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tv   PBS News Hour Weekend  PBS  March 2, 2019 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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captioning sponsored by wnet >> sreenivasan: on this edition for saturday, march 3: president trump address the conservative political action conference. fertile ground in libya for isis to regroup. and a new era in american space fl next on "pbs newshour weekend." >> pbs newshour weekend ilemade possy: bernard and irene schwartz. sue and edgar wachenheim iii. seton melvin. the cheryl and philip milstein family. dr. p. roy vagelos and diana t. vagelos. the j.p.b. foundation. rosalind p. walter. barbara hope zuckerberg.
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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 ovided by: and by the corporation for toublic broadcasting, and by contributionour pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. from the tisch wnet studios at li ohari sreenivasan.rk, >> sreenivasan: good evening and apank you for joining us. in his first publiarance since returning from vietnam, president dona trump spoke today at the annual conservative political action conference in maryland. in a wide ranging, at times rambling speech that began with the president hugging a u.s. flag, mr. trump once aga s railed againcial counsel robert mueller's investigation of russian interference in t- 2016 electioing an expletive to describe it. >> they'rerying to take you out with ( bleep ) okay? with ( bleep ). >> sreenivasan: over more than two hours the president praised
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wis 2016 electoral victory and said h win in 2020 by a larger margin. he praised the country's low unemployment rate and his administration's tariff policies. he talked about the border with mexico, veterans, abortion, iraq, free speech on college campuses, and north korea. and he attacked democrats as socialists and mocked their proposed "green new deal." >> we believe in the american dream and not the socialist nightmare. >> senivasan: and the president ended another reminder of what he's calling a speci"salute to america" celebration in washington, d.c. on the fourth of july. joining us now from washington, d.c. is osita nwanevu, a reporter for "the new yorker"rs who coolitics and policy and who has been covering the events at the conservative political action conference. what was the big theme this year? >> well, the big theme this year i think was basically socialism. that was a through line throu every major speech that you viard, not only from president
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trump an president pence but all of the "b" list speakers as well. there was a big intro video th they showed multiple times during the convention that featured clips of bernie sanders and other democratic figures who they think are embracing left-wing policies that are going to be too far lort the electorate. whether that is true remains to be seen. >> sreenivasan: they have been using socialism to tar the left with for a long time. now, what is the difference? that they have evidence, members of the other party claimng membership? >> well, they do have some candidates like bernie sanders, obviously, who started his campaign with an event in brooklynoday, calling himself a democratic socialist for a long time. i personally wld be very skeptical that this is something that is going to seem new and fresh to the electorate who have heard these times of if you want to look at the presidential elections, the past three, they called obama too far amft in 2008, didn't win. nay called him thee in 2012.
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they didn't win. by contrast, who did spend a little bit of time calling hilary too far left, actually focused much of his campaica ing clinton corrupt and a member of the political elite, if anything, too close to the rich. today he talked about the ruling class in his speech to cpac, and that kind of approach set him apart from other republican candidates and he did, obviously, wec the elon. so if i were trump or people advising trump i would be veryti skl of ditching that message. >> sreenivasan: the liberals have a fair amount to celebrate. they can look at the administration's record on deregulating things. they can look at ssthe succel nomination of two supreme court justices now that think a lot re like them than the previous employees. >> i think that's true. obviously, the tax cuts as well. they talked a lot about that during the conference. there are things they can tick off. i think the question now is with the democrats controlling the house how many more victories
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will there be for the administration. obviously, he's trying to stoke his base with the national emergency declared with the wall. we'll see if that actually pans out to anytng that's going to get sections of that wall really built. oing tos really struggle to deliver not only campaign promises but sort of on the mood that he tried to cultivate here at cpac. i think that one of the things that's going to be central sagain, this ideahat there is a rising tide of socialism on the left that conservativehave to sort of band together and combat. they're going to be in a more combative mood, and maye that sort of takes the pressure off trump to actually delivers thing things. >> sreenivasan: finally, i want to ask, you spent several days there, talking to youngyo ceemng conservatives. what's your sense? there a newfound energy because of trump? are theyofore optimisti their own futures? >> well, i think there is a lot in energy because of trump. i that he seems like a different kind of republican politician to ynger conservatives, campus conservatives, somebody who is willing to poke liberals in the
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eye. there are a lot of young conservatives who really enjoy that. one of the mosti skin striking e conference this year. their agenda is basically sort of ribbing libers on campus in a way that is similar to the kind of jousting that trump does rhetorically on the nationalst politicae. charlie kirk is the group's founder. he had a big, big speaking slo at cpac this year, as did candice owe communications director. and, you know, there is a lot of interest in that group. and it was given a lot of space and cetainly a lot of peoe are joining. >> sreenivasan: all right, osika nwanevu, a reporter for "new yorker." thanks so much. >> thank you. >> sreenivasan: u.s.-backed forces in syria contioded operations in the last piece of islamic state controlled territory.pe a spokon for the syrian democratic forces said kurdish- led fighters advanced neto the area the town of baghouz overnight. the s.d.f. claimed there was
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heavy ground fighting and that isis extremistssed booby traps and sniper fire. there were also reports of an explosion and thick black smokou in the area t to be from a u.s.-led coalition airstrike. rean leader kim jong-un left hanoi vietnam today two days after his summit with president donald trump ended abrupt. before his departure, kim laid a wreath at a war heroes monument and visited the mausoleum of former vietnamesleader ho chi minh. supporters and government officials greered the north leader as he boarded his private armored train at the vietnam/china borrr. his returnain trip to pyongyang will take over 60 hours.e there were morotests and new fighting today in indian admistered kashmir. in the city of srinagar, supporters of the people's democratic party demonstrated against a government ban on the largest politic and religious group. india says the ban is a crackdown on activists seeking to end their rule in the disputed region. near the dividing line between indian and pakistani controlled regions, oicials said new fighting killed at least six civilians and two pakistani troo today. this past week india launched
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n what it claimed were militants in pakistan who carried out a suide bombing that killed forty indian troops in kashmir on february 14. pakistan shot down an indian fighter jet, but returned the slot to india yesterday in what d was a peace gesture. the aid group doctors without borders is suspending operations at the ebola epicenter in the democratic republic of congo. the humanitarian group blamed continuing violence and attacks on two of its treatment centers. tack o the latest at wednesday, armed assailants set fing to a clinic before enga police in a shootout. the current ebola outbreak began wost august. thd health organization reports more than 870 confirmed and probable cases of ebola in congo, and more than 540 deaths. doctors without borders said it will continue to provide patient care in other less violent areas in congo.
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>> sreenivasan: just before 3:00 a.m. today a spacex rocket carrying a capsule known as crew dragon lifted off from the kennedy space center in florida. the capsule is designed for astronauts-- but on this mission it's carrying only a so-called" smart dummy" namley, designed to gather data about how the flight might affect human occupants. the crew dragon is now in orbit and will attempt to dock with the international space station tomorrow. if successful, it could mean nasa will use privately blt spacecraft for future missions as soon as this summer. joining us now from new orleans where she has been monitoring crew dragon is loren grush, senior science reprgter for "the " why is this such a big deal? >> you know, sincehe space shuttle program ended in 2011, nasa has only really had one option for getting its astronauts to the international space station, and that has been the russian soyuz rocket. and it's not been a great arrangement because it's expensive. it costs nasa $81 million per seat to get just one astronaut
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to the international space station. and it's limiting. we only have tt one option, so if the soyuz were to go o of commission we wouldn't have a way to get our astronauts into space. buwith the the cmercial crew program, it's about being the human space flight program back to america. these capsules are built by u.s. companies, and when they launch people, it will be the first time since the space shuttle program that nasa astronauts have launched frommerican soil on american-made vehicles once again. >> sreenivasan: when we saw this rocket lift off, it was kind of awb throk. i mean, these capsules look like the capsules that we saw inhe early parts of the space program. they were kind of designed to do one thing versus a space shuttle, which was designed to do lots of things. >> when it comes to how to build a capesule, re's really a good design for how to launch into space and then how to bring it back again. so, you know, theig capsule des is kind of dictated by, you know, the best way to get to and om the international space station. but, yes, it is quite reminiscent of the early capsules that we used to build.
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>> sreenivasan: is there a longer term vision here? if this goes well-- and, again, this is big "if." this is just part one. i guess let me talk about that a little b getting into space wasn't the hard part. there are a couple intricate maneuvers that have to happenua. y the space station reaches out and grabs what's ming to it but this is supposed to happen automatically? >> right. the big difhiference betweens and the dragon cargo capsule that they've been sending to the international space station since 2010, those are burst to the i.s.yes. a robotic arm operated by a crg memberabs the capsule and brings it on to the space station where it is attached. but these capsulesll automati dock so they use a series of laysers and sensors to find a docking port on the outside of the international space station, and then it justma autocally moves toward it, and then attaches on its own. and etat's somng that spacex has never demonstrated before, so if they can pull off that
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maneuver, which is slated for tomorrow, then that's going to be a very big deal because that's going to be how the bring astronauts to the international space station in the future. >> sreenivasan: and then,t' finally,gog have to hang out there for about a week, and then splashdown t old-fashioned way in the middle of the ocean on friday, right? >> right. it's not going to stay f very long, just a few days. but the three crew members on board the itional space station right now, they'll go inside the capsule. they'll bring out soe ca that it brought up with it. they'll also pack it with cargo. they're going to run some tests to see how it's faring in theen spacironment. you know, is it sturdy? is it doing what it's designed to do? and then on friday morning, k ter all is said and done, it will undowly, and then it will re-enter earth's atmosphere, andhen a series of parachutes will deploy to slow the capsule's descent t the earth, and it will splashdown in the atlantc off the cof florida. that is, if all goes well. >> sreenivasan: all right, loren grush of "the verge" joining us via skype.
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thanks so much. >> thanks for having me. >> to watch the launch of the spacex test mission, visit pbs.org/newshour. this week the head of the libyan government and the opposition military leader met and agreed to holdtiationwide elec in addition the politically torn country. a previous attempt at an electionad been delayed as territorial disputes and instability across regions were allowing groups like isis to take advantage of the disarray. pbs newshour weekend special correspondent christopher livesay and videographer alessandro pavone reported on that instability back in october and the power vacuum that isis was trying to fill. their reporting was supported in part with funding from the pulitzer center. >> reporter: the citirte. once the crowning jewel of the islamic state in libya. it was part of 150 miles of isis-controlled coastline from 2015 to thend of 2016. today, the city has been reduced to rubble, first in an offensive against isis led by libyan
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security forces 6, then by nearly 500 precision airstrikes from the united st bombing largely ceased last year. large swaths of town remain abandoned. the government has yet to clear hundreds of corpses beneath the rubble for fear of mines andan unexploded or. because of that, the air is ill thick with the stench of rotting bodies. colonel ibm bin rabaa is the commander of libyan counter-terrorism forces in sirte. ht ( translated ): my son volunteered to figsis and protect sirte. isis killed him. he was 24-years-old. >> reporter: the six-month offensive eventually wiped out an estimat combatants. but bin rabaa tells us sleeper cells still lurk, especi ialn sirte's desert. though it no longer controls any territory, the spike in violence has been sharp. in 2017, isis managed to pull
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off only four attacks. so far this year, it's more than a dozen. the most audacious was in may when isis gunmen stormed libya's election commission headquarters in tripoli, detonated suicide vests, and killed at least 16 vilians. so isis is in this direction, they're regrouping in the dehere in the south? >> ( translated ey at anytime an come in one or two erople and blow themselves up. we rely on she to tell us if there are any isis fighters passing through their pastures. orter: so far this year libya there have already been more than twice the number of isis attack is isis trying to regroup in order to launch attacks abroad outside of libya as well? >> ( translated ): right now they lack the ability to control any major territory in libya. but they are doing their best to regroup and mount attacks again. our men have pron themselves in this war with the islamic state. but we ask and we hope for help from other countries. we cannot
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adicate isis on our own. >> reporter: that's largely because isis isn't libya's only problem. the country has been reeling since 2011, the year of the nato-backed overthrow of libyan strongman muammar gaddafi. by 2014, a full-blown civil war was underway. today, the oil-rich countr remains divided. a u.n.-backed government in the west sits in tripoli, with jurisdiction stretching down to sirte. a rival administration rules the east and in between, numerous well-armed militias, governed only by themselves. for its part, the u.s. port thes to s government in tripoli with airstrikes against isis.th buat only offers short-term solutions, according to the u.n. special envoy to libya, ghassan salame. >> this can produce an effect, but it's a very limited effect. it's an effect on, by killing one particular leader, or onehi particular of a band or something like that.
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but the real solution to terrorism in libya is to rebuild atstrong, unified, legitime state. there is no other alternative to that. >> reporter: both governments have agreed to general ef ctions at thethis year, a vote that would elect a unity this checkpoint in ste, uny seems a long way off. troop morale is low. >> ( translated ): we've gone a year without getting paid. we fought and died saving this city from isis. the government in tripoli needs to respect that. >> reporter: and take this border crossing, between libya's rintval governin the east and west. the colonel says it's become a critical weak link for isis to exploit. >> ( translated ): there are more than 500 yards of no-man's land between these twoates, where neither government has direct control. isis is using that area to take shelter, resupply, and attempt
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iltrate the city. >> reporter: no-go zones are common, and they aren't relegated to checkpoints. in fact, entire swaths of libya are lawless, and government offials fear to enter. we travel to one such area in s far western region in order to see how freely isis has been able to operate. driving us is a minder from the invernment in tripoli. it's the first timearly a year they've allowed american tv journalists to enter the con,try. in returhe government insists on constant supervision. it's not long before we're completely outside the area controlled by any government. our government minder locks all the doors. our destination, sabratha. it's home to an ancient amphitheater that more recently was the backdrop of a city overrun by terror. is took control in 2015, and asserted its authority by beheading 12 members of e security forces, and setting up its own checkpoints. today, the tables are turned. libyan police loyal to the
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gokrnment in tripoli now ch for isis militants. one of them tells me the city is safe, but checkpoints are common targets for terrorist attacks, ed any one of these vehicles could be packed wilosives. police are also looking for stolen fuel. isis is known to smuggle it from libya's vast reserves and use the profits to funirt attacks. akes is spot on the map m particularly attractive to terrorists. parts of the sprawling country, three times the size of france, are ungoverned. and the country has largely uncontrolled borders, offering several gateways for action. we head for the beach, where just a few hundred miles of open sea separate libya from europe. we're met by a coast guard commander named jalal dabashi. he says his top priority is cracking down on illegal migrants and the well-armed gangs who traffic them. >> ( translated ): sabratha used ntto be known as the migra capital of libya. traffickers smuggle migrants from sub-saharan africa across
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the desert to the shore of the mediterranean sea. >> reporter: trafficke would then pack migran in this warehouse like merchandise, he says, before shipping them off to europe in overcrowded, rickety boats. sometimes, he adds, trafficker here worked hand-in-hand with isis and in nearby locations still do. >> ( translated ): they share a common intert, money. when isis was around, trafficking was at its peak. traffiers paid isis a tax, millions of dollars per month. sometimes they would even put terrorists on the migrant ships to europe. i heard this dierectly from biggest trafficker in sabratha. he happens to be my cousin. >> reporter: tribal bonds run thdeep in sabratha, bu doesn't mean everyone gets along with those in their tribe. >> ( translated ): at sends me thing messages. he wants to kill me. >> reporter: the two cousins eventually met in battle. late last year, libyan security forces attacked traffickers positioned at the ancient ruins of sabratha, severely damaging the unesco heritage site. so that's from an r.p.g., a
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rocket propele?led gren he tells me libyan security forces eventually won, but theaf trfickers continue their lucrative migrant trg e in neighbortowns. bghting traffickers is just one more front in thistle for control of a brittle country. this summer, some of the most violent clashes in years erupted betwn rival factions, killin over 100 people in the capital tripol the chaos works in isis's favor. >> the only way to fight terrorist groups on the longer term and in a systematic way, is that you have a national authority doing that, controlling its borders, controlling its territory, and moving around to repress any terrorist activity. do we havehat now in libya? the answer is clearly no. >> reporter: it's a problem that vexes colonel ibrahim bin rabaa, ore commander of counter tem forces in the city of sirte. his men eventually defeated isis
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here. but now, less than two years later, he says militants are regrouping, and waiting to strike again. >> ( translated ): we almost didn't let you journalists come today because it was too dangerous. isis has not disappeared. >> reporter: rabaa says underestimating islamic state can have serious repercussions far beyond libya.he iferror group is not stopped here, he says, it's just a matter of time befe isis grows and strikes again elsewhere. >> ( translated ): the islamic state is not only our problem. itke a cancer spreading all around the world.y tois is here. tomorrow it can spread again somewhere else. it's as simple as that. >> sreenivasan: that's all for this editionf "pbs newshour weekend." i'm hari sreenivasan. thanks for watching. have a goonight.
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captioning sponsored by wnet captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: bernard and irene schwartz. sue and edgar wachenheim iii. seton melvin. the cheryl and philip milstein family. dr. p. roy vagelos and diana t. vagelos. the j.p.b. foundation. rosalind p. walter. 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:
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and by the corporation for public broadcasting, and by contributions to your pbs yostation from viewers lik thank you. be more. pbs. be more.
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...and by the foowing. anne: "we have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationshipsea weat the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. we are afraid it will never return. how can one learn to live through the ebb tides of one existence? how can one learn to take the trough of the wave?" reeve: "gift from the sea," has touched people all over the world. no matter what generation reads it, it says something very important. it's about marriage, it's about women's livesand -- and i think it's about freedom, about personal freedom.

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