tv DW News LINKTV June 3, 2021 3:00pm-3:31pm PDT
>> hi everyone, welcome to focus on europe, i'm happy to have you with me. here in europe, we really are feeling the effects of the climate crisis, with extreme heat waves, droughts and out-of-control fires. portugal has been hit particularly hard by forest fires. over one hundred people lost their lives to two deadly blazes in 2017. as wave after wave of flames closed in on the country's cities, rescue workers totally
overwhelmed, and roads cut off. that has left this young portuguese woman, claudia duarte agostínjo, wondering, what kind of world are we really leaving behind for children? european governments, she says, are not doing enough to protect the climate. she feels they are literally putting her life at risk. and so she's taking legal action against 33 countries in europe to change that. >> the sight leaves claudia duarte agostinho speechless. she can still remember when everything here was green. but ever since the wildfires, the pines are all dead. claudia: it makes me very sad to see such an amazing place that was destroyed by the fires. and this is very symbolic, because it means that it will keep happening if nothing is done, it will keep happening in
other places on our planet. and we should fight to change that. >> wildfires rage through portugal often. in 2017, the fires claimed the lives of some 120 people and were deemed the worst in living memory. and as each summer becomes hotter and drier than the last, the risk of devastation rises. claudia blames the climate crisis. that's why the nursing student from leiria, north of lisbon, is stepping up the pressure. but since her voice wasn't being heard enough on the streets, she took her case to the european court of human rights and sued half of europe. claudia: i am taking this case against 33 countries because one day i want to be in a world that's healthy and with no danger. >> claudia's fellow plaintiffs are her siblings and her three friends. her brother, martim, is eighteen and suffers from
asthma. they say more and more people are getting sick from the increasing heat and fires. martim: with climate change, breathing problems will just get worse. and people like me won't get better, it will just get worse and worse. li >> their parents are supportive of the lawsuit. teresa mota is 47 years-old and grew up in germany. she says she has lived a carefree life but can understand her children's concerns for the future. that's why she is glad that the judges in strasbourg have classified the case as urgent. teresa: i have a little girl, she's only 9. what will her life be like? i feel guilty. i didn't really do anything, i didn't contribute to the crisis. but i also didn't think about it, little less fight it, like my kids. i feel bad about that.
>> cláudia does not want to blame older generation. after all, they couldn't have known any better. but those who deny the climate crisis are fooling themselves. claudia: when people don't believe in climate change, i think those are the ones who feel more guilty. because they don't want to believe it. because it hurts. it hurts a lot to think, what are we doing to our planet? >> lawsuits like this are what the irish human rights organization, global legal action network, specializes in. the strategy of their lawyer , gerry liston, and his team was risky. the european court of human rights could have referred to national judicial channels. but the judges have admitted these young people's case. >> we are ready. >> by failing to adapthe necessary emissions reductions and policies tt are needed to avoid these catastrophic consequences, governments are effectively discriminating on
the basis of age. they are placing young generations at greater risk of future harm. >> imas like these, show what the lawyer means. he's referring to agreements from the european convention of human rights and the paris climate accord. to keep global warming well below two degrees celsius, as pledged, countries would have to make a much bigger effort to duce grehouse gas. claudia ioptimist and believes this can still be achieved. her case is just one of the ways pressure on governments is mounting. >> a lot of people come to us and they thank us for what we are doing. that makes me very happy. but we still have a lot of work to do and a long way. so i think we have the power and we want to do something, so
we are very hopeful. >> it remains to be seen when a verdict will be reached. for now, the 33 states charged are still fighting, against the lawsuit. >> well, european governments will have to take a formal position now by the end of may, after a court rejected their argument that the proceedings were not urgent. germany is trying to ramp up its energy transition. but when it comes to building new wind turbines in the north and baltic seas, there's some explosive danger down on the seabed. re than 1.5 million tons of explosives and munitions from the two world wars have all been sunk into the sea. for years, this out of sight, out of mind approach worked fine. but not anymore.
>> their job is to find ammunition, collect data and gauge the damage two world wars have left behind on the ocean floor. >> the ammo is still down there. so are munitions from the first world war. that was more than a hundred years ago. now, a century later, we're still dealing with the aftermath! >> the scientist from the geomar helmholtz centre for ocean research in kiel wants to shed light on the subject. with the help of these autonomous underwater vehicles, he wants to get a better idea of the exact locations and quantities of munitions dumped into the ocean. it's a systematic survey of explosive waste sites in the oceans and the first of its kind. the mission is crucial. >> i think our mission is so important because it's meant that we've finally started to compile a comprehensive
inventory of munitions and the locations where they were sunk. >> in late summer, toxicologists were out in the bay of lübeck to investigate the danger posed by explosive devices underwater. the risk of them suddenly exploding is one thing. yet even more hazardous are the harmful substances they release as they corrode. in larger concentrations, these substances can be carcinogenic, explains professor edmund maser, head of toxicology in kiel. >> we expect more and more of these explosives to spread through the sea. and the more the grenades and mines rust, the more substances are released into the environment. we need to monitor this closely, so we don't end up in a situation where certain fish or seafood becomes too contaminated.
doug, along the entire german -- >> along the entire german coast, scientists have already been able to detect traces of explosives in the water. here in the bay of lübeck, they are using mussels to investigate the level of contamination. the baltic sea is only about 20 meters deep at this point. in the post-war years, a lot of munitions were swept under the proverbial rug here. several months earlier, mussels were placed at various locations. some closer to known munitions sites, some further away. >> we've found the box, this is where the mussels are. the older ones are attached to the cord, the younger ones on the box. let's pull them up. >> blue mussels filter nutrients out of the seawater
by passing it through their bodies. that makes them ideally suited to help detect leaked toxins. the tests found evidence of compounds typical of explosives in the mussels and in the water samples. >> the explosives found are still at trace levels. so for now, we don't have to worry about consuming sh from the baltic or mussels from the bay of lübeck. >> but the problem is growing worse. on their expedition into the baltic sea, the researchers with jens greinert spared no effort. the hazardous waste from the war has not only had a major impact on the environment, it has also come at a considerable cost to locate it and clear it away. but findings show the urgency of doing just that. >> we have plenty of photos and video footage, as well as images from the underwater vehicles that have documented
what's really down there. >> ticking time bombs on the seabed. they're no real secret, but findings have shown we can't keep pretending they are. >> watching ships is always fun, but for yörük üschik, it is more than just a pastime. that's because he also sees more than passing ships. since the bosphorous in istanbul leads to the black sea and is a gateway to the mediterranean for russia and also, because in some places it's just 700 meters, or 2,000 feet wide, that means when a foreign warship passes through, yörük would be sure to know. >> this man looks like any other tourist, on a ferry taking in
the sights of istanbul. but yörük isik is actually observing the ships. roughly 50,000 pass through the bosphorus each year. nothing special for most observers. but for him each ship tells a story. >> for example, freight ships like this one often travel to the crimean peninsula that russia has annexed. i'm interested in what's going on. are they really headed where they say they are? do they really have the cargo they say have? >> the bosphorus is one of the most important straits in the world, connecting the black sea with the mediterranean. its 30 kilometers have always played an important role in the push-and-pull between the world's great powers. >> access to the black sea is important to nato, and it's also important for russia to have access to the west, to the aegean and mediterranean sea.
>> just a few days later, he shows us an example. when tensions last rose between russia and ukraine, russian warships passed through the bosphorus on their way to the black sea. he then discovered a cargo ship that he believes was transporting nato military equipment to a romanian port in the black sea. when he returns home, he rushes to post his discoveries and photos on twitter. there is a whole community of spotters around the world. what they point out can be quite sensational at times. >> the fact that russia was planning to intervene in the syrian conflict first became clear from the increased number of naval ships in the bosphorus. i was able to record just how they were equipped on deck. apart from the russian naval ships, there were also civilian cargo ships. we were able to prove they were transporting weapons to syria.
>> apart from arms smuggling, isik, who runs his own consultancy analyzing maritime activity, has also observed shipments of illegal waste or animals being transported in inhumane conditions. he says it's not spying, because the information is freely accessible. he's also not scared of getting into trouble, at least not yet. >> turkey is going through a difficult phase when it comes to freedom of opinion. i share my observations openly on twitter. but i try to refrain from making any political judgment. >> of course, his apartment also has a view across the bosphorus. and he stays in touch with other spotters 24/7.
>> we don't have to warn each other in advance. if a ship sets sail somewhere, i know roughly when it should arrive here. i know how fast the different models travel. >> and so, from his perch, yörük isik will surely be watching the next time history unfolds at his doorstep. >> china is expanding its economic influence here in europe. and for those people who have come here to flee the chinese state that influence can feel like a threat. as it does for this man from tibet. he didn't want to tell us his real name, but he's part of a large community in exile in switzerland. he says he does not feel safe because, despite the fact that the swiss government is harshly critical of the extensive human rights violations against
tibetans in china, it also maintains good relations there. >> a buddht monastery, about thirty kilometers east of zürich, where it's quiet enough for prayers. tenzin, t his realame, grew up in bet. zühe ces here que often. the af for prayers. his younr days, anthe time he spent in a monastery. things wersimpler then. that life came to an end wn chinese curity fors began harassing the monks. i put up poster ainst nd suressedanprotesteeedom. friendsarned him at the lice werlookinfor him. so hr tibetan refugees had gone before him. tein has beeliving in th alpineepublic r seven yes
now and has a family of his own. he continues to observe tibetan >> i'd like to stay in switzerland and work as a nursing care assistant, provide -- all i wanted to be able to provide for my family and leading normal lif >> two asylum applications submitted by his family have alady been tned down, becaud througanother cotry. a hunitarianppeal is rrently der revi. thfriendhe met i swzerland ve helped the family deal with the authorities. we're trying to assist them througtibetan organization for example with a network of sponsors to help make thei ily lives littleasier. >> in china, tibetans who've fled to switzerland are regardeas diidents.
from 25 to 202 switzerla grantechina thright to dispatchheirwn secury ofcials check t identies of spected chines citize. the agreement drew considerable controversy. >> in switzerld, aebate arose wh a conact turn upshowing at the cne authities d assist in idenfying chese asyl seeks who swiss thoritie upshowinhad rected.e and thataised ncerns ttn betan regees maylso beaffeed. swiss televisioreported thats publiclyejected any such specu. founded cusationandis docatcks on the polical systemminority polies andhuma. >> our reporter would've liked to have spoken to the ambassador in person, but all such requests went unanswered. we would have liked to ask the ambassador about china's econom relatio. iceland,eorgia, and
switzerland are the only european countries that have free-tra trade agrments with china profitable arranment for mpanies on both sides. >> swiss exporters have maintained their market share and some even increased it. and chinese has exported more to switzerland. so both sides have reall benefited. >> but pursuing economic interests while prottingeall human rights is a delicate balancing act. the politicians are wary. >> we've made good progress. but now, we're seeing that the free trade agreement has to be developed further. we have to shift more focus on to human rights issues when we talk about our relations with china. >> china's expressed aesire to extend the agreement on identity checks for refugees. the profitable economic ties could easily sway switzerland's position, critics warn. >> china is behaving increasingly authoritarian in asserting its interests in economic and refugee policies.
switzerland will have to react and coordinate its response better. >> tenzin wod also like to see switzerland take a car >> haven'teen my parts or family d fries for sen. all. a that mas me versad. i v out ofear foris, at retives' safety, tenzin hasn't contacted them since he fled. they don't even know that he has started a family in switzerland. >> it's painful, it's permanent, it's expensive, and not everyone likes them, tattoos. now i don't have one, but i do know that most tattoos, whether
it's an anchor, a flower, a dragon or a bumblebee, they usually mean something special to the person who got them. with sylvain hélaine, there's a lot of room for interpretation. the frenchman is a teacher and a living work of art. >> despite his years of experience, sylvain hélaine aka freaky hoo is still not used to the pain. the 35-year-old is the most expetattooed man in france. aka there's hardly a free spot left on his body. >> skin is the mirror of the soul. that's rings so true to me. it means i am free and can d what i want. of course, while respecting everyone else around me. third, -- >> freaky hoody got his first ttoo seven years ago. he was living in london at the
time. he started on his arms, with images of muscles and insects. >> in london, i met a lot of people with tattoos who were very tolerant. the tattoo culture is so different there. i fell in love with tattoos at first sight. and that's why i kept doing it more and more over the years. >> it might come as a surprise to hear that he's a primary school teacher. but his pupils and their parents don't seem to mind. >> he's not nasty, he's very nice. i also have tattoos, so i've got nothing against them. >> it's what he wanted to do. >> do his eyes scare you? >> no! >> no? what's counts most is that he's a good teacher.
>> he's very nice and i think he's the most tattooed man in the world. >> but it's hasn't always been easy for sylvain. two years ago, he was working at a different school when some parents complained. they said their child was having nightmares because of his appearance. now he's no longer allowed to teach pre-school, but he doesn't want to change professions. >> being a teacher has always been my calling. you can't do this job if it's not your passion. i have a lot of fun with the students. at the end of the year or at christmas, they give me esents. i get a lot of nice messages. often the parents tell me that their kids didn't use to like going to school but now they love it. it's great. >> sylvain also hopes to convey a message.
>> if my looks can help things move ahead, if my students grow up more tolerant, less racist, less homophobic, less anti-semitic, that would make me happy. because i will have achieved something and helped break down prejudices. this is 2021 after all! >> tattoos are still not widely accepted in mainstream french society, but the times are changing says sylvain helaine's favorite tattoo artist. >> there has been a process of liberation here in france. but it's nothing like in north america or england. it's still a taboo topic here. >> sylvain's tattoos have opened up a new world to him. he is a model in the art world. and an actor.
and now has a huge number of followers on social media, almost 80,000 on instagram alone. >> i think that i trigger all kinds of fantasies. i know that a lot of women, and men find me attractive. i get lots messages and offers. but that often evaporates as soon as they meet me face to face and realize that i'm completely normal. >> sylvain hopes that he can continue getting tattoos for the rest of his life. he doesn't worry about running out of space, he can always ink over older motifs. >> yeah, i still think i'll wait for that first tattoo. that's it for focus on europ today,hanks for watching, and goodbye! [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] ♪
>> welcome to life in paris. these are the world news headlines. under verbal fire from benjamin netanyahu, who came out fighting this thursday. the coalition success, which includes the united arab list. he is facing being out of power for the first time in over a decade. moving the migrant problem. denmark's lawmakers approve a plan to build a streaming center in africa so they will be