Skip to main content

tv   PBS News Hour Weekend  PBS  December 30, 2017 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

5:30 pm
captioning sponsored by wnet >> stewart: on this edition for saturday, december 30: anti-government protests continue in cities across iran. in our signature segment, the debate over public lands being declared national monuments. and, an often maligned russian car, now embraced by a younger generation. next, on pbs newshour weekend. >> "pbs newshour weekend" is made possible by: bernard and irene schwartz. the cheryl and philip milstein family. sue and edgar wachenheim, iii. dr. p. roy vagelos and diana t. vagelos. the j.p.b. foundation. the anderson family fund. rosalind p. walter, in memory of abby m. o'neill.
5:31 pm
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. and by: >> babbel. a language app that teaches real-life conversations in a new language, like spanish, french, german, italian, and more. babbel's 10-15 minute lessons are available as an app, or online. more information on >> 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. >> stewart: good evening, and thank you for joining us. protests against the iranian government grew for a third straight day, spreading to the capital of tehran today. iranians expressed their anger at the country's leadership and
5:32 pm
weak economy, particularly rising food prices. dozens of protesters have been arrested since thursday, and videos on social media showed more clashes with police near tehran university. for the first time today, images from the demonstrations were broadcast on state tv, which called the gatherings "illegal" and claimed foreign media and counter-revolutionary groups were behind the efforts. also today, pro-government supporters hit the streets in a previously scheduled rally backing the country's supreme leader, ayatollah ali khameni. president trump weighed in, tweeting, the "iranian government should respect their people's rights, including right to express themselves. the world is watching." an iranian foreign ministry spokesman rejected president trump's statementm calling it "meddlesome" and "opportunistic." much of the country is trying to stay warm in the midst of another big arctic blast. the national weather service has winter storm and chill warnings in effect for most of east coast
5:33 pm
and midwest. parts of minnesota and north dakota today have projected wind chills of negative 50. erie, pennsylvania is bracing for another foot of snow, after more than five feet fell earlier this week. and revelers in times square will be ringing in 2018 in what is expected to be the coldest new years eve since 1962. north korea is warning there will be no change to its nuclear policy, as long as the united states and its allies continue what pyongyang calls "blackmail and war drills" at its doorstep. last week, russia-- along with the other 14 members of the u.n. security council-- voted to restrict oil imports to north korea. today, russia denied that it violated previous sanctions following reports that russian ships transferred oil to north korean tankers while at sea. kremlin officials also said today that russian president vladimir putin sent president trump a new year's telegram in which he emphasized mutual respect and cooperation between the two countries. the message comes as russia's supreme court today upheld a decision barring one of putin's
5:34 pm
biggest rivals from running in next year's presidential election. alexei navalny, the leader of russia's opposition party, was banned from entering the race as a candidate for president, following a conviction earlier this year on embezzlement charges. navalny says the charges were politically motivated. navalny is calling for a boycott of the vote, but putin commands an 80% approval rating and is expected win an easy victory in the march election. this organization is working to curb sex trafficking and domestic violence in india. read more at >> stewart: earlier this month, the iraqi government declared the end of combat operations in the fight against isis, ending three years of the militant group's violent and deadly control over one-third of the nation. and, as the "washington post" reports this week, the iraqi government is now undertaking an effort to quickly bring isis members to justice.
5:35 pm
but just how the process is moving forward, and who is being caught up in it, is raising questions. for an explanation, i am joined via skype from ontario by tamer el-ghobashy, the baghdad bureau chief for the "washington post." >> i understand you just returned from iraq. who is being arrested, what are they being charged for, and what is the process like? >> what we're seeing is there are thousands of people, both local iraqis and foreigners who came to join isis in iraq whoa are being arrested and are now coarsing through the iraqi criminal justice system. they're all being charged under the iraqi antiterrorism law which was passed in 2005 and has a very, very broad definition. whether they raised arms and fought for the group or whether they cooked for fighters in the group or treated them as doctors or otherwise is irrelevant under iraqi law. the idea that you joined isis, or a similar group like
5:36 pm
al qaeda, means that you are subject to either life in prison or the death penalty. >> how long will these trials last and is there anything that could be done to change the way this process is going forward? >> the u.n. has suggested that iraq doesn't have the infrastructure in its legal system to handle these cases, saying that most of isis' crimes were crimes against humanity and war crimes and should be handled by an international criminal court, for instance. but so far, there is no momentum. in fact, it seems from the very top of the iraqi leadership structure and with prime minister, he has authorized that these trials be expedited in order to-- to see justice served for the victims of isis. >> how might these quick trials and these executions affect iraq's stability? >> from a domestic point of view, the idea is that these
5:37 pm
quick executions could result in quite a large number of innocent people being condemned to death. and one of the popular kind of conventional wisdom in iraq and elsewhere is that, you know, the reason isis flourished in iraq is because sunnis felt disenfranchised and ignored by the majority shia central government. so there might be a risk of further alienating sunnis who feel like they were victims of isis, and then were victimized once again by the iraqi criminal justice system which, again, does not appear equipped to-- or willing to allow people a fair trial to defend themselves against the charge of joining the group. >> tamar el-ghobashy from "the washington post," thanks so much. >> my pleasure.
5:38 pm
>> stewart: earlier this month, president trump announced a drastic reduction in the size of two national monuments in utah that had been designated by presidents obama and clinton. the recent action is the largest rollback of federal land protection in the nation's history. bears ears was downsized by 85%, and grand staircase-escalante by half. that's two million acres altogether. restrictions on how the federal land can be used were also loosened. bears ears and grand staircase are two of 27 monuments that interior secretary ryan zinke reviewed. he also recommended "modifications" of others, including cascade-siskiyou in oregon and gold butte in nevada. earlier this year, newshour weekend visited gold butte national monument, to take a closer look at what the monument status means to local residents and conservationists there. hari sreenivasan has the story in this updated report. >> sreenivasan: deep in nevada's mojave desert, 100 miles from
5:39 pm
the las vegas strip, the rocks provide glimpses into the lives of native americans who inhabited this area for thousands of years. hundreds of their petroglyphs, or etchings, are carved on the rocks in this area, now known as gold butte. >> they date them by comparing them to other petroglyphs that they've seen. >> sreenivasan: jaina moan is the executive director of friends of gold butte, a non- profit advocacy group working to protect this stretch of desert. >> on this panel here, you see a lot of abstract shapes, so honeycombs and squiggly lines, and then if you look over here on this panel, you see more representational forms, so humans, sheep. >> sreenivasan: while petroglyphs have been found all over the world and in other parts of the southwest, the concentration of images-- and this drawing of a man appearing to fall-- help make gold butte unique, according to jim boone, an ecologist and volunteer with friends of gold butte. >> i think of the artist who did this as perhaps the michelangelo
5:40 pm
of his day. >> sreenivasan: boone says, unlike the stick figures found nearby, the "falling man" petroglyph is more lifelike. >> it has real motion to it. and the arm is out as if to brace himself in a fall. >> sreenivasan: a decade of advocacy by friends of gold butte, local native american tribes like the moapa band of paiutes, and other groups paid off last december when president barack obama, in one his final acts of environmental conservancy, used his executive power to designate gold butte-- its petroglyphs, along with 300,000 surrounding acres of land owned by the federal government-- as a national monument. the president's proclamation cited gold butte's ancient petroglyphs, and its "vital plant and wildlife habitat, significant geological formations," and remnants of mining and ranching heritage. nestled between lake mead in the west and the grand canyon national monument in arizona, the designation of gold butte permanently limits any commercial development, but
5:41 pm
doesn't change existing recreational uses. >> it's assured that we are going to have this land for our enjoyment and for the health of the landscape itself, and the plants and animals that live here. there's no timeline that ends this particular designation. >> sreenivasan: to protect gold butte, president obama relied on a law from 1906 called the antiquities act, a law he used 34 times during his two terms in office, designating 553 million acres of land and sea as national monuments, the most ever by any president. university of nevada, las vegas law school professor bret birdsong served during obama's second term as deputy solicitor for land resources at the bureau of land management, or b.l.m., the federal agency tasked with managing gold butte. >> president roosevelt in 1908 protected the grand canyon for the first time because it was under threat of miners who were establishing claims there, using the antiquities act, and didn't
5:42 pm
need to go through what can be a very long and lurching legislative process. and then, as we've seen, the public support tends to grow around those designations. >> sreenivasan: birdsong says obama took action after the republican-led congress failed to pass legislation to protect gold butte, despite broad public support. a 2016 poll found 71% of nevada voters supported creating a national monument. >> what the president was doing is using a lawful power to provide the benefits and the protection for these areas that he thought were warranted, because congress was really unable to act, despite significant support to do so. >> sreenivasan: but there was-- and still is-- strong local opposition to the national monument designation, and fear it will restrict access to the area. >> it all sounds great to the public out there. what they don't understand is, it is public lands right now, and it's public lands for the
5:43 pm
use of me, my children, other people. >> sreenivasan: cresent hardy represented the gold butte area in congress and the state legislature. a republican, hardy calls the designation an overreach. >> i think, if you want to protect the petroglyphs, and you want to designate that as the monument, that's what the antiquities act was set up to do, is protect the minimum possible footprint of that of what you're trying to designate. not an extra 300,000 acres on top of the 50 to 100 acres that you could have protected. >> sreenivasan: the tension over control of federally-owned land has simmered since many western states were formed. the federal government owns almost half of these 11 western states, and no state has a greater percentage of federal land than nevada, which is 85% federally owned. former congressman hardy would like to see states have much more control of their own management. >> give us the money that you spend out there across the country on every state, and let us manage our land. let us do our planning processes
5:44 pm
instead of going to this heavy bureaucracy where you duplicate the same thing nevada does, the federal government does and takes longer doing it. >> sreenivasan: conflicts over federal land have also boiled over in this corner of nevada and made national news. >> ...where a standoff between the federal government and a local cattle rancher involving an armed militia almost turned violent. >> sreenivasan: just north of gold butte, rancher cliven bundy, his two sons, and hundreds of their supporters engaged an armed confrontation with federal officials over cattle grazing fees in 2014. bundy and his sons were charged with conspiracy. a federal judge recently declared a mistrial and a hearing on whether to dismiss the case is set for january 8. in the years since the standoff, there has been little federal presence in the area. and that has meant more damage. friends of gold butte documented illegal water tanks and vandalism of petroglyphs, even a few bullet holes. since gold butte gained national
5:45 pm
monument status last year, the bureau of land management has allocated more staff and resources to manage the area and no further damage has been documented. >> we don't want to see those continuing degrading effects impact the land and erase all of these wonderful treasures that we have out here. i mean, when a petroglyph is shot, that's it, it's there forever. >> sreenivasan: jim boone says off-highway vehicles frequently damage habitat by veering off the more than 300 miles of designated trails. these fresh tracks during our visit marked where a vehicle drove around a fence meant to protect a plant species found only in this part of nevada. >> so everybody gets their piece of the desert to do what they want, but people can't go everywhere and do everything. >> if there ain't a road; i'm not going there. >> sreenivasan: bob adams is the president of a local all-terrain vehicle club. he's ridden thousands of miles in and around gold butte in his "side by side" a.t.v., and says the area is generally respected
5:46 pm
by people that use it. >> if you got a network of roads already that goes to those places, why would you want to go over and travel on something like that, just to say you did? >> sreenivasan: the designation does not roll back driving in off-road vehicles, camping, hiking, or hunting, but adams worries conservationists will exploit the rare acts of vandalism to put future limits on recreational access. >> why did they feel they needed to designate it as a national monument? unless they then use that to, you know, put restrictions on it in some way, shape, or form. >> sreenivasan: native american tribes like the moapa band of paiutes consider gold butte to be sacred land and see the national monument declaration as an important step to preserve their cultural legacy. william anderson is the tribe's former chairman. >> every attempt we tried to go ahead and preserve the land failed. >> sreenivasan: in the spring of 2016, he helped organize an 11-mile culture walk through gold butte to raise awareness of
5:47 pm
the damage to petroglyphs and appeal to president obama to grant monument status to the area. >> now that it's a national monument, we're able to go ahead and show them how important it is to our people. >> sreenivasan: after president trump reduced the size of the bears ears and grand stair national monuments, jaina moan and other advocates held a press conference to protest the move, and vowed to take legal action if gold butte was downsized, too. >> and so we are angry that the president thinks that he can strip protections from bears ears and grand staircase- escalante. he is taking away the assurances that we will have these places to enjoy, for ourselves and all who follow us. >> sreenivasan: but former congressman cresent hardy of nevada hopes the trump administration follows secretary zinke's recommendation to modify gold butte by reducing its size. >> i would sure hope that this administration would look at that, shrinking the size, or let's designate the area that needs protecting. but almost every president
5:48 pm
that's gone through has abused the antiquities act in a manner that's way beyond protecting that which is designed for the antiquities act. >> sreenivasan: for now, federal authorities are continuing to manage gold butte in its current form. it remains to be seen if it will stay that way. >> stewart: the boxy, russian- made lada automobile dates back to the soviet union, and was meant to be an inexpensive, solid, if unremarkable vehicle. but now, the often-mocked lada is experiencing a revival in russia among moscow's young street racers. with support from the pulitzer center on crisis reporting, newshour weekend special correspondent nick schifrin has the story of the comeback of this old school car. >> reporter: on the mean streets of moscow, there's a geopolitical battle royale: proud russia in the aqua lada;
5:49 pm
evil west in the grey and blue b.m.w. winner gets a plastic trophy. welcome to moscow drift. two laps around a figure-eight race track. must screech tires, and drift. here's how it works. you race around a corner and intentionally over-steer. the back tires lose traction, and the car slides, or drifts, around the corner. that's a lada riva, and its driver, as the saying goes, lives his life a quarter mile at a time. >> ( translated ): it's like everywhere else. some do sports, others party. everyone has a hobby. mine is drifting. >> reporter: 20-year-old vasiliy muravlev is a mechanic with a passion for drifting. he's been racing since he was 16, and souped up his own riva. >> ( translated ): i had a car, started preparing it for this, tried it, saw i was good at it. and i enjoy it. >> reporter: for these 20- something drivers, this is like racing time machines. most of the cars are older than they are. but for many here, ladas bring
5:50 pm
out their pride, in their wheels and country, because ladas stand for russia. maksim grishin, in the blue hood, works at the treasury department. >> ( translated ): we've just seen a guy in a simple carburetor lada, with a few parts stripped to decrease the weight, and it drove better than imported cars. >> reporter: stanislav tarasov switched from toyotas to ladas. >> ( translated ): i think the boys are expressing their patriotism. and another thing, domestic cars are more accessible. the more you drive, the better you get. >> reporter: ladas are old school emblems of the cold war. across the soviet union and the eastern bloc, they were the everyman car. they were based on a fiat design, made more sturdy for cold russian winters, and ery 23 seconds.ced a ladat was ♪ ♪ soviet commercials portrayed them as family friendly and unquestionably solid. ♪ ♪ advertisements for the four- wheel-drive niva model included the soviet national anthem, and sent a lada into space.
5:51 pm
ladas are still in production, and some sport new designs. at the track, most don't look like much. mostly they're race-worthy, even if some young russians don't see the soviet past with nostalgia. >> ( translated ): maybe there is some patriotism. because our cars are so bad, they're not valued anywhere. driving them sort of a challenge to the world, that we can drive like the japanese, even if we drive such trash. >> ( translated ): these are horrible cars. they break all the time. there are no high-quality parts. but they're cheap! >> reporter: dima nekrasov says he's constantly afraid his lada will break down. >> ( translated ): very afraid. it falls apart while i'm driving, and i have to put it back together often. >> reporter: on youtube, you can find dozens of videos of lada racing gone bad. apparently, the tires have a tendency to fall off, mid-drift. but it's not only the little guy whose ladas fail. ( car engine failing to start )
5:52 pm
in 2011, then-prime minister vladimir putin visited the lada factory and was shown the new lada granta. ( car engine failing to start ) it was billed as europe's most inexpensive car. ( car engine failing to start ) it took putin four attempts to start the engine. he had more luck in 2010 with the lada kalina, driving it on a 1,300-mile road trip. putin said the car looks like a chicken, but flies like a swallow. putin is believed to still own his customized lada niva. he showed it off in 2009. the camouflage paint was local, but he later admitted the tires were american, and the engine, german. which brings us back to lada racer vasiliy muravlev. >> reporter: it turns out, he won the day, and his promised plastic trophy. but he told us, if he had the money, he'd buy a b.m.w.
5:53 pm
>> this is "pbs newshour weekend," saturday. >> stewart: social justice activist erica garner died today after going into cardiac arrest last week. garner was the eldest daughter of eric garner, a 43-year-old father of six who died in 2014 after an officer performed a chokehold on him during an arrest. eric garner's plea of "i can't breathe" became a rallying cry for the fight against abusive police behavior. erica garner became an activist in the movement to bring national attention to misconduct in law enforcement. she was 27 years old. nepal announced new restrictions on who can climb mount everest and other peaks there. in an effort to protect mountaineers, solo climbers will no longer be permitted, and foreign climbers will have to be accompanied by a guide. the ban also extends to blind and double amputee climbers who do not have medical clearance. this year, a record number of
5:54 pm
climbers have attempted to scale mount everest. six have lost their lives. and, get ready to call him sir ringo starr. the beatle's drummer, born richard starkey, is set to become a knight next year, according to britain's cabinet office. 77-year old starr joins fellow surviving beatle sir paul mccartney in receiving the title bestowed by queen elizabeth. bee gee barry gibb, "war horse" author michael morpurgo, and former deputy prime minister nick clegg are among those who will also receive the honor. >> on peebt newshour weekend sunday, legendary photographer william wegman. >> do you try to avoid cliches, something you struggle with? >> you know i was tortured with the thought of doing a poker playing dog and that sort of kitsch. and i wanted my dogs to be-- they could be funny but they also had to be beautiful and more mysterious, even when i made them tall as people. >> sreenivasan: on the next pbs newshour weekend.
5:55 pm
>> stewart: that's all for this edition of pbs newshour weekend. i'm alison stewart. thanks for watching. have a good night. ptioning sponsored by wnet captioned by media access group at wgbh >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: bernard and irene schwartz. the cheryl and philip milstein family. sue and edgar wachenheim, iii. dr. p. roy vagelos and diana t. vagelos. the j.p.b. foundation. the anderson family fund. rosalind p. walter, in memory
5:56 pm
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. and by: >> babbel. a language app that teaches real-life conversations in a new language, like spanish, french, german, italian, and more. babbel's 10-15 minute lessons are available as an app, or online. more information on 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.
5:57 pm
5:58 pm
5:59 pm
6:00 pm
>> lidia: we're having a christmas party. (cork pops) and you're invited. on the menu, foods that celebrate the holiday traditions of my very special guests. we'll reconnect with their roots and mine. from the vibrant vineyards in friuli, italy... to the bustling markets of chennai, india... the lively streets of harlem... and back to my table in new york. it just doesn't get any better. (all toasting in various languages) join me for a christmas feast that celebrates the foods and traditions that reflect the cultural diversity of this country. i put together a table as diverse as america is, and the common denominator was food,