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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  August 18, 2021 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT

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♪ judy: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on "the newshour" tonight, the fall of afghanistan -- top military leaders say u.s. troops don't have the capability to escort civilians to the kabul airport, as thousands continue their desperate attempts to flee. and, boosting the vaccine -- the biden administration reveals its plan to administer booster shots for all vaccinated adults as the delta variant continues to surge. we talk with the u.s. surgeon general. then, devastation in haiti -- frustration grows with the country's government over the lack of aid, and hospitals are overwhelmed, as the death toll rises days after a massive earthquake.
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>> people are now needing to go into mass shelters or crowd together in tightly enclosed spaces or crowded spaces in order to find some shelter from rains, which have only just stopped last night. judy: all that and more on tonight's pbs "newshour." >> major funding for the "pbs newshour" has been provided by. bnsf railway. consumer cellular. johnson & johnson. financial services firm raymond james. >> supporting social entrepreneurs and their solutions to the world's mo
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pressing problems. >> the lemelson foundation, committed to improving lives through invention in the u.s. and developing countries, on the web at supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation, committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. more information at and with the ongoing support of these institutions. this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. judy: protests against the taliban provoked violence today as the insurgents-turned-rulers of afghanistan fired shots into
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crowds in at least two cities. in kabul, the airlift of u.s., allied, and afghan civilians and others continues as more american troops land at the airport. desperate crowds remain outside, and as jane ferguson reports from kabul, again with the support of the pulitzer center, there is fear and hopelessness. jane: each day brings growing desperation at kabul international airport's perimeter walls. at this entrance gate, british soldiers try to maintain order amongst frantic civilians, anxious to make evacuation flights out. as taliban soldiers, victors in this war, watch. british troops are here to process people who have been approved for flights out. but all civilians who show up must first pass through taliban checkpoints to get here. >> they attack on my sister with gun. and again the american soldier
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stopped her and carry her in here. and now we don't what to do. when we go out of here. jane: this young woman fled the western city of herat when taliban fighters took over and tried to force her to marry one of them. and you are a doctor? yeah, i'm a doctor. and now the taliban came t herat city i cannot even drive. i soldy car. jane: like so many who come here, she has no visa and no flight out. do you think you're going to be able to get on an airplane? >> i don't know. jane: where do you want to go? >> we don't know, just i want to go and be safe. because we are alone. jane: you don't feel safe? >> no. jane: people beg to be allowed in, aware that each day is one closer to the end of this eventual evacuation. the fear of being left behind is palpable. for all the crowds that show up here, you've got the lucky ones, over here. who have visas, and paperwork.
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and the soldiers are able to help them, they are able to show them into the airport. but you also have the unlucky ones, so many of them. just like these families here with newborn babies, arguing with the soldiers. the soldiers are trying to get them to move over so they can separate those who get to leave the country and those that don't. and all the while, those gunshots that you hear in the background beyond these vehicles, that's taliban checkpoints and they are firing off their rounds. the emergency evacuation of americans and their allies from afghanistan, in the midst of a sweeping taliban takeover of the country, continues. there are now 5000 american troops at the kabul airport to ensure embassy staff and afghans who worked for t u.s. and allies make it out safely. amidst the chaos, tens of thousands more who once worked with and for americans, now fear being left behind and at the mercy of a vengeful taliban. in washington, defense secretary lloyd austin and chairman of the joint chiefs mark milley briefed president biden at the white
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house. they spoke at the pentagon later in the day. >> it is obvious we're not close to where we want to be in terms of getting the numbers through. jane: austin was asked if he could send forces into kabul city to help the passage of people to the airport. >> we're gonna do everything we can to continue to try to deconflict and create passageways for them to get to the airfield. i don't have the capability to go out and extend operations currently into kabul. and where do you take that? i mean, how far can you extend into kabul and how long does it take to flow those forces in to be able to do that? jane: milley defended the intelligence estimates on the stability of the afghan government and security forces, which forecast one scenariof a total collapse imonths or even weeks. >> i did not, nor did anyone else, see a collapse of an army that size in 11 days.
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>> there'll be many post mortems on this topic, but right now is not that time. jane: elsewhere in afghanistan, some initial acts of resistance to taliban rule were met with swift violence. former president ashraf ghani, who fled the country on sunday, hours before the talibanwept into the capital, appeared for the first time in a video sent from the united arab emirates. ghani denied reports that he had over $150 million in cash in bags when he left. he also addressed the many failures that led to the taliban takeover. >> we failed in politics, but which politics? it was the failure of the taliban leadership. that was the failure of the government leadership and also the political failure of the international allies. jane: the taliban says it won't seek revenge against those who worked for ghani's government, including members of the afghan national security forces. most here don't believe them.
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this family of four boys and their mother lost their father, they told "the newshour," just a month before, a high ranking helicopter pilot killed fighting in the war. they have visas for another country, but with the commercial side of the airport shut, no way out. the taliban knows me, he tells us. they know us all. for professional, educated women here, like the doctor, life is now divided between before and after the taliban came to town. >> in the past when the taliban was not here we had a most good life. i could work, i could drive. but now i cannot go out of the home without any man. within these two-three weeks we are so bad life. we had a good life, it was good for us. jane: and what do you think it going to happen to you? what do you think will happen in the future? >> i don't know. if i go out of here i'm sure they will find us. i am a surgeon.
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i had good work in herat city. i was so famous in herat city, but because of my life, i should leave all of this. jane: and what are you going to do? right now, what are you going to do? >> i don't know. jane: a british commander went to talk to the taliban fighters, trying to ease the tension. but his troops were still forced to turn back those not on the list for evacuation. including the family of the pilot killed in action. nothing could ease the painful indignity of being pushed back behind the razor wire. back towards the taliban. judy: in an exclusive interview today with abc news' george stephanopoulos, the president again defended his decision to withdraw. and he said that u.s. troops will stay as long it takes to get thousands of american civilians out. >> so americans should understand that troops might have to be there beyond august 31? >> no, americans should understand that we're going to try to get it done before august
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31. >> but if we don't, the troops will stay? >> if we don't, we'll determine at the time who's left. >> and? >> and, if you're american force -- if there's american citizens left, we're going to stay until we get them all out. judy: with that, jane ferguson joins me again and she is in kabul. jane, some remarkable reporting that you have done for us all this day. you listen to president biden's interview today. what struck you from what he had to say? jane: well, the point that he was just making that we just heard was very striking, that if they were to stay later they would do so to get out american citizens. again, there still isn't so much clarity that the people here need on what the interpreters and those who would be getting visas, those who assisted american forces on the ground, how they will get out. journalists and diplomats are
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contacted everyday constantly right now by people like that who have not been given a visa that is stuck in process. the other thing he said that was interesting when he was pushed on whether or not he took responsibility or he thought this had been a crisis or a disaster that could have been averted, he very much doubled down in his blaming of the former afghan president, saying that because he abandoned his position, left the country, it was him that precipitated this crisis that could not have been foreshadowed. judy: as you were reporting, president ghani revealed his whereabouts today after just leaving the country abruptly over the weekend. jane: that's right. he had been missing for several days. he had not addressed his people. he just left the country. it was an absolute mystery. an you norma's scandal here. the government and security forces collapsed with an hours of him disappearing. today we heard he had shown up
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at the united arab emirates, that that country had given him a humanitarian visa, or a humanitarian reprieve to leave. he released that statement trying to push back against the enormous criticism he faced because of his abandonment of the country, saying he blamed the taliban, certain political processes, he intended to return to afghanistan, and pushing back against accusations he left with vast sums of money. i do not think anyone sees this as a realistic attempt to save face, but people had been absently astounded that they had not even heard from their president until this point. so it is not entirely unexpected that he at least released a statement and showed the nearly 40 million citizens of afghanistan where he was. judy: back to all those people trying to get out, factoring in what president biden is saying, what is the sense there of how long these evacuations are going
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to go on? jane: we know they are getting more efficient. we can hear the planes. where i am right now is very close to the airport. we can hear the planes take off and land. and we have seen very patchy cooperation between the taliban and the american and other security forces that are here. where the taliban had been basically nicking life difficult around the airport. they had been agitating people, frightening civilians, beating people, firing guns over their heads. we have seen at times a little bit of a reduction in that. it is also believed the runway is much clearer now so they can get people in and out much quicker. there are still thousands of people here trying to get out. i have spoken with military here to estimate any from -- anything from two to five days left of this, but president biden said it may take longer. that puts a lot of pressure on everyone involved because at the end of the day we are talking
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about the american military in close proximity and surrounded by the taliban. nobody wants this to have to go on any longer than it needs to. judy: the president saying august 31, but we will see. jane ferguson reporting again from kabul. please stay safe. thank you. ♪ the white house announced today several new actions in an effort to combat the resurgent spread of covid-19. the most significant is the recommendation of booster shots for l vaccinated adults, to be available starting september 20. other actions include, requiring vaccinations for workers in long-term care facilities. directing the u.s. department of education to help schools open safely.
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and extending federal reimbursement to states for covid-related expenses. the moves come as the u.s. reported more than 1000 people died from covid on tuesday, the first time the daily count has been that high since march. it also comes as the delta variant accounts for more than 98% of new cases. u.s. surgeon general dr. vivek murthy is a member of president biden's covid task force, and he joins me now. doctor, thank you very much for being here. explain for everyone watching and listening exactly what is it that the administration based this decision on to offer boosters? dr. murthy: thank you. let me lay out what we announced today and why we made this decision. what we announced is beginning september 20, we plan to offer booster shots to adults who are 18 and up who have received the moderna or pfizer mnra vaccines.
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th would be a third dose of vaccine. this will be pending before an independent evaluation of the fda and the advisory committee. the reason we made that decision, we have been tracking data very closely over the last many months to understand the level of protection that the vaccines are giving us. here is the good news. the protection the vaccines give us against hospitalization and death has remained very high. but whahas concerned us is that the protection against mild and moderate disease seems to be declining. and as we look forward, if that the client continues, we may start to see an increase in breakthrough hospitalizations and deaths. in an effort to plan ahead and look forward, we put together the best scientific and medical minds, we looked at the data together, we discussed it, and it was our judgment that the decision to boost was important and doing it in the september timeframe would be appropriate.
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judy: how close do you think we may be to seeing the vaccines lose enough effectivenesshat people are subject to severe illness and death? because it is clear that that is something the administration sees down the road. jane: that is the purpose of the vaccines, to prevent exactly what you said. severe disease, hospitalization and death. the good news is the data that we pushed out publicly today, you can see the protection remains high against severe disease, hospitalization and death. but the goal is for us to be ahead of the game. we are anticipating where delta is going, what the vaccines will be doing, and we are doing what is very common with vaccines, which we are offering a boost. i want people to know that booster shots are very common with other vaccines. this is not unusual. this will help extend the excellent protection that we have gotten to date from the
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vaccines. judy: how long will protection from the booster last? rina: we will have to follow that we have good reason to believe, just as our prior doses had given us protection from many months, that we will get protection for a while from the third shot. there are other vaccines also which require a three dose series like hepatitis b, where after you get that, you are protected for years and years. so time will tell and we will look at the data closely, but this is the step we think is going to be important to continue our protection. judy: this refers to individuals who have received the pfizer and moderna vaccine. what about those who received the one dose johnson & johnson vaccine? when are they going to learn about boosters? rina: let's talk about j&j. we rolled out the johnson & johnson vaccine about 70 days after the pfizer and moderna vaccine. so people who had those vaccines are still not close to the eight
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month mark. but we do anticipate that j&j recipients will likely need a booster as well. we are anticipating data coming in from the company about the second doses. we have some studies looking at different combinations of vaccines. as soon as we get that data and evaluate it, as the fda does their usual thorough evaluation, we can make a recommendation for j&j recipients. judy: as you know well, the world health organization has asked wealthy countries of the world not to offer boosters until the end of september because there are so many hundreds of llions of people around the world who don't have any vaccinations yet. we heard president biden say today he disagreed with that assessment. but isn't the administration making a choice here putting american lives ahead of the lives of others? dr. murthy: judy, here is something we are very clear right about. we know that -- clear-eyes a
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bout. ending this pandemic will require vaccinating americans and people around the world. but what we also know is that when the data is telling us and suggesting that protection is declining and may actually declined to appoint where we see more hospitalization and death, we have to act. we have to act to protect people here, but we also have to accelerate our efforts to vaccinate the world. this is not an or choice, we have to do both. that is why we are going to continue to accelerate our efforts to donate vaccines to the world, to push companies to produce more, and to work with other countries to stand up manufacturing capacity so we can ultimately supply the vaccine the world needs. we will not stop in this effor until americans and the rest of the world are protected against covid-19. judy: about those americans who are still not vaccinated, i looked again today, the percentage of all americans vaccinated, just over 51%.
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it appears the efforts to get people to get the shot is just not progressing very much. does the administration have a plan for how you're going to get more people to agree to take the vaccine? dr. murthy: it is absolutely essential that we get folks who are not vaccinated, who have not had a single dose, that we get them to start. we know the vast majority of people hospitalized and dying are those who are not vaccinated. but here is the good news. if you look at the last few weeks we have seen a significant increase in vaccination rates, particularly in states that have been hardest hit by the covid-19 delta surge. so while that is encouraging, that is not making us stop our efforts to increase that pace. that is why we are continuing to work with trusted messengers on the ground, increasing the number of mobile units bringing vaccine to where people are, and continuing to get vaccines into doctors offices because we know
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people want to be able to talk to their doctor and ideally get a shot right there. judy: we are watching that along with you. thank you very much. thank you. dr. murthy: thank you so much. ♪ vanessa: i am vanessa ruiz at newshour west in for stephanie sy. we will return to the full program after the latest headlines. anger built among haiti's earthquake victims as thousands spent a fourth night out in the open. many accus officials of doing nothing, and hospitals struggled to treat victims. saturday's quake left more than 2000 people dead and more than 12,000 injured. we'll hear more from haiti, later in the program. suspected islamist fighters in burkina faso killed at least 47 people today.
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the government in the west-african nation says extremists linked to al-qaeda or isis ambushed a convoy. the dead included 30 civilians and 17 soldiers and volunteer troops. remnants of tropical storm fred blew into the northeastern u.s. today, with warnings of mudslides and flash floods. the system already caused widespread flooding in georgia and the carolinas, where scores of people had to be rescued. one death was reported in florida. meanwhile, the storm named grace is now hurricane, heading for mexico's yucatan peninsula. in northern california, another community lay in charred ruins today. the caldor fire destroyed at least 50 homes in grizzly flats on tuesday, and threatened hundreds more. flames and fierce heat burned out trucks and cars, and left chimneys standing alone and skeletal chairs in a gutted church. evacuees were in shock as they gauged their losses.
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>> it was a beautiful, close, small, vibrant community of mixed peoples from every demographic that you can think of, but a tight community. and it's nothing now. vanessa: some 100 miles away, the huge dixie fire is still burning near susanville, a town of 18,000. the biden administration is proposing major changes to cut a record backlog of 1.3 million immigrant asylum request cases. they'd be moved from immigration courts to the homeland security department, which would add 1000 new asylum officers. the proposal is now subject to public comment. one of the owners of purdue pharma testified today that the company, and his family, are not responsible for the opioid epidemic. richard sackler appeared at a federal bankruptcy hearing on the company's plan to settle thousands of lawsuits over oxycontin. the sacklers are also demanding immunity from further lawsuits.
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the ruling means texas could become the first state in the nation to oppose such a ban. the case is likely to make its way to the supreme court. a federal judge today reversed a trump administration-approved oil project in alaska. the judge ruled the department of interior did not efficiently -- sufficiently consider environmental impacts to the area, including habitat for polar bears. and they say at this point, that would mean that the parks and the decision would be up. the case is likely to continue. still to come on "the newshour," the uncertain future for women and girls in afghanistan living under the taliban's control. anger grows in haiti over the slow recovery following the
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deadly earthquake. police reform and the key issue preventing negotiators from reaching a deal in cgress. plus, much more. >> this is the "pbs newshour" from weta studios in washington and in the west from the walter cronkite school of journalism at arizona state university. judy: we return now to afghanistan, and the uncertain future for women and girls now living under taliban rule. here's william brangham. william: judy, with the taliban back in power, the gains that millions of afghan women and girls made in the past 20 years are now in danger. for more, we turn to two woman who know the country well. rina amiri was born in afghanistan and left in the 1970's. she has since focused on conflict resolution for the u.n. and was a senior advisor in the
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obama administraon's state department. she's now senior fellow at new york university's center for global affairs. and nura sedique is a public policy fellow at princeton university's school of public and international affairs, and a member of the afghan-american coalition. welcome to you both. thank you both very much for being here. rina, my colleague jane ferguson in kabul spoke with a young woman earlier in the program who was in tears, despairing over her future in a taliban-led afghanistan. i know youave been speaking with women all over the country recently. at are you hearing from those people? rina: what i am hearing is their rights disappeared overnight. there is enormous devastation and disbelief this has happened to them after the international community made such a strong commitment that afghan women's rights would not be abandoned.
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they do feel abandoned. what i am hearing from throughout the country is despite the taliban's very positive rhetoric about supporting women's rights, what we are seeing is systematic intimidation throughout the country. as the taliban takes over territories, one of the first things it does is go into houses where they know women activists are, and start interrogating them and their families and demand to look at their work. it spread an enormous level of terror among women's rights activists, and they have been silenced overnight. william: i see you nodding your head as rina is describing this. is that what you are hearing as well? nura: absolutely. i have colleagues ose sisters received letters on the door. there is palpable fear. women have gone into hiding
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simple because they wanted a better afghanistan for everyone. they are being targeted immediately. the taliban are much more organized. the fact that they know who to target is of dire concern. and there was a warning about this even before the withdrawal, that woman would be among the most vulnerable and we are seeing that happen right now. there is a twitter handle, hear afghan women. they fear for their safety by revealing their identity. the fact that have to stay anonymous tells you how unsafe the country has become overnight. william: these reports of the liban going door-to-door, clearly as you are both describing, it clearly indicates the taliban had been building lists and assembling some sense of who they might be targeting. rina, just imagine going forward , what is your greatest fear for women if these types of actions continue? rina: my greatest fear for women
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is that the progress that has been achieved over the last two decades, by women, will disappear. what the taliban are effectively doing is creating an environment of -- a climate of fear and intimidation. and it is leading to women seeking to leave afghanistan. they are put in a terrible position. the fiber of their being, activists, leaders, they have b een pushing for human rights for decades, well beyond 2001. suddenly they are confronted with a dilemma of, do they stay and fight for their rights while being under threat? even worse is their families being under threat. or do they leave and give up the fight?
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it is tremendously sad. william: that is a terrible dilemma, obviously. nura, yesterday we saw the taliban hold this rather unusual press conference where many afghan female journalists asked very tough questions of the taliban commanders. the taliban went to great lengths to assure the world's community, no no no, it's different now, we will respect the rights of women. does anyone fundamentally believe what the taliban is saying, and should anyone believe what they are saying? nura: they are a wolf in sheep's clothing. women are still -- they still have the scars, we still have the blood of the experiences. rhetoric is not enough. rhetoric is insufficient. we are seeing them acting and targeting women.
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the disparate treatment meant are already receiving. they want legitimacy from the international community, and we cannot give them that legitimacy, nor can we romanticize what they are doing. we need to see change. it is just not possible with the record they have left within the country and communities for women. i have spoken to women all over. while they are distinguished by the different languages they speak, the distrust they have towards the taliban unites them in a meaningful way. we cannot trust these empty promises they are trying to put forward. it almost feels like a game for the international community. they know that people are watching them. william: rina, let's say the taliban pull off this sheep's clothing andeveal the wolves. will this generation of women, who have lived for 20 years with the belief that there is a
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freedom and a civilization that they can be part of an afghanistan, what will they do? will they resist? will they protest? will they take to the streets? four is that simply too dangerous a thing to do? rina: afghan women and men are tremendously resilient. during the taliban regime as you know, there were girls schools underground. the reform movement in afghanistan goes back to the 1920's. it has always been there, that aspiration will always be there, and they will continue, both the diaspora and inside the couny. but what they require is the international community to stand with them and not be complacent the silence and -- silencing -- not be complicit in the silencing of women. there has to be condemnation. there has been a deafening silence among the international community and the region, where
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the taliban has militarily taken over. there is a desire to accept their rhetoric because it is convenient to the west's desire to exit from afghanistan. so i think there is a sense of responsibility that the world s to feel in seeing what is taking place to theights of people who have stood by the international community. they have done their part. and it is incumbent on the world to stand by now. william: thank you both very much for joining us and sharing your reporting with us. judy: as we reported, the death toll in haiti continues to rise,
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to almost 2000 people, following last weekend's earthquake. thousands more are injured and the hospitals are overwhelmed. in cities near the quake's epicenter, tropical storm grace brought heavy rains and flooding, exacerbating already-difficult recovery efforts. the newshour's ali rogin has an update. ali: in southern haiti, survivors of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake had little time to brace for a second disaster, tropical storm grace. people whose homes were destroyed in the earthquake tried to protect themselves under flimsy tents. but overnight, they provided little shelter from howling winds. >> the rain fell on top of us. we slept sitting down on chairs. nobody has come to help us. we have no tarps, we sleep here sitting down. ali: those whose homes survived the quake now face flooding.
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the storm made an already-difficult recovery mission even harder. hospitals continue to fill up with people who couldn't reach them after the earthquake. supplies are growing scarce. lanette nuel brought her daughter to this hospital in the city of les cayes. but doctors were unable to treat her. >> we came in yesterday afternoon. theyidn't do anything for her, they just gave her a painkiller. she died in my arms this morning. ali: with so many ailing people in close quarters, covid-19 is a constant threat. haiti only began receiving vaccines last month. >> we're talking about people who are clinically vulnerable, who have not yet had a chance to get some protection against this virus. at the same time as people are now needing to go into mass shelters or crowd together in tightly enclosed spaces or crowded spaces in order to find some shelter from rains, which have only just stopped last night. ali: christy delafield is with the humanitarian organization mercy corps, in the hard-hit neighborhood of l'asile.
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she said it's important that the recovery from this earthquake be led by haitians. people in haiti remember the last major earthquake, which killed hundreds of thousands in 2010. much of the $13.5 billion in humanitarian aid raised never made it into haitian hands. >> every response has to be led by the community. if any of us had a disaster in our own community, we would know where the resources are. we would know who had access to what types of information, to what types of tools. and it's exactly the same here. ali: but for now, many haitians are focused on more immediate challenges, like finding food and shelter to survive another day. for the pbs newshour, i'm ali rogin. judy: congress is on recess, but a small group of lawmakers are still in talks on police reform.
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and word came today that negotiators are no longer tackling a major issue. lisa desjardins explains. lisa: it's called qualified immunity, a legal principle which can protect officers from lawsuits when they harm people while on the job. police reform advocates have long wanted it to end while others think it's an important protection for law enforcement. and dropping it from police reform talks makes it easier for conservatives, but possibly harder for progressives to get on board. to help us understand the different sides of the debate, i'm joined by joanna schwartz, professor of law at ucla and a leading expert on police misconduct litigation. and lenny kesten, a lawyer in boston who has represented hundreds of police officers in civil rights cases. to both of you, qualified immunity for police has been a major flashpoint in this discussion, but you both agree it is not granted by courts that often. joanna, what is the biggest issue with it?
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why is it important? joanna: qualified immunity protects law enforcement officers and other government officials even when they have violated the constitution, so long as there is not a prior court decision with virtually identical facts. that means people who had their rights violated, sometimes egregiously by law enforcement, have no basis for relief for the harms that were caused to them. qualified immunity also dramatically increases the costs and burdens to plaintiff's in bringing these cases. it focuses courts on whether there is a prior court decision that holds the law unconstitutional as opposed to what actually happened in the case. and there is a variety of ways in which qualified immunity makes it more difficult for law enforcement to understand what they are constitutionally allowed to do. lisa: how important is this? lenny: it is important that police officers know the rules before they write them. it is easy to say they violated
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because addition. the constitution just says it has to be reasonable. court decisions write the rules. so the officers know what is and what is not constitutional. lisa: but how do you respond to the idea that some say giving this immunity to police takes away accountability? why should police officers have immunity ever in a court of law from what they do? nny: people argue with the name. think it is immunity. it is not. think of it this way. all qualified immunity does is say if the police officer has no way of knowing what he or she was doing violated the constitution, they can't be held liable for that action. it is an issue of fairness to the police officers. joanna: that is not the way in which qualified immunity actually works in principle. it is true that the constitution does not lay out specific rules. but the supreme court in his fourth amendment doctrine in the
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court decisions it has had do layout general principles. and what qualified immunity requires is not that law enforcement officers follow those, but the plaintiff be able to find a prior case with -- it is well-known and established a police officer cannot use force against a person who has surrendered and is not posing any harm. but a man named alexander baxter had his course thrown out on qualified immunity grounds when he surrendered to police with his hands in the air and the officer nevertheless released a police dog on him. even though in that same court they said releasing a police dog on a person lying down in surrender was excessive. to the court's mind, alexander baxter's case was not similar enough because he was sitting up instead of lying down. it is a matter of common sense. and officers should be able to understand it is not appropriate to release a dog or use force
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against a person who has surrendered without being able to identify a precise case with virtually identical facts. lenny: i disagree. i read the case. the issue is whether the person clearly surrendered. i tried a case in which we agreed before the trial that if the dog was released after the men had surrendered, that the officer was liable. the question was did that happen. so i disagree. when you look at the actual facts of the cases, it doesn't come out that way. lisa: one other issue on the table here, perhaps off the table, is making it easier to sue police departments. i want to ask each of you if you think that could significantly help with issues of policing right now. joanna: right now it is as difficult to sue local governments for the constitutional conduct of their officers as it is to sue the officers themselves. there is a whole set of legal barriers that a plaintiff needs
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to overcome in order to show a city essentially violated the constitution. so, removing those barriers would mean that local governments work the same way as private businesses do. when a person is harmed by an employee of a private company they consume them and recover from them directly. you cannot do that as it stands right now. so that would facilitate things and in some ways be an end around qualified immunity. lenny: this is a false argument. as it stands now in 99.99% of the cases if an officer is found liable, the city, county, or wn pays. the taxpayer pays. that doesn't change anything. experienced plaintiffs don't sue the city, they just to the officer. lisa: we both agree the system should change.
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lenny: the system could always be improved. as it stands now, police officers have a terribly difficult job. and almost all of them do it well. but one of the most important things that could be done is to make discipline of police officers more certain. right now, because of arbitration awards and civil-service decisions, all too often the police department has to re-i -- to rehire or put that officer back on the streets. joanna: i am certainly in favor of better internal supervision. there is a lot more that can be done. changes can be made on the front and which reduced the frequency in which people are harmed or killed by police. we are seeing a lot of experimentation around the country, thinking about where police can and should do traffic stops, who should beesponding when people are in mental crisis, but we also need to
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think about back and accountability. there has to be consequences for offirs when they violate the law, and there needs to be remedies for people whose rights have been violated. lisa: this is an important and complex debate and we really appreciate you sharing your thoughts with us. joanna: thank you. lenny: thank you for the opportunity. judy: and we'll be back shortly with commerce secretary gina raimondo on women and the pandemic economy. but first, take a moment to hear from y
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♪ judy: the 19th, an independent nonprofit newsroom and streaming partner of the "newshour," continues its annual represents summit today with, among other things, an interview i did with commerce secretary gina raimondo.
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we spoke about how the pandemic has especially affected women in the workforce and i asked her what needs to happen for women to feel comfortable returning to work. here's that excerpt. sec. raimondo: you know, i talk to ceo's pretty much daily and they will tell me they have a lot of women who are their very best employees, their very best software developers, their very best managers. they want them to take promotns. they're offering them promotions. but women are saying, i can't do it right now. i can't do it right now. you know, with schools being closed, with childcare hard to find, with -- maybe they have, as i have, an elderly mother or father, it's hard to find care, they're having to either drop out of the workforce or maybe part time or maybe not be fully engaged, saying no to that promotion, which is which is, you know, holds us back as an economy. and it's certainly not equitable. you know, when we talk about
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building back better, it's building back equitably, means everyone ought to be able participate to their fullest potential in the economy. and so i think it is providing high quality child care, providing public pre-k, providing high quality home care. this isn't a luxury. it's fundamental. every other developed nation in the world is far ahead of america in this regard. basic things like paid time off, paid sick leave, the child care tax credit. it's past time for this to happen. it's good for our economy and america needs to catch up. judy: commerce secretary gina raimondo. you can watch the whole inteview and more from 19th represents this week on our website,, and on the newshour's youtube page. and on the newshour online, william brangham's conversation with public health expert dr. leana wen about covid-19 and protecting kids in school. that's on our website,
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and that's the "newshour" for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us online and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the "pbs newshour," thank you, and see you soon. ♪ >> major funding for the "pbs newshour" has been provided by. >> for 25 years, consumer cellular's go has been offering a variety of no contact plans and we can help find one that fits you. to learn more, visit >> johnson & johnson. bnsf railway. financial services firm raymond james. the ford foundation. working with visionaries on the
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front lines of social change worldwide. and with the ongoing support of these individuals and institutions. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy.] >> this program was made possible by the corporation for publicroadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. this is "pbs newshour" west from weta studios in washington and from our bureau at the walter cronkite school of journalism at cronkiis your family readyism at arizonafor an emergency?.
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you can prepare by mapping out two ways to escape your home, creating a supply kit, and including your whole family in practice drills. for help creating an emergency plan, visit
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a little preparation will make you and your family safer in an emergency. a week's worth of food and water, radio, flashlight,
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batteries and first aid kit are a good start to learn more, visit ♪♪ ♪♪ narrator: in south central china at the wolong panda center, there's a young cub that has never tasted freedom. ♪♪ his life is about to change. this cub is special... chosen for the wild. ♪♪ but firshe needs to discover what it means to be a wild panda. ♪♪ and his training team has to discover more about how pandas are brought up in the wild.


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