tv PBS News Hour PBS October 21, 2021 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT
ng. i hope you're ready. 'cause we are. judy: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, in contempt. >> setting up a major test for the justice department. then, biden agenda. the democratic party -- an alarming new report warns some climate damage cannot be undone. and return of the jaguar. scientists take extraordinary steps to re-introduce the species to a land where it became extinct some 70 years ago. >> is so emotional and it shows
that it can be done. judy: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour. ♪ >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by. >> fidelity dedicated advisors are here to help you create a real plan, planning focused on tomorrow, while you focus on today. that's the plan effect from fidelity. >> johnson & johnson. bnsf railway. >> consumer cellular. financial services firm raymond james. bdo accountants and advisors. the kendida fund.
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stephanie: we will return to the full program after the latest headlines. the cdc director this evening expanded eligibility for covid-19 booster shots to more americans. the cdc now recommends that adults got the johnson & johnson vaccine and who were vaccinated to or more months ago should get a booster. they also expanded eligibility to adults who are at higher risk because of medical conditions or because of where they work or live. earlier a cdc committee said mixing and matching booster doses should be allowed. the u.s. house of representatives voted today to hold president trump's longtime ally, steve bannon, in contempt of congress. he had defied a subpoena from a committee investigating the january 6th assault on the u.s. capitol. the vote was almost entirely down party lines. we'll take a closer look, after the news summary. democrats are sending mixed signals on whether they'll agree on a giant social spending package by the weekend. moderate senator joe manchin of west virginia said today that,
quote, this is not going to happen any time soon. but house speaker nancy pelosi said she still expects there will be agreement in coming days. >> we're making great progress to our goal of securing a framework agreement for build back better in a timely fashion. although it's a smaller bill, it's still historic, transformational and will make an enormous difference in the lives of america's working families. >> in a cnn town hall this evening, president biden said he thinks he is close to striking a deal on the infrastructure and social spending plan, but moderates and progressives are still wrestling over medical spending, a child tax credit, and other issues. in haiti, a gang is now threatening to kill 17 kidnapped members of a u.s. missionary group, unless its demands are met. the demands total $1 million dollars ransom, for each captive. the threat came today, as the missionaries' families were urging people to pray for the
victims and the kidnappers. a 25-year-old london man was charged today with stabbing and killing a british lawmaker, sir david amess. prosecutors charged that the attacker, named ali harbi ali, supports the islamic state, and that he targeted amess for supporting air strikes in syria. back in this country, u.s. attorney general merrick garland insisted he is not out to silence parents who confront school boards. a garland memo this month asked the fbi to address threats over anti-racism curricula and masking mandates. today, at a house hearing, he said he is focused on violence, despite republican claims to the contrary. >> not in a million years did we dream that one day we'd see the justice department treat american parents as domestic terrorists. >> the justice department supports and defends the first amendment right of parents to complain as vociferously as they wish about the education of
their children, about the curriculum taught in the schools. that is not what the memorandum is about at all. >> the national school boards association has warned that incidents at school board meetings and threats of violence are on the rise. a former minneapolis policeman was re-sentenced today for fatally shooting an unarmed woman in 2017. this time, mohamed noor got nearly 5 years in prison for manslaughter. the minnesota supreme court overturned his earlier conviction for murder. noor has said he thought the woman had a gun and was about to shoot. texas is urging the u.s. supreme court to leave a new abortion law in place. it's the most restrictive in the nation, banning most abortions about 6 weeks into pregnancy. the state's filing says the court should let a legal challenge to the law, work its way through the courts. the biden administration wants the law blocked immediately. the federal reserve has announced it will bar its officials from investing in
individual stocks and bonds. two top fed officials resigned recently amid reports of questionable trades. reuters has reported that fed chair powell may need to sells much is 3 million dollars in bonds to comply. queen elizabeth is at home after spending last night at a hospital. buckingham palace said doctors admitted her for examination. the queen is 95 your soul. still to come on the newshour, biden agenda, what's at stake as democratic infighting compromises the president's efforts to rn in climate change. return of the jaguar, how scientists are re-introducing these cats back into the wild. and one woman's brief but spectacular take on being an unrepentant disability rights activist and much more. >> this is the pbs newshour from
weta studios. judy: today marked a critical step in the investigation into the january 6th capitol riot, when, as we reported earlier, the u.s. house voted to hold steve bannon in conmpt for defying a congressional subpoena. democrats were joined by 9 republicans in rebuking the former trump aide, for a final vote of 229 to 202. >> this isn't about punishing steve bannon. judy: the debate went beyond the issue of steve bannon and whether to cite him for contempt of congress. we went to the heart of lawmakers willingness or not to keep on probing what led to the january assault on the u.s. capitol. democrats, including bennie thompson, the chair of the
select committee, urged colleagues to take a stand against bannon for stonewalling the panel. >> i'm not willing to get to the end of the select committee's work and look back wishing we had done more to uncover all the facts. judy: they found support from a small number of house republicans, including the panel's vice chair, liz cheney. >> the american people deserve to know what he knew and what he did. judy: but most republicans criticized the investigation, and how it is being carried out. >> the select committee is engaged in an unconstitutional, political investigation. judy: the panel issued its subpoena to bannon a month ago. it demands that bannon sit for a deposition before lawmakers. it also orders him to hand over whatever records he may have of any communications with former president donald trump about january 6. as well as any relevant communications with other trump allies, like rudy giuliani.
bannon argues, through an attorney, that he does not need to comply, because former president trump intends to assert executive privilege. the bannon issue now goes to the justice department, headed by attorney general merrick garland. before today's vote, garland opted not to tip his hand to whether the department will ultimately prosecute him. >> we will apply the facts and the law and make a decision consistent with the principles of prosecution. judy: the department is already in the middle of prosecuting hundreds of defendants facing criminal charges of their own, stemming from january striate. -- stemming from january's riot. now, for a deeper look, i am joined by josh gerstein, senior legal affairs reporter for politico. thank you so much for joining us. tell us, how ordinary is it for someone to say that -- for
congress to say that someone is contempt of committee. >> we seen a number of citations, former attorney general eric holder was cited, what is really unusual here is to have a criminal referral that the justice department may seriously look at. it has been about 40-45 years since the justice department has brought a case under this particular criminal contempt of congress statute. judy: so remind us, what are the steps the justice department goes through? what happens now that the house has take -- take in this boat, what happens next? >> it will go to the attorney's office for the district of columbia and they will consider whether to file a case, the law here in question does say that they are supposed to, that they have a duty to convene a grand jury or to consider bringing
charges. in the past, that office has declined in many cases to file charges, those generally involved executive branch or former executive branch officials where that administration was upholding the privilege assertion. what is unusual here is president joe biden does not think he says -- does not think executive privilege should be invoked. that's what the justice department will have to think about before they consider whether to bring a criminal charge against steve bannon. judy: what are the factors the justices will be weighing, and how long do you thi it will take them to make the decision? josh, can you hear me? it looks like we have an audio problem. apologies. we will be right back,
apologies. ♪ judy: the coming days e pivotal for the fate of president biden's domestic agenda. talks are growing more intense among democrats and the president as they debate the trade-off of a major bill that could affect the parking books, working conditions, and safety nets for millions of americans. tonight, william brangham explains what's at stake for the president's efforts to address climate change through legislation. >> president biden originally proposed a fairly bold climate chge agenda. the goal was to cut america's carbon emissions, the emissions that contribute to climate change, cut them by half, by the end of this decade. one of the central parts of that plan was known as the clean electricity payment program, or cepp, it was meant to spur electrical utilities to move more quickly to renewables.
but now, the cepp seems dead in the water. lisa desjardins has been reporting on this initiatives demise, and she joins me now. so what happened? lisa: joe biden happen. he said he would not support anything that looked like the plan, which was focused on utilities, it was another way of imposing a meet -- renewable standardcross the country. almost a cap and trade style plan. joe manchin said no and it was taken out of the plan all together. a reminder of why all this is so important. our climate is at stake here, but so are many jobs. and, as you said, democrats have a goal of cutting emissions by 50% by the end of this decade. that's over 2005 levels. now, they wanted to use tax incentives. those are still in the plan. that's the biggest part of the plan. but what we're talking about here, this electricity plan,
this kind of pricing plan. that was a big chunk. that was about a third of what democrats were hoping to do. without it, there is a big hole. william: so, i guess this is just one of the factors of the way our system of democracy works, where this, this plan was enormously popular amongst all the democrats in the congress and in the senate, and yet one senator was able to undo all of that. lisa: it was popular among most democrats. this is really the result of our divided country and our divided government. the 50/50 senate means joe manchin has a lot of power. he is someone who personally has investments in coal. in fact, he ran a coal brokerage. he gets, he has about a million dollars more in coal stock, and he gets a lot of donations from coal and energy companies. but, on the other hand, he says he's representing his state, which also depends on coal and coal jobs. so, progressives, their agenda is hung up by him. but, on the other hand, he argues, you wouldn't even be this far if a republican were here from west virginia, instead of me. william: so if this particular arrow has now been taken out of the democrats' quiver, how are
they talking about trying to make up those emissions reductions going forward? lisa: this is so important, because this is going to affect not just all emissions, but pollution and what parts of this country see progress in this area. so let's look at exactly what i on the table right now they're just kicking around as ideas, one, a potential tax on imports from countries that have high emissions themselves. they're also looking at another idea, the industrial sector. we know that that's a place where a lot of carbon output happens, and they're hoping they can maybe beef up opportunities to decarbonize. that would affect a lot of urban communities especially. and then, finally, william, another idea is about transmission of renewable energy. there's a problem there that congress might be able to do more on. i want to look at this map of our country. you see where most of the wind energy, that's in blue, comes from. that's the central part of our country, the great plains essentially. solar power, that's biggest in the southwest.
what's missing there, a huge part of the country in all kinds of corners, the northeast. how do you get that renewable energy across the country to cities that need it in other parts where it's not generated? transmission. that's something they're trying to figure out if this bill can help going forward. william: lisa desjardins, as always, thank you so much for helping us wade through all this. lisa: my pleasure. you're welcome. william: so, as lisa has been reporting, the president's climate change agenda took a real hit this week. and while everyone here in washington is debating the costs of this action vs. that action, my next guest has been trying to focus our attention on the cost of inaction. abrahm lustgarten covers climate change for propublica. abrahm, great to have you back on the "newshour." when someone says to you, what do you mean by the cost of inaction, what are you actually talking about? abrahm: everything about what climate change is gointo do to the world and to our society is going to cost us money and impact our economy. it's going to inflict incredible storms, which have a great cost of cleanup. it's going to change the value of real estate.
it's going to change the way we grow food and how much food we can grow and the farm economy that surrounds that. and it's going to change how productive labor is. so it really gets to the bedrock of everything that drives our economic activity. economists i speak with estimate that climate change unabated could cost the u.s. 10% of its gdp. climate change slightly abated, sort of a middle path plan, could cost the u.s. 4% of its gdp, which is $840 billion a year, if you count that against today's economy. william: so you mentioned some of the ways in which climate chge runs up these incredible bills. what are some of the other ways? are we talking droughts, fires, storms, things like that as well? abrahm: yes, i mean, it's really everything, and it all adds up. so, disasters alone, the united states has spent about $700 billion since 2017. there's been $18 billion disasters so far this year alone.
the national climate assessment, the u.s. federal report on climate change, tallied a long list of the ways that the economy will be impacted. some of the items on that list are like $155 billion a year in labor impacts, labor productivity, $6 billion for urban drainage systems, $20 billion in road damages. you can start to see that everything from health care, to pandemic response, to wildfire fighting, to disaster cleanups, they each are a line item on a list of costs that adds up to many trillions of dollars. william: and, as you're describing, these are costs that are in some ways spread over the entire economy. but some of these impacts are very localized. they do not fall equally on everyone. abrahm: yes, that's right. so, i mean, everything about climate change's impacts are unequal in a way. and so you see disproportionate impacts in the most vulnerable parts of the country.
some of the economic forecasts that i have been looking apt predict that that gdp impact might be as high as 20 or 25% for counties in the southern part of the country, along the gulf coast in particular. some of those impacts to crop fields that economists are looking at, they reach 70%, 90% in places in counties in texas and oklahoma. so, there might be some economic growth or opportunity in the northern part of the country, but in the southern part of the country and in the southwest and the gulf coast in particular, those economic impacts are going to be very substantial. william: and, i mean, these numbers are sort of astronomical, and they, in some ways, offer a real context for the numbers that are being debated here in washington, d.c. what do we know about whether the elements and the actions that are being considered here in the capitol would actually have any meaningful impact on these climate impacts that you're describing? abrahm: you know, i haven't seen that kind of analysis of the language in this specific proposed bill.
but, in general, the consensus is that the faster emissions are reduced and the greater they're reduced, the slower climate change will be, the slower warming will be, and the less ultimate costs will be. and this has been quantified, again, not just by the united nations, but by the u.s. government. s national climate assessment estimated that reducing emissions quickly and now could reduce that economic harm i was talking about by 30 to 60%. just one example in there, i mean, the government lists $9 billion in costs for impacts to electricity systems, to our grid systems. and it suggests that reducing emissions quickly could reduce that cost to $30 billion, so, to $3 billion, excuse me, so cutting it by two-thirds. the speed of our response now has a substantial impact in the forecasted costs for the future. william: all of the things that you're describing are costs that are going to be borne not just by individual citizens in their own lives, but by mayors and governors all over this country.
and i'm just curious if, in your reporting, you have gleaned any sense as to why, if this is so self-evident in so many communities, why that hasn't percolated up into our political leaders here in washington. abrahm: i mean, i think that individuals, local communities, local municipalities are slow to understand the financial impacts that are coming their way. they're just beginning to see those impacts the last couple of years. so it's an emerging issue. the ways that i'm talking about, cuts in emissions, the way they're forecasted to lessen those costs in the future, it's modeled at projected figures in a lot of sort of complex material, and i don't think that that has quite pervaded the conversation among leaders. and you're right when you talk about the kind of numbers that are being batted around in this reconciliation bill, much of which is not climate-related, by the way, but even, in its entirety, it's relatively small
compared to the kind of many trillions, the very, very large figures that we're seeing in projected costs. william: this is such important context. abrahm lustgarten of propublica, thank you so much for being here. ♪ judy: we are so sorry, as you saw, we had some technical difficulties in our conversation moments ago but we have josh back to discuss the january 6 committee investigation and the houseboat to hold steve bannon in contempt. gosh, thank you again, our apology. i was asking you what factors the justice department takes into consideration in deciding whether to go forward with the prosecution. josh: this does put just just department and can't -- justice department kind of an awkward position.
they think it is a weak assertion of executive privilege on the part of former president trump and steve bannon. number one, it is former president trump, so it is not a current president. the second reason is that bannon was not in the white house even at the time of these january 6 events. he was at best a private political advisor to president trump. the problem for the justice department is that in the past, they have opined that both those situations, there still could be a valid claim of executive privilege for a former president or an unofficial advisor. so the question is can they make a criminal case against bannon while not completely contradicting their past positions. judy: and thinking about precedent and what this could mean for other presidents. josh: that's exactly right, judy. the justice department has to take into consideration, even though president biden has said he doesn't want to back up his
claim of executive privilege, would they be setting some kind of precedent so that the next time this dispute comes up, and we've mentioned these to come up fairly regularly, would there be a problem for another president to assert privilege. judy: we know the committee is attempting to get cooperation from others who were advising former president trump. some are saying they will cooperate. we have yet to see what this looks like. do we have a sense of just how close this committee is going to get to understanding what happened on january 6, what was behind it? josh: i think they may succeed in exposing some things that haven't come out yet through the justice department's investigations of criminal acts on capitol hill. i'm thinking in the areas of finance, who financed the rally that president held that day, what preparations they were in terms of security, what was
perceived on that day. i think they could get into that, and part of the reason, i think is to send a signal to other potential witnesses and others who may have documents related to the investigation that they should cooperate or they could base this kind of enforcement action themselves. judy: josh gerstein, thank you. josh: thanks, judy. judy: as world leaders prepare to meet in glasgow, scotland for the upcoming international climate meeting titled top 26, and other related crisis has focused attention of researches -- researchers the world over, the rapid extinction of species all over the globe, possibly as
many as one million. in argentina, efforts are underway to return some key animal species to their natural habitats. miles o'brien takes us to a place where for the first time in seven decades jaguars are able to once again roam free. >> feeding time for some rare cats in a place of rare beauty, argentina's ibera national park. biologist pablo guerra is focused on one small task aimed at solving a global crisis. >> it's just like a very little piece of what we really have to do to try to stop the massive extinction of the species. >> the species in question is the biggest cat in the americas, the jaguar. these beautiful animals were hunted and poached to extinction in this part of argentina about 70 years ago.
they are in critical danger of completely -- vanishing completely. only a few hundred are left elsewhere in the country. pablo guerra is part of a team fromewilding argentina, a conservation nonprofit embarked on an audacious campaign to re-introduce the jaguars to their long lost home, a spectacular mashup of the everglades and the serengeti that spans 1.7 million acres. he hides tasty morsels as if they were easter eggs. >> it helps them not to get so bored and to try to let their instinct maybe go out, you know, express it. it's amazing, i love it. for me it's a dream come true. >> not just for him. the dream began in the mind of the late doug tompkins, founder of clothing companies north face and esprit, and an avid lover of the south american wilderness. >> i started to see that the
things that we're doing, we're incongruent with my thinking. >> he recorded this interview in 2011, four years before his untimely death in a kayaking accident. >> if you start going up against your own values, you know, you start to put yourself in a, you know, in an emotional and intellectual corner. this is what happened to me. >> it also happened to his wife kris tompkins, another retail mogul. she was the ceo of patagonia. their ecological philanthropy began in 1991, when they started purchasing swaths of land in southern chile, creating the million acre douglas tompkins national park. >> we just got this thing rolling that ended up being 14 national parks in almost 15 million acres. we realized that just saving the land was actually just a strategy towards something else that we were really after, which
was, how do you create fully functioning ecosystems? >> in ibera that meant a return of the jaguars. they acquired captive animals and brought them here, to san alonso island in the middlof the park. we flew there with biologist sebastian di martino, conservation director of rewilding argentina. he and his team built a one of a kind jaguar breeding center, with jurassic park style enclosures. the cubs learn to hunt by tapping into their instincts and from their mothers' examples. the team takes great pains to avoid getting anywhere near the cubs, for fear they might lose their natural desire to steer clear from humans once set free. >> we look from afar, so we never look at the cubs directly. they don't look at us. and we have several devices which we enter live prey inside
the pen and they don't relate us with food provision. so that way we produce a kind of , jaguar that can be released. >> the jaguars are the marquee species in the rewilding project, but there is a strong supporting cast as well. in fact, the team is focused on repairing several other broken links in the food chain. they have nurtured red-and-green macaws, bringing them back here for the first time in 150 years. they have also succeeded in returning pampas deer, and collared peccary to the ecosystem. they use radio and gps signals to carefully track them. >> even when we release them, we still watch them a lot to see if they are doing okay. miles: so you're helicopter , parents? >> yes. something like that. >> they are also dipping their toes into marine ecosystems, the top predator here, was the giant river otter, also locally extinct for decades.
they are teaching this pair, former residents of two european zoos, how to hunt for piranha. >> they are becoming very skillful on catching the fishes now. >> but they're not ignoring the top predator of all, humans. who for generations made their livings here hunting these beautiful animals for their valuable pelts. so the team worked hard to make this place a nexus of ecotourism. a place where living animals have value. the town of colonia carlos pelligrini, on the edge of the park, now depends on a steady stam of tourists. here to see the animals, and enjoy gaucho culture and traditions. lifelong resident diana frete is the vice-mayor. >> the new generation in town understands that conservation is
the way. that's why it's so important for us to work protecting this environment. we know where we are headed. >> where the planet is headed is what ultimately energizes this mission. we are living in a midst of massive dying, an extinction crisis. perhaps a million species disappear every year. >> i don't think it is inevitable. i mean, we have many tools. the thing is that we have to start applying those tools to avoid the extinction. >> but will it all work? in january of 2021, they took a big step, cutting open a passageway to freedom for two of the cubs. they are now roaming free, their helicopter parents watching from afar. and they are proving themselves to be successful hunters, here feasting on a capybara, an overgrown guinea pig. in the midst of covid, kris tompkins and sebastian de martino savored the moment remotely.
>> it's so emotional and it's -- and it shows that it can be done and this was always, it seems so obvious now, but it was such was such a big question. >> we are completely happy. you cannot describe how how happy and also kind of emotional. >> since then, they have released five more jaguars. the hope there will be a hundred of , them roaming free in ibera before too long. they and the other species are the missing pieces in nature's exquisite puzzle. if all goes as planned, it might be an example of how humans can change their spots. i'm miles o'brien in corrientes, argentina. ♪
judy: a hedge fund has been acquiring scores of u.s. newspapers across the country, and then gutting the newsrooms and selling off assets. it's part of a larger trend in the erosion of local news in this country, where thousands of reporter and editor jobs have been cut in the past decade. john yang has our conversation. john: judy, in may, the fund, alden global capital, bought tribune publishing, the media group whose roots stretch back to the 1840s and whose properties include the chicago tribune, baltimore sun and the new york daily news. the $633 million deal made alden the nation's second-largest newspaper owner in terms of circulation, with more than 200 newspapers. a look at alden global capital is on the cover story of the latest issue of the atlantic, which is currently available on-line. staff writer mckay coppins reported and wrote the story and
joins us now. thanks for being with us. let's start with the basics. who are what is alden global capital and what have they been doing with all these newspapers that they own? >> alden is a hedge fund that many people in the financial world would consider a vulture hedge fund, which is to say that their model focuses on distressed assets, businesses that are struggling in some way. in the case of the newspaper industry, they began buying up newspapers and newspaper chains with a very specific model they ended up pursuing, which is when they would buy a newspaper, they would cut the staff dramatically, sell any real estate holdings the paper had, in many cases increase subscription prices, in some cases outsource certain parts of the paper, all with the goal of maximizing short-term profits. they been very successful at
this, but it has come at a serious cost to the newspapers and the communities they serve. >> talk about that cost, both in the newsrooms and the communities. >> there's a huge body of research that shows that when a local newspaper either disappears or is significantly diminished, there are downstream effects on the communities they serve. voter turnout drops, misinformation spreads more easily. civic engagement is lower. there is even evidence to suggest that city budgets get larger because there is more dysfunction and corruption without a bustling newsroom of reporters holding city hall to account. what we've seen play out with the newspapers that alden has bought is fairly similar. you see newspapers dramatically shrink the coverage of local government, of education, schools, in the case of the chicago tribune which alden bought earlier this year, they
very quickly lost a quarter of their newsroom, which made it more difficult to cover, for example, the resignation of the powerful state lawmaker amid bribery charges. they didn't have a reporter at the statehouse to cover that story. when you put all the sinks together, you basically enough with the situation where cities across the country have one less check on the people in power and one less binding agent for the community, which is the role that these newspapers often serve. >> it also has a personal effect on some of the newspaper employees. in the case of the times herald in vallejo, california. >> i spoke to a reporter there who joined a newspaper of about a dozen journalists. over the course of his five years there, he went from being a general assignment reporter on this fairly sized staff to being
the last hard news reporter in town. he was basically tasked with covering not only city hall and schools but also crime, police, hospitals, and business. he was trying almost by himself to cover a city of 120,000 people. he knew that it was an impossible task. >> you were able to talk to one of the two people who run this hedge fund. what did he tell you? >> i spoke with heath freeman who is the president of alden capital and one of the cofounders. i think i was struck by how little he seemed to care about his reputation and his firms reputation for ruthless cost-cutting. at one point he almost seemed to regard it as a badge of honor. he said if you look at all these newspapers that we purchased, a lot of them were either in
bankruptcy or on the brink of bankruptcy. that was more true early on in their tenure in the industry. more recently, they've been buying newspapers like the chicago tribune and the baltimore sun that are still turning a profit. alden still follows its playbook of severe cuts and maximizing short-term profits. so i don't think they can plausibly make the case that they are trying to save these newspapers or put them on solid footing for the future. all signs point to them trying to take as much cash out of it as possible in the short term so it will show up on their ledger as a winning investment, whether or not the newspapers can survive another 10 or 15 years. >> you also write that the reaction to what they're doing provides a little optimism about 'newspapers futures? >> i spoke to a man in baltimore
who is a wealthy philanthropist to try to save the baltimore sun from alden capital and was ultimately unsuccessful in that. since its acquisition of the sun , he has become convinced that the paper will not be able to provide the city with what it needs, so he has started to build his own nonprofit, digital newsroom from the ground up. he is investing a significant amount of money into it. he told me it will launch next year with a newsroom of 50 journalists, which is close to the size of the sun, and an annual operating budget of $15 million. his hope is that they can figure out a nonprofit model that can be replicated in cities and markets across the country. >> thank you very much. ♪
judy: the batwa people, once known as pygmies, are one of the oldest surviving indigenous tribes in africa. their traditional lands, forests high in the mountains, straddle several east african countries. but the batwa are now also called conservation refugees, as governments scramble to cope with the pressures of population growth and climate change. special correspondenfred de sam lazaro has this report from western uganda. >> every morning it offers a glimpse of the childhood they remember from their childhoods. starting fires, hunting, harvesting traditional additional plants in the forest. the forest here is also the last remaining habitat of the fabled mountain gorilla, habitat that
has been steadily lost to human encroachment in recent decades. they've lived alongside guerrillas since the beginning of time, they say, but today they are some of the last survivors with any memory of it. in 1991, the government of uganda reclassified lands the batwa had lived on for millennia as national parks. that decision essentially pitted the interests of a largely invisible people against those of an animal that had become a global icon for environmental conservation. 60-year-old stephen serutokye still remembers what the batwa call the eviction like it was yesterday. our guide, boas muhumuza of the uganda wildlife authority, translated. >> sometimes they would scare
them by shooting up in the air. >> today an estimated 6000 ugandan batwa live on the periphery of the forest, pushed higher and higher up the mountainside or in slums in nearby towns. they are among the poorest inhabitants of one of the world's poorest countries, laboring on nearby farms. or performing for tourists when they can. those who do receive a portion of the park entry fees. no tourists mean no pay and during the ndemic it's often been that way. on this day it was just me with my team. cut off from the forest and traditional medicines, their numbers have declined. four in ten children don't survive to age five and average life expectancy for the batwa is 28 years. 28. bakunzi: malnutrition, and then pneumonia, then respiratory tract infections. and then the most challenging now is hiv and aids.
>> the doctor says they face widepsread discrimination in larger uganda society in general and in seeking services like health care. so his church-based group brings basic medical care to slum settlements like this one, where he gave me a tour. we talked to the baby's grandmother, justina neirkundi. each day, she goes to the nearby town looking for farm or domestic work, usually in exchange for food. when that doesn't work out, she's left to beg for it, as she had for this porridge she gave an older grandchild. dr. bakunzi: i was asking where she has gotten porridge, and she said that yesterday she went to somewhere where they had a party, so they give her this and she brought it. >> she went to some richer person's house where there was a party. so these are leftovers. the day we visited, she'd had no >> luck. >> she has not gotten work, they
have to sleep on an empty stomach. quick sleeping in cramped quarters wide open to the elements. >> it's probably eight feet by four feet. >> yeah, something like that. >> for a family of five to sleep in. >> it's really very challenging. that's one word for it. >> >> even the rare bright spots, like a healthy baby girl amid so much suffering and high infant mortality. even these small victories can be short-lived, he says. dr. bakunzi: there is a risk of her getting hiv as soon as she is 10 or 11, because they have lost hope. >> dr bakunzi says many young women are forced into sex work to survive. he has 16 hiv patients in this slum community of about 90 families.
>> is there a big problem with alcoholism? >> yes, there is. >> his organization affiliated , with the seventh day adventist church, is working to train them to farm to help them become more self-sufficient. dr. bakunzi: yes, this becomes a starting point. at a later time we will be providing also vegetables. then beans, soybean, they do well here. >> his group rents this land for the batwa, land that was once thickly forested where their ancestors lived until a few decades ago. the irony is not lost on brian atuheire batenda, with the african initiative on food security and environment. >> projects such as those are very important. but you heard -- who's land was it? i'm not saying there's nothing being done.
>> real development must begin with education to overcome decades of neglect, says 33-year-old alice nyamihanda. in 2010, she became the first member of the batwa tribe to earn a university degree, thanks to sponsorships from aid organizations. alice my people are suffering. : that's why i studied, i wanted to be an example to my people. >> she took us to visit her people in a mountainside village. here, children are miles from any school, she says. even minimal fees and the required uniforms are out of reach. barely 10% of batwa children are enrolled in school, she says. advocates have taken their case to uganda's courts which have ruled that the batwa are entitled to compensation for the loss of their land. however, few people we talked are sure that relief will come any time soon or what shape it might take.
one big problem, because of their small numbers and discrimination, the batwa have little political power, says alice. >> we need representatives to represent the batwa at a national level, at all levels . even at the village level we don't have someone. >> we were evicted from the forests, they sing, and now they are home to the mountain gorillas. and unlike these conservation refugees, the gorilla population has grown from 400 to about 460. but the batwa see very little of the tens of millions of dollars uganda earns in non pandemic years from tourism revenue. for the pbs newshour, i'm fred de sam lazaro near the mgahinga gorilla national park, in uganda. judy: a difficult story, so glad
we could tell it. fred's reporting is in partnership with the under-told stories project at the university of st. thomas in minnesota. ♪ judy: since childhood, judy human has faced able-ism, institutionally, socially, personally. new york's public school system event at her from enrolling because she was often excluded by her own peers, after a lifetime of activism she is finally seeing a shift in how people with disabilities are viewed and treated. her book is called being human, and unremitting -- unrepentant memoir of the disability rights activists. >> and i was five years old in brooklyn new york on east 38th street, my mother did what every
other parent did when their kid was five. she took me to school to register me. this was in the early 1950's. there were no mortar -- motorized wheelchairs, so she pushed me to school, and it wasn't accessible. she pulled me up the steps, and the principal said i couldn't go to school because i was a fire hazard. i don't know that there was an explanation, it just was. i think the average person, they see disability as a threat, and a threat to not being able to do things as to -- as people have typically done in. but the question is, is it because one has a disability, or because society itself has constructed itself in such a way because they haven't seen us. discrimination against disabled people has existed from the beginning of time.
we are in a place right now where, because of other movements, civil rights movement, the women's movement, black lives matter movement, etc., people are speaking up and out. one of the first pieces of legislation that the disability community really engaged in was getting regulations developed for a provision of the law called section 504. it says you cannot discriminate against someone who has a disability if the entities are receiving money from the federal government. it was the first time that many of these young, disabled people felt a part of something and really felt that they were making a difference, not only for their life, but for the lives of many others. there is a shift i believe going on in our society where we are looking at race and gender equality and disability as
issues that we need to address. varsity is something that makes companies stronger. that diverse businesses provide better services for customers. i also am a big believer that the disability rights community cannot stand on its own. we need to be working with all other movements and we want all other movements to be inclusive of disabled people. if we are actively learning and working together, we can do things like make sure when housing is being built in our communities that it is accessible, not just for people who have physical disabilities today, that if you are going to have a physical disability tomorrow. i think having a disability really has allowed me to do and get in touch with so many things and opportunities that otherwise would not have happened. people look at us as the label of our disability. and it is a part of who we are, but it is not who we are.
my name is judy human, and this is my brief but spectacular take on the disability rights movement. judy: so inspiring to everyone. thank you. you can watch all of our brief but spectacular episodes at pbs.org/newshour/brief. residents of benton harbor michigan who are dealing with a water emergency wrought on by increased lead levels in their pipes said this crisis is only the latest in a long history of disinvestment and neglect in their majority black media. find more on this water crisis and on benton harbor at pbs.org/newshour. that's the newshour for tonight. join us here tomorrow night, thank you, please stay safe, and we will see you soon.
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and friends of the newshour. ♪ this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. ♪ >> this is pbs newshour west, from weta studios in washington and from our bureau at 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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