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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  March 22, 2022 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT

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♪ judy: good evening. i am judy odruff. on the news hour tonight, the war continues. ukraine claims to take a critical suburb inassault, and n critic has his prison sentence extended. then, facing questions. supreme court nominee ketanji brown jackson defends her record as a judge before the sharp interrogation of the senate judiciary committee. and global consequence russia's war in ukraine disrupts worldwide food prices and supply. with four countries feeling the sharpest effects. >> there is a shortage and a chance that wheat will stop coming in if this war continues.
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judy: all that and more on tonight's "pbs newshour." ♪ >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by. >> the landscape has changed, and not for the last time. the rules of business are being reinvented, with a more flexible workforce by embracing innovation, by looking not only at current opportunities, but i had to future ones. resilience is the ability to pivot again and again for whatever happens next. >> people will know, know bdo. ♪ >> for 25 years, consumer cellular has been offering no contract plans designed to help people do more of what they like. our u.s.-based customer service team could help find the plan that fits you.
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judy: ukrainian forces are claiming nice successes tonight against russian invaders. a counteroffensive has retaken a strategically important town west of kyiv. and, the southern port city of mariupol continues holding out, despite being hammered from air, land and sea. meanwhile, the white house announced that president biden will unveil new sanctions when he meets with allies week in europe. and the top kremlin spokesman said i would use nuclear weapons only if its very existence was threatened. but we begin again tonight with jane ferguson, starts report in southwestern ukraine. jane: the people of this city are forced to run to cover as they come under attack from the russian army. this time, the explosions are closer than ever. >> we heard not only the air sirens but now these alarms and
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, people telling everybody to get into the bunkers. up until now, it has been mostly fighting and shelling on the outskirts of town. but these rockets are starting to land here in the center. jane: the russian military is trying to move west from the nearby city of kherson - one of the few urban centers they control - in an effort to take all of ukraine's southern black seacoast line. this time, a russian rocket crashed straight through a small hotel. it was closed owing to the war, but residents in the apartment building behind it were left shaken, cleaning up the damage to their homes. >> we live here. we are out and just arrived, and this is what happened. they called us on the phone to tell us what happened. i haven't gone inside yet. we are too afraid to go inside. now we clean up there is a lot to do. jane: that collective sense of initiative is seen in this village also, to the east of mikolaiv and in the way of the russian army as it tries to advance towards the city local volunteers hand out food
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donated by individuals, and aid organizations. >> our town is on the front line. today and almost every day, we are being shot at. so we can't go to town to shop for food. also, the businesses that were here are closed. the prices of food are rising every day and people cannot provide for themselves. that's why we decided to set up this center. this will help people at least a bit. jane: 6000 people used to live here. now, only about 2000 people remain, local people tell us, as homes are being destroyed, and life become simply too dangerous. the people of mikolaiv are even donating food to the city's zoo - items not fit for humans are being dropped here to keep the animals alive. like these sheep, killed in the fields alive. like these sheep - killed in the fields during the fighting and brought in by a farmer. >> people in organizations help
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us, including ordinary citizens. old ladies bring a sack of apples or some bread, ngos donate hay to us, or any other food that could not have been used for people but they are bringing it to us, to the zoo. other zoos from across europe have also donated specialist food to us. jane: victor diakonov is the lead biologistt the zoo. >> the animals are afraid. some of them refuse to eat, especially when the explosions are constant. jane: three rockets have landed in the compound, including one right by the tiger enclosure. but the zoo has not lost any of its residents so far. the mikolaiv zoo is, at 120 years old, ukraine's oldest, and hosts its most diverse collection of animals. residents of the city are trying their best to preserve it, some volunteering here to help repair food for the animals. as all across the country, citizens of ukraine continue to collectively resist russia's invasion. and on most battlefields, ukrainian troops are holding their ground. >> we have everything.
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we have javelins. we have all we need. jane: in the south, the government said today its soldiers are trying to take back kherson, the first city to fall under russian control and a ukrainian counteroffensive around kyiv continues is now underway its efforts to drive back the russians from the outskirts of the capital. ukraine's military said today it retook the strategic town of makariv, about 40 miles west of kyiv. a senior u.s. defense official says russian forces have not moved closer to the capital, even though parts of the suburbs of irpin, bucha and hostomel remain under russian control. but white house national security advisor jake sullivan said today moscow will never truly win the war. >> whether russia takes the city or takes a town or takes more territory, they are never going to be able to achieve the purpose that they set out, which was to subjugate this country, to bring this country to heal,
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because the ukrainian people have made it clear that they will not subjugated, whatever it takes. jane: and president volodymyr zelenskyy is also willing to do whatever it takes to defend his country. last night, he said ukraine could consider dropping its bid to join nato if russian troops withdraw and moscow guarantees ukraine's security. but he said any peace deal must be approved by the ukrainian people. >> to be honest, the issues of security guarantees, we are talking here about constitutional changes, change of ukrainian law. never happens, this will not be the decided only by the president. judy: and jane ferguson joins me now. so many fronts to watch here. we know that the capital city has been in lockdown again tonight, the mayor saying they anticipate more attacks. tell us what you know about the situation in kyiv right now? jane: it has been, judy, another 36 hour lockdown or curfew across the city, the third
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lockdown since the war began almost four weeks ago. the mayor had said they expected creased attacks, though it was quite a quiet day in the city. we were able to get out using our press accreditation. there were checkpoints anywhere. otherwise, the streets were abandoned and it was relatively quiet from the perspective of artillery fire. but ukrainian authorities spent those we talked to within the ukrainian military say they continue to arrest what they called russian saboteurs inside the city. for those who have been planted here by the russian government as part of the original plan to destabilize and take kyiv. before we came to air, we have actually heard a massive uptick in shelling in the city behind me in the distance. we could hear the booms constantly right now. that just started about five to 10 minutes ago. we did have an air raid siren a couple of hours ago, but this is just the beginning of what seems like some pretty heavy fighting
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inside the city. judy: and how significant are these pushback's that you are reporting on tonight in your piece? is there a sense that the ukrainian resistance is holding on? jane: the ukrainian resistance has been holding on across the country pretty well. but what we're seeing now is the counteroffensive, pushing russian forces back from certain cities. that's very important, first of all for trying to get there artillery positions further back , helps protect the city from certain types of weaponry, to push them beyond the reach of the city. the other is the psychological element. if they can get the russians on the back foot and not have them stalled, that could, from a morale perspective, really change things on the ground here. judy: thank you, jane.
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the news hour's reporting from ukraine is supported in partnership with the pulitzer center. today a russian court sentenced alexei navalny, russia's most prominent opposition figure, to 9 years in a maximum security prison, after finding him guilty of embezzling supporters' donations. it's a charge the state department today labeled "spurious" and "outlandish." it is moscow's latest move to crack down on critics. for more, here is nick schifrin. nick: for years, alexei navalny and his organization have exposed what they call "vladimir putin's stolen billions," including just yesterday, a video investigation alleging putin owns a 700 million dollar yacht. nick navalny has been the target of a long-running kremlin campaign of harassment, jailing, and even poisoning. and today, he received the verdict in prison, where he is already serving a two-and-a-half-year term, standing next to his lawyers. in a new tactic, police detained
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his attorneys after t verdict was handed down. earlier we spoke to kira yarmysh, navalny's spokeswoman. >> all his case was fabricated. we were able to see it during the whole trial. so this case actually was a huge shame for the russian legal system. but everyone understands probably that the russian legal system is in ruins. alexei is facing three more criminal cases right now, so there will be three more trials. so his total term in prison can be prolonged for whatever putin would like it to be prolonged. nick: after being sentenced, navalny's twitter page cited a quotation from the hbo series "the wire": "you only do two days -- that's the day you go in, and the day you come out." to discuss this i'm joined by alina polyakova, president and ceo of the center for european policy analysis, and an adjunct professor at the johns hopkins school of advanced international studies.
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welcome back to the newshour. what is your wants to this new sentence against navalny? guest: well, unfortunately, this was all but predictable, this was a sham trial under politically motivated charges. obviously putin's desire is to keep navalny behind bars for as long as possible and that was really the purpose of this public theater. it was certainly not a trial. nick: navalny's spokeswoman today told us that the organization is actually thriving. but can it really survive being labeled extremist by russian leaders? guest: in the last several weeks we have seen a very aggressive crackdown. the russian law stipulates that anyone who says anything disparaging or against the russian military or uses the term war to describe what russia
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is doing a new rain could face up to 15 years in jail. so alexei navalny's anticorruption fund, his organization, was the first victim of what has become an authoritarian regime of oppression, and the extremist label has basically meant that anyone who was associated with alexei navalny, associated with his organization, has become persona non grata for the long-term in russia. so de facto, the entire organization across russia has been completely disseminated at this time. i hope there are still individuals involved in it, i hope it continues to work in some ways, but sadly that has become incredibly difficult in russia, it completely impossible. nick: we have certainly seen members of his organization have to leave russia. that crackdown, the u.s. that's 15,000 people have been detained
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since the invasion of ukraine. and all independent media has been blocked, in addition to all the rules about the words that you put inside russia are allowed and not to use about the war in ukraine. just talk again about how little freedom of which there exists today in russia. guest: very unfortunately for, first and foremost, the russian people, there is a new iron curtain that descended over russia as a result of the dictatorial regime and the president putin. we now have a situation where mostf western social media has been banned or labeled extremist, as meta or facebook was recently. those still operating in russia, it is inevitable, just a matter of dayuntil they are shut down. we have seen absurd footage of pele going in the street with blank pieces of paper, being arrested.
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this is how extreme, hotel, and repressive the situation is. the cost of saying anything against the government, they are so extremely high in russia today that very few people are linked to the risk. it is important to note that a lot of these new rules are targeting their young russians. because if you are arrested in one of these demstrations, that can really affect your life chances for the long-term -- you may not be able to attend university, you may be fired from your job. so the consequences and the cost are so high, that de facto, russia is nearing something like north korea at this point, when it comes to freedom of speech and freedom of expression. de facto, that no longer exists in russia today. nick: and we have seen a lot of young people leave russia. the u.s. response to russia being able to punish moscow,
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there have been a series of sanctions and export controls between the u.s. and its allies. you believe that those export controls in any way threaten putin close hold on power? guest: it is early to say. these sanctions have all been implemented in the last several weeks since putin made the decision to launch the war against ukraine. there are certainly already having an immediate effect, we are food shortages inside russia , the crash of the ruble, the russian dog exchange, not opening or opening in a limited way for fears of a collapse, but sanctions have a way of taking a long time to work. and so far we have not seen any dissent along the elite, the so-called oligarchs who are close to putin. we have seen many of the yachts and property and assets frozen, but that hasn't led to some sort of at least public disagreement or palace coup against the
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regime. the elite is standing by putin because their entire wealth depends on him and his favor, and that has been the reality for a very long time, so it is very hard to see how or if that will change in the longer term. nick: alina polyakova, president and ceo of the center for european policy analysis, and an thank you very much. ♪ vanessa: i am vanessa ruiz in for stephanie sy with "newshour west," we'll return to the full program after the latest headlines. this wasn't day two of the u.s. senate confirmation hearings for supreme court nominee ketanji brown jackson. she spent hours, among other things, defending her representation of guantanamo bay detainees as a federal public defender, and denying republican charges she'd been too lenient in child pornography cases.
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the questioning continued into the evening hours. we'll take a detailed look, after the news summary. a federal judge in washington has convicted a new mexico county commissioner in the january 6 assault on the u.s. capitol. former rodeo rider coy griffin helped found a group called "cowboys for trump". he was found guilty today of the misdemeanor -- illegally entering restricted grounds, but acquitted of disorderly conduct. and the nation's top infectious disease expert is playing down the likelihood of another major covid wave. at a virtual forum today, dr. anthony fauci acknowledged an omicron sub-variant is spreading nationwide. but, he said he doubts it will be overwhelming. dr. fauci: i would not be surprised at all if we do see somewhat of an uptick. the extent of it and the degree to which it impacts seriousness of disease like hospitalizations and death remains to be seen.
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i don't really see, unless something changes dramatically, that there would be a major surge. when a sufficient separately, white house press secretary jen psaki announced she tested positive, her second bout of covid. in southern china crews spent a , second day searching the debris field where a domestic airliner smashed into a mountainside. there has been no sign of survivor at the site near wuzhou , and the focus now is on finding the cockpit and data recorders. rescue workers worked through the night and into the day in steep, rugged terrain. they're using motorcycles and spending long hours. >> our roads are narrow, so cars can't get in. motorcycles are more convenient for the work. cars get stuck in these narrow roads. when the volunteers first started to get stuck in traffic, they had to carry the materials in by themselves, for some distance. vanessa: still no word on what
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caused the disaster. and back in this country, our severe weather front moved over the deep south today, putting several states at risk of tornadoes. on monday, the system spawned twisters in texas and oklahoma, ripping homes and businesses apart. at least one person was killed and more than a dozen hurt. the front spread into arkansas, mississippi and louisiana today. and late this evening the national weather service confirmed a large tornado touched down in new orleans. the republican governor of utah today vetoed a ban on transgender students playing girls' sports. he said he wanted to err on the side of compassion. indiana's republican governor vetoed a similar bill on monday. eleven states have enacted such laws, and a dozen more are considering the move. still to come on the news hour, we take a clo look at senators' questioning of supreme court nominee ketanji brown jackson. russia's war in ukraine disrupts
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worldwide prices and supplies. and in the northern u.s. border sees an alarming uptick in wintertime crossings. >> this is the pbs newshour, from wda studios in washington, and from the west at the walter cronkite school of journalism at arizona state university. judy: the spotlight in washington today was once again on president biden's pick to join the supreme court. as john yang reports, judge ketanji brown jackson faced hours of questioning from the senate committee, looking into her record. john: senate judiciary committee republicans built case today the supreme court nominee ketanji brown jackson is ar unfit for the high court. armed with a stack of books, texas senator ted cruz former , a and likely future
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presidential candidate, said the washiton, dc, private school on whose board jackson sits on promotes critical race theory, a hot-button issue for conservatives. >> is critical race theory taug in schools, is it taught in kindergarten through th? >> senator, i don't know. i don'think so. i believe it is an academic theory at the law school level. >> i find that statement a little hard to reconcile with the public record because if you look at the georgetown day school's curriculum, it is filled and overflowing with critical race theory. >> i understood you to be addressing public, schools . georgetown day school, just like the religious school that justice barrett is on the board of, is a private school. >> so you agree critical race theory is taught at georgetown day school? >> i don't the board does not control the curriculum. the board does not focus on that . that is not what we do as board members. so i am actually not sure. john: jackson defended her judicial record and she said she rules with neutrality.
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>> i am acutely aware that as a judge in our system i have limited power and i am trying in every case to stay in my lane. john: republicans like texas senator john cornyn pushed back. >> where you deferred answering saying you want to stay in your , lane and not be seen as a policy maker. would you agree with me that one of the most important questions under our constitutional form of government and the separation of powers is who decides? john: jackson said being a federal public defender and a trial judge had helped shape her work. >> i think that experience in the criminal justice system, whether, as you say, on the prosecution side, or on the defense side, having actual experience is an asset as a judge. you understand the way the system works and as a defense
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counsel, you have interacted with defendants in a way that as a judge, at least as a trial judge, i thought was very beneficial. >> the largest law enforcement -- john: senate democrats used their questioning to help jackson blunt republican attacks. >> what do you say to people who say you are soft on crime, or even anti-law enforcement , because you accepted your duties as a public defender? >> as someone who has had family members on patrol and in the line of fire, i care deeply about public safety. i know what it's like to have loved ones who go off to protect and to serve, and the fear of not knowing whether or not they're going to come home again because of crime in the community.
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john: committee chairman dick durbin of illinois gave jackson a chance to respond to the charge from senator josh hawley , another potential republican presidential candidate that as a trial judge she let child pornography offenders "off the hook." >> could you tell us what was going through your mind at that point? >> as a mother and a judge who has had to deal with these cases, i was thinking that nothing could be further from the truth. in every case, when i am dealing with something like this, it is important for me to make sure that the children's perspective, the children's voices are represented in my sentences. these people are looking at 20, 30, 40 years of supervision. they can't use their computers in a normal way for decades. i am imposing all of those
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restraints because i understand how significant, how damaging, how horrible this crime is. jo: jackson also sought to deflect republican criticisms of her past representation of four guantanamo bay detainees. >> federal public defenders don't get to pick their clients. they have to represent whoever comes in and it's a service. that's what you do as a federal public defender. you are standing up for the constitutional value of representation. john: tomorrow, another long day of questioning. for the "pbs newshour," i'm john yang. judy: and here to unpack developments at today's hearing, lisa desjardins, and our guest from the law journal.
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lisette, this day has been marked a number of civil exchanges with judge jackson, but also by some accusatory, even angry rounds of questioning from the republican senators. is it a surprise among the senators and the people that you are talking to that we're are seeing so much focus around child pornography and her views on race history? guest: i believe some of the republicans are not surprised, this was their game plan coming into this, this is what they wanted to ask about. but for democrats and for some republicans who been around longer, who want to talk about things like judicial philosophy -- which we did hear fascinating debate about -- they i think are surprised that this has been suddenly a headline ofhearing, t contentions and there were so many repeated questions along the same line. not just questions, but accusations. i just came from talking to senator josh hawley about his questions. i asked him, do you not allow for the possibility that she was
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in line with probationary officers' recommendations, if not prosecutors? he said, i haven't seen those probationary recommendations, and the prosecutors are the ones that matter. i said, what about the data that shows she was in fact, in line with federal judges across the country at the time, including judges in missouri? he told me he had not seen that data. that is an important point, where was she, relative to the country, and what does this tell you about her as a supreme court nominee? he says he thinks she was too lenient in this category. it is just one category of her long jurisprudence. it definitely changed the flavor of the day. judy: yes, one category but a lot of time spent on that. marcia what is your assessment, of how judge jackson handled questions? marcia: she handled them patiently. she had to respond several times to child pornography accusation,
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that she's too lenient ithat area. i think she gave as much as she could give uncertain things. i know senator cornyn pressed her on same-sex marriage, and have the rate can conflict with religious beliefs, and his concerns about those who express religious release being vilified if they oppose same-sex marriage. and her question was -- her answer was "i understand that concern." that is as far as she could go. if he was hoping she could say something about the constitutional right the wrong, she was not going to say that. very patient. there was one moment i saw a discernible sigh, when she was dealing with senator cruz and his questions about vertical race theory -- critical race theory, somewhat implying that she is a proponent of books and writings that portrayed children as racist, babies as racist. so i think overall, a long day
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for her, lots of questions, well over 100, and yet patient. judy: lisa, i know that you are talking to people all day long on the hill. picking up any sense that something could avail this? because going in, the sense was she was going to be confirmed. lisa: lisa, one office that actually opposes her says, no, we don't think she's being derailed. 263 questions for this woman today so far. judy: so, nothing. marcia, as we think about tomorrow, another round of questions, what more do you think we could hear? marcia: one area that i think the republicans want to ask has to do with her recusal -- stepping aside from certain cases. they are very focused on the next supreme court term when the court considers an affirmative action case involving harvard and her relationship with
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harvard, whether she would step aside om that case. also i think we will hear more about other types of opinions that she has wrien on environment and labor, it may be some political ones involving the trump administration as well. judy: 200-plus questions to go and many more to go. marcia coyle, lisa desjardins, thank you both. and for more insight on today's hearing, i am joined by now by a law professor at the university of virginia, and a former clerk to justice clarence thomas. and margaret russell is a law professor at santa clara university. welcome to both of you. were these lines of questioning that you expected going into this hearing? we talked about the child pornography, critical race theory, you tell me, is this what you were expecting? guest: i think with respect to the child pornography cases,
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very much so, they were on the news beforehand. regarding critical race theory, senator cruz brought up information that i wasn't aware of about what was being taught at the private school in georgetown. i think she handled it the best way she could. judy: and staying with you, are these the kinds of questions that you think help us understand what nd of justice she would be? guest: to some extent. i think the better questions are more about how you approach cases, rather than discussing any particular cases and how you would rule on them. i think part of what is going on , they are thinking about their public persona, the senators, thinking about running for office is, and they have to speak to their base, and they are doing so by asking questions. judy: and margaret, taking these questions along with the others that have been posed to judge
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jackson, are we getting a sense of her, how she would judge, how she would rule from the bench if confirmed? guest: i think we are getting an excellent sense of her demeanor, because she has had to answer rapidfire questions and some that are more speeches and gives nations than questions, and i think she has been very composed. but full-throated, and sometimes when it is clear that what is being lobbed at her is unfair. and i think the child pornography questions that she got, were. judy: are there lines of questioning that in your sense, you have watched supreme court nomination hearings before, that you would expect that would be focused on here?
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guest: so far, and this is day two, i actually think back to what i know about thurgood marshall's nomination hearing, in 1967. when i read some of the transcript of that, i thought, oh, times have changed, because back then, the southern democrats would openly ask questions like -- are you prejudiced against white people? what are you going to do about the rate of crime? these were very explicitly racialized questions. so i think what surprised me, compared to them, is here they are again in a different form. -- critical race theory. can we trust you to like white people? judy: one question that struck me was she was asked to explain -- i think it was senator sasse from nebraska asked her, which justices she admires or identifies with and he named the
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three current april justices, kagan, sutter mayor and justice breyer, and she didn't want to be pinned down. is that in keeping with how previous nominees have handled these kinds of questions when asked about you on the court most admire, that kind of question? guest: that is a great question, judy. i justice barrett when she was before the supreme court, she insisted she would be her own justice and wouldn't just be a clone of justice scalia. so i think what judge jackson has said is consistent with how judge barrett handled that question. on the question of philosophy more generally, she would not put a name to it. she talked about methodology. but what was striking was how she repeatedly referred to judicial restraint, original public meaning. and in many ways, she sounded like in nomine that a republican president might have nominated.
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judy: do you think we are getting a sense of her judicial philosophy? one senator said it sounds like you're describing a methodology but we don't yet know what your recipe of judging is. how did that come across to you? margaret: and who knows where we draw the line betwn the two? i was impressed by her description of methodology as a district court judge. because the district court is where almost all federal cases start, it is the trial court. and she was a trial court judge, which gives her a particular kind of experience that is logical and people-based at that level, not the appeals. so when she described the methodology of -- make sure i am neutral, pay close attention to the facts and the law, to me, that sounded like a judicial philosophy of faithfulness to
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the instrument and the office of the job, which she later did describe in the ways that the professor mentioned. judy: picking up on that, we keep being reminded that she has handed down decisions in well over 500 different cases, which leaves her body of work open for questioning. does that make her more vulnerable or less? how do you see this fitting in with other nominees who have come before the senate judiciary -- before the senate? >> i don't think the opinions are a vulnerability for her. some republicans are trying to make it a vulnerability or trying to score points. but i don't think they are a vulnerability. and of course, the biden administration would have taken those opinions into account when nominating her. i don't think she will have a problem getting through the senate. she will get through with
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republican votes, the only question is how many. i don't think the opinions are a problem for her at all, even if you can quibble here and there with some of those opinions and sentences. judy: just one quick final question. so much attention on the fact that she would be the first black woman to serve on the supreme court, has that made it harder for her going through the nomination process? >> 233 years. i think because of the way the outside world and we all view it , it is harder. internally, i am not so sure, because she has enormous gravitas. i have never met her, but she just seems to have an inner direction -- she was asked a couple of times about what was going on in the world, and she just seems to have sort of an inner sense of what her job is,
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and she obviously loves it, she has been doing it for so long and she wants to bring that seriousness along without having people think so much about her being the first. judy: thank you both. we appreciate it. and we want you to tune in for the second day of questioning of ketanji brown jackson tomorrow, starting at 9:00 a.m. eastern. you can watch our coverage here on your local pbs station, check your local listings, and watch on our website and our youtube page. ♪ ukraine's agriculture minister announced today that in the area that the country's spring crop might be planted, might shrink by half this year.
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as a major exporter of wheat, and other grains, and vegetable oils, this hit will affect the global food supply, and experts say it will drive up food prices which were already at all-time highs. as stephanie sy reports, this will only worsen the food security of some of the world's most vulnerable people. stephanie: the war in ukraine is a continent away, that it's impacts are ricocheting in this market in syria. prices for food are skyrocketing and idlib. >> we know a lot of necessary food essentials originate in ukraine. and especially for us, we definitely feel the impact. stephanie: this bakery uses flour made from wheat in ukraine to bake flatbread, a local staple. >> there's a shortage and a chance that the wheat will stop coming in if this war continues. stephanie: people, like basssam al hussien, are worried about being able to feed their families.
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>> i have a family of eight. brad is really expensive. we used to buy this for 2.5 lira, now it's 5 lira. but if we ate this now we won't be full. i have kids that will only eat lunch and not eat anything the rest of the day now. stephanie: food prices in syria were already at record highs last year. and 11 years of civil war have left 60% of syrians food insecure. syria used to grow enough wheat to feed its population but the conflict, multiple droughts, and a dire economic situation mean it increasingly relies on international imports mainly from russia and also ukraine. the black sea region, straddling russia and ukraine, is known as “the breadbasket of europe,” because of the bounty from its fertile soil. wheat production is so central to ukraine's identity it's reflected on the nation's flag -- the colors symbolize blue skies over golden fields of grain. lt t those fields for safety or to take up arms.
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besides, the government banned exports of staple crops, a war-time measure to attempt to feed ukrainians as the conflict disrupts the country's supply lines. shipping from the region has also been disrupted. all of this is putting a squeeze on populations in the world most vulnerable to hunger. >> even before the conflict, developing countries were struggling to recover from the pandemic, with record inflation, rising interest rates and looming debt burdens. their ability to respond has been raised by exponentially increases in the cost of financing. now, their bread breadbasket is being bombed. stephanie: according to the u.n. secretary general antonio guterres, 18 developing countries including yemen, somalia, and lebanon, import at least half of their wheat from russia and ukraine. in lebanon, officials are scrambling to make up for a
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predicted shortage. a massive explosion at a port in beirut in 2020 destroyed the middle eastern country's main grain silos. >> without the presence of silos in lebanon to store wheat, we import wheat according to our needs. the quantities we have are enough for one month because it is being stored in mills. >> we are really in uncharted territory -- new and stephanie: michael j. puma is the director of the center for climate systems research at columbia university. he says high-end energy prices and disruptions to exports of fertilizer from russia and its ally, belarus, could also affect the global food supply in coming years. >> the countries below the sahara, sub-saharan africa are importing above 70% of their potassium fertilizers from just russia and belarus. so what are the impacts of not having sufficient fertilizer? well, you can't get anywhere near the yields that you need to feed your population. stephanie: international aid agencies are also feeling the
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pinch. >> we get about 50% of our wheat and grain from inside ukraine. ukraine alone grows enough food. feed 400 million people on planet earth. stephanie: the head of the world food program, david beasley , visited ukraine last week. he says that you and agency now -- he says the u.n. agency now faces higher prices and less supply to carry out it's operations around the world and provide aid to ukrainians in besieged cities. >> we have got enough supplies moving right now inside ukraine and coming into transit in ukraine to reach about 3 million people over the next 30 days. i'll tell you, it's going to be tough to negotiate with the military forces that are blocking access. we are going to demand that access, because in my opinion, that is a crime against humanity to see people denied aid when they're just innocent victims of conflict. stephanie: are you having to cut elsewhere in order to feed the refugees coming out of ukraine and the people in ukraine? david: yeah. yeah.
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let me let me tell you, before ukraine hit, we were already short of funds. we were cutting -- for example in yemen, 8 million people, we just cut to 50% rations because of lack of funds, before ukraine. are thinking of cutting to zero rations. don't ask us to choose which children we feed or don't feed, which children live, which children die. that's not fair to us. let's reach all the children. we can do it. we just need all the resources to do it. stephanie: for russia invaded ukraine, other conflicts such as the war in syria were already leading to hunger. youssef al-jadoa had come to rely on food assistance. now he is worried that will go away. >> when we first arrived our situation was ok. we had sugar, flour, and food was affordable. after the war began in ukraine, we started getting less sugar and flour. actually there is no more sugar at all here now. no more butter. no more olive oil. our situation is really bad.
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did all the ngos go to ukraine? did they forget about us? please do not forget us. stephanie: the spring planting season is meant to start soon in ukraine, but with a war in full swing, crops will go unsown, and experts say, hungry mouths around the world, and fed. -- hungry mouths around the world, unfed. for the pbs "newshour" i'm stephanie sy. ♪ judy: the conflict in ukraine has also highlighted the crisis of displaced people globally who are seeking safe haven, now numbered at 82 million according to the united nations refugee agency. much of the focus in the u.s. has been on immigration enforcement at the southern border. the northern frontier with canada, much longer, has generally seen less activity, but officials fear that could
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change. fred de sam lazaro recently visited the frozen frontier between minnesota and manitoba. fred: it could pass for a view out an airplane window, up in the clouds. in fact, it's a drive through minnesota's far north-the terrain of border patrol agent michael johnson. >> technically, if you were to turn and straddle this, you would be in two countries at once. fred: i would, if i wasn't stuck in about three feet of snow right here. johnson: traversable path. fred: this grand forks sector covers about a fifth of the nearly 4000 mile continental u.s. border with canada. substantial parts of it are thickly forested. >> take your seat belt off when you are on the ice. fred: or aquatic, like the vast lake of the woods that we drove on, frozen solid during the winter months. >> out there on the horizon, there's black lines. that is all fishhouses. fred: fish houses dot the lake in winter. this border area draws thousands of outdoor enthusiasts year
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round. many incursions here are just people unwittingly crossing a border that is not well defined. but agents must remain alert. >> did someone intentionally come across the border, are they trying to smuggle somebody or something across the order? is it a terrorism type piece? right? it is a vast area. >> in a weird sort of way, psychologically, this would be a tempting target, because it's so vast. >> absolutely. fred: in 2021, agents in this grand forks sector made 85 apprehensions, compared to 217 in 2020, a drop attributed to pandemic travel restrictions. just how many people cross undetected is hard to know, the patrol says. and its when conditions are especially harsh--when blowing snow makes it impossible to see anything just a few feet away, that is just when human smugglers see opportunity, says supervising border patrol agent
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kathryn siemer. siemer and so they will do it at the they will -- so they will do it at the worst times possible thinking that we won't be out there patrolling, which was a plausible thing on january 19. fred: on the morning of january 19, siemer heard a fateful radio call. >> one of our agents had encountered a van in an area that we knew had some potential traffic going on. it was a nationalized u.s. citizen with two migrants from the country of india in the vehicle with him. we are about a half-mile away from the border read everything happened within this half-mile. fred: they arrested the driver, florida resident steve shand, and soon thereafter five more migrants from india walking down this road, all of them adults. > and one of my agents opened up one of the backpacks, and in that backpack were clothing for a toddler along with a diaper and some medicine for obviously, for a child. fred: that triggered a ground and air search for other migrants by u.s and canadian
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authorities. >> we are now in a position to confirm the identities of the victims. they are all from the same family and are all indian nationals. fred: jagdish and vaishali patel, their 11-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son died from exposure. they were separated from the group in blizzard conditions and temperatures that hovered near 30 below zero. >> it is really nothing out there. there is no cell phone signal to call for help. fred: scott good is the grand forks patrol chief. >> smugglers do not care about human life. they only care about money. so when somebody comes up and tells you, hey, i can get you into the u.s. or wherever you're going and it's only gonna cost this much -- the real cost is your life. that is really what is on the line. fred: few people know the patel family's journey more than these men. >> what pains me most the two kids, the baby and the 11-year-old kid, they are innocent. they didn't know what is going
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on. fred: seidu mohammed and razak iyal crossed the border in the opposite direction, tord canada. the two ghanaians who'd met by chance in minnesota, were worried they'd be deported after donald trump was elected. late on christmas eve in 2016, they were dropped off near the border, with neither guidance nor cold-weather gear. >> the snow was beyond our waste. we had to put our barehands in the snow and lift our. it took us three hours to get out of that field. fred: the two stumbled onto a highway and were able to wave down a truck. >> before we saw the truck driver, i remember, i started telling seidu, i can't feel my fingers, and he said i can't feel my fingers. and i said, oh, you can't feel your fingers too? fred: but once inside the truck they had a more pressing question. >> the first thing i asked him, are we in canada? he said, yeah, this is canada. fred: a goal achieved at a
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catastrophic price, with the exception of iyal's right thumb, they lost all their fingers. >> this shouldn't have happened. but because of that agreement, that is why you see us sneaking in. fred: under an agreement between canada and the u.s. anyone fleeing their country and applying for asylum must make that claim in the first country where they enter. in other words, if you land in the u.s. and then go to a canadian border post to apply for asylum, you'll be sent back to the u.s. and vice versa. but there is a big loophole, the rule does not apply to people who simply walk in, sneak in between official border checkpoints. >> you are encouragi people to travel irregularly. fred: university of winnipeg law ofessor shauna labman says canada sought the pact hoping to slow the number of asylum seekers coming in, while the u.s. saw it as a way to improve border security. >> that was known before this agreement came into force, that it might create incentives for
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human smuggling, and that it might also create a backlash against refugees because they're , seen to be crossing irregularly. fred: seidu mohammed and razak iyal did get asylum in canada. they've had to relearn life's most mundane tasks as they build a new life. but their ordeal or the patels' is not likely deter would be migrants for long, many have strong diaspora ties in north america, says theresa cardinal brown with the bipartisan policy center. >> they are listening to their family and their friends who a on facebook or what's up, telling them, hey, i made it last month and i am working now and my kids are in school. so they will want to join those family members and that community. there are more people, dislocated from their place of home or birth than ever before in history. fred: all this, she says, helps criminal smuggling networks thrive. for the pbs newshour, i'm fdsl at the u.s.-canadian border near warroad, minnesota.
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judy: such important reporting. thank you, fred. and that is the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. please stay safe and we'll see you soon. ♪ >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by -- ♪ >> bdo. accountants and advisors. bnsf railway. consumer cellular. carnegie corporation of new york, supporting innovations in education, democratic engagement, and the advancement of international peace and security, at the target foundation, committed to advancing racial equity and creating the change required to shift systems and accelerate equitable economic opportunity. and with the ongoing support of these institutions. ♪
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this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. ♪ >> this is the pbs newshour, udio in washington, and from our bureau at thethe walter cronkite school of journalism at arizona state university. ♪ ♪
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-so we're here at the spot where the cattle is coming from mexico to the u.s., right here. -yes, ma'am. they're coming in the united states right now. -yes, last year, we crossed 606,138 animals from mexico to the united states. -and people have no understanding, including me, of everything else that's happening at the border that's essential. -we have a saying in spanish. and that's, "we're all eating from the same plate." -the idea of the border has profound meaning to me. as a mexican american, i always feel like i'm treading between two worlds. i was born and raised in mexico, then moved to america, and i'm raising my family here. and i spend my career traveling my homeland, sharing mexican food and culture with the world.