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tv   European Journal  PBS  September 17, 2013 2:00am-2:31am PDT

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>> hello and a very warm welcome to "european journal" coming to you from dw studios in brussels. let's take a look at what is coming up today -- disputed area. why spain and britain are fighting over iraq. if he did athletes -- why -- defeated athletes. let's start with romania. a man is facing charges of genocide for the first time since the romanian dictator was
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found guilty of genocide and executed more than 20 years ago. this time, the defendant is a former prison guard who is said to have committed cruelty stirring the communist era decades ago. it's the first time that romania's justice system is actually tackling this chapter of the country's past. >> the sounds of footsteps in this corridor or are still familiar. for 12 years, he was imprisoned in a tiny cell and a notorious prison. opposed the romanian regime. all of that is 50 years ago now, but he remembers every day of it . >> they were animals.
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they humiliated us, kicked us with their boots, beat us with clubs for no reason. between 1957 and 1958, we were tortured every day. >> the animals he means our men like this one -- a former prison boss, now 88 years old. he's the first romanian prison worker to be tried for crimes under the communist regime. he's being held personally responsible for the deaths of several inmates in the 1950s and 1960s. >> on innocent. i was just a lowly official. -- i'm innocent. >> for the plaintiffs, the fact that this case has even come to trial so long after the end of communism is in itself a triumph. >> for 23 years, there was no political will to resolve this issue. the people who took over power
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in the 1990's stifled any kind of discussion, and this communist elite carried on in politics even after the 1990's. >> he is referring to people like rudy, once a member of the feared romanian security apparatus. he was also romanian justice minister from 2000 through 2004. he has always dismissed the idea of pushing crimes committed under communism -- punishing crimes committed under communism. >> the statute of limitations has long expired. from a judicial point of view, classifying these cases as genocide will not wash. they were not murders committed on ethnic or religious grounds. this was about political affiliation. >> from a legal standpoint, she
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may be right. until recently, there was a statute of limitations in cases of murder, meeting the perpetrators could be off the hook. this former prison guard is the only one to speak publicly about his crimes. he has written a book and even starred as himself in a film. the enemy had to be stamped out. that's what the party wanted, he explains today. >> we invented our own laws and that present. we were god. no one had a bad conscience. torture was the norm. >> the institution for the investigation of communist crimes says it has identified 34 prison supervisors. after them, it wants to bring prison guards to trial. he says he became addicted to conflicting torture --
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inflicting torture. >> i loved using my baton. it did not matter whether i struck someone once or a thousand times. i just did not care. >> the inmates in this prison were also beaten many times. alexander was prison superintendent here. back then, balentine was kept in isolation in cell 13. even today, he struggles to come to terms with those dark days. >> today, the prison boss gets a pension of around 850 euros, and i get 400. that's the way it is. i do not think prosecution will achieve anything. i do not have any illusions. >> it's too late for justice
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many victims say, but they still believe that any attempt to shed light on the crimes of romania's communist past is worth it. >> britain's prime minister, david cameron, followed the example of whiston churchill -- winston churchill. legend has it that british sovereignty over the rock of gibraltar has disappeared. there's nothing wrong at the moment, but when it comes to britain's sovereignty over gibraltar, that has been a bone of contention between spain and britain for centuries, and it does not help that it was exactly 300 years ago this year that spain officially seated the rock to england. >> this summer, the government of gibraltar dumped locks of concrete into waters off the coast. the incident triggered the latest heated exchange between
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british gibraltar and spain. >> look at this -- from here to the gibraltar police boat, they've thrown concrete blocks into the sea across the entire area. 70 of them in all. they are ruining our fishing nets. what they have done is outrageous. they are stopping us from earning a living. we lived from hand to mouth. we rely on the day's catch, and now, they are preventing us from fishing here. >> the government of gibraltar says it needs the concrete blocks to create an artificial reef in its territorial waters that attract marine wildlife, but fishermen in the spanish border town of lead mean you say the concrete blocks are in their issue grounds. the conservative spanish government seized on the issue
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and has made it a thorn in gibraltar's side. it has also stepped up border controls. that has resulted in daily tailbacks and hours of waiting every morning. the official line is that they are clamping down on illegal cigarette smuggling, but since the smuggling takes place in the opposite direction, it is a flimsy excuse. to older generations, it's a throwback to the 1960's. as the german media reported in 1965. earlier this year, officials ordered existing customers rules to be enforced more strip -- more strictly. the reason -- to tackle smuggling to gibraltar. but that was during the franco dictatorship. shortly after this order, he closed the border completely. it was only in 1982 that it reopened to pedestrian traffic.
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the people celebrated. but then, they have to get accustomed to the long waits at the border crossing that are again standard today. >> it's outrageous. outrageous. it's illegal, it's unnecessary. it's affecting mostly spanish people. i do not know what they hope to achieve, but they will not achieve it this way. >> perhaps that's why the spanish came up with another idea. madrid intends to clamp down on bunkering, the practice of refueling at sea. it's become a big is this for gibraltar, which is one of the largest bunkering ports in the mediterranean. madrid warns of environmental damage, and environmentalists welcome the move, but there's just one small problem -- on the spanish side of the bay is a vast refinery run by the spanish petroleum company.
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taking advantage of gibraltar's tax system, the spanish company offers a subsidiary that offers its own bunkering service. quips -- >> ships refuel here just as much as they do in gibraltar. until a year ago, the spanish environment minister was president of a company that sold fuel. where did he buy it from? the floating fuel storage tankers here in gibraltar, which are now the target of his outrage. >> it is an absurd situation. unfortunately for all those embroiled in the conflict, there's no end in sight. >> it's a political issue. they are playing cat and mouse, and we are the mouse. >> local fishermen are convinced that neither side is interested in protecting the waters off
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gibraltar. >> today, a monument revised -- reminds visitors to gibraltar of the last attempt spanish troops made to win the rock by force. monuments are something like a collective memory aid, and ideally, they bring history back to life. in europe, monuments play a special role in the month of september. cities across the continent hold special events under the banner of european heritage days. in poland, a group of artists aim up with a creative try to act this year -- they literally turned monuments into a tangible experience. >> these strapping young men are all members of the polish weightlifting team. veterans of european championships and olympic games. this is christian, a professor
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of sculpture and a conceptual artist with polish roots based in stuttgart. his idea was to make a film showing them lifting some of warsaw's best-known monuments to exhibit as art. the first port of call is this landmark on the old town market square. the fighting mermaid is a symbol of warsaw. she is as light as a feather. no challenge at all for nine men . even four of them can manage a mere 800 kilos. >> that was a very patriotic experience. i grew up with the warsaw mermaid. we all used to go up close and get a good look at her. we were not allowed to touch her, but now i have not only touched her, i have lifted her
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up. she is just a monument to some people. i have actually touched her. >> he realizes this is only a copy. concerned about vandalism, the authorities relocated the original to the warsaw history museum. the rest of the day is spent looking for more monuments in some unusual places. they track down the founder of the first polish workers party, languishing in a garage. monuments to socialists are not exactly well looked after in today's poland. >> we have to make a big effort. the artist had to motivate us because we were a bit fed up at that point. even when it was pouring rain, he did not lose sight of his artistic vision. it was a question of honor. we thought if we could not manage the socialists, we were total wimps. >> the whole thing was crazy, standing there in the rain with a bunch of enthusiastic athletes.
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50 men in the mud -- it was no picnic, but it was worth it to watch them do a day of work and see how much they believe in the idea because they are not being paid. there is nothing in it for them. they are doing it for idealistic reasons, for art. >>tiful thing to behold. >> the project goes by the name heavyweight history. an uplifting experience for everyone involved. but this five-ton ronald reagan proved a tougher challenge than a socialist. the labs could not do it. instead, they turn their hands to the statue of polio brothers directed in 1945 known roughly as the -- known locally as the
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four sleeping soldiers. one could argue that the soviets did not actually help warsaw resist the notches. one soldier alone weighs around 4.5 tons. -- one could argue that the soviets did not actually help warsaw resist the not cease -- the nazis. third time lucky. >> bravo. bravo. >> last but not least on the list is the branch monument. the german chancellor made history when he dropped to his knees before the monument to the warsaw ghetto. not a chance. >> it's like sport. you do not win every time. there is no actual opponent here, so this is basically a contest between sport and
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history. it's fair enough that sometimes the monuments when -- win. >> the weightlifters have 15 goes, but eventually, they concede the feet -- defeat. some history is lighter than others. >> spain set a personal record this year. more taurus than ever before came to spain this summer on vacation. the main reason was that other destinations on the mediterranean like egypt, turkey, and tunisia are currently less popular because of ongoing political tensions. greece has also benefited, or to be more precise, the greek islands have benefited. there are lots of them to choose from if you are a traveler, so they have come up with a special concept to attract taurus --
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tourists. >> a landscape of shimmering blue and white. the archipelago shows greek life at its best. the recession that has battered the rest of greece has hardly made a dent here. the island gets 90,000 visitors daily. there are plenty of jobs, and the luxury boutiques have no problem finding affluent customers. greece has 170 other islands, all with equally gorgeous beaches and sunshine, but nowhere is taurus and growing as fast as here -- nowhere is taurus him -- nowhere is tourism growing as fast as here. what are they doing differently? the mayor of the island does not have an answer, but she insists that not everyone is benefiting. >> we are a wealthy island, but the local government hardly benefits from it, so we cannot employ more people. it's not like i am better off
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than other mayors in greece. i have the same problems as everyone else. >> the taxes collected here are directly funneled to athens, so administering the island or principality, as the greeks jokingly call it, is certainly not the reason for its success. so how have i thousand 500 mainland greeks found jobs here this year alone? this hairdresser from athens is one of them. >> we do not have any support from the government. we don't have nothing. we have private doctors because the public doesn't have anything. >> theodore can afford it with his prices. a simple haircut here cost 20 euros as opposed to 12 in athens, but he says the people here work hard for their living.
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>> 15 hours a day, they are working and they are working very hard, and they are very good at their services. >> is hard work recipe to his success? the island certainly does not shut down for the afternoon siesta that is certainly typical for the rest of greece, and it seems to be attracting plenty of investment. this luxurious hotel opened in early july. a room here cost 250 euros a night and has enough takers. they are defying the crisis in style. theodore admires the hotel owner's risk-taking. they agreed that the island simply has a different mentality. >> it is not in the mind the money first and then the service. we offer a beautiful experience.
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>> it is booked out until the end of september and expects a total of 2 million visitors by the end of the year, a jump of 60% from the previous year. and the taurus seem more than happy -- the taurus -- the tourists seem more than happy. >> people are relaxed and hospitable, but here, you can find anything. >> if you can afford it. this is greece's most expensive island. it does not want to be a cheap beach party location. after the day's work, he unwinds with friends at a bar, something he could not afford to do in athens. he says this island has shown the rest of greece how to be the crisis -- with sheer hard work and determination.
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>> the crisis is something that can give you the strength so you can do more things in life than stay and cry. you can stay in the corner and ask what happened, but you can go further and say, "ok, we are here." >> and the island is here to stay. the rest of greece seems very far away. >> it must have been disappointing news for all those who believed that we are not alone in this universe. a few weeks ago, the cia admitted that, yes, area 51 does exist. it's a military installation in the nevada desert, but the u.s. has been testing aerial surveillance systems strict leash shielded from the public. that means it was not ufo's in the night sky. people had merely seen stealth
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bombers traveling at extreme heights. a similar secret has now been revealed in britain. the county of wiltshire is famous for its mysterious crop circles, but now some claim there's a simple explanation for what was often considered to be the work of extraterrestrials. >> when the crop circle phenomenon first came to public attention in the late 1980's, an entire generation grew up in awe of the unexplainable. were they the work of extraterrestrials or spiritual energy? whatever the cause, crop circles stayed in the public eye. today, many people still live off of crop circle taurus him, but now wiltshire has a problem. fewer circles are cropping up. have the extraterrestrials gone home, or is there a more down to earth explanation? under the cover of night, matthew williams has been the
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secret creator of more than 100 crop circles, but now, he and other crop circle artists have had enough. >> some have seen tourists flocking to the area, millions of dollars from the tourist industry, and yet they have no money at all, are penniless, and are suffering accordingly. >> is the industry finished just because a few crop circle makers have quit their job? not if some of the self- proclaimed experts are to be believed. >> now we are getting the different rings that we have here. we may well have here a phenomenon which is airborne. i continue to believe that the major component is airborne. it comes from above. >> in the simplst possible terms, a spinning ball of electrified air is created, and that is what his sins.
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>> people came from china. they said that it had healing properties and they were being healed of various illnesses by coming to visit it. you cannot help but be excited when you see people getting that from your design. >> many believed the crop circles were simply too sophisticated to have been man- made. and then there was the similarity to stonehenge. could it really have been a coincidence that this ancient monument was also found in wilshire? >> a proliferation of ancient sites 2000 or 3000 years old all around you here and at other locations where these things appear, possibly right in there lies the answer. >> both stonehenge and crop circles draw thousands to wilshire each year. for them, it is all about the mystery. >> it's got squares and channels. >> they do feel something really strong.
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it is like a charge of energy. >> it actually could be intelligent life. >> even though there are fewer crop circles appearing in wilshire, tourists at the crop circle infrastructure -- info center have their own theories. >> my instinct tells me that anything supernatural is something that we as humans do not yet understand. >> but understandable it may be after all. for matthew williams, it was just impractical. >> i had hay fever really badly. i needed to take time off the coast every time i made the circle, it was like i had been beaten up, really. >> regardless of the decline in crop circles and their man-made origins, the belief in extraterrestrial influences and supernatural phenomena still thrives. >> and that report brings us to the end of this edition of "european journal." until next time, thanks for watching. auf wiedersehen and thanks for
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