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tv   PBS News Hour Weekend  PBS  June 26, 2021 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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captioning sponsored by wnet >> sreenivasan: on this edition for saturday june 26: search and rescue efforts continue in florida's deadly condo collapse. record-breaking heat in the pacific northwest. and, new legislation to deal with so-called legacy cases in northern ireland. next, on pbs newshour weekend. >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: sue and edgar wachenheim iii. the anderson family fund. bernard and denise swartz. the cheryl and philip milstein family. the sylvia a. and simon b. poyta programming endowment to fight antisemitism.
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barbara hope zuckerberg. the leonard and norma klorfine foundation. the peter g. peterson and joan ganz cooney fund. the estate of worthington mayo-smith. we try to live in the moment, to not miss what's right in front of us. at mutual of america, we believe taking care of tomorrow can help you make the most of today. mutual of america financial group, retirement services and instments. >> for 25 years, consumer cellular's goal has been to helps people communicate andt connect. we offer a variety of no-contract plans, and our u.s.-based customer service team can help find one that fits you. to learn more, visit additional support has been provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the american people. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like
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you. thank you. >> sreenivasan: good evening, and thank you for joining us. search and rescue efforts continued today following the collapse of a condo building in surfside, florida, but no additional survivors were found as of late this afternoon. more than 150 peop are still unaccounted for, and at least four deaths are confirmed. firefighters and rescue teams are carefully digging through piles of debris, but a fire deep beneath the rubble is slowing their work. >> we are using infrared chnology. we are using foam. we're using water, and all tactics to contain the fire and minimize the smoke spread. >> sreenivasan: overnight, the city of surfside released documents, including an neer's report from 2018 that pointed to evidence of“ major structural damage” to the slab below the pool deck and entrance drive. for more on the search and the engineering reports, i spoke with npr correspondent brian mann, who is in surfside, florida.
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brian, first, the news that the city has been looking at engineering reports, that showed that, even as of three years ago, there were problems with this very building. now, it's not saying that that's the cause of why this disaster happened, but, what are the officials telling you? >> well, they're clearly concerned. the town of surfside has begun its 30-day, sort of emergency audit, to try to look at other older buildings like this one. they're also talking about a possible evacuation of another structure built by the same firm. but, you know, there clearly were real red flags raised by this engineering study almost three years ago. while they d't point to any kind of smoking gun, experts we've spoken to suggest that this really should have, you know, causedeople to dig deeper and really look at the underlying structure that was holding this building up. >> sreenivasan: what's the status of the people that are
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working on that pile? i mean, i can see from where you're standing, it's hot out there, it's probably raining from time to time. and, these people have been working nonstop. >> it's been really an intense effort. i was just speaking to one of the rescue crews that's come in from outside the miami beach area. what they're trying to do is rotate crews rapidly, rescue dog operations rapidly, because it is so dangerous and exhausting. there's this really persistent fire that's burning inside the rubble. you can see, and where i'm standing now, you can smell the plume that's still coming off of this. they say they're trying to extinguish it. but even the ventilation systems that they brought in to try to clear the air, they're worried that that has further fanned the flames. so you can imagine these crews that are tunneling into this debris pile, looking for cavities where it is plausib that survivors might still be. they're working in extremely hazardous, physically trying
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situations, and also just, you know, emotionally devastating as the hours go by with no success. >> sreenivasan: have rescuers heard any sounds or anything that gives them hope that there might be people still alive underneath that? >> you know, officials have spoken about hearing "knocking sounds." that's the term that they used, but they haven't said that they've been able to confirm that any of that is a real hit. whenever they've heard that kind of noise, they've focused their search effort there. they say that they do still believe, professionally, that there is a chance. but at this point, i think that this is one of those situations where hope is driving this. but i want to say again, the conditions are so harsh. you know, the rain that's been falling, lightning storms sweeping over this area. it has really been a tough couple of days. theyave not had a single break. >> sreenivasan: and let's not forget about all the families of those thatight be trapped underneath, that are waiting in the wings. >> yeah, it's brutal. i spoke yesterday with a father, a roman catholic priest, who has had about a dozen
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families with members who lived in the building. and he said that this is a very difficult time. i will say also, though, there has been just an enormous outpouring of support for these families-- donations, president biden signed a disaster declaration bringing new resources in. so it is really all hands on deck to support people as much as possible here. >> sreivasan: npr's brian mann, joining us from surfside, florida. thanks so much. >> thanks for having me. >> sreenivasan: the covid-19 variant now known as delta is beinblamed for new infection spikes in several countries. in india, where the variant was first discovered, more than 48,000 new cases were reported and almost 1,200 deaths were reported yesterday. people in the city of sydney, australia and the surrounding area entered a two-week lockdown starting today after 80 new cases of the variant were discovered. sydney's five million residents will only be allowed to leave their homes for essential work, medical care, education, and
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shopping. in israel, where roughly 85% of the pacific northwest is bracing for an unprecedented heat wave this weekend. according to the national weather service, the normally- temperate region is set to see record highs by sunday, with temperatures expected to soar well above 100 degrees in seattle and portland. in a region where few people own air conditioners, there are lines to buy units in anticipation of the sweltering weather. many also fear the heat wave, combined with an ongoing drought, could lead to an increase iforest fires, which are now re common in the northwest. >> sreenivasan: for more on the condo collapse and the latest national and international news, visit >> sreenivasan: northern ireland has been at peace for 23 years. but the legacy of the 30-year- long sectarian conflict is still causing pain and anguish. the british government has promised a new law to deal with some of the outstanding issues from the so-called “troubles” in which 3,500 people were killed.
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but, as newshour weekend special correspondent malcolm brabant reports, the new legislation may stir up even more trouble. (♪ trumpet ♪) >> reporter: britain's veterans are on the offensive, angry that former comrades are being pursued through the courts in their old age. this march through london was in support of 79-year-old dennis hutchings, facing trial over a fatal shooting in northern ireland 47 years ago. >> we must reject entirely the prosecution of service personnel for actions legitimately taken in the line of duty. >> reporter: former armed forces minister johnny rcer was sacked by prime minister boris johnson for claiming the government had betrayed veterans. >> this is the nation's cause. it goes how the nation looks after its veterans that we care about. enough is enough. >> reporter: mercer believes he can campaign more effectively outside government.
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>> i think successive governments just seem to have some sort of mental block when it comes to our veterans. if you-- you know, if you send these guys away and you ask them to serve in the military, you've got to look after them when they come home. and this kind of pursuing them endlessly for years is-- is the bottom of the pit for me. >> i'm on trial for attempted murder and grievous bodily harm with intent. >> reporter: hutchings' supporters claim he's being hounded to placate northern ireland politicians sympathetic to the irish republican army, the i.r.a., that fought the british during the conflict. >> the circumstances were, we were doing a large, big operation, following up. and there was an incident where, i can't talk about it because i've got to go on trial for it. and, a young man got killed. >> reporter: victim was 27-year-old john pat cunningham, who had learning difficulties and a fear of men in uniform. he died in what the british my regarded back then as hostile countryside, 50 miles southwest
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of belfast. cunningham was shot in this field as he ran from a patrol led by hutchings. previous investigations have cleared the former soldier. the relatives of john pat cunningham have declined to be interviewed, and the reason being, they don't want to do anything that's going to jeopardize, potentially, the trial of dennis hutchings, which is due to take place later this year. but what they have said in the past is that, if dennis hutchings is adamant about his innocence, what he should do is come to court and clear his name. a new law to deal with so-called legacy cases was promised in this socially-distanced parliamentary ceremony, when the government's plans for t next legislative session were unveiled in the queen's speech. >> measures will be brought forward to strengthen devolved government in northern ireland and address the legacy of the past. >> i have no faithn the british army and the british government at the minute when i see what they're trying to do and give amnesty to british soldiers. >> reporter: 40 years after his sister carol anne was hit in the
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head by a rubber bullet, mark kelly is still seeking answers. the 12-year-old schoolgirl was playing outside her home. there had been rioting in this neighborhood a few days earlier, but kelly insists it was peaceful when his sister was fatally wounded. >> the first thing we want is a proper investigation. i was standing less than two feet from my sister when she was shot in the head. i was never spoken to by the police.
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prevent the disclosure of the activities they were engaged in during the conflict. >> reporter: mark thompson runs relatives for justice, which supports those bereaved or injured during the so-called troubles. he has no faith in the british government. >> what are you trying to justify, when you lock away files about the killing of children by british soldiers for 70 and 100 years? these are the issues that are a burning sore at the heart of this society and within this peace process, justice, accountability and the rule of law. >> reporter: at the other end of the spectrum, oliver mcveigh and his family have been tormented the i.r.a. they abducted and murdered his brother columba in 1975. mcveigh believes columba was killed because he saw something he shouldn't have. the family grave bears his name, but does not contain his body. columba's remains have never been found. >> all we want is to get the body and put him in this grave. it's the christian thing to do in ireland. and the i.r.a. takes so much
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respect over their bodies. >> reporter: mcveigh doesn't believe that stopping prosecutions would help him. >> see, the i.r.a. are gone now. d they're old. but, that's still not a good enough excuse to kill someone and bury them in a bog, and not be able to find his body. because if that happened to me, or i'd done that, i'd remember exactly where it was and i would give it up. not everybody is coming forward. >> reporter: in another graveyard, denise mullen is also demanding information. she was four years old when her father dennis, a civil rights activist, was shot dead on his doorstep by protestant paramilitaries that she alleges were in league with the security forces. the memory of sitting next to her father's corpse has never gone away. >> it's not so much flashbacks that i have, but it could be anywhere, anytime, anyplace. and this dreadful smell comes over me, and it totally overpowers where i am at that time. if i'm driving, i have to pull over to the side of the road. >> reporter: denise hopes new legislation will help reveal
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northern ireland's dark secrets. >> i need to know why my parents were targeted, who decided that, and, you know, for what reason. let's pony up here. it's time we had it. my mother is 78 years of age. how long has she got to wait until accountability is given? >> reporter: billy hutchinson helped negotiate northern ireland's peace accord, but as a teenager, he was a killer for the outlawed ulster volunteer force. he was convicted in 1974 of murdering two young catholic workmen. we met in belfast's shankhill road, a protestant stronghold replete with reminders of i.r.a. violence and tirades agast its political wing sinn fein, now the major republican party in northern ireland. sinn fein have never done peace and reconciliation. don't want to do peace and reconciliation. what they want is a british prime minister at the despatch box saying we are responsible for the troubles in northern ireland and we take our responsibility and we apologize to the irish people.
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that's what they want. >> reporter: some argue the best solution would be a truth and reconciliation commission, emulating post apartheid south africa. denis murray is one of northern ireland's most distinguished journalists. >> i think it's too late for that. and i think the moment has passed. if you take the south african experience as a precedent, they did it immediately after they had their political settlement, as it were, lanced the boil, and then moved on. this has festered for so long now, i'm not sure that it's possible to do it. >> reporter: but for dennis hutchings and his supporters, the new law may come too late. he's due on trial in september. >> it's absolutely crazy when you think that we're the only country where this is happening. if you look at america, you look up to your veterans, and service people in germany, france, have got the same thing. they have a statute of limitations.
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>> reporter: the new law might restore the military covenant promising fair treatment for veterans, but some fear it could rebound in northern ireland, exacerbating anger and pain in a country where violence is never far beneath the surface. >> sreenivasan: last month, as the latest war between israel and hamas escalated, a wave of anger directed at jews swept across the united states, with watchdog groups reporting a sharp increase in anti-semitic attacks. pbs newshour special correspondent simon ostrovsky sat down with rabbi jill jacobs, executive director of the human rights organization t'ruah. the conversation is part of our ongoing series, "exploring hate: anti-semitism, racism, and extremism." >> reporter: over the course of the last outbreak of violence that we saw in israel and the
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occupied palestinian territories, we also saw an outbreak of anti-semit attacks here in the united states, and actually across the world. what do you think caused that? >> well, the outbreak of anti- semitism was really, really troubling. we saw, for example, jews who were just eating sushi in l.a., who are attacked on the street, or attacks in the diamond district in new york, and lots of vandalism on synagogues across the united states. for some people, israel represents the jewish people. and it's important to say, first of all, about anti-semitism, that anti-semitism is a 2,000- plus-year-old hatred of jews. it's a hatred that says that-- it's basically a giant conspiracy theory that suggests that jews are some kind of nefarious force within society that are trying to undermine society from the inside. >> reporter: according to the anti-defamation league, they tallied a 75% increase in anti-semitic attacks in the
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united states during the latest israel-gaza conflict. do you think that those attacks against jews in the united states and other parts of the world are similar to the sort of islamophobic attacks that we've seen against innocent muslims in the aftermath of, you know, september 11th, or the san bernardino shooting, or other events that people associate with muslims and islam? >> people definitely have all sorts of stereotypes that grow out of world events, so absolutely after september 11th, as you mentioned, and after other events involving muslims, we saw-- we saw, unfortunately, islamophobic attacks against muslims. and we've also seen it in the united states over covid. we've seen attacks on asian americans in t street because of people's anger about the chinese government. and so that is very common that,
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unfortunately, some people see a news event happening in some country and decide to attack people who, either rightly or wrongly, they associate with that country. >> reporter: and, you know, given that this is a pattern that we've seen develop over time-- and of course, you know, we can'tlame the attacks on jews in the united states and elsewhere on anybody but the attackers-- but the same time, israel is a country that puts itself out there in order to protect jews. should they be taking into consideration the diaspora and what the effects of their government's actions are on jews living outside of israel? >> so, israel is supposed to be a refuge for jews. it's supposed to be a place that keeps jews safe. it is a place where almost half of the world's jewish population lives. and in that regard, israel does have responsibility both to jews and others who live either-- who are either citizens of israel, who are or who are under
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its jurisdiction, as well as to jews around the world. so, before we even talk about how israel's image affects jews around the world, the most important thing is the human rights of those 14 million or so people who are living there. and israel is every day violating its human rights obligations toward the people who are citizens and who are living under occupation. first and foremost, the people living under occupation who don't have basic human rights, like the right to citizenship in a state, the right to freedom of movement, self-determination. those are rights that jews want for ourselves, and so we have to want them for other people. and beyond that, there is a lot of anxiety from the israeli government about the relationship with jews living outside ofsrael. there is an anxiety that jews living outside of israel are going to abandon israel, and there's lots of attempts to try to push back on that. the netanyahu government didn't understand its impact on jews living outside of israel.
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the american jewish community, we know, largely feels connected to the state of israel, considers itself generally supportive of the long-term security and the longevity of the state of israel, and, by and large, is against the occupation, against settlements, and for a two-state solution. so-- a secure state of israel living side by side with a secure state of palestine. so, that's where the american jewish community is. and some of the israeli government's attempts to change israel's public perception missed the mark, because they don't understand that actually what's damaging israel's public perception is the occupation that has gone on for more than five decades. and if we could come to an end of the occupation with a negotiated solution that guaranteed the safety of jews and palestinians, then for the most part, a lot of the anger at israel would go away. >> reporter: do you think that this government-- potentially
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this new naftali bennett government-- might do things differently than the previous netanyahu administration? >> well, this new government is very new, we don't know what it's going to do. we don't have any illusions that this is a government that's going to end the occupation or this is a government that is going to transform israel into the beacon of human rights that we'd all like to see. but it is a necessary step to move away from the netanyahu government into the next era of israeli politics. so, even if you're not ending the occupation, you can stop the expansion of settlements. you can stop the evictions of families from sheikh jarrah and silwan, also in east jerusalem. so, there are steps you can take to at least make things not get worse. so i would hope that this government would do that. and hopefully that it would show that it's actually committed to ultimately a negotiated solution that will protect everybody's human rights. >> reporter: rabbi jill jacobs, thank you so much for joining us. >> thank you so much.
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>> this is pbs newshour weekend, sarday. >> sreenivasan: finally tonight, in slovaa, a community effort to restore a jewish cemetery is helping some young people there learn lessons about the holocaust. along with the country's jewish population, the nazis also murdered large numbers of people from the ethnic group known as the roma. now, roma teenagers are learning about that history, as they help uncover a piece of the past. outside a small town 50 miles east of slovakia's capital, bratislava, teenagers are helping 73-year-old vladimir spanik find the long-forgotten graves of jews who lived here before world war ii. >> ( translated ): one part is that they want to help me, an old man. but the central issue for me is that they discover the holocaust and that evil time for both jews and roma. it's not easy for them to understand it, but slowly-- while working here-- it is
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manageable. >> sreenivasan: the teenagers from the town's roma community volunteer to clear brush and dig for headstones broken and buried in an area next to a carefully tended catholic cemetery. >> ( translated ): this is not >> sreenivasan: jewish communities in most the country were wiped out in the holocaust when more than 100,000 slovakian jews were murdered. today, slovakia's jewish community numbers fewer than 3,000, according to the world jewish congress. historians also estimate 500,000 roma in central europe were executed in mass killings and in concentration camps during the holocaust. >> ( translated ): we welcome these volunteering activities a lobecause in slovakia, we have about 700, 750 jewish cemeteries. only a minority are being cared r in some way. >> sreenivasan: so far, the project has uncovered 32 headstones. for spanik and his helpers, the restoration is an important reminder to never forget the millions murdered, and what was
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lost in the holocaust. >> sreenivasan: that's all for this edition of pbs newshour weekend. for the latest news updates, visit i'm hari sreenivasan. thanks for watching. stay healthy, and have a good night. captioning sponsored by wnet captioned by media access group at wgbh >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: sue and edgar wachenheim iii. the anderson family fund bernard and denise schwartz. the cheryl and philip milstein family. the sylvia a. and simon b. poyta programming endowment to fight antisemitism. barbara hope zuckerberg. the leonard and norma klorfine foundation. the peter g. peterson and joan ganz cooney fund.
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the estate of worthington mayo-smith. we try to live in the moment, to not miss what's right in front of us. at mutual of america, we believe taking care of tomorrow can help you make the most of today. mutual of america financial group, retirement services and investments. additional support has been provided by: consumer cellular. and : and by the corporation for public broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the american people. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. you're watching pbs.
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