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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  December 30, 2021 6:00pm-7:01pm PST

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captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> nawaz: good evening, i'm amna nawaz. judy woodruff is away. on the newshour tonight, presidents biden and putin hold a second call within the month, as russian troops amass on the ukrainian border. then, a texas law banning transgender athletes from playing sports goes into effect next month, adding to challenges trans kids already face growing up. and, a look at america's broken foster care system and one former foster child's approach to fixing it. >> all the time we see these small barriers like a deposit for an apartment or the need for more food, being the barrier that actually blocks families from staying together. >> nawaz: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour.
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>> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> johnson & johnson. >> bnsf railway. >> consumer cellular. >> financial services firm raymond james. >> the kendeda fund. committed to advancing restorative justice and meaningful work through investments in transformative leaders and ideas. more at kendedafund.org.
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>> carnegie corporation of new york. supporting innovations in education, democratic engagement, and the advancement of international peace and security. at carnegie.org. >> 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. >> nawaz: president biden and russian president vladimir putin have spoken again, amid ongoing tensions over ukraine.
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the two leaders had an initial callerrier, former security talks begin next month and we will have much more after the news sum are. on the pandemic new hospitalizations of children rose 66 percent last week. the admissions are now the highest in the pandemic, infections among nursing homeworkers jumped 80 percent. today federal health officials appealed to that group to get boosters. meanwhile "the new york times" and others reported that on monday the fda will authorize pfizer vaccine boosters for kids 12 to 15 years old. and a south african study found johnson & johnson's booster cut the risk of hospitalization in omicron cases by 85 percent. the omicron surge the omicron surge is also forcing u.s. cities to decide about going ahead with new year's eve celebrations. today, crews in new york prepared for the annual ball
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drop in times square. outgoing mayor bill de blasio said the festivities will move forward as planned. >> it's going to be outdoors, vaccination only, masks required, socially distanced. but we want to show that we're moving forward. and we want to show the world that new york city is fighting our way through this. >> nawaz: boston is also pressing on with its new year's plans, but concerts and other events are being moved outdoors to allow for more spacing. and, the c.d.c. warned today against going on cruises. it said the chance of getting infected is very high, regardless of vaccination status. in sudan, security forces reportedly killed at least four protesters today amid mass rallies against the military regime. a medical group says it happened in omdurman, when security forces opened fire on crowds. thousands also protested in khartoum. security forces used tear gas and live ammunition, to disperse the crowds demanding a return to civilian rule.
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>> ( translated ): our position is clear, we are opposed to any negotiations, partnership or compromise with the generals. we came out today to bring down this ruling military council and to have a civilian democratic governmentfterwards. >> nawaz: major demonstrations have rocked sudan since october's military coup, despite tightened security measures. mourners lined up in south africa today to pay respects to the late archbishop desmond tutu. he lay in state at st. george's anglican cathedral in cape town, where he had preached against racial injustice. hundreds filed past the simple pine casket. >> i'm here to say goodbye but to also celebrate archbishop tutu because he's meant so much to me in my life. i've had fond memories of meeting and spending time with him and i think i want to be... he's left that impression on me that integrity, character and service is everything.
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>> nawaz: the lying in state continues tomorrow. a requiem mass and funeral will take place on new year's day. tutu died sunday at the age of 90. back in this country, a wind- driven wildfire in colorado forced evacuations of nearly 35,000 people from two towns near denver. smoke rose over neighborhoods in superior and louisville and cars lined up trying to leave the area. winds gusting to 100 miles an hour were pushing the flames. the latest winter storm in the pacific northwest socked in a major highway. heavy snow shut down about 80 miles of interstate 90 across washington state. the same storm has iced local roads in the region and fouled traffic in seattle and portland. the arctic blast is expected to last until the weekend. teva pharmaceuticals was found guilty today of fueling opioid addiction in new york state. a jury said the company used misleading marketing tactics
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that had lethal consequences. a separate trial will determine damages. all told, more than 3,000 opioid-related lawsuits are pending in the u.s. in economic news, first-time claims for jobless benefits dropped last week by 8,000, to 198,000. and, the four-week average was the lowest since 1969. the numbers indicate the omicron surge has yet to trigger new layoffs. and, on wall street, the dow jones industrial average lost 90 points to close at 36,398. the nasdaq fell 24 points. the s&p 500 slipped 14. still to come on the newshour: inside turkey's battle with a kurdish separatist movement in iraq. two critics give their takes on the best of books of 2021. some reflections on a challenging year, plus some reasons to be hopeful. and much more.
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>> nawaz: today, president biden spoke by phone with russian president vladimir putin, their second call in three weeks amid a crisis over ukraine. 100,000 russian troops are massed on ukraine's borders, and the administration has warned they could invade. nick schifrin is here to talk about the conversation. good to see you, so you have been talking to your sources in the administration, what are they saying about that call? >> amna, senior administration official who just briefed reporters called the call quote serious and sub san tiff, a kind of setup for the tone and tenor of in person discussions between the u. snd and russia and allies in early january, that lasts about 50 minutes and made at the request of tin swi unusual and took place after 11 p.m. in
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moscow. putin has made it clear he wants fundamental changes in u.s. and allied policy, a guarantee that ukraine can never join nato. a reversal of nato expansion since 1997, and no u.s. exercises in much of eastern europe. that would reverse deed cades of u.s. policy and u.s. officials made it clear some of that is dead on arrival. but today the senior administration official reiterated that the u.s. is eager to hear russian concerns and priorities and in return will share u.s. concerned and u.s. priorities, most notably that huge mass of additional russian troops. -- it is around ukraine in four different spots, as you can see on this map, created by u.s. intelligence which believes that russia planned for as many as 170,000 troops to invade. the white house reiterated that president biden told putin that diplomatic progress could only take place in the context of
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deescalation of those russian troops. amna, a few minutes after the call ended, just before 7 p.m. eastern,-- 6 p.m., media routed a diplomat that president biden said not to send any o fennive weapons to ukraine, the white house has not responded to that claim but in general, amna, u.s. officials refer to the weapons they send to ukraine as defensive, not offensive. >> nawaz: the u.s. says to have progress they need deescalation from russia first, is there chance of that happening. >> there is not really a sign of that. u.s. officials admit there is troop movement but say those troops have not deescalated and have not re deployed back inward to russia, so as the u.s. tries to find a diplomatic off-ramp it is also trying to deter a russian invasion by threatening extensive u.s. and allied economic sanctions, more troops deemployed-- deployed to eastern eur pean nato allies and more weapons for ukraine, on top of 450 million worth of weapons it
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has already set including antitank javelins, the u.s. is working to find steps ukraine can make to address russian concerns in eastern ukrainian region where russian troops partially occupied and where moscow supports ukrainian separatists. longer term that includes amnesty for those separatists as well as more autonomy and elections in the area. but russian actions have coalesced ukrainian politics against the kremlin, making any ukrainian sk-- ksh and coalesced nato and in this country republicans warned biden not to nake any concessions to putin. tho concessions that russia is asking for is very difficult for the u.s. and their allies. >> nawaz: you mentioned those upcoming in-person meetings in january between russian officials, u.s. officials and their allies, what does that look like, what happens next? >> yeah, so the three distinct diplomatic meetings in early january. the first one january 9th to 109, deputy secretary of state
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wendy sherman will meet her equivalent deputy foreign minister on january 129. nato and russia will meet to discuss russian demands of the future of nato and on january 13th 9 organization for security and cooperation in europe which includes the russian u.s. and ukrainians will meet allowing ukrainians to be at the table. amna, the stakes are high. putin could still decide to invade, according to u.s. officials. as the number three state department official told us on the show just a few weeks ago, if democracy stands by and allows that to happen, it it will em boldern autokrats everywhere snd that is why the u.s. is so concerned and we're looking forward to that in january. >> nawaz: that is nik schifrin with the latest on that call today between president biden and putin, thank you so much. #r
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>> nawaz: transgender rights have been front and center for the last year. the texas trans sports ban will take effect in a few weeks. according to the a.c.l.u., texas is one of 31 states that have attempted to pass legislation to stop trans youth from participating in gendered sports. studies show that legislation limiting trans rights takes a toll on mental health for trans youth. first, alice scott from our student reporting labs talkso two teens in texas. >> i'm just a normal teenager and i'm figuring out what my normal is. >> reporter: jake waggoner, a 9th grader in austin, texas, came out as transgender in november of 2020. his process of both forming and forging his identity was a normal part of his adolescence, much like wednesday gomez, a 10th grader also from austin texas whose views on gender and sexuality have also recently become more clear. >> i'm non-binary which means i'm not a boy or a girl and i
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don't really identify with either of those things. i'm kind of everything and nothing at the same time. >> reporter: many teens and their families are learning th value of self-discovery. according to national surveys from the c.d.c., the percentage of young people, ages 15 to 17, who identify as“ non-heterosexual” grew from just over eight percent in 2015 to nearly 12% in 2019. >> i had a really hard time like being able to be happy before i came out like i was sort of like yeah i am happy but i'm not being myself and being happy at the same time which felt really off for me. even though i don't know a lot of things right now you know as a younger person i know who i am. >> reporter: the process of coming out looks different for eacperson who goes through it. >> mentally, i've just been a lot happier because like i feel like i've always tried to like keep this in my own head because like i didn't really know like what it was or how to explain it but then when i came out i just like okay and i felt so much more like mental freedom.
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>> i've been feeling so much more connected to myself and represented in my like life and every time someone refers to me correctly it just really helps me feel very much like secure and grounded in my identity. >> reporter: with more than three out of four transgender and non-binary youth experiencing symptoms of an anxiety disorder last year, many are looking for more support. >> so i think today's uth are really aware of the fact that they don't have to fit into a box. >> reporter: families can model supportive behavior for others to follow such as using gender inclusive language, respecting pronouns and avoiding dead naming, the use of the person's former name, all in an effort to create an open dialogue and promote acceptance. >> it's not about you like your job is to show up and love your kid unconditionally.
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your sweet baby is the same, like, sweet baby that you always had and you know and watched grow up. the transition doesn't undo or make them a different person. >> reporter: having a supportive community can give transitioning teens an open space to communicate and express what they need to feel safe. >> i think it's important for everybody to express themselves and just like live as the person that they want to be. >> it's okay to not know who you are and you'll figure it out eventually. and it's important to feel supported even if you aren't quite sure what you need to be supported in quite yet. >> reporter: for the pbs newshour student reporting labs, i'm alice scott in austin, texas. >> nawaz: for more on the laws limiting transgender rights and their effect on mental health, we're joined by jonah dechants, a research scientist for the trevor project, a suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for l.g.b.t.q. youth. johna, welcome to the newshour, thank you for your
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time, as you and yr colleagues, well know, because you have been tracking this, 2021 saw a record number of anti-transbills in the state legislature across the country, so tell us more about those, what is it that those bills seek to do? >> yeah, so we are unfortunately seeing a surge in anti-lgbtq and particularly anti-transand nonbinary legislation in texas and the u.s. including things like banning transand youth in sports, to affirming health care, limiting hair access to privacy in school and other ways of generally just making it harder for them to excess-- express their identify asi asi identities in feeling supported. >> are you talking about a majority of states where these actions have been taken either considering or passing anti--translegislation specifically but have i to ask you, a newshour poll showed earlier that actually a majority of americans oppose those measures, talking about two
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thirds of americans and that you cls majority of all political ideology and all age groups. so what do lawmakers argue is the behind those rules and laws. >> yeah, the rationale behind these laws varies based off of the particular law whether we are talking about health care or sports. particularly looking at sport there are folks who claim that they are protecting competitiveness. for. but there are other sporting organizations such as olympic international olympic committee and the ncaa which do allow transgender athletes to participate in ways that align with their gender identity. and so we believe these bans with whether they are about health care or sports are simply opportunities to discriminate and continue to stigmatize trans and nonbinary youth and their identities. >> let's talk about the mental health impact. you heard about people sharing their experiences, from your research, from people you talk to, what is the mental health
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impact particularly on trans kids even when legislation like this is just being debated. >> yeah, so the impact we see at the project both in our research and services is that these type of legislation and as you said the discussion about the legislation increased discrimination, harassment, again stig mattization for these youth that are already vulnerable to harassment, neglect sphwhraition. our research found 94 percent of these youth report that recent politics negatively impacted their mental health and are hearing directly from young people in texas and our crisis services who are saying that they are trans and nonbinary and the onslaught of anti-transbills in their state have caused them to feel stress and even consider suicide. >> to put a finer point, we all know the pandemic years have exacerbated an existing mental
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health crisis particularly among young americans but your research specific to transkids is worth pointing out, this is so disturbing. when you look at the numbers 61 percent of trans youth reporting about bullied, 32 percent of those bullied attempted suicide and trans and nonbinary youth is twice as likely to experience depression. by those numbers that means one out of every five roughly trans kids attempted suicide last year. i mean do you see those kinds of numbers anywhere else? >> no, those are uniquely high numbers compared to other lgb youth and compared to straight gender youth, here what we really see is those numbers are the result of mistreatment that young people experience. the result of not having families who are able to support them, of feeling bullied and harring rased in school, feeling like they are unable to update their identity documents to align with their identity, feeling banned from participing in school activities so it is this
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cumulative onslawt of having your right to participate as a society be attacked that can really cause folks to be a an elevated suicide risk and increased mental health. >> just to remiengd everyone, we're talking about kids, kids who deserve to feel safe and loved like any other kid so what is your message to adults about how they can make sure that happens. >> thank you for asking that. the other trend that we see in all of our research is that being an ally matters. we see that when young people have a supportive adults in their life, when there are people affirming them at school, when there are people who are using their name and pronouns correctly, all of those contribute to better mental health and decreased suicide risk. so all of those small actions that we can take as adults to support young people whether displaying a pride flag on your classroom, whether that is if you are a sports coach discussing lgbtq issues with your athletes, all of those things are things young people pick up and tell us make them feel safe and affirmed and benefit their mental health.
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>> that is johna dechants, research sign tris for the trevor project, thank you so much for your time. >> thank you. >> nawaz: there are currently more than 400,000 children in foster care in the u.s. and while the pandemic has made life even more difficult for these vulnerable kids, many say the fosterare system itself has been putting them at risk for decades. special correspondent charlayne hunter-gault sat down with one former foster child who is now on a mission to fix the system, by helping families stay together in the first place. it's part of our race matters series and her ongoing reporting on racism in america. >> meet 61-year-old valencia polk. her six grandchildren came to live with her after child protective services removed the
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children from their parents due to neglect allegations. it was a loto take on, but the grandmother never thought twice. then, after a few months and without warning, all six of the children were taken from her and put in a foster home. she was never given a specific reason. >> why are you going to take the kids? 'we don't think you can handle it.' when they took them, they were sitting on the floor doing their homework. and they came and got them. screaming and crying, ¡please help me, please help me!' and i had to leave, i said i've got to go back in the house, because i felt like i was going to fall into the ground. >> polk says the children were physically and verbally abused in foster care, adding they were dirty during supervised visits. the trauma led each of the children to start shutting down
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in different ways. eight-year-old b.j. stopped doing his school work. >> he told me out of his own mouth, he said i don't want to do better until i go home, that's what he told me, so that's what i'm dealing with. the three year old that's in there, the boy wouldn't say nothing, they thought he was deaf and dumb, they were teaching him sign language. i told them he's not deaf and dumb, you broke him. >> then, just as suddenly as they were taken away, three of the children were given back to polk, again without explanation. all this is avoidable trauma caused by a broken system, according to sixto cancel. it's cases like this one that led the 29-year-old former foster child to start a nonprofit called think of us. it collects these kinds of stories, brings them to shington, and advocates for change that would help families like the polks stay together.
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on this night, cancel visited the polks with valerie jackson of monarch family services, the child placing agency helping polk obtain permanent guardianship. i met sixto cancel near the polk home, in houston, texas to hear more about his ideas on what needs to change, ideas fueled equally by his own traumatic childhood. just how typical is what we've just seen? >> this is a story that we see over and over and over. and all the time we see these small barriers like a deposit for an apartment or the need for more food, being the barrier that actually blocks families from staying together. or these technicalities that a family might need to be licensed to take care of their children, their relatives. >> but even in your own life,
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you're now 29. and you had this experience like in a way like this family since you were 11 months old. what was that like? >> unfortunately my mother couldn't take care of us because of her drug addiction. and by the age of nine, i was adopted, and it was a pretty abusive and racist adoption. >> what do you mean? >> i was placed with a puerto rican white-looking woman who, you know, while the light- skinned children got to go to a private school, she told me because i was black i would have to go to a public school. and i would experience different types of abuses based on who i was. and so by 13 found myself couch surfing and trying to prove to the agency what was going on. but it was this tall, black- looking kid against this white short-looking puerto rican woman. and i wasn't believed for a very long time until i started to record the abuse. >> and you came up with a solution by watching what is one of my favorite sws, "law &
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order?" >> yeah, so it was one day i was watching "law & order," and that was the moment where i realized i had to find evidence, i had to build evidence. so after that i was able to be put back into foster care. >> what was it like in those foster homes? >> it was a roller coaster. fostering is a calling, and some people are called to do the work, and some people reallyee the mutual benefit of being able to survive leveraging that stipend that they get from the government. >> it was only after he aged out of the system at 23 that cancel discovered he had family members less than 60 miles away who would have taken him in. but, he says, they were never contacted. >> we see this still happening today. but what is encouragg is that we're also seeing a lot of movement around making it better. there have been laws that have been passed in the last three years that people are really working hard to change this. >> how much of it is, do you
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think, is about race? does it happen to all children, regardless of color, or is there a disproportionate impact if you're a person of color? >> so what we know right now is that 53% of all black families will experience a child abuse investigation. 10% of all black children will experience foster care. that is twice the rate of white children. so what we see is an over- surveillance of child welfare in communities that are poor. i think when you think of foster care, you think of child welfare, you think of folks who have probably been physically abused, sexually abused, emotionally abused. but 64% of the cases actually hav to do with neglect issues that are coming from poverty. the lights, water are not running. not enough food. so we created a system that was supposed to be about protecting children from abusers, but what we really had is the majority of the children in foster care are experiencing high poverty
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issues. >> so how did you get involved in this program that you're working with now? >> i started think of us with the premise that we should be fixing the system, re-architecting it in a way that we address the core problems that are around it. and so i truly envision that right now, we can move from being a system that is mainly focused on placing children with strangers, right, foster parents that they don't know, that we can move that to a system that supports grandma, uncle, cousins, people that the children already know and they're already related to and figure out how do we support them in taking them in. right now only 33% of children are actually placed with a relative. >> so where are the rest of them, in group homes? >> we see that they're in foster homes, in group homes. and the difference that we're also seeing here is that when they are placed with a relative, that states are not supporting those families the same way that they would support a foster
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parent. on average, a foster parent gets about $800 in reimbursement a month for a child. but for many states, they provide no type of support or very little support to an actual grandparent or an aunt and uncle who's taken them in. >> i've seen you say that despite all of theivision that we see politically these days, you've got some cooperation between the parties on this. >> one of the things i'm so encouraged by on child welfare particularly is that it is a bipartisan issue. but i think we need to go even further. we have a lot of agreement around foster care, but sometimes we think differently about kinship care-- the idea when grandma takes in her grandchildren that she should just do that. and we need to shift our thinking to say, no, we should support grandma in being able to make sure that grandma has all the tools and resources that we would give a foster parent to keep that family together.
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>> so what keeps you going? >> i'm very hopeful, because at the basis of what's happening right now, the money's changing in child welfare, what can be financed. the rules are changing in child welfare. but what i really want people to know is that this is an opportunity for us to ensure that children and young people get families, and that we grow up with families. and that every child should be able to feel someone who loves them past a contractual agreement. and this is the opportunity where we get to do that. >> and you're hopeful that we can do this? >> i'm confident that we can do this. >> well, sixto cancel, you make me hopeful just listening to you. >> thank you. >> nawaz: for decades turkey has fought the p.k.k., a kurdish
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separatist movement that's been designated a terror organization by the u.s. and other nations. the rebel group has sought refuge in northern iraq, which is inhabited by a significant kurdish population. over the years, turkey has crossed into northern iraq to fight the p.k.k. and more recently the turks have established dozens of military bases on iraqi soil. pbs newshour special correspondent simona foltyn gained exclusive access to turkish-controlled parts of northern iraq. >> reporter: behind this mountain in iraq's northern semi-autonomous kurdish region lies what authorities here call a “red zone,” a restricted area where iraq's northern neighbor turkey has been ramping up its military presence. driving up the mountain road, we reach the last checkpoint of the iraqi border guard. the commander here isn't allowed to speak on camera, but tells us twelve new turkish military bases have been set up here over the past year, well inside
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iraq's borders. beyond this point, he says, turkish forces hold de-facto control over iraqi territory. we're around eight miles away from iraq's border with turkey and this is essentially a militarized zone, where turkey has been building a growing number of bases and outposts, and we can actually see some of them on those mountain tops behind me. for decades, turkey has carried out sporadic operations against the p.k.k., an outlawed kurdish separatist movement, considered a terror group by the u.s. and the european union for decades. the p.k.k. aims to establish a kurdish state across kurdish majority parts of turkey, iraq, syria, and iran, and it has long used these mountains as a base for its insurgency against the turkish government. but the recent major expansion of turkish military bases has raised fears of occupation.
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down below the turkish outposts, we find valleys emptied of civilians. turkish operations have uprooted thousands of people in this area. ali mahmoud is one of few shepherds who've stayed behind to look after their livestock. >> ( translated ): this is a military area now. we cannot go everywhere with our sheep. many ways have been closed off. >> reporter: during our two-day visit, we heard several rounds of artillery being fired in the distance. one such strike hit mahmoud's house in may, killing dozens of his animals and injuring two shepherds. he recorded this video the morning after. in just this area, 24 out of 26 villages have been emptied over the last couple of years. mahmoud was forced to leave his village of sharanish a few miles further north. >> ( translated ): this is an encroachment on our lands. i had to relocate here temporarily. we hope we can go back to our
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village. >> reporter: it's not safe for us to access the village, but detailed satellite imagery reveals the extent to which turkey controls the area. this is the turkish outpost we saw on our way, overlooking the road leading towards sharanish. perched atop the mountain to the north is another turkish base. there are also two roadblocks, one before and one after sharanish. the village itself, filmed here in 2019, has been damaged in turkish strikes.“ sharanish is completely deserted,” this civilian says as he walks through its abandoned streets. the man who filmed the video fled to a nearby town and wanted to remain anonymous for fear of retribution. he told the "newshour" that turkish forces haven't allowed anyone to go back. >> ( translated ): we went to check on our houses, but they had blocked off the road, and when we approached they fired
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warning shots. >> reporter: turkey has established around 40 military fixed points like this one across northern iraq, with thousands of turkish soldiers believed to operate on iraqi soil. iraq's federal government has criticized these maneuvers as illegal and has repeatedly summoned turkish diplomats in the capital baghdad. ali reza gun is turkey's ambassador to iraq. >> we are going to continue until the p.k.k. is no longer a threat to turkey. >> reporter: yet the government of iraq has condemned your presence in the north as a violation of its sovereignty. >> they can, but first they have to do their own job. each and every country has the right to claim to be sovereign, but it requires also being responsible to keep your terroritories clean from terrorists. >> reporter: but turkey isn't
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alone here-- the armed forces of iraq kurdish region, the peshmerga, are building bases too. and while authorities in baghdad publicly criticize turkey's military incursions, the ruling party of iraqi kurdistan, constantly in dispute with the baghdad government, has close economic relations with turkey and has increasingly cooperated with the turks in their fight against the p.k.k. peshmerga commander yasseen sherwani has come to inspect the new base. it's one of dozens built in this area to pressure the p.k.k. to take its fight back to turkey. >> ( translated ): the p.k.k. cannot be active here because it's not their area. their area is in turkey, but until now, they haven't managed to control any villages there. >> reporter: and while the p.k.k.'s aim is that greater kurdish state, sherwani says iraq's kurds have what they want: >> ( translated ): we in iraqi
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kurdistan already have autonomy, and we have no problems. we have our own government. >> reporter: but kurdish authorities are also wary of igniting fresh tensions among the kurds, who've fought brutal wars among themselves. although the p.k.k. sometimes attacks them, many peshmerga are not willing to fight their own brethren. marouf hala ismail has been a peshmerga fighter for 31 years. >> ( translated ): i swear if there's another fight between the kurds, i will leave my weapon and go home. >> reporter: i ask him if turkey can defeat the p.k.k. in this mountainous terrain. >> ( translated ): they're trying to put pressure on them using drones. in my opinion, this has no impact on them. they are moving from this mountain to that one. >> reporter: to see this new military strategy in action, we visited the qandil mountains, the p.k.k.'s bastion in iraqi kurdistan.
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to do so, we needed the p.k.k.'s approval and were accompanied by one of its members. many civilians have fled the conflict and those who've stayed behind, like renas zagros, are ardent p.k.k. supporters who are willing to sacrifice themselves for the cause. >> ( translated ): life is really difficult. every day, there are drones and bombings. >> reporter: during the interview, a turkish drone hovers above the shop. turkey has denied targeting civilians, and has instead accused the p.k.k. of using them as human shields. the nearly constant surveillance has forced the p.k.k.'s leadership into hiding. its spokesperson was unable to meet for an interview. but we are able to get the p.k.k.'s perspective in the makhmour refugee camp, 100 miles southwest of the qandil mountains. it was set up 23 years ago for turkish kurds uprooted by the turkey/p.k.k. conflict. the turkish government has called the camp an incubator for
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militants, and has repeatedly targeted it with airstrikes, killing both p.k.k. fighters and civilians. leila arzu ilhan is part of the camp management, comprised of p.k.k. loyalists. >> ( translated ): for sure we are afraid. every three to four days, there is a turkish drone flying above and watching us, but it doesn't mean we will stop. we are revolting against turkey's occupation. >> reporter: ilhan believes turkey is using the p.k.k. as a pretext for territorial expansion. >> ( translated ): they are trying to return to the times of the ottoman empire. they are trying to earge their territory at the expense of minorities. >> reporter: the iraqi officials say what's really needed is a political solution to end this decades-long conflict. but with none on the horizon, turkey's fight against the p.k.k. in iraq has opened the door to long-term turkish military presence, and perhaps
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wider conflict for an already destabilized region. for the pbs newshour, i'm simona foltyn in northern iraq. >> nawaz: as we close the book on 2021, we want to share some good reads. jeffrey brown talks to some newshour literary friends to get their best recommendations on what to curl up on the couch with, or share with a friend. it's part of our arts and culture series, canvas >> brown: i'm joined here in studio by carlos lozada, the nonfiction book critic of the "washington post." he won the pulitzer prize for criticism in 2019. and from brooklyn, jacqueline woodson, author of novels for adults, as well as newbery honor, winning titles for young readers. she was the library of congress national ambassador for young people's literature and a macarthur fellow lasyear, and it's really nice to see and talk
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to both of you. i feel like i always start with fiction, so for once we're going to start with nonfiction. carlos, you give us a couple of picks. >> yes, i want to start with two books that i think get to some current major crises we're facing, but do so in really novel ways. first is "under a white sky" by elizabeth kolbert. she's probably best known for her book "the sixth extinction," which depicted the crushing of the planet's biodiversity under the human footprint. this subsequent book is kind of a perfect sequel because it's a warning about how even very well-intentioned fixes to our environmental problems can be causing more damage. it's kind of a pessimistic book, but i think a really important one. okay, the second one i want to highlight is called "read until you understand" by farah griffin. >> brown: that's a good title. >> it's a great title, and the book actually suits it very well. there have been so many books that try to get at this moment of wrestling with the challenges
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of racial justice, and griffin's does so in a way that mixes memoir and political analysis and kind of a literature seminar all at once. what i like about this book so much is that it shows that reading is a vital part of engaged citizenship. >> brown: all right, jacqueline woodson. so anna, give us a couple of well, novels, if you can. what have you got? >> i can, and it's so funny because tyler and i are so much on the same page in terms of the energy of what we're reading. i want to start with embolo, mbule and apologizing if i mess up her name, but her book is called "how beautiful we were," and it's a novel about an african village that is struggling against a big american oil company that is, that's messing up their environment. so it's a book about environmental justice, it's a book about family. it's a book about when big american businesses come into comunities and other countries and destroy them or set out to
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destroy them. and one thing i love about this book is that so it's so thoughtful, but it's also funny. i mean, she can get at the humor in some of the hardest places. and another book that i came by way of accident that just last night, one center for fiction first novel award is a book called "the five wounds" by a woman named kirsten valdez quade. but it's a book about a family where the teenage girl angel gets pregnant as she shows up at her father's house on the day that he is practicing to be cut to play the role of jesus in the town ceremony. but here's the thing that stood out for about that book for me. one thing that kirsten does is she is a spanish and it's never italicized, which i love because what she's saying in this book is my language is not other, and this story is not other and my people are not other.
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and again, one of the many reasons i love this book is how, >> brown: alright, carlos, i mean, in terms of themes, i know you, you spent a lot of time looking at our politics and our divided politics. you have a couple from the past year. >> so yes, i have read a lot of trump books, way too many trump books in my day job at the "washington post." and a lot of them are of the, you know, can you believe he did this or set of that kind of school? but in the latest that are coming out, you start seeing books that are more sort of thoughtful and thematic and develop an argument to i want to highlight "our first reign of terror" by spencer ackerman. this book came out just a few months ago, around 20th anniversary of 9/11, and it draws a very bright and clear line between the excesses of the 9/11 era and the excesses of the trump presidency. it looks at issues such as, you know, expanding presidential power, you know, anti-immigrant, anti-muslim sentiment, you know, weakening oversight and just the open-ended nature of the war on terror and shows how a lot of those things were kind of redirected and harnessed during the trump years.
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the other is a book by fiona hill called "there is nothing for you here." and fiona hill is a russia expert who was an adviser in the trump white house and became best known, probably when she testified during the trump impeachment trial. the first trump impeachment regarding ukraine news. >> brown: our viewers will remember that well. >> oh yes. but what is far more interesting, as is that she looks at three places that she knows well, her native england, where she grew up in a in a working class mining town, russia, which she studied as an academic. and the united states, where she's lived for many years and is a u.s. citizen and shows how very similar cultural and economic forces are propelling the rise of populism in all three places. so she's uniquely positioned to tell the story, and it's the rare trump book that doesn't obsess about trump. >> brown: jacqueline, what about put on your young readers' hat here.
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>> and "your legacy" by shelly williams, which is a book about enslaved african-americans before they were enslaved. so it takes us back to africa and shows us the culture to different parts of africa and shows us that the culture and the grandeur and the wealth and the civility that people had before they were brought to this country as enslaved people. and i really love that book because it's not starting the narrative at enslavement, it's starting the narrative when people were people who are not enslaved so and another quirky book that i really love is mo willems. the beloved mo willems wrote a book called "opposite abstract," which is about it's about concepts, and it's a really thoughtful way to talk about abstract images with very young people. >> brown: i want to ask you both before we go, i'll start with you, jacqueline woodson on this one. just was there a book that you went back to this year or that perhaps that you read for the first time, an older book that was particularly meaningful to you? >> i'm so glad you asked that, jeff, because i have been reading ida b. wells autobiography and i've been
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reading it and i've been listening to it, and it's just the book i needed. i needed to think about someone who survived harder times and who was brave in them and who changed a lot of the world in the work that she did so. so ida b. wells for the win was the book that got me through a lot this year. >> brown: carlos, what about for you? >> yes, i have many unread books in my many yet to be read. yes, in my in my home. and one i picked up this year was "night draws near" by anthony shadid, the late, great foreign correspondent and war reporter. so many of the best known books of about american warfare tend to be about the americans tend to be about how americans go off to try to transform distant lands and are transford themselves by the experience. so this book is different. shadid looks at how the iraq war was lived through the eyes of ordinary iraqi people, mainly in was just his the depth of his reporting, the empathy of his spirit. and he was able to show, for instance, how iraqis can both despise a domestic dictator and resent the foreign occupier. and those two things are not
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inconsistent. >> brown: all right, i want to thank you both for sharing your books and love of reading jacqueline woodson, carlos lazada, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> nawaz: as 2021 comes to a close, we want to take a look back at this year of immense challenge and loss, but so perseverance and hope. in recent days, we have reconnected with a number of you, viewers and guests we've interviewed over the past year- plus. we wanted to hear how you've handled the last 12 months, the challenges you've faced, and your wishes for 2022. >> my name is monday busque, i'm from detroit, michigan, and we >> i'm amy schiede. i live in >> i'm amy schiede. i live in the center of wisconsin. >> my name is nora gallina. i live in zephyr hills, florida. >> my name is marie cheslik. >> my name's marissa hackett. i am in seattle, washington. >> hi, i'm matt berzok. i'm an attorney and the father of a special needs son who has autism, who is 17 and a daughter
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who's 14. the pandemic and the uncertainty around it is very, very difficult for some people, especially my son ben, with special needs. he does do in-person school, but with a mask, which he finds frustrating. and especially for someone like ben, who has trouble reading emotion even in the best of times because of autism, masking is the kind of thing that makes it more difficult for him to interact and understand with people. >> i thought everything would be better by now and in certain aspects it is. the vaccines are available, but a lot of sad things have happened along the way. >> in january 2021, i lost both my parents to covid and they passed within a week of each other. six months later, in july, i lost my older sister to cancer. it was difficult.
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throughout this year, one of the other feelings that i had alongside with grief to try to temper that was one of gratitude and gratitude of all the people helping us, feeling grateful for what i do still have left. >> i'm seeing less patients with covid in the hospital right now as opposed to in 2020 in november. but i'm seeing more of nurse staffing issues. i'm seeing more hospital issues. it's always been an intense job. it's always been a challenging job. but more now than ever, i'm focusing on just keeping my head above the water. >> and for almost eight years, i owned a restaurant that sadly has now closed. >> people's view of the service industry had completely changed. we were seeing at the beginning people creating banners and paying it forward and being kind and generous. and in the end, we were being spit on. we were being harassed.
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we had people who would come in and rip their mask off and drag it along the tables in the dining room. it was just an overall shock to see how divided our community and our country as a whole had become. >> i'm scared on a bigger level at this point than i was in the beginning of the year, right after the insurrection. i'm seeing folks turn a blind eye to the gravity of what took place on january 6. and i am wondering if i'm watching the american experience fail in front of me because this isn't democracy. >> i'm an immigrant to the u.s. i was born in argentina, but i grew up in new york and i've been here since i was a small child and traveled back and forth to argentina many years. and argentina was always the crazy country where the governments were awful and you
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had crazy inflation and you had military coups and that thing didn't happen in the u.s. this is where we were away from that, but we're not away from that anymore. and i find that kind of overwhelming. >> the closing of the restaurant was one of the hardest things that i've done in my lifetime. and i think one of the hardest things was the amount of customers that were just heartbroken at the aspect of us closing and we felt a real responsibility for that. they'd been so supportive. and we miss them. >> if there is a word to use, it would probably be endure. because that is what me and my family have had to do is to endure a massive amount of
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change and trauma and grief, and i think we've done a pretty good job of enduring and honoring their lives through this past year. >> i'm a nurse, and i'm probably the most contagious person my friends are hanging out with, potentially. but i'm i am hopeful and hopeful for the future. and i think we have to be. >> i'm hopeful that things will get better in that respect that i'll feel safer. and feel more confident in engaging with the outside world. i'd like to engage with the world. i'd like to travel more. i'd like to see my family more. i want to be with the people i love. >> through the midst of all of what we're seeing happen around us politically and socially, i just wish and hope and encourage folks to not forget to connect and connect with the folks they love, do the things they love and tell people they love them. >> we have tried to keep our expectations short term, stay in the moment and enjoy what we have. and next year is going to bring
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what next year is going to bring. and as a caregiver to someone with special needs, it's our job. it's my job to adapt and make next year better than this year. >> nawaz: and online right now, members of our newshour community shared some of the meaningful changes they made this year. find that at pbs.org/newshour. and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm amna nawaz. join us online and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you, please stay safe, and we'll see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> for 25 years, consumer cellular's goal has been to provide wireless service that helps people communicate and 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 >> johnson & johnson. >> bnsf railway.
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>> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and friends of the newshour. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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- this is a terrific salmon cured with molasses. my friend jean-claude did it for years in his catering business. it does take a little bit of time to do it, but it's really not complicateto make. here is how i did it. first, make the rub. mix together kosher salt, sugar, cayenne, ground nutmeg, paprika, ground allspice, and some cumin. add soy sauce and molasses and mix it all together. spread a large fillet of salmon, about 1 1/2 pound, and spread the mixture on both side. you can do this while the salmon is sitting over a piece of plastic wrap. wrap it tightly and let it set in the refrigerator for, like, 12 hours or overnight. unwrap the cured salmon and pat it dry with paper towels.

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