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tv   PBS News Hour Weekend  PBS  July 11, 2021 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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captioning sponsored by wnet >> sreenivasan: on this edition for sunday, july 11:n uptick in covid cases as vaccination rates slow. virgin galactic's historic launch to space. and one small company's push for chillabor-free chocolate. next on “pbs newshour weekend.” >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: sue and edgar wachenheim iii. bernard and denise schwartz. the cheryl and philip milstein family. the anderson family fund. the estate of worthington mayo- smith. the leonard and norma klorfine
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foundation. the rosalind p. walter foundation. koo and patricia yuen, committed to bridging cultural differences in our communities. barbara hope zuckerberg. we try to live in the moment, to not miss what's right in front of us. at mutual of america, we believe taking care of tomorrow can help you make the most of today. mutual of america financial group, retirement services and investments. >> for 25 years, consumer cellular has been offering no-contract wireless plans, designed to help people do more of what they like. our u.s.-based customer service team can help find a plan that fits you. to learn more, visit additional support has been provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the american people. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like
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you. thank you. >> sreenivasan: good evening and thank you for joining us. the delta variant is leading to surges in coronavirus cases in several states, particularly in places where vaccinations rates are lagging. across the united states, cases are up about 47% on average compared to two weeks ago, according to centers for disease control and prevention data. today, the nation's chief medical advisor said people who are vaccinated do not need to worry about the delta variant, and that based on current data there no need for a vaccine booster shot. >> the bad news is that we have a very nasty variant. the good news is that we have a vaccine that works against it. that's the reason we're very concerned is that we have some sort of a schism between some states and some areas that have a very low level of vaccination, which is really unfortunate. >> sreenivasan: one example of that is in missouri, where the number of confirmed daily infections is up 83% on average compared to two weeks ago
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according to c.d.c. data, although daily cases are still well below highs seen last november. missouri has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, with about 49% of adults fully vaccinated, compared to a national average of about 58.7%. in surfside, florida, recovery teams continue to make progress in identifying victims at the site of the deadly collapse of the 12 story champlain towers south condo building. the death toll now stands at 90, from 86 yesterday, and with 31 people still unaccounted for according to miami-dade county's mayor. crews continue to work around the clock at the site, carefully removing layers of the debris, identifying remains of victims, and finding personal effects. >> the work is now still so delicate that we've even found unbroken wine bottles in the ruble and recovered them. we are also finding personal possessions as small as rings. >>reenivasan: members of an israeli defense forces rescue unit were given a ceremonial
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send off yesterday, after assisting in the search and recovery effort for more than two weeks. the team used blueprints to make a 3d rendering of the building, helping identify exactly were victimwould have been when the structure collapsed in the pre- dawn hours of june 24. results from last months national election in ethiopia, released late yesterday, gave prime minister abiy ahmed's prosperity party a landslide victory. ahmed's party won 410 of 436 seats in parliament, assuring him of a second term. ahmed, who has been in office since 2018, hailed the vote as the country's first free and fair election after decades of repressive rule. but an opposition boycott and ethnic violence overshadowed the election. voting did not take place in three of the country's ten regions, including in conflict- hit tigray, where fighting between ethiopian government troops and opposition rebel forces continues.
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pope francis made his first public appearance today after undergoing surgery last week. francis greeted well-wishers from a balcony at rome's gemelli polyclinic hospital, instead of his traditional sunday appearance from a window overlooking st. peter's square. officials at the vatican report the 84-year-old francis is steadily on the mend after surgery to remove a portion of his large intestine. during his brief remarks, the pope said he was praying for haiti after the killing of the country's president. he joined haiti's bishops in appeals to end the spiral of violence, and to find a path toward peace and harmony. the record-breaking heat in western states continues this weekend, bringing some of the highest temperatures ever recorded on earth. more than 31 million people, mostly in arizona, nevada, utah and california's central valley, face excessive heat warnings or heat advisories toda this is the third heat wave to sweep the region this summer. june was the hottest month on record, which led to nearly 200 deaths, strained electric grids
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and depleted reservoirs.“ heat domes,” in which hot, dry the national weather service has issued an excessive heat warning for much of the west through tomorrow. >> sreenivasan: tune in tomorrow for newshour's weeklong series on the child care crisis in america, “raising the future: america's childcare dilemma.” >> sreenivasan: billionaire richard branson, two pilots and three other crew members took off for space this morning. ( applause ) branson's space travel company, virgin galactic, uses a specially designed double aircraft to carry its space plane aloft. the space plane then fired a rocket motor to head to the edge of space, about 53 miles above earth, and glided back to a safe landing. today's flight gave branson a win in what's being called "the billionaire's space race." amazon founder jeff bezos is set to launch on one of his blue origin missions nine days from
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now. for more on the space launch, i spoke with nicholas schmidle, a staff writer for "the new yorker" and author of the new book “test gods: virgin galactic and the making of a modern astronaut.” so, nicholas, today's lift off, launch, i mean, is this essentially just a race between billionaires? i mean, why was it so significant? >> this is a real thing. this is not just a contest between the world's richest men for who can, sort of, have the biggest toys. that part is certainly there, no doubt, but this is a vindication. i think what's reay important to remember is that richard branson, he's not someone-- his business empire is not based on things that he has built with his hands. he's a marketing genius, right. and he has built brands. he has built compani. but he specializes in the customer experience. and that's what he was going to do with virgin galactic. he had another company, scaled composites, which is going to build the spaceship for him, hand it off, he was going to
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then, sort of, brand it up, and then he was going to fly passengers. and then this terrible crash in 2014 tore those plans apart. and suddenly richard branson is overseeing a company, his first, sort of, company that started really building things, and it's building spaceships. and so, today was a vindication. now, the next question is whether he will be able to turn this into a viable business, but we'll let him have his day of massive success. >> sreenivasan: this success is on the back of a lot of hardship. they've lost people. there's a reason this is called exploration and rocket science. >> you know, in 2007 there were three engineers that were killed in a propulsion accident out in mojave, california. in 2014, there was this crash. in 2019, their second space flight, they nearly lost the vehicle. and when they landed and they wheeled the spaceship into the hangar, the test pilots and the engineers were, sort of, all looking at each other and asking themselves, ke, we very well could have killed two pilots and one engineer, and they didn't. and so, yeah, the costs are real.
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anrichard branson's life right there was in the hands of two test pilots. >> sreenivasan: speaking of that, you have this very different model. it not a rocket going straight up and coming back down. this is essentially a plane carrying another plane and then launching off from the sky, right. so, why this big structural difference? doesn't, sort of, physics favor just the rocket model? >> physics do favor that model, and it's, i think it's important to rember that bezos and musk are, you know, computer scientists. they're programmers. there's this ethos at those companies that you can program your way through human error, and richard branson is just always been more interested in the romance of it. he didn't actually make the decision to go with this spacesp so much as this spaceship, a smaller version of the spaceship one, the x prize in 2004, richard branson said, "i love it, build me a bigger one." and so, that's the genesis of spaceship two and virgin galactic whole configuration, which that it worked in 2004.
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and what they've discovered is that it's much harder to scale than they thought. >> sreenivasan: so, this is just really, kind of, nerds that might be quibbling, t did branson make it to space as we define it? >> the internationally recognized space is 328,000 feet above sea level, which is 100 kilometers. round number, right? the u.s. uses another round number: 50 miles, which comes to 264,000 thousand feet. so, virgin galactic was designed to go to 328,000. unfortunately, every accident makes you build a ship a little bit heavier and heavier. spaceship is inherently a harder spaceship to get out of the atmosphere. when they realized they couldn't get to 328,000, they said we're going to go for 50 miles for now. now, look, i've seen the video. you can see the cockpit video, stuff floating, it's black, it's a blue earth down below. it looks like spacto me, but it does, you know, the virgin galactic president said to me in 2019, he conceded that it does
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give blue origin a leg to stand on, that they are going to the international boundary of space. so, you know, i think virgin galactic will get there eventually, but i think it will take them a while to get there. >> sreenivasan: nicholas schmidle, author of the book "test gods: virgin galactic and the making of a modern astronaut." thanks so much for joining us. >> thanks for having me on, it's been fun. >> sreenivasan: nearly two- thirds of the world's cocoa production comes from west africa, where an estimated 1.6 million children work illegally on farms across the region. but rooting out the illegal practice is difficult. last month, the u.s.upreme court ruled in favor of food giants nestle and cargill, where both companies were being sued over claims that they knowingly bought cocoa beans from farms which used child slave labor. but one smalcompany in the netherlands is on a mission to shake up the industry and eliminate illegal child labor completely. newshour weekend special correspondent megan thompson reports. >> reporter: there's something striking about the amsterdam offices of chocolate company tony's chocolonely.
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the tables and bikes outside; the floors, envelopes and shipping boxes inside. >> big red balloons. >> reporter: virtually everything is fire engine red. it's partly the playful nature of the growing company where employees all have fanciful titles like “impactus prime,”“ inspire to actress,” and "the boss." >> i hate to be called c.e.o. i just want to be the chief chocolate officer. >> reporter: but the color also serves a serious purpose. >> the color of alarm is red, and if you really want to point out that there is a problem, and that something has to be done, you have to use the color red. >> these are the kids. >> reporter: the problem: children working illegally in the supply chain of cocoa. >> and if you realize kids are actually producing the chocolate we love, then you know something needs to change. >> reporter:ony's has a goal to make chocolate what they ca“" 100% slave free.” not just their chocolate, all chocolate. >> our goal is to eradicate all
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illegal labor from the value chain of cocoa. >> that is quite an ambitious mission for a smalcompany like we are, but we are very serious about it. >> reporter: and it is a serious problem. according to a recent report, in the cocoa growing areas of ghana and ivory coast, where most of the beans used to make the world's chocolate come from, almost half of thehildren work as child laborers. that's more 1.5 million children. most are doing what's termed“ hazardous work,” involving sharp tools, heavy loads or toxic pesticides. it's all part of the laborious process of separating beans from the large cocoa pods pulled from trees. >> if the child is working on a weekend, for exale, helping the parents, that's not child labor, that's child work. but if they're missing school or if they're doing work that is detrimental to their health, that is child labor. >> reporter: nyagoy nyong'o is the global c.e.o. of fairtrade international, which certifies ethical practices of products
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around the world. cocoa is its flagship issue. nyong'o says the price is basically controlled by a handful of large chocolate conglomerates who pay farmers very little. families who can't afford to hire workers are using their children instead. >> it's about not earning a living income. it's about farmers struggling, but not getting the returns that they should get from the products that they grow. >>eporter: the worst forms of child labor? when children are trafficked and forced to work without pay. that's what police in ivory coast were after, in this raid on a cocoa farm last year. according to one study, as many as 16,000 children in west africa are being exploited thi way. although child labor is not unique to cocoa, the fact that chocolate is a luxury product, a more than $100 billion a year business, when most cocoa farmers live below the poverty line, is what struck dutch journalist teun van de keuken as
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particularlyutrageous. he wasven filmed for a television program trying to get himself prosecuted, arguing that by eating chocolate, he was complicit in a crime. in 2005 he co-founded “tony's chocolonely,” a combination of his first name and wt he called the lonely battle to reform the chocolate industry. the messaging includes the uneven way the bars are divided. >> sometimes you have a big piece like the big chocolate companies, and sometimes you only get a very small piece, like the cocoa farmers get so little of the value of chocolate. >> reporter: while tony's isn't the only chocolate company touting its ethical practices, it's arguably one of the most successful. what started off in a whimsical way, with just 5,000 chocolate bars, is now the most popular chocolate brand in the netherlands, with about $100 million in revenue last year. and the company is expanding into markets around the world, including the united states. key to tony's strategy is traceability.
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cocoa beans in west africa come from thousands of small farms, and pass through many hands. most big chocolate companies admit they don't know where all their beans come from. tony's, on the other hand, has long-term relationships with specific cooperatives. >> my tony's title is “lean the supply chain machine.” ( laughs ) >> reporter: and it's even developed its own online software to track every bag beans by lot number. >> we can trace back which farmers supplied the beans into that one lot number. it gives us sibility on traceability, basically. >> reporter: and tony's pays premiums to help farmers modernize and get out of verty. in ivory coast, for example, tony's is now paying about 68% more than the minimum price set by the government. that contributes to making the chocolate more expensive. >> well, in the u.s., this bar is a little under $5, and this bar would have cost it, let's say, $3.50 if we were paying the lowest possible price to farmers, but we don't pay the
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lowest possible price to farmers. we pay a dignified price. >> reporter: this problem is not exactly new. the chocolate industry has been under fire for years. back in 2001, after the u.s. congress threatened legislation to address child labor in cocoa, eight of the biggest chocolate companies negotiated a voluntary agreement instead, pledging to eradicate the worst forms of child labor in cocoa by 2005. but that deadline, and others in 2008, 2010, and 2020, came and went. now they say they are committed to a new deadline: 2025. and if you look at the big chocolate company websites like mars, nestle and hershey, the issue is front and center. they talk about protecting children with big investments in local communities, working with families to get children back in school, and increasing child labor monitoring programs. but still, the number of child laborers in west africa has not
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changed much over the years. and as of today, still only about 25% of the cocoa supply chain is being monitored for child labor. >> the aim is to increase those programs. >> reporter: alexander ferguson is with the world cocoa foundation, a trade group that represents about 80% of the chocolate industry. a lot of the big chocolate companies have programs to crack down on child labor. are those programs going far enough? >> i think the mistake made in the past is that, is that companies thought they could solve this alone. many of our companies do have supply lines that are traceable, and look for child labor, and also pay premiums to farmers so that they get a higher income. i mean, this is something that is being done across the industry is, is, you know, there needs to be more of it. >> so, some companies could be doing very well. some companies are n doing
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anything because all this is voluntary. and for years, about 20 years, we've had a lot of these voluntary initiatives that have really made little, little difference, i must say. i think when it becomes compsory that companies have to be responsible for what happens in the supply chain, i think that's where we really make an impact. >> reporter: tony's agrees laws are needed. its most recent lobbying effort: a petition to the e.u. signed by more than 66,000 of its “choco fans” supporting a law that would hold all companies accountable for their supply chains. >> we have to look for problems in the supply chain in order to solve them. it's about pulling problems toward us rather than pushing them away. >> reporter: and tony's does find problems, cases of child labor among its farmer cooperatives. when it does, says impact navigator pavithra ram, local monitors track every one and
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work to get children out of danger or into school. >> other chocolate companies also use some, some sort of the child labor monitoring system. what makes us unique is that we implemented for 100% of our supply chain. so, you can't just go to some communities or a part of your supply chain and say, "oh, we're monitoring there." we found cases. you need to do it for your entire supply chain because otherwise it's-- you're not doing enough. >> reporter: tony's efforts have won over at least one major ally, barry callebaut, the biggest chocolate manufacturer in the world. >> i think tony's is really a pioneer and also a leader and a front runner. >> reporter: barry callebaut produces chocolate for brands around the world, turning beans into liquid, a key part of the chocolate making process. tony's convinced the company to use separate tanks to segregate its beans to preserve the integrity of its supply chain, and that was a hard sell, at first. >> it wasn't easy. a lot of investment had to be
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done. cost of production would not be as efficient. but some of us believed in it. and we convinced the board to do the investments. and i'm very happy we did. >> tony's chocolonely believes in sharing. >> reporter: now tony's is working with barry callebaut to get other brands to adopt its core principles, like giving farmers more support and pay, and offering to share its network of farmer cooperatives and “bean-tracker” software in a program it calls “tony's open chain.” >> the goal is to really make it easy for chocolate brands to plug into a proven and working coa flow. >> reporter: so far, three competitors have joined, including aldi, and the largest supermarket chain in the netherlands, with its delicata chocolate brand. but can tony's really make a difference? critics point out the company is still relatively small, working with only about .5% of the some 1.6 million cocoa farmers in west africa. and one watchdog group has
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removed tony's from its “slave- free chocolate” list because its production partner barry callebaut can't guarantee that all of the beans from its many other customers are 100% traceable. >> so, we are growing. >> reporter: but tony's c.c.o. beltman is unapologetic. he says the partnership with the chocolate giant is part of a dual strategy: to lead by example and reform from within. >> if you want to make sure that you want to make impact at scale, you have to work with companies that are producing at scale. sometimes we have a feeling that the task that we've taken on our shoulders is rather big, but with a little bit of naivete and arrogance, we can do a lot. >> they really are becoming a big brand. and when you see how small companies are disruptive, that's really the name of the game. what started a bit as a joke with an important message is now a big company and potentially tony's will, will be bigger than barry callebaut five years from now.
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you never know what happens in this disruptive world. >> this is pbs newshour weekend, sunday. >> sreenivasan: finally tonight, cyprus is known as the island of cats. legend has it that someo-- maybe cleopatra, maybe saint helena, the mother of constantine the great-- shipped cats to the island nation to help exterminate snakes. however they got there, the number of cats is now almost equaling the number of humans, and cat-lovers are springing into action. every day cats emerge from the shadows as volunteers arrive with food at this cemetery. as the food plates are filled, stray cats gather and choose their places, sometimes on the food truck itself. >> ( translated ): there has been no official count, but based on our own assessment, we could say that the number of stray cats are equal to the human population of the island at the very least. ey could be approaching one
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million, that's a rough estimate. >> sreenivasan: cats have been here for thousands and thousands of years, but despite their fame, their numbers are starting to wear on some cypriots. >> ( translated ): if there is no serious intervention to control the population we will have a big problem. it is alreada big problem. there are neighborhoods where some feed them, others might not want them, they throw down poison, arguments break out among the neighbors, this is not right, there are ways to deal with this, the first and most >> sreenivasan: in april, the government authorized close to 90,000 for sterilization programs. but at this sanctuary-- not far from a monastery named saint nicholas of the cats-- kittens and cats arrive almost daily. >> the challenge is the number of cats out in the population. a lot of unneutered, there is a limit in what we could do to help those cats. >> sreenivasan: animal rescue grps say they are hoping for more resources, but for now, it's the kindness of volunteers that's keeping at least some
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cypriot cats happy and healthy. >> sreenivasan: that's all for this edition of “pbs newshour weekend.” for the latest news updates visit i'm hari sreenivasan. thanks for watching. stay healthy and have a good night. captioning sponsored by wnet captioned by media access group at wgbh >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: sue and edgar wachenheim iii. bernard and denise schwartz. the cheryl and philip milstein family. the anderson family fund. the estate of worthington mayo- smith. the leonard and norma klorfine foundation. the rosalind p. walter foundation.
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koo and patriciauen, committed to bridging cultural differences in our communities. barbara hope zuckerberg. we try to live in the moment, to not miss what's right in front of us. at mutual of america, we believe taki care of tomorrow can help you make the most of today. mutual of america financial group, retirement services and investments. additional support has been provided by: consumer cellular. and by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the american people. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. you're watching pbs.
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[announcer]: this program was made possible in part by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. [music] [tog: the brain is what makes humans human. it's central to everything about us. the ability to learn things new, to experience new things. it's all between my ears. [banfield]: e brain is our command center and it's imbued with an incredible gift. it can change its structure and function through a process called neuroplasticity. [moffett]: we used to think that the brain was set up the way it was set up. but it turns out, the brain can adapt also. and if it's given a different set of circumstances, it'll


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