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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  April 27, 2022 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT

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amna: good evening. i'm amna nawaz. judy woodruff is away. on the "newshour" tonight, russia shuts off the supply of natural gas to two nato countries, poland and bulgaria, escalating the standoff between russia and the west. then, volunteer humanitarians risk their safety to provide food, supplies, and shelter to fellow ukrainians trapped on the frontlines. karina: they only start feeling better when they have some warm food, some tea. they all are scared and they all want to go home. amna: and, the biden administration's point person on immigration defends the federal government's border policies in hearings on capitol hill. all that and more on tonight's "pbs newshour."
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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. amna: more than two months into russia's war in ukraine, vladimir putin today trained his sights on another front, europe's reliance on russian energy. moscow cut off supplies of natural gas to poland and bulgaria, two of the many european countries that rely on russian fuel and gas. the move comes a day after the u.s.and european allies agreed to step up military aid to ukraine as it holds off a furious russian offensive in the south and east of the country. and that's where nick schifrin again begins our coverage. nick: in the occupied city of kherson, fearless ukrainians erupt in protests against the city's russian-appointed mayor, their pleas met with tear gas.
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ukrainian demonstrators run from russian soldiers. even against peaceful protesters, russia punishes its critics. and russia today tried to nish ukraine's partners poland and bulgaria by cutting off their natural gas supply. for years, russia has been an energy superpower, providing more than 40% of europe's natural gas through multiple pipelines that run through belarus into poland, through ukraine, toward germany, and through the black sea on to italy. historically, half of poland's natural gas was imported from russia, but warsaw and other countries nearest russia have been preparing for this day for years. daniel: the countries on the eastern flank of nato, the baltics, poland, these countries have been moving to insulate themselves from russian energy pressure or blackmail. nick: daniel yergin is vice chairman of s&p global, whose latest book is “the new map: energy, climate, and the clash of nations.” daniel: it is an effort by the russians to put pressure. they still believe that they can disrupt europe through -- by playing the energy card. and the europeans are saying,
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that's not going to happen. nick: poland is building a new pipeline to import norwegian natural gas. and poland and the baltics have built receiving stations that can accept north american liquefied natural gas. european commission president ursula von der leyen called today's announcement unsuccessful blackmail. pres. von der leyen: today, the kremlin failed once again in his attempt to sow division among member states. the era of russian fossil fuel in europe is coming to an end. nick: until recently, the main holdout has been germany, europe's largest importer of russian natural gas, where the natural gas pipelines are russian, and gazprom owns facilities throughout the country. some of germany's oil refineries are also owned by russia. and, until recently, more than 80% of all the gasoline and planes and cars in berlin has been russian. but the ukraine invasion lit a fire under germany's government. daniel: germany has decided, in just a matter of a few weeks, as they watch this horror show going on in ukraine, that
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russian energy is not a reliable supply. it's an unwanted supply. even a few weeks ago, they would say, maybe we can do it by the end of the year. now the economics minister is saying, we could actually do it in a matter of days. that's pretty remarkable. nick: at today's prices, putin's russia still sells $250 billion of fossil fuels every year. but europe's reducing its dependence on russian energy is the beginning of a long-term shift. daniel: up until the invasion of ukraine, we would have described russia quite correctly as an energy superpower. its days as an energy superpower, the ability to use its energy for political clout and the revenues it's counted on, those days are ending. nick: but the war in ukraine is not ending. and, today, president vladimir putin reiterated that his goals go beyond the self-declared russian territory in eastern ukraine.
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pres. putin: all the tasks of the special military operation will be unconditionally fulfilled to guarantee peace and security, in a historical perspective, for the residents of the people's republic of donetsk and luhansk, russia and crimea, and the entirety of our country. nick: today, russia said i launched strikes on western weapons in ukraine and yesterday destroyed a key bridge on odessa's outskirts. in mariupol, russians and their separatists allies control the city center and today showed off their bloody handiwork, the theater hit by a russian bomb last month, killing hundreds of civilians. but there are also explosions inside russia. an ammunition depot near the border and two other sites deeper inside the country flared up in fireballs, but it's unclear why. but even as the war rages, the u.s. and russia managed to agree to a prisoner exchange. russian state tv showed former u.s. marine trevor reed boarding a plane back home. he was sentenced to nine years in jail in 2019 for ripping a logo off a russian police officer's uniform.
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u.s. officials tell “pbs newshour” he's been sick after being exposed to tuberculosis in prison. he was traded for konstantin yaroshenko, a russian pilot convicted in the u.s. court of drug trafficking, who landed back in russia today. president biden called his release, which required a pardon, a difficult decision. senior administration officials say the diplomacy with russia was restricted to the swap and unrelated to the unrelenting war. this video today of a ukrainian hospital bombed by russia while full of patients. for the “pbs newshour,“ i'm nick schifrin. amna: and now, for more on that prisoner swap and other americans held in russia, i'm joined by state department spokesperson ned price. ned price, welcome back to the “newshour.” thanks for joining us. i want to ask you first about the timing of that swap, because trevor reed had been held by the russians for almost three years, right? yaroshenko had been in prison here in the u.s. for many, many years. so why today? what made this trade possible? ned: well, ever since this administration came into office,
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amna, we have had a commitment to secure the release of those americans who are unjustly detained around the world. we have done that in cases in venezuela and haiti and burma and now, as of today, in russia. because of months of behind-the-scenes discussions, trevor reed is on a plane en route to see his family back in the united states, to be reunited with them for -- after nearly three years of separation. this is something that we have worked on for quite some time. as you have heard, the president was presented with a difficult decision, but it's a decision he decided to make, because trevor has been held apart from his family for far too long. his health, his deteriorating health was a source of great concern for us. and so, as a result of what the president decided, trevor reed is now headed home. amna: let me ask you about some of those other americans who are still in russian custody, then. th include paul whelan, who has been accused by russia of spying. he's been held since 2018. brittney griner, of course, the wnba star who was held since february.
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also people like vladimir kara-murza, right, who's a russian citizen, but a green card holder here in the u.s. his wife and his kids are americans. did any of their names come up in these talks or any other potential trades or swaps in the works? ned: we're always working to secure the release of americans who are held unjustly around the world. and that includes in russia. i should say that, today, we had a successful outcome in the case of trevor reed, but ouwork isn't finished. far from it. we're continuing to do everything we can to see the successful and prompt release of paul whelan. it's something we have called for, for months and months now. we're doing everything we can to support brittney griner, to see to it that we have regular consular access to her. a senior embassy official was able to visit her in recent weeks. we're continuing to work with the russian government on her case to see to it that we have regular, consistt access to her, and that she is being treated fairly and being afforded due process. amna: but, ned, did any of their names come up? i mean, could this be a model
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for their release? are there other swaps in the works? ned: well, again, each case is unique. so i don't want to compare one individual to the case of someone else. but we are always working around the clock to see the release of americans who are unjustly detained. amna: let me ask you about another american who's actually in custody in afghanistan. that is u.s. contractor mark frerichs. he's been kidnapped and held there since 2020. the u.s.withdrew without negotiating his release. and the taliban seemed to want a silar swap there. they want the release of an afghan drug trafficker who's in u.s. custody, and they say they will release mark frerichs. and the family says they want that done. even lawmakers like senator tammy duckworth say they should do the deal. so why hasn't the u.s. done that deal and freed mark frerichs? ned: well, we're speaking regularly with the family. we're speaking regularly with the lawmakers. and, frankly, 're speaking regularly with the taliban. and the message we're sending to the taliban is a simple one. you cannot have improved relations with the united states as long as you continue to hold an american hostage. that's precisely what they're doing. we have -- every engagement we have with the taliban, we make that message very clear to them. amna: so you're saying that deal won't be done to free him, then?
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the u.s. will not free that drug trafficker to ee mark frerichs from afghanistan? ned: i'm saying that we are working on his case around the clock, just as we are with other americans who are unjustly detained or held hostage around the world. the same ambassador carstens who today was there and instrumental in the successful release of trevor reed is working this case. tom west, who's our special envoy for afghanistan, is working this case. we are going to continue to do everything we responsibly can to see to it that mark too is soon promptly reunited with his family. amna: ned, you and i are talking at a time that there's actually been an increase in wrongful detention of americans overseas by states, by other nations, right, not terrorist or militant groups. there are more than 40 americans wrongfly detained overseas right now. are you concerned at all that any one of these swaps or trades encourages other nations to detain americans more, knowing they can hold on to them for leverage for future swaps? ned: amna, you have to evaluate each case on its merits. and the merits of this case were compelling. you had an american who was unjustly detained for nearly
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three years, an american whose health was failing, who wasn't receiving the medical attention thate needed at the time. and so the president was confronted with a difficult decision. and, because of that, trevor reed is now on his way home. what we're doing with our partners and allies around the world is trying to establish and then to reinforce a norm against taking private citizens, foreign citizens hostage as political pawns. you're absolutely right that we have seen states do this, whether it's russia, whether it's iran, whether it is venezuela, whether it is other countries around the world. we're going to be very clear that there will be consequences for this, that nothing can be gained from the taking of individuals, of third-party -- third-country nationals and trying to use them as pawns. the canadian government has been an instrumental partner in this, but it's something we're working with partners around the world to reinforce. amna: that is state department spokesperson ned price joining us tonight. ned, thank you so much for your time. ned: thanks, amna.
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appreciate it. amna: and our nick schifrin has just learned from senior administration officials that trevor reed's cellmate died of tuberculosis and that reed was coughing up blood before his release. also, american prisoner paul whelan's captors reportedly awaken him every few hrs around the clock. and the case of american basketball star brittney griner is moving -- quote -- “very slowly.” stephanie: i am stephanie sy with newshour west. we will return to the full program after the latest headlines. house minority leader kevin mccarthy faced new disclosures that he criticized far-right republicans after january 6 last year. "the new york times" released another recorded conversation with mccarthy following the attack on the u.s. capitol. in it, he warns that some lawmakers could incite fresh violence with their fiery statements. rep. mccarthy: tension is too high. the country is too crazy.
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i do not want to look back and think we caused somethg or we missed something and someone got hurt. i don't want to play politics with any of that. stephanie: in public, mccarthy made no criticism of the lawmakers, or of former president trump. and today, he met with house republicans and received a standing ovation. lawyers for mr. trump appealed a contempt finding today and fines of $10,000 a day. a state judge in new yorcited him for failing to hand over documents in a civil investigation. that centers on allegations that the trump organization misled bankers and tax officials about the value of its properties. it's unclear whether the appeal puts the fines on hold. a battle over native american rights has returned to the u.s. supreme court. a 2020 decision had barred oklahoma from prosecuting crimes against native americans on reservations. day, the state argued that's led to chaos because federal and
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tribal prosecutors are over-worked. tribal leaders said republican governor kevin stitt wants to undermine their sovereignty. a scathing report released today finds police in minneapolis have shown a stark pattern of racial discrimination against black residents. the investigation was ordered after george floyd's killing by a white officer in 2020. today, the minnesota human rights commissioner said the problems go back at least a decade. >> mpd's data shows that officers are more likely to stop black community members for longer, they're more likely to search black community members or their vehicles, they're more likely to cite black community members, use force against black community members, and arrest black community members during a traffic stop. stephanie: in china, authorities in shanghai will begin new rounds of covid testing to decide which areas can reopen. meanwhile in beijing, millions have been tested for a second time this week as the capital battles its own outbreak.
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a court in myanmar has sentenced the ousted leader aung san suu kyi to five years in jail, in the first of 11 corruption cases against her. suu kyi had denied taking bribes of cash and gold from a political colleague. she has been held in an undisclosed location since last year's military coup. india's capital, new delhi, was under an acrid haze today after a giant landfill caught fire. fire crews battled the flames overnight, but the garbage heap, 17 stories tall, continued to spew fumes and smoke today. pele living nearby said they fear for their health. >> we are very scared. we inhale these gases, causing diseases. i feel pain while breathing. there are many people like this. what to do? >> there's a fire every year. it is not new. there is risk to life and livelihood. many slum dwellings caught fire, people left, but what do we do?
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stephanie: officials say record heat caused decaying garbage to ignite. march was india's hottest month in more than a century, and april has been nearly as bad. back in this country, extreme drought has some six million southern californians facing mandatory cuts in water usage. the region's major supplier has ordered cities and public utilities to limit outdoor watering to once a week, or pay hefty fines. the first three months of this year were the driest on record in california. new york state's highest court today rejected congressional districts drawn by democratic state legislators. the court found the boundaries were gerrymandered to favor democrats. it also ruled the legislature lacked authority to draw maps in the first place. instead, a special master will make new maps. u.s. supreme court justices and federal judges will be held to stricter standards of financial disclosure. the house of representatives gave final approval today to a bill that already cleared the senate. it followed reports of federal judges who've heard cases
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involving companies in which they, or family members, own stock. president biden is expected to sign the measure. a space-x capsule carrying four astronauts -- two men and two women -- docked at the international space station this evening. the team includes jessica watkins, the first black woman making a long-duration space flight. the three americans and one italian blasted off in a falcon rocket from cape canaveral, florida early this morning. plans call for them to spend six months on the station. still to come on “the newshour”" how syrians in idlib view the war in ukraine while trying to defend their province from vladimir putin. harvard details its past ties to slavery and promises a reckoning. remembering madeleine albright. the first female u.s. secretary of state is celebrated at her funeral. and much more. >> this is the "pbs newshour" from weta studios in washington
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and in the west from the walter cronkite school of journalism at arizona state university. amna: as the pandemic eases, an increase of migrants arriving at the u.s. southern border is reaching record levels. and the biden administration is facing new questions from both sides of the aisle about plans to roll back title 42, the policy that's kept many migrants out of the country. lisa desjardins begins our coverage. rep. thompson: i now welcome our witness. lisa: routine budget hearings, but at a turbulent moment, putting homeland security secretary alejandro mayorkas in the hot seat. sec. mayorkas: we're dealing with a broken immigration system that was dismantled in its entirety in the prior administration. lisa: at issue, the biden administration's plan to end title 42. rep. fleischmann: the crisis at the border continues to dominate the headlines, in part because of the administration's plans to repeal title 42.
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lisa: the pandemic border powers are due to end may 23. they stem from title 42 of u.s. law, allowing emergency action in a health crisis. the trump administration first invoked title 42, and it's been used more than two million times to expel migrants, without chance for asylum. this month, the cdc concluded current health conditions make it unnecessary and that block should end. but there are court issues. a federal judge said he would temporarily force the program to keep going. and political issues. house speaker nancy pelosi and other house leaders are openly unhappy with the biden administration's handling. mayorkas today replied to the scrutiny with a plan for when title 42 is lifted. sec. mayorkas: we are leading the execution of a whole of government strategy which stands on six pillars. lisa: dhs will send 600 additional personnel to assist customs and border protection, open new temporary facilities to hold 5000 additional migrants, and step up enforcement with more expedited removals or
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detentions. sen. lankford: this plan that was supposed to define that for us is not a plan at all. it's basically how they are going to move people into the country faster. lisa: senate republicans, including james lankford of oklahoma, blasted the blueprint. sen. lankford: this is not a plan to stop illegal immigration. this is a plan to accelerate illegal immigration. and they even admit it. lisa: last month, u.s. border agents encountered 221,000 migrants near the southern border, a 20-year record. and dhs projects that will increase when title 42 ends. rep. guest: the border is not secure. the border is wide-open. this is the worst immigration crisis that our nation has ever seen. lisa: in the hearing, some skepticism from republicans and some democrats too. rep. katko: the surge started on january 20, when president biden took office. why did you wait for 14 or 16 months to implement these things? rep. roybal-allard: my question has to do with how you will process 18,000 migrants per day,
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while keeping time in custody below the 72 hours, and still be able to ensure due process without compromising necessary vetting? sec. mayorkas: there is no question that, if we encounter 18,000 people in a single day, that will seriously strain our capabilities. lisa: mayorkas said, if congress is concerned, lawmakers should work for a more comprehensive solution. sec. mayorkas: only congress can fix this. what we fundamentally need is legislation to fix what everyone agrees is a broken immigration system. lisa: today's hearing came just a day after the biden administration argued at the supreme court to be able to end the remain-in-mexico policy, which requires that asylum seekers stay in mexico until they have a court hearing. the court will decide the fate of that program by the end of june. amna: and for more on how the immigration debates are playing out at the capitol, our congressional correspondent,
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lisa desjardins, joins me now. hi, lisa. good to see you. lisa: hello. good to see you. amna: so let's talk about that plan from the biden administration. how is that going over with democrats and republicans who are expressing concern about this? lisa: i have to say, talking to a lot of lawmakers and also top democratic sources in particular who have had problems with the title 42 kind of plan to lift it, there's a lot of silence today. and i think that doesn't register well for the dhs secretary, the biden administration, which was hoping to say, we have a comprehensive plan. there are still some doubts. it is a 10-page plan. it is not very long. it's something that some lawmakers have told me, i don't think this is corehensive. we're not sure this solves the problem. and i want to remind folks what we're talking about -- this is something that democrats have been saying for a few days. re's an example from senator joe manchin of west virginia. sen. manchin: 42 should not be done away with until we get an immigration policy or until the cdc basically says, we do not have a health crisis. lisa: and he's not alone. in the senate alone, there are 10 or 11 other democrats. you can look at these senators who have said, we don't think
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it's time to end title 42. some of them who said, we need a better plan. some of them said, we need two months. they're in different places, but they just think it's not time, may 23. of course, there are democrats who say it is time. that includes progressive democrats and the congressional hispanic caucus, who saythis is a policy about disease that actually now seems xenophobic, maybe racist, implying that immigrants are more susceptible or bring diseases in a different way than americans do. so these are all very difficult debates going on right now. rit now, it's confusing on capitol hill, definitely unsettled. amna: so they say they have concerns, but walk us through what some of the substantive concerns are about the rolling back of this policy and what the white house says in response. lisa: right. this is from democrats and republicans who are who are worried about it. there is a clear surge at the border, as you heard in the piece. that is tapping out and straining our resources to a dangerous level for some who are in border control, like the national guardsman who died this week trying to rescue some migrants, and also for those migrants. there's a lot of concern about traffickers, smugglers, that we have seen an increase in fentanyl seizures, about 50% in a year.
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there's real concern about drug trafficking and whether that there is enough control over an expected surge. amna: and what about the court's role in all of this? we know there's a pause on the program. what should we know about that? lisa: you know, just as you were sitting down and we were about to start this program, we did get the order from the judge, who has said that there needs to be a pause. and we have some more specifics now. this judge is saying that the biden administration for the next 14 days cannot lift this order, that there will be a hearing in mid-march. and, after that, ts judge says he thinks that the states who have a problem with lifting the order could succeed in their lawsuit. but, as of yet, the may 23 date hasn't been changed, but mid-may will tell us a lot. amna: so a lot to follow in the days ahead. meanwhile, as if that wasn't enough, all of this is tying up potential covid medical funding, right, for vaccines and treatments and so on. where does that stand right now? lisa: let's go through where we arin the capitol, because this is very important. all of these things are intersecting, as often happens in the capitol. let's talk about covid money. there has been a bipartisan framework, senator mitt romney
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among those working out with senator schumer, for a $10 billion covid deal in the senate. that really does seem to have enough support to potentially pass. however, amna, republicans, led by mitch mcconnell, their leader in the senate, have said, we will not vote on that covid deal until we get a vote on title 42, some kind of measure to keep it in place. they want that vote. why wouldn't schumer agree to that vote? well, it's because it probably would pass. there probably are 10 democrats, as you saw those faces earlier, who would vote with republicans to keep title 42 in place. that would be an embarrassment, to say the least, for the biden administration, who wants to kind of control this narrative. but it is a very confusing time re, because when you talk to -- these are some allies of the -- strong allies of the biden administration, like former vice presidential candidate tim kaine. i was talking to him yesterday. and he was very clear. he said, we're simply confused. we don't understand the messages from the biden administration. we don't understand what their
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plan is exactly. and i think, until there's that clear communication, there will be a problem. other thing i want to say, this is a big picture problem for congress in general. underneath all of this is a broken immigration system. everyone admits it. and congress really needs to be discussing that, figuring out a plan. are they doing that? no. and that has to deal with our broken politics as well. but it's a time for that discussion. hopefully, we will see some. i don't know if we will. amna: two huge issues th are now intricably linked, in some ways. lisa: that's right. amna: lisa desjains covering them from both ends of pennsylvania avenue. thanks, lisa. lisa: you're welcome. amna: as the war in ukrae has shifted east, so too have the efforts to aid millions of civilians still stuck between warring armies with nowhere to hide. they lack the very basics. but some of their fellow ukrainiansre risking everything to help them,
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homegrown heroes delivering food, formula, and sometimes a ride out of the war zone. special correspondent willem marx and videographer ed kiernan traveled the fraught lifelines in eastern ukraine. willem: the grocery stores in dnipro, just two hours from the front line, remain full of food. and karina bakholdina may well be their best customer. every day, she fills carts with baby formula, diapers, and yogurt, yet not for her own family, for total strangers, on this monday, the bill around $750, just a fraction of what this real estate developer spent in the past two months, working with other local volunteers to load up vans and cars with crucial supplies, the start of a long, difficult and complex journey. karina: this is done by a large number of people who got word that help is needed. this is not done by one person. this is done by a huge team.
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willem: among them, kyrylo chemizov, a former furniture maker, driving north the next morning toward the city of kharkiv. kyrylo: dangerous, very, very dangerous. willem: with a brief pit stop to put on his protective equipment, a courageous courier on the road to front line fighting some 40 hours each week, today, in a city center, where many stores are shuttered or shot up, delivering a payload that earns him no pay. it is transferred once more, before coming to a stop inside this shed. so the products that we saw being purchased in dnipro are now being sorted for families in a small village on the outskirts of kharkiv called buda, where 600 refugees are in desperate need of these supplies. back in kharkiv, a more precious cargo picked up for the journey home, including liubov, aged 73,
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and 76-year-old aksiniya. for the past month, they have been sleeping rough in a city metro station. aksiniya: our house essentially was ruined. willem: liubov's younger son died recently revisiting his abandoned apartment. she's been told she can bury him one day after the war. liubov: they cremated him. nobody was allowed in the cemetery because of the shelling that started everywhere. his brother left his urn in the garage. willem: as shells kept falling on the city's outskirts, a handful more hitched a ride to relative safety in dnipro, where kana established a refugee shelter earlier this month in just two days. karina: they don't want to leave their homes. they are afraid they will not return. they fear their apartment will be looted. they are very afraid of this. willem: toddlers, tweens, worried women calling friends
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and family watching news of the war. karina: they only start feeling better when they have some warm food, some tea. they all are scared, and they all want to go home. willem: this converted office block now houses almost 200, ukrainians helping ukrainians. but there's only so much one person can do. and, burning through funds, karina needed cash to continue. it came from chicago and daniil cherkasskiy. daniil: when you meet karina, you -- i don't think you have any doubts about supporting her and seeing the work that she does so selflessly. willem: he founded a group, ukraine trustchain, that's deployed more than half-a million dollars, he told us, thanks to thousands of donors. daniil: i think people that are generous and have resources have responsibility to help ukrainians right now.
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governments direct help in a very specific way. and i think it's important for private citizens to use their networks to find the vacuum and the gaps where help is needed. willem: baby sasha seems to need no help sleeping, but his mother does feeding him. and karina has stepped in. karina: this is the most excruciating. this is the most difficult, because you talk to every person. you talk to every one of them, and each person has their own story. willem: and, amna, karina has told us that each one of those stories has been difficult for her to hear. just yesterday, she welcomed another dozen people into her shelter, all of them no doubt with tales to tell of shattered homes and destroyed lives in the
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towns to the north, east, and south of this city, dnipro, currently darkened by a nighttime curfew. and don't forget the estimated 7.7 million more of these difficult stories currently displaced right across this country, with around five million now outside ukraine's borders too. amna. amna: that is willem marx reporting in dnipro. thank you, willem. and the newshour's coverage of the war in ukraine is supported in partnership with the pulitzer center. well, ukrainians have been living, suffering, and dying under withering russian air, artillery, and missile strikes. their plight and resistance is perhaps nowhere better understood than in syria's idlib province. there, syrians who oppose president bashar al-assad are in their 11th year of resistance against him and his closest
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ally, russia's vladimir putin. producer and videographer abdul razzak el-shami calls idlib home, and he worked with our own ali rogin to bring us this report. ali: 1000 miles from ukraine, syrians in idlib province commemorated 11 years of war, perpetuated by a common enemy, vladimir putin. for much of the st decade, putin's punishing air campaign has propped up syrian president bashar al-assad and his murderous campaign against his own people. ahmed: of course there is one criminal, whether in russia, ukraine, or syria, and that is putin. it was putin himself that targeted hospitals and schools, infrastructure and educational buildings in syria and in ukraine. ali: idlib's people are under constant threat of russian airstrikes. but their province is the only one still controlled by anti-assad rebels and islamist
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insurgents, after 11 years of war sparked by peaceful protests against the arrest of teenage graffiti artists who were inspired by the arab spring. the demonstrations began in march 2011 and were met with vicious force. the crackdown grew into a full-on civil war, pitting rebels, including military defectors, against the regime. putin began airstrikes to support assad in late 2015, and they continue today. so does their close relationship. syrians in idlib fear history is repeating itself in ukraine. abdel: because the world was ignoring what's happening in syria, and this is repeated in ukraine. and this will be repeated everywhere. ali: almost half-a million people have been killed, including more than 40,000 women and children. it's also the source of the world's largest refugee crisis. almost seven million syrians fled their country. an additional 6.7 million are internally displaced. they have ended up in places
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like the kafr lusin camp just north of idlib city on the syrian-turkish border. here, a spring snowfall brings disaster and must be cleared from tents to avoid collapse. and tiny hands have no way to stay warm. many of the residents here are from cities long ago captured by assad. ahmed al-khalif, from the northern city of hama, has been here 11 years. ahmed: to this day we live in camps because of the bombings by the russian planes. this is our reality now, snow, bitter cold. we just nt to go home. ali: but as long as these camps remain home, residents look for ways to pass the time. lately, they have been following news of the war in ukraine. abdul salam yusuf is among them. he supports the ukrainian people but resents how the world seem to classify putin's victims by race. abdul: we wish to stand in solidarity with the ukrainian people, who share the same sad fate as us because of this criminal. but at the beginning of the
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russian war against ukraine, we got a sense of some of the attitudes of world leaders. they call ukrainians ukrainian citizens, while syrian migrants are called beggars and refugees. ali: but that anger is for heads of state, not the ukrainian people. for them, there are messages of support, spoken in the universal language of art. painter aziz al-azmar takes homes destroyed by russian bombs and turns them into canvases. aziz: with the russian invasion of ukraine, we have felt that this scene is very similar to at happened to us in syria. we also saw ukrainian children and ukrainian citizens fleeing from their villages and homes, just like what happened in syria. if we don't put a stop to this, russia will go further and invade all the weaker states it can. this is why we have come to paint on the walls of our destroyed homes pictures of russian jets, a russian bear invading ukraine, to sena message to the world that this killer is uniting us in syria and now in ukraine.
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ali: as war in syria surpasses a decade, its people still pray for peace and for ukraine's war to be measured in months, not years. for the "pbs newshour," i'm ali rogin. amna: america's oldest university, harvard, is beginning to come to terms with its own history and role in slavery. the school is out with a new report detailing its extensive entanglement and legacy.jeffy ns of r ing porting race matters. jeffrey: the ties to slavery were deep, the signs in some cases hiding in plain sight. among the findings in the 134-page report conducted by harvard faculty, harvard presidents, faculty, and staff enslaved more than 70 people in the 17th and 18th centuries,
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some of whom labored on campus. harvard continued to benefit from donations from plantation owners and other trade involving slave labor. it also details how harvard's longest-serving president, charles william eliot, and other prominent faculty members strongly promoted eugenics, a racist idea that selective breeding is needed to purify the human race. in response to these and many other findings, the university has now pledged $100 million in part to create an endowed legacy of slavery fund. for more, i'm joined by tomiko brown-nagin. she's dean of the harvard radcliffe institute for advanced study, and she chaired the committee report. thank you for joining us. there are many specifics here in this report, but what's the key for you? is it how integral slavery was in the life and history of harvard? tomiko: i would say so.
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we documented both direct ownership or enslavement of human beings. we documented financial ties to the slave trade and to slave economies, and, finally, the intellectual production of ideologies that supported slavery, segregation and white supremacy. and so i would say the breadth d depth of the findings are significant. and, in particularthe direct ownership of more than 70 human beings was more than i would have anticipated. jeffrey: is there any one specific example that really surprised or even shocked you? tomiko: well, i wouldn't say shocked or surprised me, jeffrey. i would say that the reality of enslaved people being on campus, feeding our students, serving harvard presidents is quite remarkable.
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jeffrey: what was an important theme for you that came from this report? tomiko: sure. well, i'm a historian, a legal historian of the civil rights movement. and it was important to me and the committee to lift up the history of resistance to inequality that is personified by graduates of harvard, such as w.e.b. du bois, who founded -- helped to found the niagara movement and the naacp, and, of course, was a towering intellectual figure. and another i might cite is charles hamilton houston, who was known as the man who kille jim crow because of his civil rights lawyering that laid the groundwork for brown vs. board of education. those figures are vitally important to understand as representatives of harvard as well. jeffrey: this new fund of $100 million, it's a lot of money, but what exactly is it for? what do you see it doing? tomiko: sure. it is a significant financial commitment.
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and we're pleased that the university has established this fund that is meant to address the harms of slavery in -- locally, nationally and in the caribbeathrough leveraging its expertise in education. of course, access to educatial opportunities is a known driver of social mobility, which explains our leading there and, of course, is coistent with our mission. in addition, we will seek to establish a public memorial to allow people on and off campus, visitors to campus to engage with this history. we have committed to supporting new and sustained partnerships with historically black colleges and tribal colleges. and, also, we recommended as a
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committee, and the university will hold itself accountable by establishing reporting procedures, an implementation committee that is led by one of the world's authorities on human rights and seeking justice, martha minow. jeffrey: it is notably not going toward individual reparations, though. that continues to be such a hot topic. why not? tomiko: well, i think it's important to focus on the remedies that the committee did endorse. there are a lot of ways to characterize these types of remedies. and i think where we have landed are on very meaningful ways of see seeking to address the harms of slavery with financial support established in perpetuity. jeffrey: and, finally, briefly, where do you see now harvard and american universities more generally in addressing and redressing this past?
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tomiko: a number of universities have documented their ties to slavery and established scholarships, memorials, and in many other ways have begun to address those ties to slavery. there are thousands of american universities north and south. and so thereertainly is an opportunity for other universities to engage their entanglements with slavery as well, and also the lingering effects of slavery into the 20th century. jeffrey: all right, tomiko brown-nagin, thank you very much. tomiko: thank you for having me. amna: a new exhibit in new bedford, massachusetts, at the whaling museum is connecting today's environmental conditions to our historical and literary past. painter christopher volpe has created works that take on an apocalyptic tone, pointing to today's reliance on fossil fuel, the modern-day whale oil.
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special correspondent jared bowen of gbh boston reports as part of our arts and culture series, canvas. jared: the cobblestone streets still invite clatter. lamps continue to light the way, and clapboard buildings beckon, as they always have. this is the new bedford from whence herman melville launched "moby-dick." christopher: it's a new england tale. talks about the damp, drizzly november of his soul. there's always been a darker side to american art and literature, particularly in new england. jared: people still gather here every year in person or virtually for a marathon reading of the novel. this year, actor sam waterston was ishmael. >> why, upon your first voyage as a passenger, did you feel yourself such a mystical vibration when first told that
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you and your ship are now out of sight of land? christopher: i think you can see "moby-dick" as a portrait of america and our worst impulses and where they will take us we don't rein them in. jared: artist christopher volpe has paintea series of works that seemingly tear out of the novel's pages. they are now on view at the new bedford whaling museum in an exhibition named after moby-dick's first chapter. christopher: the title is "loomings." and it seemed an appropriate one for what is looming on the horizon, just the sense of -- a sense foreboding, hints that we're getting, hints of apocalypse. jared: apocalyptic darkness swirls in these paintings, as volpe charts melville's course from the 19th century to the 21st, when the world's reliance on whale oil eventually gave way to petroleum. christopher: i saw the parallel between the hubris of ahab and
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the peril of america and globe, as we are tempting the gods with continued fossil fuel extraction. jared: so, what we find here, these dark, ghostly images of ship, storm, and belching smoke, are rendered not in black paint, but tar. christher: both of these paintings started as fields of tar. there's a couple different ways that i can approach a painting. one way is to just grab a big brush and just begin making lines, making shapes, gestures. the other is a subtractive method, or the opposite, where coat a whole canvas with tar, and then go in and remove tar with rags and look for the shapes within there. jared: and all while wearing a gas mask. christopher: i have to wear a respirator because it's pretty toxic. jared: pretty great symbolism in the fact that you have to wear a mask as you're painting. christopher: yeah, yeah. and it's -- there's a great quote, art recycles a culture's toxins. and, literally, i'm doing that. i'm taking this poisonous gunk,
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which wants to pull us down into dissolution and death, and'm trying to invest it with beauty. jared: in college, volpe was a poetry major who arrived at painting by way of his love for 19th century landscapes for all their beauty. christopher: but that became problematic when i realized that nature is on the run. i fell into what the poet shelley said, that poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world. naomi: these paintings are like poetry, right? they have a meter. they have a moment that you kind of -- you can move through and interpret. jared: naomi slipp is the museum's chief curator. she says, by design, we find volpe's paintings in a gallery that looks out beyond the city's historic streets to a waterfront that once floated a whaling industry and now a thriving fishing one. naomi: and you see the docks and the ships and the kind of activity of the waterfront as it continues. and then you can come into the
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exhibition spaces and hopefully find exhibits like christopher's that speak to the larger challenges of addressing global warming, ocean warming, and marine mammal health. jared: it's a conversation that herman melville unched in 1851 and, says christopher volpe, in his work, he's realized it's time we shape up or ship out. christopher: maybe it's time for a new kind of beauty, a beauty that doesn't sugarcoat the darker side of reality, but redeems it somehow by making it visible and yet not repugnant and allows us to see things we wouldn't ordinarily see and be able to deal with them in ways that maybe we hav't yet. jared: for the "pbs newshour," i'm jared bowen in new bedford, massachusetts. amna: today, at washington's national cathedral, nearly 1500
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people gathered to remember former secretary of state madeleine albright, who died late last month at the age of 84. the first woman to hold that post was memorialized by two presidents, one of her successors, and her three daughters, all through laughter, tears, and memories of a quintessential american. pres. biden: for decades, she was the nexus to the foreign policy community, always, and i mean always, on top of the latest developments, always speaking out for democracy, and always the first to sound the alarm about fascism. presidents and leaders around the world continued to solicit her advice, including me. she could go toe-to-toe with the toughest dictators, then turn around and literally teach a fellow ambassador how to do the macarena on the floor of the
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u.n. security council. [laughter] fmr. pres. clinton: she came to america still not knowing the true story of her family and what they had done to survive. after she was secretary of state, she finally learned that she was actually raised jewish and had three of her four grandchildren -- grandparents die in the holocaust. but she had a full, hopeful life, because she knew what she believed in, she knew what she was for, she knew what she was against. fmr. sec. clinton: she didn't just help other women. she spent her entire life counseling and cajoling, inspiring and lifting up so many of us who are here today. so, the angels better be wearing their best pins, laughter -- their best pins, and putting
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on their dancing shoes, because, if, as madeleine believed, there's a special place in hell for women who don't support other women, they haven't seen anyone like her yet. [cheering and applause] katherine: she would always pick up the phone when we called. but i still remember this one day she didn't. when i called her office, i was told, "your mother can't come to the phone right now because she's on the floor with senator muskie." [laughter] i had no clue what that meant. [laughter] she then aptly explained to her young daughter how the legislative business of our country is conducted on the senate floor. dying was never on mom's schedule. a hole has opened in our hearts that we lack the power to close.
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but the memoryf her love and the resilience of her example will remain with us and with many of you until the end of our days. amna: and you can watch the newshour's complete coverage of madeleine albright's funeral online. all that and more is on our website. that is before we go tonight, just a brief correction to something i said earlier. harvard university is indeed the country's oldest institution of higher education, but the first university that offered graduate and undergraduate studies is the university of pennsylvania, which as an alumna, i must clarify. and that is the newshour for tonight. join us online and again tomorrow evening.
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for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you for joining us. we will 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 >> the ford foundation, working with visionaries on the front lines of social change worldwide. and with the ongoing support of these individuals and 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" from weta studios in washington and in the west from the walter cronkite school of journalism at arizona state university. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy.] >> you're watching pbs.
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