducting research into the salinity, temperature and clarity of the sea. china opposes the surveys. it's been building runways and installing military equipment on islands there. filipino president rodrigo duterte is threatening to terminate an agreement that allows u.s. troops to conduct military exercises in the philippines. this was in response to the deferral of an american aid pact due to concerns over duterte's extrajudicial killings of several thousand drug suspects. duterte also told reporters today his country did not need
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the aid and that china might provide it instead. >> we can survive without american money, but, you know, america, you might also be put to notice. prepare to leave the philippines. >> stewart: in syria, the evacuation of civilians from the besieged city of aleppo was meant to resume today. there are as many as 4,000 people from two villages, in the last section of rebel-held territory, who were seeking to leave. once syria's most populous city, it is now largely in ruins and was recaptured this week by president bashar al-assad's troops. as night fell on aleppo, there was no sign of the buses needed to carry out the evacuations. for more on the situation, i am joined by skype from beirut in neighboring lebanon by "new york times" reporter anne barnard. anne, why was there such confusion and such a breakdown in the evacuation of people from eastern aleppo? >> well, it's not the first time a deal like this has been rocky to implement, and that's because
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as this extremely violent and chaotic war goes on, even on each side, there's a lot of fag menitation. so, you know, there isn't one single leadership for rebel groups, and increasingly, there isn't one single leadership for the progovernment forces. ssia and turkey agreed to a deal. turkey is one of the main backers of the rebels, and russia is the most powerful backer of the syrian government, having bailed it out with air strikes and political support. and, you know, at the same time, there are other crucial allies, like iran, which has provided thousands of militia members to bolster the ground fors of the syrian army. there were other complications with the al qaeda-linked al-nusra front. they were not fully cooperating with the implementation of that part of the deal, either, not letting the buss in to let people out of those villages in italy. >> stewart: and there is aid to civilians and the people who are still in aleppo? are the people hmg them there, the people who have not opinion
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able to leave? >> the thing, is during the four years of the war, when aleppo was a divided city, some form of alternate structure sprang up in eastern rebel-held aleppo. there were international aid organizations. there were the local branch of the syrian-- there were n.g.o.s sponsored by syrians abroad and turkey and others. in the last two weeks when the rebel defenses really collapsedd and there was pretty much mass chaos on that side of the line air, lot of people went to western aleppo. other people who didn't want to go there fled deeper bot rebel-held districts, and that included many of these rebel workers and aid workers. all those facilities basically were bombed or destroyed or fell into canos. sp some of the workers went to the other side. some went to rebel areas. the whole system has more or less collapsed so people are really in the worst state they've been in. there are thousands of civilians
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left in there. they're way waiting in rain and cold every day waiting for the buses to come to evacuate them. >> stewart: if we all remember back to how this all began in 2011 it really was a protest for civil rights and for government reform. is there any of that political will left, or is that just gone by the wayside and people are just trying to survive? >> well, look, there are different issues. i think a lot of people went over to the government territories because they just couldn't live with more years of bombardment. they couldn't, you know, stay in an area that was full of increasing difficulties with daily life. some of them definitely expressed to us that they got tired. the rebels did not deliver what they were supposed to. and some people even said that rebels prevented them from leaving. but everybody, as i said, rebels are not united. so in some areas they said rebels helped them leave. and energies they said that rebels prevented them from leaving. the point is, i think there are still people there-- there still
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exist many syrians who believe in the kinds of civil government reforms that were initially asked for. there's also many syrians that wanted some kind of islamist... government. that's something syrians have to work out among themselves. the issue is i don't think there is any political will on the other side, on the government side, to make any compromises or even discuss compromises at this point. they feel like they're winning and they don't see the need to change anything. in fact, they dispute the very idea that this whole thing started with legitimate political demands, and they paint the entire uprising as a foreign-led conspiracy that was extremist and islamist from the beginning. >> stewart: ber from the "new york times." thanks so much. >> stewart: president-elect donald trump's cabinet is predominantly white, predominantly male, with a net worth of $9.5 billion.
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what will that mean for policy? read more on our web site at >> stewart: one bright spot for democrats in last month's elections was winning the governorship of north carolina. democrat roy cooper ousted incumbent republican pat mccrory, but only after a recount confirmed cooper's narrow victory. north carolina's republican- controlled state legislature is not taking the loss lightly. yesterday, it passed laws limiting the power of the incoming governor. one strips him of the power to appoint a majority of commissioners to the state's board of elections. another cuts by two-thirds the number of government employees the governor can appoint, from 1,500 to fewer than 500. hundreds of protesters chantin"" power grab" filled the halls of the state capitol in raleigh during the legislative sessions yesterday. 39 of them were arrested. michael gerhardt is a professor at the university of north carolina law school in chapel hill, and he joins me now to discuss these developments.
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professor, let's start really broad and then we'll drill down. why did this happen? >> well, that's a very good question. the legislature had initially called it a special session to deal with disaster relief, and then they extended it to consider other bills. there was some concern about where else the legislature would go, and now we have a sense of where they've gone. >> stewart: and why did they go there? >> they've claimed that they've done this in part because they have concerns about the governorship of north carolina being too powerful a position, and so they want to constrain it. historically, those of us who follow these things don't think of the governorship of north carolina as being a very powerful office. it's one of the last states in the country to give the governorship veto power. it's been a pretty weak office anyway and is now weaker because of the legislature's actions. >> stewart: is that why some said it was a needed realignment of power while other people are saying it's an over-reach. >> i think that's exactly right. it depends on where you sit on that divide.
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if you agree with the outcomes, you would say, yes, we're just trying to constrain a governor from doing things we don't agree with, and on the other side, saying this is to undermine an incoming governor, by limiting the discretion further. >> stewart: some of the criticism is not just ho that it happened but how it happened. how did it happen so quickly? >> we have a legislature that's veto proof. it's got such a strong control by the republican party that, that party's leaders can pretty much do whatever they want in the legislature. and that's what we saw. i think in part this happens, frankly, because i think the legislature believes it can do this kind of thing and get away with it. keep in mind, that many of these people-- in fact all of them-- were just reelected, and in pretty safe seats. so the majority and
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supermajority of the state legislature feels secure politically. >> stewart: this move is getting national attention and even international attention. but what i want to know from you is what's that local element of it, that north carolinian element, a dog whistle that you folks hear that maybe we don't necessarily key into? >> i think there are a couple of things. one s, of course, i'm at the university of north carolina. we're a public university, and we take great pride in that. and one of the things that the state legislature did yesterday was it restricted the governor from making any appointments to the board of trustees of the university of north carolina. the governor-elect, roy cooper, had made public education a real focus of his campaign, and that's just one of the limitations now to placed on him. his ability to influence the direction of the university has been limited to some extent. there are other areas in which the state legislatures redesigned thing. for example, you mentioned the state election system, election board. that realignment is likely to
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make it harder if not impossible for the governor-elect to be able to influence election boards. which means the current people in power will be able on maintain power. >> stewart: something else that's been very interesting about north carolina is that it's not necessarily reliably a red state or blue state in 2016. it's really quite purple and we've seen that in some of the news stories we've been could have gone from north carolina, from l.g.b.t. e rights, to voter i.d. issues. what's going on in north carolina that you think is important to pay attention to, in terms of the whole country. >> north carolina might be a microcosim of the divide we see across the country. the country was divided as far as the last presidential election was concerned. and north carolina si think, to some extent a purple state because of the divisions, and the divisions are not just party-wide between republicans and democrats. there's division between rural and urban, there's divisions in value. we see the divisions work
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themselves out when the legislature acts like this. >> stewart: what the legislature did was perfectly legal, so i'm wondering about other states that have this sort of same split in the legislature between democrats and republicans. there are six other states that have this split. is what happens in north carolina, could that say the precedent for other states? >> well, it could. i think you're probably right that this would be upheld as legal. but you're exactly right it to sort of call attention to this. what other states do will be important. is north carolina going to be an example of something to follow or is it going to be an example of snog avoid? >> stewart: michael gerhardt from the university of north carolina. thank you so much for joining us. >> thanks for having me. >> stewart: today marks two years of u.s. d├ętente with cuba, the day when president barack obama began the process of restoring diplomatic relations with a nation of 11 million
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people who live 90 miles from florida. in tonight's signature segment, newshour weekend special correspondent amy guttman reports the policy change has led to a surge of americans visiting cuba, and many are using a familiar online platform to find accommodations. >> reporter: since the u.s. government eased restrictions on travel to cuba early last year, the number of american tourists visiting the caribbean island nation has soared. about 230,000 went to cuba in the first 11 months of this year, roughly 2.5 times the number in 2014, when the process of normalizing relations began. today, eight u.s. airlines are approved to run 20 round-trip flights daily from around the country to cuba's capital, havana. however, cuba's hospitality industry has a lot of catching up to do. with few exceptions, hotels are either abandoned or frozen in
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time, just like the american cars that roll through the streets of havana nearly 60 years since fidel castro's communist revolution forced out privately-owned businesses. along havana's storied seaside boulevard known as the malecon, state-owned properties like the hotel nacional de cuba, famous for having hosted american presidents and hollywood stars, don't have enough capacity. there are currently 63,000 hotel rooms in all of cuba, and far fewer up-to-date, quality hotels than are needed to accommodate what is approaching four million international visitors a year. since 2014, the cuban government has relaxed rules on foreign ownership of hotels. it's now allowing international chains to build, remodel and manage hotels as long as they partner with state-owned cuban tourism companies. france's sofitel, switzerland's kempinski and the american-owned starwood group are among those refurbishing and constructing four- and five-star hotels in
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havana. starwood, recently bought by marriott, has already taken over management of the fifth avenue hotel, now rebranded as four points, and it's renovating a 19th century havana landmark, the inglaterra. though the cuban government has announced plans to double the island's hotel capacity by 2020, the current shortage of rooms is a boon for another american-run company, airbnb. the online platform for homestay bookings has listings in more than 100 countries, but it says cuba has become its fastest growing market as measured by listings. >> we estimate now that 20% of all americans that are staying in cuba are staying in a home with a cuba host. >> reporter: airbnb c.e.o. brian chesky accompanied president obama in march on his historic trip to cuba, the first by a sitting u.s. president in nearly 80 years. chesky says americans from all 50 states have used airbnb in cuba since it began operating here a year-and-half ago.
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he calls this "people-to-people diplomacy." >> there are hundreds of thousands of friendships that are possible if you bring people together. >> reporter: this is the third time san francisco entrepreneur madelyn markoe has stayed at the home of cuban host fanny acosta. >> it is very different. it really feels like you are in someone's home. a lot of times, airbnb in other places, you know, it can feel very much like you are just renting an apartment. in cuba, it's a full experience from start to finish. >> reporter: acosta and her husband, reddy, list three bedrooms in their four bedroom apartment on airbnb. in addition to spanish, she speaks french, italian, mandarin and english. >> this is my way to learn about the rest of the world. i don't have to go out; the people and the world, they come to me. and we have very, very, very good friends from all over the world. >> reporter: the concept of airbnb is not exactly new here.
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even when fidel castro was president, cubans were permitted to list rooms in their homes on the internet and rent them to foreign tourists. since 1997, cubans have been allowed to supplement their income through casa particulares, or private houses. a symbol of an upside-down anchor near the doorway indicates homes that are licensed by the government to rent rooms. 20,000 homes are registered; 10,000 of them are now listed on airbnb. like all hosts, acosta pays taxes on the income earned. has business changed since the arrival of airbnb? >> yes, 100%. now, we try to keep our rooms available just for the airbnb requests. this is our way to know they will arrive for sure. if they decide to change, i know in advance, so i can update the calendar again. >> reporter: how busy are you? >> we are full almost the whole
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year because they read about us. before airbnb, it's not possible. >> reporter: so, you get financial security? >> yes. i'm also learning how to be a businesswoman. >> reporter: a business that pays well for cuba. acosta and her husband pocket about $250 per booking after paying airbnb's fees. that's more than the $200 average monthly salary in cuba. the income helped her pay back the loan from a friend she used to buy the apartment three years ago. to maximize their earnings, she and her husband share their fourth bedroom with their two small children. so, this is quite a sacrifice? >> i do it with pleasure. i think everything in life is sacrifice. >> reporter: with income from guests and high demand, buildings like these that have been left derelict for years are now being repaired for the rental income. acosta and other cubans are investing in renovations and remodeling to accommodate guests.
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what will you do with this money now that it's yours? >> we are going to fix the elevator. >> reporter: it may be surprising that airbnb can thrive in cuba, where the communist regime has banned internet access from home, except for government officials or employees of foreign companies. cuba is now installing its first residential broadband service, wiring 2,000 homes. and just this week, the government signed a deal with u.s. tech giant google to place its servers on the island. universities and offices are equipped with internet access for their employees, but other cubans must pay to get online at hotels and in wi-fi zones in public parks. without online service at home, airbnb hosts have come up with workarounds. fanny acosta walks a few blocks to the nearest hotel several times a day and pays to get online. university of havana economics professor patricia ramos rents out rooms in her home and tutors friends and family, helping them create a profile of their properties and manage bookings.
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>> the people have not the culture to interact with the web. to access the internet is not easy in cuba. it is possible to go to these wi-fi zones, but the speed is not so high. and, of course, it's also a little bit expensive. that's why it's not so easy to manage your profile on airbnb. >> reporter: soon, ramos, acosta and others may be learning how to use another american travel site: tripadvisor. the company is now taking bookings for homestays, hotels and flights to cuba after winning approval from the u.s. government last month. even as multinational chains are building hotels, acosta believes there will always be a market for the personal service and cultural exchange that homestays provide. >> there are some people that feel really good in a casa, and this is what i enjoy-- the people who want to stay in a casa and be part of our family.
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>> this is pbs newshour weekend, saturday. >> stewart: in turkey today, a car bomb killed 13 soldiers and wounded 56 other people in the country's anatolia region. it was an ambush of a bus carrying soldiers on weekend leave. turkish president erdogan blamed separatist kurdish militants for the attack near a university campus. turkish police quickly arrested seven people in connection with the attack and were seeking five other suspects. this follows last weekend's deadly twin bombings in istanbul that targeted turkish police, killing 44 people and wounding more than 150. their path through turkey largely blocked this year, the flow of syrian refugees, as well as iraqis and afghans, to europe has slowed significantly. head of the european union border control agency frontex said today 350,000 refugees and migrants have entered europe this year, down from a million last year.
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about half crossed the mediterranean from turkey, mainly arriving in greece, and half left from northern africa, mainly arriving in italy. more than 4,800 migrants died trying to make that journey, according to the international organization of migration. china has issued a red alert for the next five days because of intense smog across beijing and more than 20 other cities. due to smog already blanketing the capital, the government has banned half of all cars and trucks from driving, and ordered hundreds of factories to suspend operations. schools are closed, and beijing's 22 million residents are urged to stay indoors. government inspectors are making sure power plants lower the coal-fired emissions by one third. about one-ninth of mainland china's territory is affected. on pbs newshour weekend sunday, how defectors living in south korea are using american television shows to undermine the regime in north korea.
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>> ( translated ): if we find that a television drama that we sent has been banned, we know that it has been impactful. >> stewart: a public funeral service was held today in columbus, ohio, for astronaut and senator john glenn, the first american to orbit the earth. vice president joe biden said glenn, who died december 8, defined what it meant to be an american. and finally, the doctor who invented the maneuver that can save you from choking has died. surgeon henry heimlich died today in a cincinnati hospital after suffering a heart attack earlier this week. he was 96. that's it for this edition of "pbs newshour weekend." i'm alison stewart. good night. captioning sponsored by wnet captioned by media access group at wgbh >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by:
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bernard and irene schwartz. judy and josh weston. the cheryl and philip milstein family. the john and helen glessner family trust-- supporting trustworthy journalism that informs and inspires. sue and edgar wachenheim, iii. barbara hope zuckerberg. corporate funding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we're your retirement company. provided by:pport has been and by the corporation for public broadcasting, and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. ank you.
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