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tv   PBS News Hour Weekend  PBS  September 21, 2019 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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captioning sponsored by wnet >> thompson: on this edition for saturday, september 21: the u.s. says it will provide "defenset" suppo saudi arabia. taking the lead on climate change. and in our signature segment, ng down on gold mining i peru. next, on pbs newshour weekend. s newshour weekend is ma possible by: bernard and irene schwartz. sue and edgar wachenheim iii. the cheryl and philimilstein family. the j.p.b. foundation. rosalind p. walter, in memory of george o'neil. barbara hope zuckerberg. corpore funding is provided
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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 fad public bsting, a private corporation funded by the american people. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. from the tisch wnet studios at lincoln center in new york, >> thompson: good evening, and thank you for joining us. the united states will send what the pentagon says is a "modest" number of troops to saudi arabia and the united arab emirates, sot is not planning a military strike on iran.ry at a news conference late yesterday, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff general josephet dunford and sey of defense mark esper told reporters the u.s. is showing restafter an attack on saudi oil tcilities last weekend th u.s. blameon iran.
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>> this is the first step we're taking wh regard to responding to these attacks. and again, for the reasons i outlined: to help bolster thefe es of saudi aria and provide equipment to both the u saudis a.e.; and second to ensure the free flow of commerce through the strait; and third, to ensure we protect and defend the international rules-based order and try to convince the iranians to get back on a plomatic path. >> thompson: the u.s. will also send additiol defense systems to secure oil facilities. dre number of troops is expected to be in the huns. there were few other detailse released. in iran day, the chiefmm der of the revolutionary guard appeared at a news conference to say his cotry has carried out war excises iran denies any involvement in." the september 14 attacks. houthi forces who are fightingag ainst a saudi-led coalition for control of yemen first claimed responsibility for the drone and possible missile
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attacks that knocked 50% of's saudi arabil production offline. in hong kong today, thwere violent protests again for the 16th pro-demoy demonstrators ,rew gasoline bombs at po to responded with tear gas. the protests arehreatening to communist party torate itss 70th anniversary in power on ocber 1. and in paris today, ce used tear gas to disperse anti- governnt yellow vest demonstrators who are now in their 45th week of protests against economic policies of the government of president emmanuel macron. dozens of injuries were reported today after a 5.6 magnitude earthquake struck a 5.1 magnitudrshock soon followed, and witnesses reported damad homes and power outages. the albanian prime minister canceled a trip to the united nations and returned home to assess the damage. today's earthquake was the strongest to hit in albania in 30 years, according to the
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defense minist. california, 22 other states, and several cities filed aawsuit in federal court yesterday to stop the trump administration from revoking california's right to set its own fuel emissions standards. the suit against the national highway traffic safety administration chargeshat the move exceeds the agency's authority. federal law sets standards for vehicle emissions, but california has been allowed to 1970s because it has the most cars and trucks on the roads. 13 other states plus the district of columbop have since d california's tougher emissions in massach today, congress j officially added hame to the allist of democrats challenging incumbent u.s. senator ed markey. the 38-year-old grandson of the late robert kennedy announced his run at aboevent in east on. the neighborhood is where the political family first settled after arriving from ireland morf than a century ago. senator markey, who is 73, wasel
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first ted to congress in 1976. joe kennedy was first elected in 2012. >> thompson: today, at the united nations, young leaders e gathering for a youth climate summit where they wi voice their concerns and offer solutis for a warming planet. yesterday, millions of young people around the world participated in a global climate strike. producer maya navon ande associoducer nina joung covered the strike here in new york city for wnet's "peril and promis initiative addressing the challenge oflimate change. so, you guys were downtown yesterday. you were covering these protests. maya, tell us, what was the scene like? who was there? >> there were so many people there. there's reports that there w 250,000-plus people there. and it was really intergenerational. we saw people of all ages really
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coming out to have their voices be heard. and there was so much excitement in the air, and you just felt this great energy. i will say that the majority of the people were youth-- high school students, middle-school full force.and they were o in >> thompson: i assume you guys, like, talked to some of those protesters. what kinds of things were they saying to you about why they were there?ot >> af them mentied greta inspiration and ic the movement. a lot of the posters that we saw referenced to what are now her famous phrases of "the house is on fire," "unite behind the science."e. these are phrases that greta has been repeating over and over to the media, and it's why people haveeen rallying behind. >> thompson: so, we'realking about the swedish activist, greta thunberg. and she was actually there, right?he she addressed the crowd. i mean, what was that like? >> it was like a rock star had shown up. as soon as she got on the stage, people rushed towards the stage
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and were chaing her name over and over, and you just felt this excitement. she's really become somewhat of an icon to young people because i think they really feel-- they really resonate with her message, and so it was very exciting to hear her speak d you could tell that everyone there was listwhing closely to she had to say. >> thompson: the protests here in new york were just part of talk aut the timing.the worl why these protests now? >> i think these protests now because people-- and youth, frankly-- are ready fochange. they want to hold leaders accountable, and they're really looking towards the u.n. climate summit, which is happening on what leaders will do., to see will they take action? and even if they dont , and they doet their demands, they are-- their fire is fueled
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they are really excited to continue to have their voices be heard and hold adults accountable. and that's really what the youth keep saying. >> thompson: yeah, i mean, it seems like this generation has really embraced climate change in a new way. they're talking about it in new ways. >> i mean, i think the youth kind of bring a more vibranta energy tscussion that has been happening for decades. but right now, i think theouth kind of bring an urgencye, becas you know, they are the future, and there's this pressure of 11 years that we have before the temperatures and they're not taking that lightly. and you can see that not just in the amounts of people who are gathering at these strikes. but you see it in more light-hearted ways, as well. like, when we were at the strike, we saw really just tongue-in-cheek, like, sarcastic signs pointing at meme culture. i mean, you can't have a gen-v strike without memes.rie
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so, uth, i think, are kind of poking fun and bringing to t light the fat adults haven't addressed this as the urgent crisis that it is, and they are stepping up for themselves. >> thompn: all right, mayana n, nina joung, thank you so much for being here. >> thank you. ut thompson: for more on the united nations' climate summit, visit >> thompson: deson of the uc amazon rainforest is aclerating, with recen statistics showing 870 square miles was lost in july alone,ri nearlye that of the same period last year. and the fires currently burne g fi brazil ly part of the story. in peru, where some 300,000 square miles of forest exist, illegal gold mining has caused devastation of its own. but as newshour weekend's l ecial correspondent leo schwartz and new york university's globabeat program report, there's one region where peru is having some success against the trend.
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>> reporter: in the heart of the peruvian amazon lies a man-made desert. it was once pristine rainforest, but a decade of illegal gold wasteland. transformed it into a ru is the seventh largest gold producer in the world.u. th imports aroundon $2 billi-worth a year, despite the fact that an estimated 20% of it is illegally mined in places like the madre de dios region. it's a sparsely inhajungle the size of indiana, along peru's borders with bolivia and brazil. gold extraction isn't illegal everywhere in madre de dios, but is never allowed inside national reserves or ts buffer zoneound them.go rnment officials estimate that as many as 40,000 illegal miners have occupied these areas, clearing trees, digging pits, and infusing the ground with mercury the toxic chemical draws the precious gold out of the sand and dirt, but is then left behind, poising the landscape. ( military shouting ) but at least some of those miners are now on the run. in february, the peruvian government declared a state of
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emergency in mre de dios and sent in 1,800 army troops and police. today, there are seven fixedda bases and a network of field sites. it's called "operation mercury." jorge cotito is a colonel with the peruvian national police. >> ( translated ): the miners had formed what we could call a paramilitary base, and nobyta could enter this area. it was a lawless zone. it was damaging the ecology of the peruvian jungle, andhe lungs of the world.e if forceful action wasn't taken, ep ecological damage was going to continue. >> reporter: peru's part of then amlone makes up the 4th largest tropical rainforest in the world. it's a bio-diversity hotspot, home to specs found nowhere else. but the destruction of this precious resource has been accelerating. oo>> what we see, taking a at the satellite data, is that 2018 is the highest record on year for deforestation in this part of the amazon.
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>> reporter: luis fernandez is a former u.s. e.p.a. specialist who now ru the independent center for amazonian scientific innovation in peru. a decade ago, fernandez saw what he calls a "perfect storm" brewing in madre de dios, starting with the cohetruction of trans-oceanic highway iat cut right across this gold- rich land and droverished peruvians from around the country to previously uninhabited areas. >> the real tipping point was the economic crisis in 2008, because that is when the price of gold skyrocketed. it sparked a massive gold bo. so you have people flooding the area, going on a brand new road into an area that is supposed to not be habited. then you had just weak local governance. once those factors all came together and overlapped, then you saw, like, this, thisu massive explosion inside protected areas, where you just never saw it before. >> reporter: with the influx of mining, entire settlements have sprung up, like this one along
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the highway. it exists only to serve minersan thr families. even under the state of emergency, it remains a dangerous place for authoritiesu aniders. police insisted we film it only with their armed escort. >> ( translated ): there was a great deal of illicit activity here. from human trafficking to money laundering, corruption, hitmen, even mass graves were found here. this was a totally lawless place and it was growing. >> reporter: and so government forces arrived in madre de dios with much faare, patrolling populated areas and over-flying the jungle canopy to identify reining illegal mi operations. sometimes they get tips fr local residents, as was the case on this day, leading colonel cotito to assemble a small fie patrol. it went deep into an area called la pampa, the ground zero of illegal mining. an hour into the mission, the police officers find a man standing alone next to an abandoned mining site, and detain him on suspicion of illegal gold extraction.
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he will be broughtack to the main base to be interviewed by prosecutors. the patrol resumes the hunt and soon finds a squalid mining camp. the men here lead them to theire by dredging platform. it appears to have been recently the troops dynamite to the rig, and then blow it up. ( explosion ) fire to the huts and all of thet miners' possessions. they hope to ensure that no onei can mine here an environmental crackdown of this intensity is new for a-k country wewn for corruption. the previous governor of madre de dios had been a gold miner himself, and allowed the illegal industry to grow unchecked. but at all changed with the 2018 election of a new governor, luis hidalgo. he ran on the promise to end illegamining, and a wave of street crime that had come with it. hidalgo believes previous attempts were half-hearted. s he says thte of emergency will succeed.
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>> ( translated ): all of theer previous gents have come and conducted interdictions for only 15 days, destroying the machines, expelling the people that werworking, and later leaving. and the people would return to those sites. this time, these military bases are the beginning of a program of development and investment that my government has requested. >> reporte whether or not operation mercury succeeds will also depend in large part on the justice process that follows the interdictions and arrests. there are 80 national precutors embedded in the operation, including some specialized in environmental crimes, like karina garay. >> ( translated ): for the crime of illegal mining, we have penalties that can go as high as 12 years, depending on whether the crime was committed in an aggravated manner, like for example in a protected natural area. here in the state of emergency,c use an expedited process when we see flagrant criminal acts, and we don't need more idence. we can take it to court within 48 hours and within eight days can receive a sentence.
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>> reporter: that all happens here, in tt s unassuming but ground-breaking environmental court. the peruvian government opened it last year. besides mining, the court also hears cases on other d vironmental crimes, like illegal logging imal poaching. garay scours satellite imagery for signs of new deforestation or emerging gold pits that require immediate action. >> ( translated ): we look at the forest, we look at thete coordi we look at the access points, how we can reach them.n and we provide this formation to those who develop the operational plans: the army, the police, d the navy. >> reporter: still, she admits, it's a game ofat and mouse. >> ( translated ): right now, there are people that have left la pampa and are invading other areas. yesterday, we had to respond to a new location based o complaint we received, and it was indeed full of illegal miners in the ddle of operations. we had to destroy everything we found. and this wilcontinue to happen. it will always continue. >> reporter: the financial incentive for gold mining will
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never go away, says environmentalist luis fernandez. >> practically speaking, it wilt be done in places like madre deh dios because opoverty that exists in many places in peru. gold is literally under people's feet. so, if you cut down some treesd g down in the soil, you can make ten times or a hundred times what you would earn as a farmer in a month, in a single day. >> reporter: after five months of the state oemergency, there was some sign of improvement. new research based on satellite imagerasshows the rate of deforestation connected to gold thmining has dropped more 90%, compared to the same period last year. but even the government of peru admits militarmight alone will not be enough to fully end illegal gold mining. in part two of this report, newshour weekend will explore what else can be done to reform production, create new economic opportunities, and even store the damaged environment.
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>> thompson: in may of this year, las vegas officials approved constructioof a new building on its famed strip. and like its casino neighbors, it's dedicated to the machines built to strip tourists of their money in the name of entertainment. but you won't find any slot machines or any kind of gambling he. chstopher booker has more. >> reporter: when the machines start up inside the las vegas pinball museum, the sights and sounds of 20th century history come alive. ( electronic beeping )on from old-time parlor games, to the space dreams of the 1960s, to "the simspsons," they all work if you have a quarter to play. this all started over 50 years ago in michigan whenim arnold, then only in high school, started purchasing pinball chines. but these weren't just to play. arnold installed his machines in frat houses and in t basement of a local pizza parlor. >> oh, it was an easy way to make money.
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all my friends had paper routes, and they had to get up in the rning and slog through t snow. and i would just go, you know, take moneyut of pinball machines. it's a great racket. i would buy game, put it out, run it 'till it paid for itself, and then just stick it back in storage and go buy another one. it's like baseball cds, only bigger. >> reporter: in 1976, arnold, h along wi brother, opened a pinball arcade in east lansing, michigan. this was the first of ould be seven separate pinball arcades. but in 1990, arnold sold his interests in the arcades and decided to retire and o las vegas at the ripe age of 35. do you have a favorite?a >> you know, arator, i'm not allowed to have an opinion. my job is to present the work as a whole and let people figure out what they like themselves. and truthfully, i've had so much of this for so many years, i'm kind of over it. i orter: really? >> oh, yeah. do you... do you go home and...n anrview your cat? >> reporter: ( laughs ) >> when you get off work, you...
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you do something else for fun. >> reporter: since his first purchase, arnold's collection has grown from one machine to over 2,000-- 250f which are now here in a warehouse just outside the las vegas airport for anyone to come and play.d rd of the museum has spread. arnold says people come from all ov the world to play, ofte falling victim to a strange phenomenon when they walk through the door. >> they come in here, and they're walking down a row, and all of a sudden they sad. and they say, "there... the... there's the game that i... the firstime i... i kissed a gir i was playing that game!" and they dwhat we call the nostalgia lock-up because things like movies and sic, you can relive all that stuff on the internet, but you haven't seen this pinball since you we a kid.ou it's still up in your brain somewhere. and then, you see it again, d you just lock up. so, we kind of, like, poke them with a stick and say, "come on, come on, come on. go, go, go, go, go." this is an actual toy factory that was at disneyland, and it delivers an actual plastic toy
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that you saw made in front of your eyes. there's less than 100 of these left in the world. and i've had people that come in -ure and again, just do th nostalgia lo "i was at disneyland, and i bought one of those donald ducks!" >> reporter: but the pinball museum is not just about getting people to journey into their past. it functions as a social club, with all of the quarters after operating costs being donated to local charitie >> we're like a kiwanis club or we get together afrk, hang out, and do fundraisers that help people that help people. >> reporter: do you think people who come throughhe door, who've hea about the pinball hall of fame, are understanding that this is part of a... a social cause? >> no, because we don't really push tlyt. i don'reant to waste their time giving them the backstory. want to turn them upside-down and shake all their tourist money ett of their po >> reporter: arnold has shaken enough pockets that he recently thrchased a plot of land i most valuable part of las vegas-- the fad strip-- where plans to build a bigger
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museum to house 700 of his machines. it'slated to open sometime next year. >> it's still amazes me that this stupid, backwards, amateu pinball club could somehow end up owng space right across from mandalay bay, some of the most expensive real estate on earth. somehow, we're there. ( arcade sounds ) >> reporter: is there a pinball machine that you've been lookint for, for years but can't find? or that's really rare? >> i... i was going around when these things were unwanted, when i could literally go to a warehouse and buy all i wanted for $50 to $100. and sometimes it costs mmore to rent e truck to bring them home than it did to buy the machines. and i... i've had old coots down in the south, just as i'm getting ready to pull away, says, "i wasn't going to say anything, but u guys are a bunch of dopes. g you jue me $100 apiece for stuff i was going to take to the dump." >> reporter: one person's trash is another man's treasure. >> right. right.
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>> this is pbs newshour weekend, saturday. >> thompson: climate action is one of the main topithe united nations general assembly gets under way here in new y k city. nosterday, leaders of indi people from countries around the world gathered to ask for support in their effortse o protect thvironment and clconfront the effects of imate change on their lands. >> indigenous rights! act now! >> thompson: at a eakfast yesterday, leaders from brazil, ecuador, costa rica and indonesia-all part of the global alliance of territorial communities-- asked for help with a wide range of issues, including destction of the amazon rainforest. >> ( translated ): we are expecting from the united nations' climate change conference to have a space to denounce it and to get some help from all the leaders that will be here. this is not only a crime against the environment but against all
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of humanity. >> thompson: indigenous peoples in the amazon-- who call themselves "guardians of the forest"-- patrol their land and say th are facing increasing violence from illegal loggers. also of concern, forest fires in indonesia, often started for clearing land for palm oil plantations, that have destroyed more than 800,000 acres. >> we're talking about climate crisis, climate emergency now.bu thing in the amazon and the burning in indonesia, now it is clear that all is done with the target of clearing of the land for private companies. >>e hompson: a representativof the indigenous people's group wille on hand for the united nations climate action summit with business, government and environmental leaders on monday. the u.n. says climate change i"" the defining issue of our time."
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>> thompson: on tomorrow's newshour weekend, we'll have part two of our signature series from peru, with a look at how environmentalists and the government are protecting and restoring vast areas of forest threaten by illegal gold- miners. that's all for this edition of pbs newshour weekend. i'm megan thompson. thanks for watching. have a good night. captioning sponsored by wnet captioned by access.wgbh.orgoup at wgbhss >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: bernard and irene schwartz.
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sue and edgar wachenheim iii. the cheryl and philimilstein family. the j.p.b. foundation. rosalind p. walter, in memory of george o'neill. barbara hope zuckerberg. by mutual of america, designing customized individual and group retirement procts. that's why we're your retirement company. additional support has been provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting, a private corporation funded bthe amican people. and by contributions to your pbs station from vwers like you. thank you. be more.
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narrator: on this episode of "earth focus"...los angeles is known for its urban sprawl and freeways rather than itsf diverse array of living species. the second-most-populated city in america islly a biodiverse hotspot--one of just a few in the entire world. within the confines of this concrete jungle, species are apting and, in some case even thriving. welcome to the los angeles urban wild.