tv PBS News Hour Weekend PBS October 16, 2021 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by wnet >> sreenivasan: on this edition for saturday, october 16: the murder of a british lawmaker is now being called a terror attack. ( train horn ) infrastructure funding is stalled in congress, but a giant project is creeping forward in the northeast transit corridor. ♪ ♪ ♪ and, some native american tribes join in a growing movement to buy back their ancestral lands. 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.
leonard and norma klorfine. 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 rightn 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'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 www.consumercellular.tv. 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 you. thank you. >> sreenivasan: good evening, and thanks for joining us. british authorities are now describing yesterday's murder a conservative member of parliament as a terrorist attack. today, a cross-section of britain's political leaders, including prime minister boris johnson and opposition labor leader keir starmer, visited the scene in essex where sir david amess was stabbed to death. police said a 25-year-old man is in custody for the attack. it happened around midday yesterday, in a methodist church in leigh-on-sea, about 40 miles east of london where amess was meeting with constituents. in a statement earlier today, the metropolitan police said it believed the suspect acted alone and that the investigation has "revealed a potential motivation linked to islamist extremism." british home secretary priti patel would not comment on the ongoing investigation, but said a review of ongoing security measures for lawmers is underway.
>> there is direct communication taking place right now-- took place yesterd as well-- with m.p.s, all 600-plus m.p.s, as to their wheabouts, what they're doing in their constituency, to make sure that they are protected. >> sreenivasan: yesterday's atta came five years after another brith lawmaker, jo cox, was killed by far-right extremists in her district after meeting with constituents. today, residents paid tribute to amess at the church where the attack happened. he was 69 years old, and had served in parliament since 1983. in southern afghanistan today, there was a mass funal ceremony for the victims killed in a suicide bomb attack at a mosque yesterday. the islamic state claimed responsibility for the murders in a statement late yesterday. today, afghan officials said 47 people were killed in the blast, but members of the shiiite community in kandahar say the death toll may be as high as 63, and that it could go up, as many victims are hospitalized in serious condition. yesterday's bombing was the
deadliest attack in afghanistan since the u.s. exit from the country. relatives of the victims called on the taliban government to protect them. a legal battle in chicago over a vaccine mandate requiring police officers to report their covid vaccination status is now in a standoff between the police union and mayor lori lightfoot. last night, a chicago judge issued a restraining order against the head of the city's largest police officers union, john catanzara. the order bars him from publicly encouraging officers not to report their vaccine status through a web portal. mayor lightfoot announced the mandate for all city workers back in august, and said those who do not abide by the rules will be placed on a "no pay" status, unless they had an approved medical or religious exemption. cataranzara told members to ignore yesterday's deadline. >> any sergeant, lieutenant, captain, or above, who gives you an order to go in that portal, is not valid.
>> sreenivasan: cataranza also warned there could be few officers to patrol the streets. the mayor, however, said no action would be taken against officers who reported for work without providing the information until after the weekend. yesterday, lightfoot said the city's law department haled legal action against cataranzara and the union for “engaging in, supporting, and encouraging a work stoppage or strike.” cataranzara denies calling for a work stoppage. the union filed its own lawsuit against the city, lightfoot, and poce superintendent david brown, seeking a court order to force arbitration over the mandate. president joe biden and first lady jill biden attended the 40th annual peace officers' memorial service today outside the u.s. capitol building. the event pays tribute to law enforcemt officers killed in the line of duty. noting the event's location, president biden specifically paid tribute to law enforcement's role in thwarting the attack on congress on january 6. >> because of you-- democracy survived.
but only because the women and men of the u.s. capital police force, washington, d.c. metropolitan police partment and other law enforcement, who once ain, put their bodies on the line. >> sreenivasan: the event honored 491 law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty in 2019 and 2020, including more than 300 who died from covid-19 last year. nasa began a 12-year mission to investigate eight asteroids in our solar system. >> lift off. atlas v takes flight. >> sreenivasan: a spacecraft called "lucy" blasted off today before dawn, set for a four billion-mile journey focused on asteroids near jupiter. named after one of the oldest known human ancestors, a 3.2-million-year-old skeleton, the spacecraft also has a connection to the beatles. the fossil remains were named for the band's 1967 song “lucy in the sky with diamonds.” some of the band's lyrics are inscribed on the spacecraft and
it is carrying lab-grown diamonds as part of a scientific instrument. lucy's journey includes multiple trips around earth to harness gravitational force, to send it into jupiter's orbit. >> sreenivasan: for more national and international news, visit www.pbs.org/newshour. >> sreenivasan: congress is still stuck on consideration of new infrastructure spending legislation. but, infrastructure projects are not all tied to that decision. the gateway program-- a proposed $30 billion project-- would provide a major upgrade to transit syems that serve eight states and more than 50 mlion americans. it is a tal transit corridor between boston, new york, and washingt, d.c. the project, under consideraon for decades, includes many transit infrastructure elements. earlier this week, as part of the project, new jersey approved a $1 billion-plus contra to build and replace an outdated
bridge. but the biggest piece of this infrastructure puzzle is the plan to build a new tunnel under the hudson river. before the pandemic, about 200,000 people every day rode through the tunnel under the hudson river between new york and new jersey. but almost none of them got this view. i'm in the rear of an amtrak train to see how a tunnel built in 1910-- 111 years ago-- is holding up. my guide is craig schulz from amtrak. am i still seeing some of the damage from superstorm sandy on the-- on the ceilings and the sides? >> millions of gallons of saltwater inundated the tubes. the salts and chlorides really left behind by that saltwater have infiltrated the concrete and are essentially eating away at the infrastructure from the inside out. and so, what we have to do, basically, is, essentially gut the tunnel, right, down to the concrete liner, and essentially rebuild it from the inside out. >> sreenivasan: climate change is real, and this project would add some resiliency to the
infrastructure. we also sat down with the chairman of amtrak, anthony coscia. amtrak is funded by the government, but is a for-profit. it also owns all of the ten-mile project site and the current tunnel into new york's penn station. how urgent is it to fix the tunnel today? and, what happens if you have to stop service to try to fix these tunnels, because they're too dangerous? >> we spend an incredible amount of time carefully inspecting those tunnels, in very constant intervals, to assure their safety. and we are 100% comfortable that they are safe. but they're safe because we also spend millions of dollars repairing them and maintaining them and keeping them operable until we can build a new tunnel. >> sreenivasan: how much time do we have until your engineers say, "we can't keep this up?" or, did they say that 40 years ago? >> so i would say, honestly, that, you know, the clock is expired. every day that we wait, every
peod of time that goes by, we put ourselves at greater risk. ( train horn ) >> sreenivasan: the approximately $30 billion project is not just for updating the old tunnel and building a new one-- which alone would cost more than $12 billion. it would also expand the rail line from two to four tracks, and refuish and build new bridges along the ten-mile corridor, adding reliability for commuters. so, how many trains go back and forth per morning, per hour? >> so, 450 trains a day through this territory, before covid. 350 of those are new jersey transit trains, about 350 or so. a hundred or so amtrak trains. most of the northeast corridor is four, five, six tracks. here at the busiest section, it is just the two tracks. and you can see, we are clearly-- we're really creeping along here. you know, largely-- >> sreenivasan: is the reason we're slow right now is because of this logjam? >> absolutely. >> sreenivasan: in 2019, a study done by the regional plan association-- a research, planning, and advocacy
ornization-- found that closure of just one of the two tracks in the tunnel could cut service by up to 75% and cost t area $16 billion over a four-year period. the gateway project, on the other hand, would double train capacity into penn station, and create up to 72,000 jobs according to amtrak. keep in mind that the northeast is responsible for 20% of the nation's gross domestic product. tom wright heads the regional plan association, and has spent 20 years advocating for a revamp of the transportation corridor. >> the entire boston-to- washington economy depends on the free flow of people and goods and commerce across the hudson river. and this is the weak point in the entire chain. >> sreenivasan: what do you think the chances are, given that the political climate is uncertain at best? i mean, you feel like you have kind of tailwinds going into this process, but right now, it's just, you know--
if i'm a betting man, i wouldn't bet on anything right now. >> first of all, i think the entire nation understands the need for infrastructure investment. this may be the highest priority for us here in new york, and in the tri-state metropolitan region. but every part of the country, every metropolitanegion and large city has similar projects. and so we're talking about a national program here, not just something focused on the northeast. so, i'm optimist that this is going to happen. >> sreenivasan: his optimism is in part because transportation secretary te buttigeg saw what i did earlier this year. >> this time, for the first time in a long time, we have total alignment between the president of the united states, the biden-rris administration, leadership in the house, the senate, and, importantly, the american people. >> sreenivasan: he's making a reference to the fact that the project was delayed three years under the trump administration. but in may, with biden in office, the federal government completed the environmental review of the more than $12 billion tunnel project, a key
approval that signaled funding was close. $30 billion projects also come with critics. some point to europe and the fact that similar underwater rail tunnels cost a fraction of what the hudson tunnel will cost. and, a report released last year found that instead of waiting for a new tunnel to be built to shift ridership, the current hudson tunnel could be refurbished sooner, during nights and weekends, and at a lower price tag. but amtrak chairman coscia insists they've looked at all the options. >> people have listened, and people have vetted dferent concepts, and what is being proposed for the gateway program-- the design that was approved by the federal government for this project-- is one that we think represents the best option, that presents the strongest possibility for creating the kind of mobility enhancement that will make a significant difference. >> sreenivasan: the infrastructure bill, currently stuck in congress, contains money that could be used to help fund the gateway project,
though the entire project is not dependent on its passage. the key is to increase the priority rating or justification for the project, which would free up federal funds. under the trump administration, the project was given a low rating. infrastructure is inherently unsexy. people can't see the result right away, right. and it's, how do you convince people to make a ten-year investmento prevent a problem that might come, right? >> will infrastructure ever be a sexy topic? that, i really couldn't comment on. but i have to tell you that people who wait on delayed trains, people who sit in traffic, people who are concerned about the quality of the air we breathe-- i think that number has grown, to a point where it's a pretty loud audience that i think, right now, is pounding its fist and saying, we want to see these things get done. and i think that political leadership is responding to that.
>> sreenivasan: from 1877 to 1934, through a range of laws and broken treaties, the u.s. government appropriated tens of millions of acres of native american land. in recent years, a growing movement to reclaim what was once theirs has begun to form arnd the slogan "land back." there have been some successes. last december, congress passed legislation and restored ownership of all 19,000 acres of the national bison range in montana to the salish and kootenai tribes. but much of tive american lands ended up in private hands, and tribes are increasingly buying back that land. newshour weekend special correspondent kira kay has part one in our two-part report. >> reporter: on the foggy banks of the klamath river in northern california, members of the yurok tribe are casting their fishing nets. the salmon harvest is finally good again, after a worrying spring-- almost 90% of the
juvenile salmon died, from a parasite caused by overly-warm and poorly-flowing water upream. salmon fishing is central to the yurok's identity and survival, as are the forests that cover almost half a million acres around them. but these assets became attractive to settlers. >> as america grew, as we prospered, its appetite grew as well. its need for lumber, for building supplies. >> reporter: frankie myers, the tribes' vice-chair, says an 1887 law changed everything. >> we had timber resources, we had salmon resources, but we also had the allotment act, which privatized tribal land. the vast majority of our land was immediately transferred to timber barons, after the act was passed. 9,800 acres, the next day. >> reporter: in recent years, a growing movement has begun to form around the slogan "land back," to demand the
return of appropriated land to tribal jurisdictions. there have been some successes. in december, congress passed legislation that restored all 19,000 acres of the national bison range in montana to ownership by the salish and kootenai tribes. but, much of the appropriated land ended up in private hands. in the yurok's case, it was eventually owned and logged by green diamond resource company. 13 years ago, the yurok began negotiations to try to get it back. >> we tried to, at first, to have discussions about the wrongs that had happened, the atrocities that we went through, the theft of our land, to see if there was a way that we could simply have the land transferred back to the tribe. that met with, not a positive reception. >> reporter: finally, in what myers describes as "a nexus of doing good and making a profit," green diamond agreed to start selling plots of the forest back to the tribe.
over the past decade, the yurok have bought back more than 70,000 acres of their original territory. myers took me on a six-hour dirt road trip through the regained forests, land on which he once trespassed by cutting through gates. >> i think one of the hugest benefits that we've seen to date is having our members being able to go to their traditional hunting grounds. i can openly raise my children now to come out here, to harvest, to practice. they're not criminals, and i'm not a criminal for showing them. >> reporter: at e end of the road, the pristine and sacred blue creek. >> blue creek has some of the densest diversity in the entire nation. we have four runs of salmonids. we have bear, bald eagles. we have a diversity of plant species. we have beautiful redwoods. this is a true jewel.
>> reporter: to help the yurok buy the land, an environmental group called western rivers conservancy raised government grants andonations. but the tribe still had to take out a $21 million loan. to pay it back, the tribe pushed to join cafornia'sarbon cap and trade market. now, they get paid for each meic ton of carbon dioxide their forests convert to oxygen, on behalf of companies emitting more than their cap allows. >> this could be how we could me our needs. we wouldn't have to log all of our land. we could implement our land management, and we could also at the same time pay our debt that we had for it. >> reporter: but some environmental groups question both the efficacy and the ethics of carbon offset. there are critics, though. >> absolutely. >> reporter: it allows polluters to keep polluting. how do you feel about that? >> i was a critic of the carbon offset program. i had questions about the morality of carbon offset.
i questioned whether or not it was really going to make an impact. we think that the good outweighs the negative. and we work diligently to make sure that our partners are truly making a difference, that are truly making a change. >> reporter: they won't reveal how much they make, but the income is enough to pay down their loan, put money towards more land purchases, invest in local businesses and their school, and implement conservation efforts that meld current technology with indigenous practices. this includes improving the habitat for the four types of salmon so crucial to yurok life. >> it's just like us. you know, we-- we have a better home, you have a better life, you have a better family, you feel better. we're doing that same thinfor salmonids. but that starts with the data. we got to figure out what's here. we have a world-class fisheries design team. they rebuild the creek to create new habitat, to create new channels, that will benefit our salmonid population. >> reporter: meanwhile, the yurok are sustainably logging
their regained forests, thinning to allow more mature trees to flourish, and to reduce the risk of uncontained fire. the yurok were encircled with forest fires this summer, along with much of the pacific northwest. >> when we talk about fire, there is a conversation that happens, with the assumption that fire is bad. that's not our view, as indigenous people. fire is no worse for the environment than the river that runs through it, or the rain that falls. what we want on the ground is nice, slow, cool-burning fire, as opposed to high-intensity, canopy, catastrophic fires. gothis side? put it right there. >> reporter: today, frankie myers can take his son, sregon, lmon fishing on the klamath rive knowing that part of their cestral land is back in their hands. the tribe is now exploring buying more parcels.
but, underpinning this success is the reminder that the land wasn't donated back, or even won through a legal battle. is there a risk, though, that you're disincentivizing the handful of organizations or people who may have wanted to just give it back? if there's money to be made, why do the right thing? >> i think that's a-- that's a good question. i think after 150 years, if we haven't been given the land back yet, they're not going to give it back to us. end of the day, this is still america. there are still profits that need to be made. we did have to have a lengthy internal discussion about whether or not it was okay for us to buy land that was stolen from us. my elders, the people who came before me, they gave us direction-- get your land back. whether it's right? doesn't matter. >> this is pbs newshour weekend,
saturday. >> sreenivasan: finally tonight, could mining a rock found in remote greenland help curb climate change? past pristine fjords and glacier-covered mountains, a mining company is hoping that this patch of southwestern greenland could be a key to producing industrial material like fiberglass and aluminum in a much more environmentally- friendly way. ( explosion ) they are searching for anorthosite. >> this rock is created at great depth. generally, it's an ordinary rock, but the chemistry here is unique. it is created in the early days of the formation of our world. >> sreenivasan: geologist anders norby-lie has been exploring anorthosite here for almost a decade. while it's found all over the world, he says the rocks here are more pure, and can be turned into aluminum with less waste
and with less energy, compared with bauxite ore, which is the primary sour of aluminum now. the mine being developed here is still a few years from being fully operational, but the newly-elected government in greenland is hoping that anorthosite can be part of a plan to position this mineral-rich island as environmentally responsible. this kind of mining could also be a way to diversify the economy of greenland, which is a semi-autonomous territory of denmark. the 57,000 people who live here are dependent on fishing and grants from the danes. it's also not just industry that's interested in the pure form of anorthosite found here. nasa identified it as being similar to parts of the moon's surface. the space agency is already using crushed anorthosite from greenland to test equipment that one day could be used to lonize the moon.
>> sreenivasan: that's all for this edition of pbs newshour weekend. for the latest news updates, visit www.pbs.org/newshour. 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 access.wgbh.org >> 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. leonard and norma klorfine. 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. additional support has been provided by: consumer cellular. and by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting, a private corpation funded by the americaneople. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. you're watching pbs.
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