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tv   Global 3000  PBS  April 10, 2015 12:30am-1:01am PDT

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hello, and welcome to a winged edition of "global 3000." the wings this question are tiny, but the passion they evoke is immense. find out what that's all about later on in the show where we have the following topics coming up -- welcome to istanbul syrian refugees seek a new life in turkey. poppy predicament. rural poverty drives myanmar's illegal opium trade. and nature trail -- a quest to find a rare and endangered bird in benin. millions of sirens have fled
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their homes since the outbreak of civil war four years ago, many of them had originally hoped to make it to the european union. but in reality, it is neighboring countries with the ma majority end up finding shelter. turkey alone is playing host to some one .six million syrian refugees and counting. the chip pea dishes of hum mulls are fall fell are staple foods
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throughout the middle east. so of course they're on the menu at nizar bitar's restaurant. he comes from syria, like many of his customers too. they've fled to turkey to escape the civil war at home. >> i like to make food, and, you know, kitchen work. i like it so much i decide, i must work, because syrian people also missed more things here. like bread, like syrian kitchen. bitar arrived in turkey from damascus with two suitcases. he was on the run from the syrian secret police. with his restaurant, he was able to make a new start, and to offer the growing tide of young syrian refugees an opportunity to build their own future. >> we didn't want to leave them in streets. this is what we want, exactly. they want to work in some good places, like a human. this is what we want. because we suffered before them, and we didn't want them to suffer like us. now bitar has six more restaurants in the center of istanbul. and his are not the only businesses on the bosphorus owned by syrians. increasing numbers of refugees are arriving in the turkish metropolis to escape the camps in the border region. the turkish government tolerates that. but not all of the syrian refugees are able to build a new life in turkey. 10-year-old khadijah tries to remember the letters she once learned.
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she was only able to attend school in her hometown of aleppo for one year before the war started. >> i can write a few words, and compose a simple letter. but i want to learn to read and write properly. and i want to go to a proper school. >> instead, she sits with her mother and three siblings in a damp basement apartment in an istanbul suburb. her father works as a day laborer, earning the equivalent of around 400 euros a month. it's not enough to send khadijah to a private refugee school. >> whenever i pass a school in istanbul, i get very sad, because i can't send my children to school. in a way, they've lost four years of their lives. >> but at least turkish authorities have given refugees like the
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kurdiehs i.d.'s that allow them to get medical treatment for free. but there's no doctor that can help with the cold that enters through the makeshift coverings on the glass-less windows, no prescription for homesickness. >> i really miss my home, especially my neighbors in aleppo and my apartment. i have no idea what condition it's in. i'm safe here in turkey, but no country is as beautiful as syria. >> there are some 300,000 refugees in istanbul, from iraq as well as syria. those who suffer social rejection and are unable to find work usually want to continue west to europe. but for that, they need people smugglers to get them across the border to greece or to italy. we called a syrian smuggler in the turkish port city of mersin, pretending to be potential clients. >> it costs $4,800 per person.
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usually we take between 5,000 and 5,500. the ship is 77 meters long, a freighter that can sail in any kind of weather. this time there will be 1,000 passengers onboard. the captain will not leave the ship, don't worry. he'll only get his money when all the refugees have reached their destination. >> the mediterranean port of mersin, some 1,000 kilometers south of istanbul, is a hub for people smugglers. in the past, desperate refugees used to risk crossing to europe in fishing boats. now they do it in freighters ready to be scrapped. this former journalist from damascus, who wants to remain anonymous, wants to use a smuggler to get to europe. he no longer has a passport, and his wife and children are in lebanon. now he's trying to earn enough money for the crossing, even despite the risks.
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>> if you're trying to escape death, you don't care how dangerous it is. and europe is forcing me to place my fate in the hands of smugglers. there is no legal way to do it. i'll probably go alone and then get my family when i've been granted asylum in italy or someplace else. >> nizar bitar plans to stay in istanbul. he says arabs and turks have a lot in common, in terms of culture and religion. and he feels at home in turkey. >> you look for country respect you, save you, give you peace, give you life, give you work, give you warm, give you medical. this is our country, this is our home, i must say that. >> but only a very few of the 1.6 million syrian refugees in turkey are as lucky as nizar bitar, or have his entrpreneurial spirit. >> these flowers look innocent
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enough, but their effect is anything but. the days when illegal opium poppy production was in decline are long over, with ever more land now being given over to the controversial crop. after afghanistan, myanmar is the second largest producer of illegal opium worldwide. around 90% of myanmar's opium poppies are grown in the so-called "golden triangle" along the borders with laos and thailand. with trading in the hands of drugs gangs, ordinary farmers get only a small portion of the profit. >> khun ya dui is used to feeling on edge. the sticky liquid he's scratching off these poppy seed pods is raw opium. and growing it is illegal. >> as an opium farmer, i can't ever relax, not even at night. my body may sleep, but my mind never rests. i'm always worried. >> the police could show up at
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any time and destroy his fields. but farmers here don't see any alternative. they used to make a living growing mangos or avocados, but transport costs have risen so much that they can no longer earn enough money from those crops. so khun ya dui's whole village lives from growing opium poppies. it doesn't make them rich, but they can afford tin roofs for their homes and even the occasional satellite dish. the biggest benefits are less obvious. thanks to the profits from the opium harvest, these children can go to school, and the elderly and ill can afford to take an ambulance to the nearest
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hospital. although both the police and the army also profit from the opium trade, the farmers never feel safe. last year, police arrived in khun ya dui's village and destroyed the harvest. >> all of the families in the village lost their income. we didn't have enough money to cover the costs for the year. so we had to borrow money from the opium dealers. some people gathered firewood or sold sweet potatoes. others tried their luck as day laborers in the city, or went straight to thailand. >> myanmar has considerable natural resources -- gold, precious stones, coal. that's one reason why the various ethnic minorities in the country have for decades been engaged in armed struggle for greater independence from the central government. peace talks have been stalled for years. the much-hailed opening of myanmar is only very slowly arriving in this eastern region.
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many here don't see much of a future for themselves and their families. some 600 kilometers away is the border town of tachilek. it's the main smuggling hub in the infamous golden triangle of maynmar, thailand and laos. a lot of people who want to go from eastern myanmar to thailand pass through here both legally and illegally. this checkpoint, a few kilometers from the border is where officials hope to catch illegal migrant workers and people smugglers. the officers of the special anti-human trafficking unit inspect each suspicious vehicle. people from myanmar can legally work in thailand, but many find the official procedure too complicated. the officers are paying particular attention to this group.
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one of the women is under 25 too young to travel to thailand. young women are often targeted by gangs of human traffickers looking for fresh blood for thailand's sex industry. >> this week, we've arrested eight or nine brokers. as long as they're on trial, we look after the victims, and then we help them get back to their home towns, if that's what they want. >> but most try to get across the border on their own, or with the help of family members. those who make it often end up in settlements like this one, on the outskirts of chiang mai in northern thailand. now the work is finished for the day. everyone here is part of the
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ethnic shan minority. most of them earn less than the legal minimum wage of around eight euros a day. but that's still more than what they would make at home. jai leng tells us that even though they live in this camp, they still worship buddha with this little altar, just like at home. jai leng is also from myanmar. he's lived in thailand with his family for 20 years. >> i'm happy when i don't think too much. but deep in my heart, i'm not happy. this is not my home. sometimes i wonder whether i'll live the rest of my life like this, or whether i'll go back. >> many here would like to return home. some feel that myanmar's migrant workers never quite settle in thailand.
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it's an existence on the fringes of society. those without official documentation are especially in danger of exploitation. but many feel they have no choice. >> in my heart i know it wasn't the right decision to come here. but if i think about the situation in our country, i know i have to stay. if the situation there changed, i would return. but it's very difficult to find a job there, so we have to stay here. >> many of the migrant workers hope that the political reforms in myanmar will improve the situation in their homeland. then they might be able to return, and their children would finally have a proper home. >> and there is, of course, no place like home.
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it's a sentiment shared by an 80-year-old, once a cuban embassy who unlike the majority of his congressman was able to travel the world, he's now back home in havana, where he's invited us into his living room. ♪ >> hello, i'm gabriel calaforra. i live in cuba. please come in. this is my living room.
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i entertain friends here but i also work here, and this is my desk. i'm a bit old-fashioned, i always write by hand. the great works of world literature were also written by hand. ♪ >> that's the first surah of the koran. it says that there is only one god, allah. that's an original there. the small pictures are copies. when my mother died in denmark, i found them among her things. they're by danish artists who had lived in italy.
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♪ >> this is a korean lamp that i've had for many years. i took it with me to europe and then it came back here with me. ♪ >> i've lived and worked in a lot of countries. and i never felt like a stranger. right from the second day, whether in delhi, tokyo, or new york.
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i've always felt at home. thank you for your interest in my home. until the next time! i hope we'll see each other again in cuba. >> the little west african country of benin is a regular paradise for bird watchers and birds themselves, of course. in contrast to neighboring nigeria, where oil extraction has destroyed many natural habitats, benin's countryside remains largely untouched. that's good news for these two french orenthal jilses or bird experts, if you prefer, who have made it their medication to track down a rare and tiny bird that in nigeria is threatened with ex-tinges.
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>> julien gonin is traveling in southern benin. he's an ornithologist just like his father. this is the second time he's come to benin, which features an especially rich bird population. in this part of the country, much of life takes place on water. along with his colleague, fabien mercier, julian is looking for a particular species of bird, the very shy and rare anambra wax bill, a type of finch. >> we're going to this place where i spotted this bird for the first time four years ago. i didn't expect it here at all but there it was. i was really surprised to see that bird here.
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i immediately opened my book and it was the right one, but according to the map it shouldn't even be here. it was a really special feeling for me. >> the pair spent four years collecting money and preparing for the project. now there's a lot at stake for them. will they find the bird? and if so, how many of them? their search begins. to the locals, the european scientists are exotic. >> i find it amazing that this white man has made such a long journey just for a bird. he came from so far away just to see a bird. i find that really strange. >> it's a very small bird, only
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about 12 centimeters long. it has a curved beak it uses to eat the seeds that grow here. its beak is orange. it's a very pretty beak and it's a nice contrast to its gray head. and it's the only member of the estrilda genus with a white iris. >> several hours pass and then there it is. the anambra wax bill, a whole flock in the grass. this is the first footage ever shot of the species. the local residents aren't all that interested in the birds. today it is market day. people here make their living froming a culture and fishing. there aren't many visitors. there used to be a few tourists
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but fares of ebola and terrorism in neighboring countries are keeping them away. matty takpalo has noticed that. her business isn't going as well as it used to. >> my husband's a fisherman but he also does a few odd jobs so we can earn a bit of extra money. >> 5:00 in the morning. fabien and julien have returned to where they saw the birds the day before. they're in a hurry. they're eager to catch the birds. >> we've put up six nets. day break is coming, the birds are waking up, and we have to get back to the boat. >> now they just have to wait and prepare. a scale and other measuring
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instruments, needles for taking blood samples, they have everything at the ready. julien and fabien were successful. now they have to carefully remove the birds from the nets. i'm shaking. it's the first time i've held one of these birds in my hand. it's very emotional, catching my first waxbill in benin. it's an adult, wonderful. it's tiny, tiny, tiny. i picked these red sacks because they match the red beaks. [laughter] >> the nets have caught 25 anambra waxbill, more than the scientists had hoped to find. are these birds from nigeria
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where they're in danger of extinction or are they native here? the habitats are similar. >> it's especially important to measure the beaks. then we can compare them to the beaks of the variety from -- in nigeria. it often happen that is birds adapt to their environments and you can see that in the different beaks or wings. the measurements are important to be able to make a comparison. >> then they take blood samples for d.n.a. testing so they can determine conclusively if the birds in benin are the same species as those in nigeria or if they belong to a new species. one last photo. julien and fabien make their way to the next place where they
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think they may find the birds, just a few kilometers away. there they meet rangers working for a small n.g.o. that protects the animals and habitats around the river. the binoculars are gifts to help them with their own observations of birds, including the rare anambra waxbill. >> it's very important for us to meet our colleagues camille and jorges because we're only here for two weeks and they'll be working here for several years. if we pass on to them what we know, they can use that and then later we can exchange information in order to find out more about the anambra waxbill. >> and the ornithologists hope
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they can also pass on to the rangers their passion for these little birds with the bright orange beaks, the anambra wax bill. >> time has flown once again and we find ousts at the end of another show. thank you very much for tuning into this edition of "glole 3 000. you can find more information on our webpage, slash global 3,000. that's it for me and from all of us and until next time, goodbye. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit]
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