tv PBS News Hour PBS November 11, 2021 3:00pm-4:01pm PST
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight: the tipping point. world leaders struggle to make meaningful progress agast climate change, as the global conference draws to a close. then, the long shadow of war. suicides among american veterans steadily increase, while the federal government assesses the major damage done by burn pits. and, elusive investment. despite the promise of increased financing in so-called opportunity zones, poor communities across the country see little change. >> communities like this don't have a lot of time to be on a respirator. opportunity zone moneys could have gotten it done within a year, and that's what
communities like this need. >> woodruff: all that and more, on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> johnson & johnson. >> bnsf railway. >> consumer cellular. >> financial services firm raymond james. >> b.d.o. accountants and advisors. >> the kendeda fund.
committed to advancing restorative justice and meaningful work through investments in transformative leaders and ideas. more at kendedafund.org. >> carnegie corporation of new york. supporting innovations in education, democratic engagement, and the advancement of international peace and security. at carnegie.org. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: the international
climate change summit in glasgow, scotland is coming to a close, but several top officials said today that they are concerned that too many countries are not willing to make enough real commitments to reducing emissions. u.n. secretary general antonio guterres delivered that message in a speech this morning. >> promises ring hollow when the fossil fuels industry still receives trillions in subsidies, as measured by the i.m.f. or, when countries are still building coal plants. or, when carbon is still without a price-- distorting markets and investors decisions. every country, every city, every company, every financial institution, must radically, credibly, and verifiably reduce their emissions and decarbonize their portfolios, starting now. >> woodruff: our william brangham has been covering this all week from glasgow, and joins me now. his reporting is part of the "covering climate now" news
consortium. so, hello, again to you, william. tomorrow is scheduled to be the end, the wrap-up of this conference. tell us what the mood there is. is there any sense that there could be some kind of breakthrough. >> brangham: i don't know if a breakthrough is on the cards. but as you mentioned before, there were some developments last week that were notable. but the whole issue here, as we've discussed in the past, is will these nations pledge to cut their carbon emissions enough to stop the planet warming in a catastrophic way? the paris agreement, if you remember, said we've got to keep warming under 1.5 degrees celsius. and that every notch above that temperature is more and more damage to the planet. according to the current pledges that are out right now, there was an analysis done by the climate action tracker, it says that our current pledges put us on a track for 2.4 degrees celsius. the u.n. said we're on path for 2.7 degrees. now, you might wonder, that
doesn't sound like that much of of a difference. one researcher i talked to today said, yeah, the difference between those things could sound like the difference between a nice day and a lovely day. but the fact is that much extra energy in the atmosphere heating up the planet is what scientists say will drive more droughts, longer heat waves, more floods, greater sea level rise. that's the issue at stake here. ministers are still meeting over this issue, what they will pledge. and we just don't know what's going to happen by tomorrow. >> woodruff: william, i recall on tuesday, you reported, you talked about the issue of money, specifically whether the wealthier nations owe something to the poorer, developing nations who have suffered the consequences of what many of these wealthy countries have done. has there been any progress on that issue this week? >> brangham: yeah, that's right, judy. to many people's surprise, this issue has gotten some real traction. and as you said, developing
nations argue the wealthy world built its economy on coal and oil and gas, and those emissions hurt us. and we are owed something for that. there was a draft resolution that was published yesterday of the document that might come out tomorrow at the end of the conference, and it did mention this issue, and not just once. it mentioned it a few times. that is notable. that said-- i asked teresa anderson abo this language, here's what she had to say. >> if you look at the language, it's all u.n. legalesis. it's like we welcome, we reaffirm, even a little bit of urge, but no real creation of the mechanism that is needed to address the crisis. so when it comes down to it, communities on the front lines are not going to get a single penny under from these nice words. >> brangham: so, there's still some real skepticism as to whether this will translate into real action. there was a press conference that happened here today with some leaders from bangladesh,
from greenpeace, and they were, again, stressing the importance of this, but also pointing out that the one nation they argued that was standing in the way of this discussion was the united states. i was very surprised to hear that. >> woodruff: and, william, what is the understanding of why the u.s. would be against make anything kind of payments? >> brangham: well, it's a very good question, and i put this question to alden meyer. he's a climate policy expert, and he has been at many of these u.n. conferences before. here's what he had to say about that: >> the fear expressed by the u.s. is that if we start to admit that we are on the hook to help these countries deal with the impacts of climate change, it will create an expectation of unlimited, open-ended liability and compensation for past emissions. that's the fear. but the question is we need to find something in between unlimited liability, and paltry sums of money. that's want challenge here. >> brangham: so that's the
issue in a nutshell, judy: is there a middle spot somewhere between nothing and everything? and i can tell you, there are hundreds of representatives from dozens of countries around me right now desperately waiting for an answer to that question. >> woodruff: it sounds like a simple one, but we know it is not. the one thing we know for sure, william, the whole world is watching what happens there in glasgow. thank you very much. and we'll look for your reporting tomorrow. >> brangham: you're welcome, judy. >> woodruff: in other news on this veterans day, president biden saluted those who have served, as "the very spine of america." he marked his first veterans day as president with a wreath- laying at arlington national cemetery. and, he said that many veterans have faced challenges that most people will never know.
mr. biden also announced new help for troops exposed to toxins from so-called burn pits. we will look at this, after the news summary a ninth person has died of injuries suffered at a houston concert last friday. the latest victim was a 22-year- old college senior. he and the others were hurt when fans surged toward the stage as rap artist travis scott performed. today, scott asked victims to contact him directly for any assistance they need. in eastern europe, fears are growing that a migrant crisis could erupt into a military confrontation. overnight, polish troops clashed again with migrants along the border with belarus. lithuania also reported attempted crossings, and ukraine sent troops to its border with belarus. thousands of people are huddled in makeshift camps inside belarus, in freezing weather. most are trying, ultimately, to get to germany.
china's president xi jinping warned today against creating a new cold war in the indo- pacific. he spoke in a video message that aired at the asia-pacific cooperation summit in new zealand. it appeared to be aimed at a new security alliance of the u.s., britain, and australia. >> ( translated ): no matter how global developments may evolve, attempts to draw ideological lines or form small circles on geopolitical grounds are bound to fail. the asia-pacific region cannot and should not relapse into the confrontation and division of the cold war era. >> woodruff: meanwhile, china's ruling communist party approved a new political history that puts xi on a par with top leaders of the past. that could pave the way for him to serve a third term. the u.s. state department is urging americans to leave haiti. it comes as security has steadily worsened, and as gangs have choked off fuel distribution.
the resulting shortage has affected essential services from medical care to access to banks. a federal appeals court has blocked release of trump administration documents related to the january assault on the u.s. capitol. a lower court had ordered the material given to a congressional committee, tomorrow. that order is now frozen while mr. trump appeals the lower court's action. and on wall street, stocks had a mixed day. the dow jones industrial average lost 158 points to close at 35,921. the nasdaq rose 81 points. the s&p 500 added two points. and, south africa's last apartheid president, f.w. de klerk, has died, after a battle with cancer. in 1990, he announced the end of rigid racial discrimination, and he freed nelson mandela from prison. the two men ultimately shared the nobel peace prize.
de klerk later refused to say that apartheid was a crime against humanity-- before reversing himself. today, his foundation released his final message. >> ( translated ): i, without qualification, apologize for the pain and the hurt and the indignity and the damage that apartheid has done to black, brown and indians in south africa. >> woodruff: f.w. de klerk was 85 years old. still to come on the newshour: the covid pandemic refuses to ease up, as infections increase nationwide. the legacy of the bataclan massacre in paris is remembered, as the perpetrators face trial. a composer honors the centennial of the tomb of the unknown soldier through song. plus, much more.
>> woodruff: on this veteran's day, the biden administration is moving to make it easier for veterans to get their illness recognized by veteran affairs as being caused by exposure to toxic air while serving in war zones. here's what president biden said today at arlington cemetary. >> our administration is going to meet the sacred obligation that we owe you. we're going to work with congress-- republicans and democrats together-- to make sure our veterans receive the world-class benefits that they've earned, and meet the sacred-- the specific care-- the specific needs-- that they each individually need. >> woodruff: and nick schifrin joins me now for more on this. so, nick, first of all, remind us what are burn pits that were
used in these wars? and what does it mean when the president says the specific needs of each service member? >> schifrin: yeah, so 3.7 million service members served in iraq, afghanistan, and the persian gulf, all the way back to the early 90s and the gulf war, and many were exposed to toxic air, including by burn pits, literally, pits where the military would burn everything from tires to styrofoam, right next to where service members and lived and worked. and veteran groups argued that created toxic smoke that afflicted service members with higher-than-average rates of illnesses from asthma to cancer. and for president biden, this is personal. he believes that his son beau's brain cancer after service in iraq may have been caused by a burn pit but of the 40,000 service members who applied for disability compensation or medical care since 9/11 for cancer, 60% were rejected. the v.a. says there's no
scientific proof that those illnesses created-- were created by toxic exposure during service and determined that link, the v.a. kealize on data from the national academy of sciences. now, in august, the v.a. eliminated that threshold for that link for less deadly conditions, like asthma. and today the white house is taltalking about cancers that veterans groups say are linked to toxic exposure during service. for cancers, from now on, the v.a. will look at not only national al qaeda of sciences data, but their own real-world data to lower the evidentiary burden to connect cancers with exposure to that toxic smoke during service. the v.a. has 90 days to look into this and report back. >> woodruff: so this is a development. nick, what has been the reaction to what the administration is saying. >> schifrin: the reactions we have heard from rosy torrez, of burn pit 360, who called this today b.s., because of the time
it will take, not only the 90-day review, but also another step after that, that will require multiple months before anything can change. now, we also spoke to jeremy butter of the iraq and afghanistan veterans of america. he called this a agreement first step, but it is not enough and it is not fast enough. "i completely believe they are working in good faith but it is just too slow." here's what former secretary of veterans affairs david shul key said to us earlier today: >> i don't think it's fast enough. i think it's a signal moving in a different direction and in a positive direction. i think what the white house is signaling is that the current system is not working, and they want to find a way to change it. what they're suggesting is a new way that i think does make s sense, and they want to pilot that. and they want if to lead towards better results. >> schifrin: but that pilot will take months for cancers, and then and only then consider other illnesses.
meanwhile, legislation on both sides of the house that would grant a range of benefits for a range of illnesses that's correct what is veterans groups want to pass. >> woodruff: so we will see. nick, there is something else that i want-- that you've been looking into, another story on this veterans day. it's what the white house has called a national security crisis. and that is suicide rates among veterans. >> schifrin: yeah, the white house since 2010, 65,000 veterans have died by suicide. and that is eight times the number of u.s. service members who died fighting since 9/11. now, among active duty, the department of defense says 580 died by suicide in 2020, and since 2015, the suicide rate has increased from 20.2 per 100,000 to 28.7 per 100,000. to examine why, i spoke to david wood, brigham young university professor and licensed psychologist who is in the reserves and is the operational
psychologist for the utah national guard. what he told me are his personal views and don't represent the defnse department. i asked him earlier today about research he's done and one reason that leads veterans to die by suicide-- the loss of connection and purpose. >> the transition out of the military can be very disconcerting, very disor disorienting, loss of purpose, loss of camaraderie, can be very, very distressing. it's hard to replicate that same experience that was very orienting, very reassuring in the military service. and there is that sense of disorientation that can be really upsetting. >> schifrin: you also write about veterans who face a cr crisis, and then make rash decisions. talk about that. >> yes. dr. craig bryant at ohio state university has helped us understand that many individuals, they face an emotional crise and don't have a clear idea or a coping plan for how to deal with that. and so one of the ways he's helped us as clinicians is to create what's called a crisis response plan so that when a crisis does occur for a veteran, there is a game plan for trying
to cope with it the best they can, which always includes connection with oths and connection with emergency services, such as the suicide crisis line. >> schifrin: talk about how in these crises, access to firearms plays a part in this. >> the main problem is that when a veteran attempts suicide with a firearm, obviously, it is a high lethality rate. whereas other means, or other methods to try to take one's life are not as lethal. and we have to be creative, too. because many veterans and service members in particular, don't want to have restriction to their firearms. and so we have to have creative solution thagz help the veteran or service member say, "you're in a crisis now, is there some way we can put a lock on the gun, store the ammo separately, or give it to someone?" >> schifrin: how does posttraumatic stress exacerbate some of the problems we just discussed? >> posttraumatic stress can contribute to the sense of disconnection, also a loss of purpose, a sense of forshortenned future. and, also, there can be
recklessness and impulsivity as a part of p.t.s.d. it does contribute in many ways. >> schifrin: have you seen death by suicide increase when it comes to what's known as "moral injury." can you explain what that is and whether that plays a part in this? >> yes, moral injury is essentially either a service member or veteran who has violated their own sense of values, or they've seen the violation of values in others. and that can create some emotional injury, which we call moral injury. and that can contribute as well, because that can help-- that can undermine a person's sense of worth or integriy. and, also, maybe create a sense of alienation or disconnection from people that they previously truste one example that comes up a lot, or one specific example is a battle buddy, a fellow soldier was sent into a combat scenario by a commander, and that individual was killed. and the assessment on the back end, the hindsight was that was not necessary. that was rash. or that was not helpful.
and that creates a really strong lingering sense of anger or betrayal. another example, is in combat operations when enemy combatant engage children or seemingly noncombatant, such as, you know, local farmers or individuals, they oftentimes, because of rules of engagement, are shot or killed. and that can create a real lingering sense of violation of one's values as an example. >> schifrin: and those feelings, of course, continue long after the service members have left combat. >> very much so, yeah. it lingers for a long time. >> schifrin: let's talk about some solutions. the white house recently unveiled a new strategy to prevent military veteran suicide. it called suicide rates a "national security crisis." and the strategy calls for improving firearm safety, expanding high-quality crisis care, as well as follow-on mental health support, and addressing mitigating factors, like financial strain, a lack of
housing. are those the right steps? >> i think those are on the right track. programs can help, treatment can help, support systems can help, such as the crisis lines. i also think, though, that there are things that happen in the white space, such as really having meaningful connection-- programs, policies, support systems aren't going to ever replace that sense of meaningful connection, and the sense of meaning, purpose, and personal worth. >> schifrin: speak about your personal experience. what are you focused on in your clinical practice? >> definitely values, connecting the veteran to personal values. the values is the idea that gives them a sense of importance for living, meaning, purpose, and personal worth. and, also, that internal compass. we find that we can connect that individual to their values, that gives them the long-term view, and helps the to kind of calm down that sense of crisis and urgency that would otherwise take them off track of those values. one in particular who had three different factors, major disruption in relationship, was
very, very distressing, and feeling like a burden to others. he would say things like, "i feel like i have been a lousy friend to you and my friends and people are better off without me around." and in critical moments, i was able to help him-- this individual-- he would say, "hey, i'm in a bad place," and just kind of sitting with him, talking with him, talking him through it, bringing that sense of-- that sense of urgency and suicidality down. it clears the air for connecting to those values like, hey, this is not what i want to do. >> schifrin: zooming back out, can there be structures in place to provide those values to so many veterans and active duty who need to remember them? >> i do think that needs to be a focus of, you know, any intervention or program to really get the veteran back to their own values north necessarily providing it to them, but probably helping thim rediscover it. >> schifrin: dr. david wood, thank you very much. >> my pleasure.
>> woodruff: the covid-19 pandemic still is exerting its grip, despite booster shot rollouts, a new vaccine for children, and a promising pill that can reduce hospitalizations and deaths. the number of cases has started to climb again, and experts disagree on whether we can expect an end to the pandemic in the months to come. amna nawaz looks at the state of things. >> nawaz: judy, the virus is gaining more of a foothold in the united states again. the country is averaging over 1,200 deaths daily, with more than 75,000 new cases reported each day. that is up an average of 7% from two weeks ago. some regions surpass others. several states in new england, out west, and alaska have experienced a significant surge. joining me today is andy slavitt, former advisor to the biden administration covid response, who in a recent twitter thread, laid out how
the pandemic is very much still here, and we don't yet know for how long. to the newshour. thanks for making the time. the twitter thread was incredibly sobering. you said you wrote it because you heard too many smart people saying the pandemic is over. why do you think they're saying that? why do they believe that? >> i think parts of all of us would like to believe the pandemic is over, and each time we see a lull in cases, it's easy to lull ourselves into the sense this is indeed over. i think we have to look at a couple of things here in this country that just make-- make us have to-- there are a couple of things in this country we have to make sure we're paying attention to. for one, we haven't nearly vaccinated enough people. in europe right now, even in countries that have close tightf the population vaccinated, they're still seeing outbreaks. we can expect to see that happen here as well. and we have much of the world that's still not vaccinated, which means we're-- we are-- until we are all in a position where we're confident there aren't going to be more
variants, we all need to be worried. i'd love to say this is over, but i think, as many of us would, we're not there yet. >> nawaz: for anyone who missed it, this is just part of your twitter thread.3 you said, "to be clear, when cases dip, it's not over. when boosters come, it's not over. when kids are vaccinated, it's not over. when therapies are approved, it's not over." andy, is there any measurable moment ahead when you think we can say it's over? this elusive idea of herd immunity or something else? >> i want to make two points. first of all, just because it's not over doesn't mean that we aren't entering a stage where we n't get out to many of the things in life that we did before the pandemic, and do them safely. we are now entering what i would call the "tools era." we have lots and lots and lots of tools from vaccines to masks to instant tests. so these tools-- and we're soon to have more tools with more medication-- they allow us to do things more safely. but even as we're doing things more safely, there is an average
of 450,000 people dying per year at the current rate. and if we don't take advantage of these tools, we're all potentially vulnerable. so i think it's important to know that we can manage our way through this. and when we get to a point where we are quite confident that we can predict what's going to happen with the virus, then we'll be in a place where we'll be talking about moving on to something that's more endemic. but we're not there yet because we still have waves happening all over the world, including, unfortunately, here in the u.s. >> nawaz: which brings me to my next question, actually, because there are these pockets across the united states, counties and other local areas, where there are very low vaccination rates, sometimes right next to other counties with very high vaccination rates. we're seeing, even an example, colorado, those pockets are enough to cause surges in want hospitals and lead to more deaths and really stretch resources on the ground. are those pockets that we see, are those prolonging the pandemic? >> well, they are. we have tens of millions of people who are unvaccinated, and
as you say, many of them live in kind of clustered areas, and those areas are most at risk and many of those areas, unfortunately, do haveursing shortages and other situations. but even in places like california, san francisco, where you have 80%-plus people vaccinates, that remaining 20% of people are enough to drive case count increases. in california, in the last few weeks, we've seen a tripling of cases. we're still at a low point, but, again, there are enough people all over the country that are susceptible to delta. remember, delta spreads much, much, much faster and mump, much, much easier than prior covid. if we didn't have delta, it would be a different picture, but unfortunately, that's not where we are. >> nawaz: you mentioned the many tools in the tool kit right now. i'm curious, especially with the holidays ahead, people gathering, people expecting maybe another surge, is there anything the u.s. could be doing right now that it's not? >> i really applaud the efforts
of the administration to make more low-cost, at-home tests available. and, you know, i think if you're going to try to gather for the holidays, if you're going to travel, taking a test, paying attention to the results is an important tool. we have toes have a country open up and get back to work, get back to business, get back to school. but if we use things like these tests and soon-to-be these therapies that are going to come out, we're going to be able to do the things in life that we value so much. >> nawaz: what would you tell americans will out there who have heard pandemic might be over in a few months, in spring things will turn around, maybe in the next year, mentally preparing and coping for that moment? how should they be processing this and setting expectations for what's ahead? >> you know, my advice is-- and it may seem a little counter-intuitive-- don't delay life. we have a lot of things we can do during the course of this pandemic. you can go safely to sports events. you can travel. you can see family.
you can dine. you can go to school. all these things. as long as we take precautions. and these precautions are i think quite modest to allow us to do these things. we need to be aware that there are people that are very unsafe right now. but it shouldn't be one of those feelings we've had for the last year and a half where it just terrifies us, or it freezes us in place and doesn't allow us to move on. we can do those things at the same time, and then one day we will look back and we'll say, "wow, the pandemic has really died down. we're now into a much more steady-state basis." when we get there, that will be great, but in the meantime, let's keep going, is my advice. >> nawaz: andy slavitt, former senior adviser to the biden administration's covid response. andy, thanks for your time. always good to have you on. >> thank you.
>> woodruff: president trump's 2017 tax plan created opportunity zones-- a program of tax incentives to encourage investment in low-income communities. but, as paul solman reports, that program has not necessarily spurred economic growth and jobs in distressed communities, the way it had been envisioned. >> reporter: east baltimore's southern baptist church, back in may, 2015. the annual celebration of the church's ushers was jarring, given the loss that pastor donte hickman's flock had suffered just the week before, in the violent protests after freddie gray's death. the church's half-built senior housing complex and community center had been torched. a third of the $12 million project reduced to rubble within hours. so, too, the church bus. but just two years later, a seeming godsend was part of president trump's tax cuts and jobs act:
"opportunity zones." >> i thought, god, you've opened up the windows of heaven. >> reporter: so, what are opportunity zones? supposedly, low-income census tracts, chosen by states, that you get a capital gains tax break to invest in. >> first, you have to have a capital gain. >> reporter: david wessel has written a whole book about opportunity zones, or o.z.s,“ only the rich can play,” since only if you're rich do you have an asset worth enough to invest, or pay taxes on if you sell it. but, says wessel... >> you sell that asset, and you get to defer capital gains taxes on that initial sale, and get a discount on the capital gains tax. then you take those profits and put them into an opportunity zone fund. hold that for ten years, and you don't have to pay any capital gains whatsoever. >> reporter: so the proverbial“ tax break for the rich." but, if they're investing in a needy neighborhood, what's not to like? o.z. promoter jill homan.
>> if the question is, "are people just in it to make money?", then the answer is, you know, sure, there are investors that, all they're focused on is making money in opportunity zones. but you know what? that's okay, and investors, as a result of it, are more inclined to look beyond traditional areas of investment. >> reporter: to down-and-out areas craving investment, like east baltimore. >> pastor, please. >> reporter: which is why pastor hickman agreed to a photo op with the president in 2018. >> thank you, mr. president. i am here today, thanking you in advance, for funding and resources that you will direct to the urban and distressed communities like baltimore. >> reporter: and, in fact... >> so, this is exactly what opportunity zones were meant for. >> reporter: a project in west baltimore, to convert a block of bombed-out row houses into retail on the first floor, housing above. the o.z. dream. so, what do you think about giving tax breaks to rich people
to rebuild something like this? >> i think it'd be great. >> we need it. it's definitely needed here. >> if all the opportunity zones in america were like this, i wouldn't have any complaint, but only a small fraction of them are. >> reporter: in fact, says wessel... >> there are 8,764 opportunity zones across the country. in 2019, 84% of the opportunity zones got no money at all, and half the money went to the best- off 1% of zones. >> reporter: tens of billions invested so far. this project got about $1 million. >> this is roughly the price of one condo in the ritz carlton complex in downtown portland. >> reporter: and that is also an opportunity zone project. >> yes. so the point is, opportunity zones can be used for their intended purpose, but there's no requirement that they do so. unless the law or the regulations nudge inveors, most of the money will go to
projects that probably would have been done otherwise, or in areas that are already drawing capital because they're gentrifying. >> reporter: but what's so bad about gentrifying? the old lexington market neighborhood, for example, where o.z. money has put up student housing for the university of maryland campus nearby. as promoter jill homan says... >> it's in a low-income census tract that is, you know, defined with a certain poverty level. they're providing jobs. many of them are bringing needed retail. many of them are taking blight or in urban communities. for many in these communities, the idea of bringing in well- constructed, well-designed buildings to improve the quality of life, i think it's fantastic. >> what this is, is student housing. but it's not like the dorms that you and i went to. it's got granite countertops and, you know, it's got a roof deck, and everything. >> reporter: “prosper on fayette,” with studio apartments starting at $1,600 a month. >> this is a $50 million
project. about $20 million of it comes from opportunity zone money. >> reporter: a project with a sweet potential payoff. as, it so happens, is the case with a lot of o.z. investment for student housing around the country. >> that student housing is in college towns, where there aren't any poor people, but they show up in the census as poor because college kids have no income. >> reporter: or consider this o.z. project, says wessel... >> so this is port covington. it's an industrial area that's being turned into retail, office and hotels. >> reporter: a $5.5 billion project on property owned by the c.e.o. of under armour. >> he got $600 million worth of subsidy from the city, a brownfields x credit from the state, and a quarter of a billion dollars from goldman sachs-- goldman's own money-- to start this project, before opportunity zones ever arrived on the horizon. this is a project that is an example of people getting a
tax break for investing in a project that was already underway and already had some big pocket investors. >> reporter: and, how did it qualify? is this a poor area? >> this site was not originally an opportunity zone. it wasn't even eligible to be an opportunity zone. >> reporter: but, it was next to an old so-called empowerment zone from the clinton era. >> and it turns out, over there under-- under a highway, there's a sliver of land less than the size of a football field. this land overlapped with that old empowerment zone, and voila, it qualified. >> reporter: all perfectly legal. >> there are very few rules about what you can use opportunity zone tax breaks for. and so, there are quite a few hotels going up around the country with opportunity zone money, because a developer sees this as a cheap way to get money. an investor following the law gets a tax break, the treasury loses the revenue, but the stated purpose-- to help poor people in a poor community-- is completely lost. >> this is going to be 89 units of multi-family housing, all on
this strip of land. >> reporter: okay, let's end back at pastor hickman's poor community, in which he is trying to work wonders. >> we just purchased that building. we're going to completely gut it and renovate it and turn it into a workforce center, where we'll have a barber training school. we'll have a demolition training school. cvs pharmaceutical training. just across the street? we purchased three liquor stores out of the community. >> reporter: where more housing ll go. and on the next block, a laundry's been demolished to make way for a huge health and wellness center. >> a $32 million project, that an opportunity zone could have paid for. >> reporter: and did it? >> we've met with all kinds of instors. all came with the terminology: opportunity, mission-driven projects. but the mission was all about
how much money they could make out of a project. can we get our 10% to 12%? but when it turned out that the project could not yield the kind of interest that they wanted, then there was no opportunity for us, and there was no interest from them. >> reporter: so how much opportunity zone money has actually come into the community? >> not one single dime. >> reporter: but the church is forging ahead, with grants and other financing, just as they did with the senior housing center that rose from the ashes. which prompted one last question. how much of a difference would it have really made to have opportunity zone money, since you're doing this anyway? >> communities like this don't have a lot of time to be on a respirator. we've been working on this project for the last five years. opportunity zone moneys could have gotten it done within a year. and that's what communities like this need. we need change, observable quickly, just as quickly as
they're doing it in downtown sectors. >> reporter: for the pbs newshour, paul solman. >> woodruff: a sad anniversary will be marked in france on saturday. it will be six years since gunmen of the islamic state attacked several venues in paris and killed 130 people, 90 of whom were murdered at the bataclan music hall. the trial of the perpetrators is underway in paris, and up to 1,800 people are due to give evidence over the course of the next few months. from paris, special correspondent malcolm brabant reports on the struggle for many, to have their testimonies show that love is triumphing over hatred. >> reporter: the tiny parisian apartment of expatriate los angelino, helen wilson, is a shrine to nick alexander, who was the love of her life. alexander was the merchandise
manager for the rock band, eagles of death metal, when islamic state terrorists stormed the bataclan. >> this is because he's my star, and he's always watching over me. this one is life for paris, which is one of my support groups. ♪ ♪ ♪ ( gunfire ) >> when they came in, nick threw me out of the way, and he was initially shot. then later on, they came back, and i was shot in both thighs. i knew he was injured, and so i didn't leave. and i stayed with him and i told him-- i just kept telling him that i loved him. i just kept saying, "i love you, nicky, and i'm going to stay with you. i'm not going to leave you." >> reporter: six years after almost bleeding to death, helen wilson is in constant pain from nerve endings shredded by kalashnikov rounds. what's harder to bear are the grief and psychological impact of the worst attack on french soil since world war ii.
>> my mental anguish has been extremely complicated. i do have nightmares, i still have nightmares. i had a nightmare last night. i'm constantly trying to save everybody. i still have days where i don't want to get out of bed. and i feel like it's the end of the world. >> reporter: for the past two months, wilson's focus has been on this parisian court house, where, within a ring of steel, 20 extremists are on trial, accused of involvement in the worst islamic state attack in europe. 90 people were killed at the bataclan. two gunmen were shot dead by police. a third blew himself up with a suicide belt. the prime defendant is salah abdelslam, pictured here, in a in a courtroom sketch. he was the gang's driver, who chose not to detonate his
suicide belt as planned, and was arrested in the belgian capital, brussels, four months after the attack. >> i would like to see him take responsibility for what he's done, and redeem himself in a way in that maybe he turn around and help other people that are at risk to become radicalized. ithink that would be the only redemption. >> reporter: the main defendant in this trial has shown absolutely no remorse. salah abdelslam refused to answer the questions of investigators, and he's made quite plain his contempt for the french justice system. when he was asked his identity, he told the judge that the only divine being was allah, and that his messenger on earth was the prophet mohammed. and when he was asked what his profession was, he replied, "i'm a fighter of the islamic state." back home in britain after giving evidence at the trial is nick alexander's sister zoe. she welcomed the chance to look the defendants in the eye and tell them that she didn't hate them. >> i don't hate them.
i hate what they did. i think by hating them, we give them power. and power is what they want. we need to take that away. and by neutralizing our feelings about them, we remove their power. >> reporter: this grieving father is the polar opposite. patrick jardin despairs of the conciliatory tone adopted by nick alexander's circle and other witnesses. his daughter nathalie was a lighting engineer, who ran towards the gunfire. >> ( translated ): she went for a drink in the rock star cafe next door, and when the shooting started, the owner of the cafe closed it down. but she went underneath the shutter and she said, “i cant leave my friends in there,” and so she went there and she got hit. >> reporter: before the islamic state murdered his daughter, jardin supported mainstream right wing anti- immigrant politicians. since her death, his views have been hardened by numerous atrocities. these include the 2016 truck
attack on pedestrians in nice in southern france, which killed 86 people and injured 458. >> ( translated ): every day, we are at risk of being slaughtered in the street in france, and it has become a country of such unbelievable violence.“ we shouldn't be racist.” yeah, sure. well, all muslims aren't terrorists; however, all terrorists are muslims. so, since we cannot distinguish them, maybe we should limit their number in the country. >> reporter: outside the bataclan, amine hijeij fears that such views have gained significant traction. hijeij has moroccan heritage and heads an anti-racist non-profit, campaigning for co-existence between faiths and ethnicities, and undoing the damage done by the islamists. >> ( translated ): they absolutely don't want muslims to feel at home in western countries, so that they only feel at home in a muslim country elsewhere. they want to create that division. >> reporter: jardin is unconvinced. some of his anti-muslim public
statements have been so extreme that the french authorities have put him on a terrorism watchlist. jardin insists he's law-abiding. >> ( translated ): they say that i am full of hatred, and yes, i have hate. the opposite of hate is love, and i cannot love the people who murdered my daughter. it is impossible. >> i understand anger, and i understand retribution. but an eye for an eye only makes the world go blind, as gandhi said. hate only breeds more hate. when revenge is included in hatred and violence, then i only see more people, and more innocent people, being harmed. >> reporter: that sense of compassion resonates with sarah perks, a british fashion historian, who has been to gigs at the bataclan several times since she came close to being killed in 2015. >> the only way to combat fear and hate is by love, and by opening people's minds and
showing them that they've got nothing to be afraid of. >> reporter: sarah perks was among audience members who played dead during the massacre. they held on until special forces rescued them. we first met a few days after the attack. >> i am incredibly lucky. a little bit numb. >> reporter: how did you manage to hold it together? >> i don't know. you just do. every time i go, i obviously have a moment when i think of them and wish that they could all still be here with us. but they're not. life is so precious, and i want to carry on and live my life fully for the people that can't anymore. (♪ drumming ♪) >> reporter: some good has emerged from tragedy.
a music trust set up in nick alexander's name provides instruments for projects such as drum works, which uses mass participation to break down social barriers and boost the confidence of young people. ♪ ♪ ♪ (♪ celtic music ♪) this celtic sound bowl is used in music therapy to mitigate the impact of dementia. >> i said to the terrorists in court, that they may have taken his body, but his energy lives in every note that's played in his memory. ♪ ♪ ♪ (♪ celtic music ♪) >> reporter: now that's a message which strikes a chord, at the bataclan, and beyond. for the pbs newshour, i'm malcolm brabant in paris.
>> woodruff: on this veterans day, in celebration of its centennial, there is a new look at the tomb of the unknown soldier, through music. jeffrey brown has our story, for our arts and culture series, "canvas." >> if death has a sound then i am now its echo. >> brown: an echo now 100 years old-- the anniversary of the“ tomb of the unknown soldier,” the monument at arlington national cemetery dedicated to those killed in warfare, whose remains are unidentified. and, a new project to commemorate it: "unknown," a dramatic song cycle, and now also, a short film.
it's told through poetry, music, and cinematic scenes-- five in all-- spanning time, from world war ii to the soldiers who guard the tomb of the unknowns today. >> this work is special because it's a work that all americans can relate to, because war is something that we're oddly unified by in america. >> brown: shawn okpebholo was commissioned by virginia-based opera company urban-arias to compose “unknown." he's an award-winning composer and professor of music composition and theory at wheaton college in illinois. he says he was fascinated to learn how people of all races and backgrounds are represented at the tomb. >> this is a story that, you know, people may know about the tomb of the unknown soldier, but they really don't know. at least, i didn't. as i kept learning more and more about the tomb of the unknown soldiers, that informed my piece. so, for example, the music is, you know, there's a latin tango,
to represent, you know, maybe the hispanic community. there's a-- there's a soulful section, to represent, you know, black sacrifice. there is an 18th-century neoclassical waltz to represent, you know, the traditional opera. and it's all unified under this cohesive, piece of work. >> brown: okpebholo partnered with poet marcus amaker. >> i really wanted to challenge myself as a poet, to bring out the human side of war and put some sort of emotion behind these people, who we don't know who they are. >> brown: amaker is the poet laureate of charleston, south carolina, and author of nine books of poetry. >> i come from a military family, and that personal background of mine is something that i carry with me a lot, and it has definitely influenced a lot of my work. i thought that it would be a nice challenge for me as a poet to kind of dig into my past and write about this in a way that i
think is very emotional, very human. >> brown: “unknown” follows three characters throughout: a modern-day soldier, sung and played by mezzo-soprano taylor raven; a grieving father, baritone michael mayes; and a wounded man on a battlefield-- schyler vargas. >> i think a lot of poets, when we write, usually the poem is about the-- it's about the poet. so, it was a big challenge, but it was fun to kind of dive into some characters who i imagined would-- would be there, and make them come to life. and i think that music part of it just added so much more depth than what my words were able to do. >> i did not write a single note until i received his poetry because once i received his poetry, i had to sit with it.
i had to read it and to have him read it. i had to think about it, you know, and i had to place myself in the context of these characters. and then, once i felt totally connected with the poem, with all the poetry, that's when i started composing the music. and that's-- that's how it took shape. >> brown: one common theme: home. >> ♪ home is a hollow space. ♪ >> home has so many different definitions. home can do can be heaven. home can be a grave. home can be not a pleasant place to be, but also home can be really in the forefront of your mind if you are fighting for the country. >> ♪ within the battlefields of my soul ♪ >> brown: in this telling, though, it's the man at home, and the woman preparing for war. >> we switch it up a little bit. i had a black female be the soldier, and the male was the one at home waiting for the soldier. i do that because, you know, to
represent the notion that all different types of people fought for this country, and certain people are kind of forgotten. >> we were like, yeah, how do we push this forward? so, people will look at it in a different way, but-- but appreciate it for what it is now, not necessarily for what it was. it is, in my mind, a modern view of something that a lot of people have heard of. and it gives you a new perspective on that, too. and i'm proud that we were able to pull it off. >> ♪ never forgotten. ♪ >> brown: “unknown,” released today online, will be available to stream through december 11. for the pbs newshour, i'm jeffrey brown. >> ♪ i will soon be home. ♪ >> woodruff: "unknown” can be
streamed at urbanarias.org. all that and more is on our and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us online, and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you, please stay safe, and we'll see you soon. >> the landscape has changed, and not for the last time. the rules of business are being reinvented, with a more flexible workforce, by embracing innovation, by looking not only at current opportunities, but ahead to future ones. resilience is the ability to pivot again and again, for whatever happens next. >> people who know, know b.d.o. >> 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
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hello, everyone, and welcome to "amanpour and company." here's what's coming up. >> brutal dictator of china, xi jinping, i have a message for you and your hedge fund. >> an exclusive interview with ens canter about taking on china and what it means for nba business there. then -- >> right now bosnia is facing a critical juncture in its course for history. >>5 years since the bosnia war ended. is the serbian succession project gaining steam? i ask my guest whether the u.s. broker accor are at risk of unraveling. plus -- >> there were certainly elements within the crowd of people who showed up on january 6th who werealking about very explicit