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tv   PBS News Hour Weekend  PBS  May 20, 2017 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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captioning sponsored by wnet >> stewart: on this edition for saturday, may 20: with controversy brewing at home, president trump is in saudi arabia, on his first trip abroad as commander-in-chief. iran re-elects its president, who pushed the nuclear deal with the u.s. and other nations. and, in our signature segment: the challenges of wiring an entire african country for electricity. 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 trustworthy journalism that informs and inspires. sue and edgar wachenheim, iii.
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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. on his first trip abroad as president of the united states, donald trump received a royal welcome in saudi arabia today. the president and first lady melania trump were greeted by saudi king salman, after they arrived on air force one in the saudi capital of riyadh. topping the official agenda, saudi agreements to purchase $110 billion of american-made military equipment and weapons, and to spend a total of $350 billion on arms and other goods
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over ten years. mr. trump described the deal as "tremendous investments in the united states." >> hundreds of billions of dollars of investments into the united states, and jobs, jobs, jobs." >> stewart: u.s. secretary of state rex tillerson said the arms deal will bolster joint efforts to deter regional threats from iran, and to combat islamic extremists groups in syria and yemen. >> this huge arms sales package reduces the burden on the united states to provide the same equipment to our own military forces, and will strengthen saudi forces for the future, so that saudi arabia is more capable of carrying a greater share of the burden of their own security. which, as i indicated, is important to the u.s. national security as well. >> today was a truly historic day in the relationship between the kingdom of saudi arabia and the united states, and we believe the beginning of a turning point in the relationship between the united states and the arabic and islamic world.
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>> stewart: tomorrow, the president will deliver a speech before a meeting of more than 50 arab and muslim leaders. after two days in saudi arabia, mr. trump will visit israel, meet nato allies in belgium and leaders of industrial democracies in italy, where he'll also have an audience with pope francis. the foreign trip comes as domestic investigations of russian interference in the u.s. presidential election last year, as well as the white house's handling of the probe, are expanding. in addition to this week's appointment of an independent counsel, last night, former f.b.i. director james comey, who was fired by mr. trump, agreed to testify in public before the senate intelligence committee after memorial day. "new york times" correspondent ben hubbard is in riyadh, covering the visit and joins me now via skype. ben, this trip has been billed as an opportunity to reset the american-saudi relationship. what needs resetting? >> well, i think from the sowldy perspective there's a lot of things that need resetting. the saudis, which have been american allies in the middle
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east for many, many decades, felt-- we can say they felt very deceived under president obama. there was anger over the way obama seemed to give up on hosting mubarak and other allies. they were angry at his tezitancy to get more involved in the war on syria. and the iran deal was a huge blow to them. they very much felt this president, who was supposed to be one of our great allies went behind our back and made this deal with one of our enemies. after trump was elected, there is very much a sense here that this is a guy who understands us. this is a guy we can do business with. this is somebody who has, you know, said all the right things when it comes to things we care about, which is fighting terrorist organizations and specifically with confronting iran. >> stewart: ben, let's talk a little bit more about business. you can tell us about the $110 billion weapons deal struck today. >> and it could end up being $350 billion over the next 10 years. they're going to build high-tech helicopters here in the kingdom, and deals that are expected to
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come through tomorrow dealing with oil and technologies and various other industries. >> stewart: has there been any reaction of mr. trump's statements that offended many muslims. >> i spent time outside the area of where the officials other than. yesterday i went to a harley davidson rally, actually, and met all these saudis who love harl davidsons. and it was amazing how many saudis tell you how much they like trump, this is a guy we can understand. you try to push them-- what about all the things he said about islam and your country? they seem a lot more willing, i think than many americans to dismiss it as campaign rhetoric. there has been a concerted media campaign inside the kingdom and i think it trickled down and people felt okay this is going to be a guy we can do business with. >> stewart: ben, mr. trump is slated to give a speech tomorrow. is there any indication with the tone, the tenor, the content? >> no, and it's interesting. this is the one thing that a
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number of saudi contacts i have, have expressed some discomfort over. they've kind of said, hmmm, trump is going to give a speech about islam. hmmm, we need to see how this is going to go. i wouldn't say people are too scared of it but it's one thing people have kind of-- it's raised oi browse we can say. what really interests him in this relationship is fighting extremism. the saudis have been under threat from the islamic state and the islamic state has carried out a number of attacks inside the kingdom, deadly attacks. and i think this is another area where they think they can do business with trump. >> stewart: ben hubbard of the "new york times" from riyadh, thanks very much. >> thank you. >> stewart: sharing the arabian peninsula is the small nation of yemen, where thousands of demonstrators today took to the streets of the capital, sanaa, to protest president trump's visit to the saudi kingdom. this came a day after rebel houthi fighters, opposed to the saudi-backed yemeni government, fired a ballistic missile toward riyadh. the saudis intercepted it 125 miles west of the city. for more on the situation,
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martin smith, from the pbs series "frontline," joins me via skype, from sanna. martin, you were at the protests today. what did you see? >> yeah, well, i saw that people had come out to protest trump's arrival, presiden president trus arrival in riyadh, the saudi capital. i don't know how to estimate crowd size, but it was certainly large. and they were there with posters, houthi slogans, you know-- "down with america. down with israel. god curse the jews. victory to islam." there were a series of speakers that led chants of anti-american chants, anti-saudi chants. and they're particularly upset that president trump arrived in riyadh to sign a $110 billion arms deal. these arms gl to the saudis, and they will use these arms in
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their war in yemen. and the country's been through two years of war, and the people feel broken. >> stewart: and as a result of those two years of war, there's a humanitarian crise there. what you can tell us about that. >> there is. there are several. there's a food shortage. well, the w.h.o., the world health organization, estimates that the cholera epidemic itself will probably infect some 200,000 to 300,000 yemenis. right now the count is about 13 frow and about 200 to 300 people have died. unicef estimates 70% of all yemenis are in need of some kind of humanitarian assistance. 19 million, i think, the number is of people in need of food. you've got an extremely serious situation in which the country is close to tipping into famine. >> stewart: i want to ask one
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follow-up question about the protests. were they peaceful? were the protesters agitated? what was the mood there? >> we didn't sense hostility personally. i mean, they always make the distinction here that they dislike the government of the united states and that applies to both president trump and president obama before him. but that the people of the united states are not their enemy. >> stewart: martin smith reporting from san athank you so much. >> thank you, alison. >> stewart: iranian president hassan rouhani has been easily re-elected to a second four- year-term, capturing 57% of the vote in a multi-candidate field. voting hours were extended yesterday to accommodate long lines. 70% of eligible voters turned out. the 68-year-old rouhani is considered a moderate, who sought the nuclear disarmament and sanction-lifting deal with the u.s. and other world powers. in a speech on state-run tv today, he called his win "a victory for peace and friendship and against violence." his re-election also has implications for the wars in syria and yemen.
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joining me by skype from tehran to discuss this is journalist reza sayah. reza, president rouhani won decisively, and this is especially interesting because his biggest challenger was a very conservative candidate. why did he win this way? >> yeah, i think for the voters who came to the polls yesterday, this election presented two very different candidates. on one hand you had hassan rouhani, the moderate reformist. he, of course, is the president who in 2015 signed the historic nuclear deal. his approach, his sales was just let's continue down this path. we're on the right path, and even though the economy hasn't improved, we're on the right course. and then you had his leading challenger, ibrahim raisi, the hard-line conservative. he essentially accused mr. rouhani as failing to dliver on the promise of benefits of the nuclear agreement, of being part of the financial elite, the welwealthy
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elite, ignoring the poor. and his message was iran needs to look back within its own resources, its natural resources, its human resources, its islamic revolutionary values to get the country back going again. >> stewart: was it the young people who made the difference? >> yeah, i think the young people were a factor. of course, iran's population is very young. roughly 70% under the age of 35. the young to mr. rouhani in the next four years to deliver some of those benefits. >> stewart: >> stewart: from what you can tell did the election of donald trump as president of the united states have an impact on the iranian election? >> i think it did. listen, the economy was the number one issue. when it comes to the economy, relations with the international community, with the west, with the u.s. is going to be a
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factor. and i think what's made things very difficult for mr. rouhani is mr. trump's very tough stance against iran, essentially he came in threatening to tear up the nuclear deal. now he's made moves that suggest he's going to maintain want nuclear deal. >> stewart: iran is involved in two proxy wars, one in yemen, one in syria, supporting bashar al-assad. will rouhani stay the course there? >> i think so. i think these are very important allies within the region. allies that are in the it comes neighborhood, in the region, it's their duty to protect their interests, and, of course, their interests include syria, iraq, and yemen. >> stewart: reporting from tehran, reza sayah, thank you so much. >> you're welcome.
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>> stewart: it may surprise you that 1.2 billion people-- 16% of the earth's population-- do not have access to electricity, according to the international energy agency. that includes 300 million people in india, 70% of the populations of cambodia, myanmar, north korea, and haiti, and much of sub-saharan africa. one country that has made great strides toward universal access to electricity is the east african nation of kenya. in tonight's signature segment, newshour weekend special correspondent christopher livesay reports on kenya's plan to bring electricity to its people. >> reporter: seline akinyi mumbe is 49 years old, and lived without electricity for her first 48 years, until she finally got power ten months ago. so three buildings here, all connected to electricity? >> yeah. >> reporter: mumbe lives in unami, a village 170 miles northwest of nairobi.
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>> ( translated ): i felt like i was in a different world, because my house was well lit. i knew i was no longer going to spend money on oil. i was also not going to spend a lot of time walking to the market to charge my cell phone. >> reporter: her home was recently hooked up as part of the "last mile connectivity project," a government program to connect 70% of kenyans to the grid by this year. it's part of a larger goal to achieve universal access to electricity by 2020. it's an ambitious undertaking. kenya would become one of the first sub-saharan african nations to reach this milestone. and kenya has made progress rapidly, going from 27% of the population connected in 2013, to 56% in 2016, adding more than 1.2 million households to the grid last year alone. the quest began a decade ago, by building transformers that distribute electricity. first priority was connecting hospitals, market centers, and schools to the grid.
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now, the "last mile" project is focusing on connecting rural households. mumbe uses the new electricity to light up her house, iron her family's clothes and warm water with a heater that plugs into the wall. >> ( translated ): initially, i used to iron with a charcoal iron box, and boil water with firewood. having electricity makes work easier. even if i want to wash my clothes at night, all i have to do is switch on the light. >> reporter: she's also started a small business. neighbors without electricity pay 10 cents to charge their cell phones. susanna berkouwer is a research economist at the university of california, berkeley. she's part of a team that surveyed 4,000 households in kenya to measure the impact of electricity on people's lives-- everything from health to education to employment. >> we ask a general question about life satisfaction. just how satisfied are you with your life? and actually, we saw an improvement there. it frees up people's time, it allows them to engage in other activities in the home, or just to take that time to relax and
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feel happier and be less stressed. >> reporter: kenyan energy minister charles keter says the success of the "last mile" project can be applied throughout africa, where more than 600 million people-- half of the continent's population-- still live without electricity. >> i think the african continent can learn a lot from the "last mile" connectivity. that it's possible for governments to spearhead the programs so that the narrative of africa being a "dark continent" should not be there. >> reporter: two-thirds of the cost of kenya's electrification campaign is being funded by loans from the world bank and the african development bank. but even with such widespread support, the cost of connecting to the grid and wiring a house falls on individual kenyans, like roy atieno. he and his wife, belinda, are subsistence farmers in unami. there's a new electricity pole right outside their house, but they can't afford the cost of connecting to it.
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is it frustrating to be too close to the source of electricity but not have access? >> i always wish, whenever i walk out from my house, i check at the pole, and then i wish it is already in my house. it is frustrating! >> reporter: in a 2015 u.c.- berkeley study, half of rural kenyan households surveyed lived within 200 meters of a power line, yet didn't have electricity. >> there's this whole other category of "undergrid," which are people that are off-grid, so they're not directly connected to electricity, but they're not living 100 miles away from the electricity grid. they're actually living, in many cases, ten feet away from their nearest pole. >> reporter: the cost of connecting to the grid has dropped from about $350 before the "last mile" program started, to $150 today, thanks to subsidies from the kenyan government. and a power company loan program gives residents three years to pay off the installation bill. still, $150 is about four times what kenyans in this region earn in a month. for those who do manage to get connected, it's only worth the
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investment if the power actually works. many kenyans complain of frequent outages, lasting from minutes to days. when we met hair salon owner susan adhiambo kopot right outside unami, the salon had lost power for more than an hour. kopot and her employees were limited to braiding customer's hair, because they couldn't use a hair straightener or blow dryer. >> ( translated ): it feels bad, because you decide to spend your money to get an electricity connection, so you can use it to run your business, but you end up experiencing blackouts. it's very disappointing. >> with this type of rapid expansion, we have had a lot of planned interruptions. >> reporter: stanley mutwiri is the head of infrastructure for the government-controlled kenya power and lighting company, known as k.p.l.c. mutwiri concedes that some unplanned outages occur due to acts of nature, like wind or rain, but he says most are planned and necessary. >> every time you are connecting
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some new customers on the line, you must interrupt others. >> reporter: k.p.l.c. is building new substations to increase the capacity of the electrical grid. when this station goes online next month, the transformer will be able to supply three times as many households as before. kenya energy minister charles keter says the government is also planning ahead and producing excess power right now, to ensure it can accommodate the rise in future demand. >> we cannot wait until when we have maybe big industries or the demand is high. it's like building a road. you cannot say, "why are you building a road when there are no vehicles?" you build the road to create that environment which people can now purchase vehicles. >> reporter: renewable energy will be crucial to kenya meeting the surge in demand for electricity. right now, the country gets over 60% of its energy from renewable sources, such as geothermal, hydro, and more recently, wind.
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the turkana wind farm, in northern kenya, is designed to supply one-fifth of the nation's energy. when it is completed later this year, it will be the largest wind farm in africa. in kenya, renewable energy is cheaper than fossil fuels. >> fossil fuels have got one unknown, that is, what is going to be the cost of fuel tomorrow? we don't know what's going to happen. we don't know how long this fossil fuel is going to be there. but the renewable energy, like, for example, the sun-- we always say, i'm sure tomorrow the sun will be up. >> reporter: nighttime is when the personal impact of electricity is most visible, as well as its uneven distribution. at roy atieno's house, with no electricity, the family eats dinner by the light of only two kerosene lamps. but down the road, seline mumbe's electrified house has become a beacon for school children. they come from all over the village to study and do homework. beryl jane otieno is 17. >> ( translated ): by around 9:00 p.m. the lights used to get
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dim, and i could not even see what i was reading clearly. i used to study for two to three hours, but nowadays i always study for five hours. >> reporter: but surprisingly, berkouwer says, the research shows that people's lives haven't significantly changed with the flip of a switch. after one year: students did not perform better in english or math tests; using electricity, which likely reduces the burning of kerosene or wood, didn't improve health; and, while women worked more, household incomes didn't improve. >> so we'd like to go back in a few years and see if the long- term effects are different than the short-term effects. but maybe not. maybe these things just aren't going to improve by as much as people were expecting. >> reporter: one reason may be that newly connected households don't have that many ways to use the electricity yet. >> if you provide somebody with an electricity connection, but they're not able to afford the appliances that would really allow them to use that electricity connection, how much could it really even benefit them? and if we can answer those types of questions, and we can compare that with similar research that looks at the effects of
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improving your education or the effects of improving your health care, then a household, or indeed a government, can make a decision about which of those is better to invest in. >> reporter: but energy minister charles keter says providing electricity is a human right and should be a priority, even for poor, rural households. some of them have homes with roofs made out of thatch. some of them don't have reliable access to water or even food. is electricity really the priority for these people? >> power is very essential in any developing country. and that's why as a country, whether you live in a grass- thatch home or any other related structures, we will provide you with power. >> stewart: as the cult hit "twin peaks" returns to television, explore the towns that serve as a backdrop for the show. read more at
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>> this is pbs newshour weekend, saturday. >> stewart: today in nigeria, 82 schoolgirls who had been kidnapped by the insurgent group boko haram were finally reunited with their families. they were freed two weeks ago by islamic militants, after more than three years of captivity. they were among the nearly 300 girls who were kidnapped from their boarding school in chibok, nigeria. the militants forced many of the teenage girls to marry them and have children. the 82 girls were freed in exchange for nigeria's government releasing five boko haram commanders from prison. nigerian officials say they'll make further exchanges to win the release of 113 girls still in captivity. coping with a spike in measles, italy has ordered one of europe's most widespread childhood vaccination campaigns. the italian cabinet yesterday approved a new law making vaccination against measles, mumps, rubella, meningitis,
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chicken pox, and seven other infectious diseases mandatory for children attending nursery school up to age 16. parents face fines if their children aren't inoculated. italy has seen 2,400 cases of measles this year, ten times the number in all of 2015. following a lengthy court battle, new orleans has removed the last of four divisive civil war-era statues in the city. a crane lifted the 20-foot bronze statue of confederate army general robert e. lee from its 60-foot tall pedestal last night. the city council had voted back in 2015 to remove the statues, because they were symbols of slavery and white supremacy. and, the national highway traffic safety administration is investigating the recall by hyundai and its affiliate kia motors of 1.7 million vehicles for engine defects. regulatory filings published today show n.h.t.s.a. is investigating whether the 2015 recall was too slow and covered too few vehicles.
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hyundai said it would cooperate with investigators. >> stewart: finally, officials in norway are repairing damage brought about by climate change to the so-called "doomsday" seed vault buried inside an arctic mountain. the vault, built ten years ago some 600 miles from the north pole, stores millions of seeds for thousands of crops, as a safeguard against natural disasters or even nuclear war. but unusually high temperatures last year melted the mountain's permafrost, and water leaked into the vault. the seeds themselves were not damaged. tomorrow on the broadcast, improving sex ed to lower teen pregnancy rates. that's all for this edition of pbs newshour weekend. thanks for watching. i'm alison stewart. good night. captioning sponsored by wnet captioned by
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media access group at wgbh >> 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 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 thank you.rom viewers like you.
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>> man: after prohibition, the first tiki drinks were served by a guy named don the beachcomber, and that was the big bang. >> man: tiki offers you this dream of escaping to an island paradise. >> woman: tiki is a celebration of a bygone era. >> woman: are you kidding me?! these people, they go way back. >> man: it's punk rock for grownup people. there's nothing quite like it. >> narrator: the natives are restless tonight. they've come from far and wide for a good time and aren't likely to quit until they've had one. these are the new adherents of what's come to be called polynesian pop -- "tiki" for short -- a thriving subculture of aloha shirts, grass skirts, rum cocktails, and exotic sounds. once considered a relic of