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

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captioning sponsored by wnet >> sreenivasan: on this edition for sunday, august 6: diplomats try to reduce tensions after the u.n. imposes more sanctions on north korea. are members of the republican party already planning to run for president in 2020? and in our signature segment, from hawaii: growing concern over an invasive species-- how parakeets are wreaking havoc on local farms. next, on pbs newshour weekend. >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: bernard and irene schwartz. the cheryl and philip milstein family. the j.b.p. foundation. sue and edgar wachenheim, iii. the anderson family fund.
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rosalind p. walter, in memory of abby m. o'neill. 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, hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: good evening, and thanks for joining us. north korea's only ally, china, lectured its neighbor in no uncertain terms today to stop its missile and nuclear tests. the stern warning came a day after the united nations security council imposed tough new economic sanctions choking off about a third of north korea's exports. but at a regional summit of 27 foreign ministers in manila, chinese foreign minister wang yi said he told his north korean counterpart to remain calm, that
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more tests would only inflame the crisis. wang called for the quick resumption of six-party talks, including the u.s., to end the standoff peacefully. wang also met with u.s. secretary of state rex tillerson and said he told the secretary that sanctions alone are not the solution. a u.s. diplomat at the summit welcomed the new chinese pressure on north korea, but said the trump administration will try to ensure that china stays compliant with the fresh round of sanctions. in a country living under the north korean missile and nuclear threat, japan today marked the 72nd anniversary of the world's first atomic bomb attack, the 1945 u.s. bombing of hiroshima. more than 50,000 activists and mourners and survivors gathered at the peace memorial park in hiroshima and said "never again." hiroshima mayor kazumi matsui spoke of modern instability in the region, saying, "this hell is not a thing of the past." protesters at the ceremony called on japanese prime minister shinzo abe to admit more responsibility for japan's role in the war, and to drop his proposal to revise japan's
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pacifist constitution. the u.s. military today called off the search for three marines who were missing, after their tilt-rotor osprey aircraft crashed yesterday into the sea off the east coast of australia. the search efforts have now become a recovery mission for the marines' remains. 23 other personnel on the osprey were rescued when officials say it hit the flight deck of the amphibious transport ship u.s.s. "green bay" and crashed into the water. the osprey takes off and lands like a helicopter, but flies like a plane, and has a history of accidents, some of them fatal. after attorney general jeff sessions vowed last week to clamp down on leaks to news media from inside the trump administration, deputy attorney general rod rosenstein maintained today that the justice department does not intend to target reporters. rosenstein said, "we're after the leaker, not the journalist. we're after people who are committing crimes." while rosenstein declined to comment on reports that special counsel robert mueller is using a washington, d.c. grand jury in his investigation of possible
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links between russia and the trump campaign, he said such a move would be routine. >> many of our investigations involve the grand jury. it's an appropriate way to gather documents. sometimes you bring witnesses, to make sure you get their full testimony. it's just a tool that we use, like any other tool in the course of our investigations. >> sreenivasan: but congressman adam schiff, ranking member of the house intelligence committee, said mueller's use of the grand jury is meaningful. >> i think it is a significant development, not particularly unexpected, and you're right, you can't read that this means indictments are going to follow. but nonetheless, it does mean that the investigation is not only not being turned off, but it is moving into a new phase. >> sreenivasan: meanwhile, white house counselor kellyanne conway dismissed a report that several prominent republicans, including vice president mike pence, are already actively laying the groundwork for a presidential bid in three years. >> it is absolutely true that the vice president is getting ready for 2020-- for re-election as vice president. >> reporter: so no concern he is setting up a shadow campaign? >> zero concern.
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that is complete fiction, that is complete fabrication. >> sreenivasan: mr. pence himself today called the "new york times" report, "disgraceful and offensive," and, again quoting, "the latest attempt by the media to divide this administration." as president trump begins his working vacation, some of the news for the administration might appear grim. there are the declining poll numbers, a legislative failure on healthcare, the convening of a grand jury in an ongoing investigation, and the report in today's "new york times" about a "shadow" campaign of would-be 2020 g.o.p. presidential candidates. but those headlines may be distracting us from significant changes the trump administration is making. newshour weekend special correspondent jeff greenfield is here with me now. >> before we get started with some of these changes let's talk about this times article, kellyanne conway dismissed it this morning on abc. too soon for these folks to be doing this? >> reporter: well it just shows you the weak nature of the
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trump presidency, six months in his term, he may not be around. i think figuring out 2020 from six months is a fool's errand. maybe this is about 2024. you really want to say to the political press, get a grip. but do i think just think iforts one -- it's one small piece of evidence this is a presidency unlike any have seen, he won't be around. >> sreenivasan: even with that considered, there are the legislative defeats, the health care was the spectacular one but there are changes happening underneath that congress doesn't necessarily have to approve. >> reporter: i think daily ong stories, breaking news breaking news is kind of distracting us from the following. the federal bench is being totally remade. dozens of appointments with no traditional filibuster, they are going to get through this corng at the district court level and significantly the court of
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appeals level where the great majorities of opinions are made. trump has outsourced judges to the federal society and other conservative groups and those are lifetime appointments. then you have changes to environmental policy, the paris climate accord obviously but all across the line, new rules, old rules being brought back all to the benefit of drillers of coal miebs of the auto industry, a 180 turn. consumer protection, the dodd-frank bill that was supposed to protect us from banking excesses, that is being eroded away, the vocal rule so-called, to stop banks from speculating may be eroded, what trump is doing everything from how the local police departments being policed to the whole notion that affirmative action may be under effect, these are huge changes but they don't get spotlight of the latest marx
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brothers white house impression but it's significant stuff. >> sreenivasan: yeah and all of these shifts are to the political right. >> reporter: that's really interesting. there were people who thought donald trump is essentially a third party candidate, he did a hostile takeover of the party. but what he said was rat variance with the republican conservative catechism. maybe we'll tax rich, single payor in some cases, he had been pro-choice pro-gun control. but i think he has decided or instinctivity e-ively decided it's hard to know with the president i'm losing support, there are signs even among my base that they are becoming a little less enthusiastic. every decision he has made whether it's social policy that the transgender troops nor longer going to be allowed in the military, he tweet they'd, it's not a policy, everything is to shore up a conservative base both socially and economically and i think that's geant.
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>> sreenivasan: jeff greenfield, thanks so much. >> sreenivasan: when you think of parakeets, you're likely thinking about the birds that people keep in their homes as pets. but, in certain places around the world, parakeets have returned to the wild, and are at odds with people-- especially farmers. as pbs newshour weekend's megan thompson reports, they've landed on the hawaiian island of kauai, where the birds are seen as an invasive species. >> reporter: every evening, on the south side of the hawaiian island of kauai, just as the sun is about to set, a curious noise cuts through the tropical breeze. (birds cawing ) that's the sound of parakeets. hundreds, perhaps thousands of parakeets. they come to the same tall royal palms and pine trees every night to sleep, before taking off at dawn to roam the island. as the story goes, a few
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parakeets were kept as pets at a local bed and breakfast, back in the 1960s. they escaped, multiplied, and now there are an estimated 5,000 rose-ringed parakeets living on kauai. there's something charming about these beautiful, bright green birds fluttering in the trees, but it turns out, they've become quite a nuisance. >> it's the most complicated wildlife problem i've ever dealt with. >> reporter: bill lucey is a biologist and the former manager of kauai's invasive species committee, which monitors the birds. >> it's called a slow invasion. so they're around for a long time, and then they hit some sort of peak, and they'll start breeding more rapidly. and the population, from what we're observing, is really starting to grow fast. >> reporter: rose-ringed, or ring-necked, parakeets are native to parts of africa and asia and are often kept as pets. they have spread in the wild around the world, from great britain to japan, and now hawaii. kauai is known as the garden island because of its lush landscape and many farms, and that's where the birds cause the
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most trouble. parakeets love the sweet tropical fruit grown on kauai, like papaya, lychee and passion fruit. they can do a lot of damage in a short period of time. >> you can see there's a little bit of damage, right in here. >> reporter: jerry ornellas grows lychee and other fruit on a 15-acre farm on kauai's east side. >> about four years ago, we started seeing the first individuals. there were maybe two or three of them. and this year, i'm seeing flocks of about 20 or 30. >> reporter: ornellas is retired, and aims to break even with the farm, which has been in his family since the '60s. >> well, last year i lost about 30% of my crop, which, $5,000 or $6,000 loss. fact is, i don't hate these birds, you know. they're trying to make a living, just like i am. and times are tough, i know, for them as well as the farmers. but let me put it this way: how would you feel if friday came along and you checked out your paycheck and birds had eaten half of your paycheck? i mean, that's basically what we're looking at, as farmers.
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>> reporter: farmer gary ueunten has started experimenting with ways to keep the birds off his lychee trees. >> i read on the internet that in japan they use waxed paper bags to cover fruit, so i ordered a whole bunch of bags and i started covering fruit. it worked for a little while. and then the birds figured out, "we can eat right through the bag." so, that was end of the bags. >> reporter: now, ueunten is putting huge nets over his trees to keep the birds away. he figures he's spent about $1,200 so far. >> oh, yeah, that's a huge expense. for a small farmer, to go out and spend $1,200, it's a big expense. >> reporter: on kauai's west side, some of the largest agricultural companies in the world are also battling the birds, in the fields where they develop genetically-modified corn seed. >> when we see that, we need to move into action right away. >> reporter: these massive nets are stretched across a field owned by dow agrosciences. peter wiederoder works for dow and is a member of the hawaii crop improvement association,
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which represents dow, monsanto, dupont, pioneer and syngenta. >> the difference between the parakeets and the other animals, is the parakeets have that ability to totally wipe out the entire field in a short time period. our scouts came in on a friday-- to check the field out. the field was looking great, in good condition. we came back on monday and every ear of corn had been totally eaten. it was down to just the cob. >> reporter: the companies also hire people to scare the birds away. wiederoder estimates all of it costs the four seed companies hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. >> and this is one more thing that increases our price, and makes it less and less attractive for us to be here, in hawaii. >> reporter: bill lucey says the birds are hard to control because they're so smart. they seem to be able to recognize farmers who've threatened them before. >> they recognize their jackets, the trucks they drive. what they'll do is send in two birds to scout the fields. they'll look for danger. if they see someone else's truck, that doesn't mean they're gonna fly away.
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but if they see a certain truck and they recognize it, they'll give out an alarm call. and the birds won't come in. >> reporter: wow. >> so people are changing their baseball hat colors, and changing their clothing. >> reporter: they're literally in disguise. >> yeah. >> reporter: wow. >> because these birds are, i mean, you could teach parakeets and parrots to talk. >> reporter: the parakeets aren't just destroying farms. >> we have droppings on our walkway all the way back through here. >> reporter: the noise, and the big mess they make, are nuisances for tourists and residents who live beneath those trees they return to sleep in every night. and the local authorities suspect they might be stripping seeds from native plants in kauai's mountains, like the koa tree. and that gets to a larger issue facing the state of hawaii. it's one of the most isolated island chains in the world, and that means native plants and animals here didn't evolve to compete with foreign threats. >> when species from other parts of the world come to hawaii, they tend to be much more competitive than some of the native species. and that delicate, unique
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balance we have here in hawaii can be upset really easily. >> reporter: joshua atwood is the invasive species coordinator for hawaii's department of land and natural resources. the state spends about $57 million a year battling invasive plants, animals and insects, like the ornamental plant miconia that's now threatening hawaii's forests; the coffee berry borer that damages coffee plants; and invasive algae that smother coral reefs. >> the invasion of hawaii by invasive species is the single greatest threat to not only hawaii's natural resources, but to its economy, agriculture, and to the health and lifestyle of hawaii's people. >> reporter: last spring, the hawaii state legislature allocated $75,000 to start to figure out what to do about the parakeets on kauai. bill lucey says if they can catch the birds, they could sell them to pet stores. >> one option is to stretch nets off the top so the buildings where the parakeets are roosting, and then we could catch them live.
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there's another option, which has been used in the past. when the birds are sleeping, you can soak the tree with soapy water and they can't fly. so they'll fall down. >> reporter: but lucey says if catching them isn't enough, the state may have to resort to killing the birds. and that does not sit well with cathy goeggel, president of animal rights hawaii. she objects to the idea the parakeets are invasive. >> these birds have been here for 50 years. they are an established population. they are loved by a lot of people. i think it's kind of "pie in the sky" to think that they can trap them and then send them back into the pet trade, where they'll probably go someplace else where they're not wanted. >> reporter: goeggel says in no circumstances should they be killed. she'd prefer the state look at ways to slip birth control into their food, a technique used on pigeons in other parts of the u.s. >> they are not responsible for having come to hawaii on their own. they were brought here as a pet
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trade and released. and, to kill them just because they're not native, doesn't seem fair to me. >> humane treatment of animals, we're all about that. but, as resource managers, we look at the system. we don't look at the individual animal. we look at the ecosystem and how it functions. is it healthy? is it productive? is it making space for all the native species? >> reporter: and so until the authorities figure something out, the residents of the south side of kauai will fall asleep and wake up to this bird song for months, or maybe years, to come. >> sreenivasan: hear from young activists of color who are fighting climate change. visit >> sreenivasan: we're now in the 16th year of u.s. troop presence in afghanistan. the numbers are less than they were, and it is reported that
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the trump administration is looking at political and military options there. the president has also reportedly weighed personnel changes overseeing the american effort, and is frustrated by what he sees as a losing position in the war. and, as the "new york times" reported this weekend, iran has gained influence in afghanistan, conducting covert activities and supporting their one-time enemy, the taliban. according to the "times" report: "as the nato mission in afghanistan expanded, the iranians quietly began supporting the taliban, to bleed the americans and their allies by raising the cost of the intervention so that they would leave." joining me now via skype from istanbul, turkey is carlotta gall, who wrote the story. carlotta, iranians and the taliban are on opposite sides of the sunni/shia divide. why are they working together here? >> that's what amazes me, and this is where we found last year when the taliban leader mullah mansour was killed, he was actually returning from a very high-level visit in iran. and it wasn't his first. he'd done at least three trips.
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they're calculating that the american draw-down is going to continue, and that they want to have proxies that they can influence, on, along their-- especially along their border. and so the taliban were the ones who were in play. and so they reached out to them, and amazingly, they even connected them with russia and helped get weapons to the taliban. so yes, it's a turnabout from when the taliban was really, almost at war with iran. now, they seem to think, you know, a lesser enemy would be each other, and get to work. >> sreenivasan: what's financing all this? >> the taliban, as you probably know, have always been financed by pakistan and the gulf arab states really as a sunni force. and they are, actually, have been just trying to diversify under mansour. he was keen to reach out to iran for money, but also weapons,
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training. and he also gets a lot of money from the drugs, but it seems like that is also how he has connections with iran, because a lot of narcotics that are grown in afghanistan go out through iran. >> sreenivasan: and you're saying that there's evidence of iranian involvement even in some of the taliban raids that are happening in afghanistan? >> we went down to farah, which is a very remote province on the bor-- on afghanistan's bor-- western border, with iran. and they had a very big assault last year, last october. they had big air strikes. and they have discovered that their iranian commanders, who'd been killed in that operation-- so, iranians had been involved on a very high level. >> sreenivasan: so, is the goal then for iran to sew instability in the region, or just specifically in afghanistan, knowing that, even if they don't particularly control it, this is
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an opportunity for them to get the americans out? >> they really don't want american troops and influence in afghanistan. they see it as their back yard. but they are also calculating, they want proxy forces that are loyal to them or at least controlled by them, who they have some leverage over. so that's the calculation to help some of the taliban that are local along their area. they also really want to hurt america, and that's their ultimate aim, to bleed them, as we wrote, and to push them out eventually. >> sreenivasan: all right. carlotta gall of the "new york times" joining us via skype from istanbul. thanks so much. >> sreenivasan: finally, "an act of terrorism" is what minnesota governor mark dayton is calling yesterday's bombing of an islamic center in bloomington. dayton visited the center today and said the pre-dawn bombing was a "dastardly, cowardly act""
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no one was injured, and federal agents are investigating. and a reminder to head over to to watch our earlier facebook live conversation. today's guest was erica joy baker of project include. we spoke about the anti- diversity manifesto written by a google employee that is making waves in silicon valley and beyond. on the newshour tomorrow: how cubans are reacting to president trump's change of course in policy toward the island nation. that's it for this edition of pbs newshour weekend. i'm hari sreenivasan. thanks for watching. have a good night. captioning sponsored by wnet captioned by media access group at wgbh
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>> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: bernard and irene schwartz. the cheryl and philip milstein family. the j.p.b. foundation. sue and edgar wachenheim, iii. the anderson family fund. rosali. walter, in memory of abby m. o'neill. 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 station from viewers like you. thank you.
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steves: we're in rothenburg, germany's ultimate walled city. in the middle ages, when frankfurt and munich were just wide spots on the road, rothenburg was one of germany's largest cities, with a whopping population of 6,000. today, even with its crowds and overpriced souvenirs, i love this place. during rothenburg's heyday -- that was about 1200 to 1400 -- it was the intersection of two great trading routes -- prague to paris and hamburg to venice.
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but today, the great trade is tourism. rothenburg is a huge hit with shoppers. true, this is a great place to buy cuckoo clocks, steins, and dirndls, but see the town first. most of the buildings were built by 1400. like many medieval towns, the finest and biggest houses were built along herrengasse, named for the herren, or the wealthy class. the commoners built higgledy-piggledy farther from the center, near the walls. hanging shop signs advertise what they sold -- knives, armor, bread, whatever. rothenburg's wall, with its beefy fortifications and intimidating gates, is about a mile around and provides great views and a good orientation. rodertor is the only tower you can actually climb. it's worth the hike for the commanding city view and the fascinating display on the bombing of rothenburg in the last weeks of world war ii,
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when much of the city was destroyed. but rothenburg's most devastating days were 400 years ago, during the thirty years' war. in the 1600s, the catholic and protestant armies were fighting all across europe. the catholic army took the protestant town of rothenburg, and as was customary, they planned to execute the town leaders and pillage and plunder the place. but the catholic general had an idea. he said, "hey, if someone in this town can drink "a three-liter tankard filled with wine in one gulp, i'll spare the city." according to legend, rothenburg's retired mayor nusch said, "i can do that." mayor nusch drank the whole thing, the town was saved, and the mayor slept for three days. and today, tourists gather on the town square several times daily for a less-than-thrilling reenactment of that legendary chug. nice story, but in actuality, the town was occupied and ransacked several times during that 30 years of war,
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and when peace finally came, rothenburg was never again a major player. it slumbered peacefully until rediscovered in the 19th century by those same romantics who put the rhine on the grand tour map. they came here to paint and write about the best-preserved medieval town in germany. shops are filled with etchings and prints inspired by this 19th century romantic take on the town.
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explore new worlds and new ideas through programs like this, made available for everyone through contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. from lush green ireland to ancient greece, to the castles of germany and the lochs of scotland, from the lights of paris to the ruins of italy and so much more, join me, brian stokes mitchell, for a breathtaking panorama of european landscapes, ancient monuments, sun-drenched seashores and world famous landmarks, all from the comfort of your living room in visions of europe. ♪ music