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tv   PBS News Weekend  PBS  May 1, 2022 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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♪ geoff: good evening. i'm geoff bennett. tonight on "pbs news weekend"... as fighting in eastern ukraine intensifies, evacuations of a steel plant in the war-torn city of mariupol continue. then... what this week'sentencing of a vocal turkish activist and philanthropist says about the state of free speech there. and... the real cost of historic inflation in this country. how one michigan family is trying to stay afloat. lindsay: we've been working the jobs, we've been putting in the hour and is just one kick in the teeth after another. geoff: those stories and the day's headlines on tonight's "pbs news weekend." ♪
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>> major funding for pbs news weekend has been provided by -- >> for 25 years, consumer cellular has been offering no contract wireless plans. our u.s.-based customer service team can find a plan that fits u. to learn more, visit our website. ♪ >> and with the ongoing support of these individuals and institutions -- ♪ and friends of the newshour. ♪
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this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. geoff: we begin tonight in ukraine. they have been trapped for months with no access to clean air, or very much food or water. residents of mariupol hiding from the russian bombardment in the basement of a massive steel plant. today, for the first time, about 100 of them are free, and promised safe passage. but the war around them rages, on a day when ukrainians traditionally remember the dead. nick schifrin has our report. nick: it is a difficult day in the best of times, the sunday after orthodox easter, a day ukrainians commemorate the dead. today is the worst of times and this is the worst of places. synonymous with russian war crimes, were not a single home
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on an entire city block has a roof. but it was here outside kyiv where the russians were stopped. now, so many new graves and the dead are not even fully buried. the grief is multi generational. the parents who lost a son, the 10-year-old who wears the uniform of a father he will never see again. his mother helps him reconcile the irreconcilable. >> most of all, i am thankful to those who bravely defended our city so we could live. nick: into the wife whose husband volunteered to fight. >> today, i brought flowers, which he always bought m, and now i bring them to him because these people have nothing better to do. they send them here to kill our people, destroy our cities. nick: 500 miles southeast, another destroyed city, mariupol.
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for weeks, soldiers and civilians trapped in a steel plant with little food or water. today for the first time, russia allowed about 100 to leave and russian tv broadcast this video of the ukrainians a besieged evacuating by the busload. this 37-year-old relieved to be alive, worked at the factory and spent two month underground with no access to fresh air. >> the shelling was so strong, it kept hitting near as. at the exit of the bomb shelter, one could take a breath, but i was afraid to walk out and breathe fresh air. i was afraid to even stick my nose out. nick: today they will stay in tents and russian occupied territory and tomorrow they have been promised safe promised to a ukrainian held city. >> today we finally managed to start the evacuation. after weeks of negotiations, after many attempts, meetings,
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people, calls, countries, proposals finally. nick: earlier in kyiv, president zelenskyy welcomes house speaker nancy pelosi and a delegation of democrats. she is the most senior american to visit since the invasion. >> a frontier of freedomnd your fight is a fight for everyone. our commitment is to be there for you until the fight is do. geoff: nick joins us now from lviv. we heard the phrase, until the war is done -- do the u.s. and ukraine have different definitions what winning the war looks like? nick: it is a key question and there is no one answer. at the least, everly wants ukraine to evict pressure from the territory they have seized since the ferry for the invasion, southern and southeastern ukraine. but russian controlled territory
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in the eastern donbas since 2015. does it include that territory? zelenskyy has only saide will not cede any territory. the british said their policy was to help ukraine enough to evict russia from the donbas. there is a policy debate in the u.s. administration about how far to go. all they will say for now is the goal is to help ukraine in some kind of negotiated settlement, and that means helping ukraine with a lot of weapons and a longer time as well. they are beginning to think of reducing russia's abilities to wage war even in the future. that means from moscow's perspective, this will increasingly be a u.s./russia proxy fight. the people i talked to believe that means escalation is possible, because from moscow's perspective, they would rather escalate and lose a proxy war. geoff: wt are u.s. officials
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telling you about the russians' progress in ukraine's east? nick: very slow but steady. that is what ukrainian and u.s. officials are admitting. if you look at the map, russian forces are coming up from mariupol, from the donbas to the west and also from the north and south. their goal is to push ukrainian forces along that line in the donbas and isolate them from the rest of the country. that means the u.s. is really trying to get weapons in as quickly as possible, and what the ukrainians are doing is kind of rope a dope. letting russia come in a little bit and to use a lot of weapons, a lot of manpower, and the ukrainians the next day or two days later counterattack. geoff: how is that affecting the ability to provide ukraine with the arms it is requesting? nick: the u.s. is rushing
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artillery, surveillance, radar systems that are crucial for the territory in the east that has a lot of wide open fields. it is a race against time for both sides. how quickly the u.s. weaponsan arrive in eastern ukraine. russia is trying to rush to make progress before a lot of those weapons arrive in eastern ukraine, even before they reconstituted some of the forces that were decimated outside of kyiv. ukraine says within a month or so if they get the weapons, they can go on the counteroffensive, russia has a lot of men and weapons and they could we war in the east along time. geoff: nick schifrin for us tonight, thank you. nick: thank you. ♪ geoff: in today's headlines... new mexico has issued new, mandatory evacuation orders, as a huge wildfire east of sante fe grows rapidly. two massive blazes merged into
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one this week, creating the largest wildfire currently burning in the u.s. firefighting conditions have been especially difficult this weekend due to high temperatures, high winds, and low humidity. decades of extreme drought have turned parts of the state into a tinderbox. already this year, new mexico has seen more fire damage than in all of 2021 there are severe storm warnings across the middle of theountry and parts of the south this evening. that will continue this week. thunderstorms and possible tornadoes tore across kansas and illinois this weekend, including in parts of the chicago area saturday night. trees and power lines were toppled, and dozens of structures were damaged by the strong winds. no injuries were reported. former president trump is holding a rally this evening in nebraska. trump is set to campaign for his preferred candidate in the nebraska gubernatorial race -- charles herbster, a millionaire farming industry executive. herbster has come under intense criticism after several women
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accused him of sexual misconduct. those allegations prompted a bipartisan group of state senators to call for herbster to end his campaign. herbster denies the allegations. former vice president walter mondale's memorial service took place this afternoon in minneapolis. today's service was delayed for a year because of the pandemic. president biden joined former affers and local political leaders to honor the former senator. and last night, the white house correspondents' dinner made its grand return, two years after the pandemic shut it down and six years since the last time a commander-in-chief attended the event. president biden honed in on the theme of the evening -- celebrating a free press -- and honored the assembled reporters. he also poked fun at his predecessor, donald trump, while headlining comedian trevor noah took light-hearted jabs at both men. pres. biden: this is the first time a president has attended this dinner in six years. [applause]
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it's understandable. we had a horrible plague, followed by two years of covid. [laughter] trevor: thank you for having me here. you know, i was a little confused. why me? but then i was that told you get your highest approval ratings with a biracial african guy standing next to you, so. [laughter] [impersonating president obama] so, lemme just say, uhh, joe, i'm glad that i could, uhh, do my part. geoff: the dinner also honored two black female pioneers of the white house press corps, paid tribute to journalists killed in ukraine, and honored austin tice, a reporter abducted in syria in 2012. still to come on "pbs news weekend"... the health of democracy and free speech in turkey after a well known businessman and activist is sentenced to life in prison. and national teacher of the year, kurt russell, on the joys and challenges of teaching.
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>> this is pbs news weekend from weta studios in washington, home of the pbs newshour, weeknights on pbs. geoff: prices in the u.s. are climbing at their fastest rates in 40 years, up more than 8% from 2021. but for many families across the country, that number is more than a data point. tonight, we take a look at how one family in michigan is coping with this new reality. it's a typical morning at the bandy house. lindsay: do you want more ovaltine? geoff: 39-year-old lindsay and 44-year-old scott live just outside of grand rapids, michigan. lindsay: do you need anything for school? geoff: they say right now, their household budget is stretched to the breaking point by rising costs. what have the last couple of months been like for you, as inflatiohas creeped up across the country? lindsay: before this last round of inflation hit, it was -- i mean, it was rough and we were
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still kind of paycheck to paycheck, but the paycheck went a little bit further. there's no wiggle room. geoff: lindsay says skyrocketing prices at the supermarkeare a major source of stress. meat prices rose by nearly 15% in the u.s. over last year. milk is up 13%. even the price of soup spiked 10%. lindsay says the sticker shock is the worst at the gas pump. lindsay: good grief. geoff: in grand rapids, it now costs around $4 a gallon. that's up from less than $3 a year ago. lindsay [on phone]: i filled up my gas tank, i had a difficult experience i wasn't even a quarter of a tank. it is still cost me $100. lindsay: we have to drive across town to pick up the kids and then i commute for work, it's just that's taken a huge bite out of our monthly budget. geoff: she earns $15 an hour at her retail job -- well over
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federal minimum wage -- and works about 35 hours a week. her husband, scott, works full-time as a cable thnician. and the family lives with a roommate to help pay the mortgage. still, lindsay says, they're barely scraping by because wages haven't kept up with prices. who or what do you blame for inflation? lindsay: corporate greed. i mean, there's no reason why these companies that are posting record profits over the last two years can't afford to pay their employees a living wage. for somebody to turn around and say, "oh, my 401(k) has never been better, my stocks are so high," i'm going, oh ok, what world are you living in? michelle: it's a tough, tough situation for a lot of people. geoff: michelle singletary is a financial columnist for "the washington post." she says what the bandy family is experiencing is now, unfortunately, very common. michelle: it was the people who were already living on the edge and the pandemic and the economic slowdown and higher gas
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prices, inflation just tipping them over. geoff: for now, the bandys are finding creativeays to support their family. lindsay has taken up what she calls "nerd crafting," where she and sells her wares at conventions and online, and scott donates plasma twice a week for extra cash. lindsay's mother, lisa, chips in by looking after the bandy's three-year-old daughtehayley. it saves the family on childcare costs and is a welcome break for lindsay and scot lisa: they just feel like they're not, you know -- what are we doing wrong? you know, we're not getting ahead. we're working and we're working and we're working and we're just -- we're not getting ahead. and it -- it's just, it's heartbreaking. i just wish there was more that i could do for her. geoff: hayley is too young to understand the financial toll on the family. but 10-year-old hope has started to notice. hope: i worry that if my parents don't, like, pay all the bills, that we will lose the house and
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we'll have to move back in with my nana. lindsay: you feel like you were trying to succeed as a parent, which is hard enough, and then to find out that you're not doing such a great job hiding, you know, your stressors and your fears and your tensions, is just wrenching. geoff: for now, singletary says the economic outlook is uncertain. michelle: hopefully by 2023, we're really seeing things turn around. but i think you gotta pack in your patience and know that this is probably going to be happening for a little bit longer. geoff: and that's a huge concern for lindsay bandy. lindsay: it's something that keeps me up at night, and it's part of that deep, deep hole that we're trying so hard to dig ourselves out of. we've been working the jobs, we've been putting in the hours, and it's just one kick in the teeth after another. and should things get worse than they are?
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it's just it's not something i can think about. ♪ geoff: earlier this week, a turkish court sentenced activist and businessman osman kavala to life in prison for attempting to overthrow the government during protests in 2013. kavala sentencing is just another example of president erdogan's crackdown on free speech in turkey. for more, i am joined by ece temelkeren. she's a journalist anduthor of "how to lose a country: the seven steps from democracy to dictatorship." for folks who are not familiar with this case, why do you believe osman kavala was sentenced to life in prison without parole? and why was he in particular hand such a harsh sentence when he was one of hundreds of thousands of people who participated in those 2013 protests? ece: well, he's the symbol that
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erdogan chose to punish. i think. osman kavala is an internationally renowned activist. his ties with europe in western countries, he is well known around the world, was the actual reason mr. erdogan chose to make him an example. i think he wanted to give the message that i don't carebout the reaction coming from the west anymore. geoff: what then does this incident say about the state of free speech in turkey? e: this is the last nail in the coffin of freedom of speech and also democracy, because at least since 2010, there has the situation has been deteriorating. but now this is more like in-your-face. there's no more freedom anymore. today in turkey, even people on the streets, ordinary people without any political stance, if they complain about how hard life is or how expensive things are, they are even facing the danger of being prosecuted.
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so it is a proper dictatorship. geoff: why is this an important story for people outside of turkey to pay attention to? ece: first, turkey is an important country. it might look like a crazy country from outside, but it hasn't in the case. i want especially the american audience to imagine trump with amazing political skills and 20 years running the country. then you might have an idea how it feels like in turkey at the moment. so one thing is it might happen to them. and the second thing is, turkey's too precious to let go. this whole thing happened becausthe international press left the country in 2013 when gezi uprising was haening, the entire world was watching turkey. and erdogan took his time to open this case to punish those millions of people who attended gezi, who defended the country's dignity during those protests.
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so things happen when nobody is watching. geoff: lastly, how could this sentencing affect the upcoming presidential elections in turkey? ece: this decision in thicase showed us that we are going to go through a really, really difficult election period, erdogan will not loosen his grip. he won't even pretend to do so to lure some liberal hearts. so our job is going to be really hard not to lose our country. geoff: thank you so much for your perspective. ♪ geoff: finally tonight, my conversation with 2022's national teacher of the year. this week the white house honored high school history teacher kurt russell from oberlin, ohio. i sat down with him to talk about what this honor means and both the joys and challenges of teaching today. what started you along the path to teaching?
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what was the inspiration? kurt: two teachers. my kindergarten teacher ms. francine toss, a middle aged white woman who just gave me this psion for learning. her classroom was always filled with love and joy, and she introduced authors from marginalized groups, women authors and black authors. and i just fell in love with just the process of learning. and thy eighth grade math teacher was the first black male teacher i ever had. his name was mr. larry thomas, and he just gave me representation. geoff: how have you kept your students inspired? kurt: oh, just trying to make sure that their social emotional needs are being fulfilled. just email a talking to them. see them in the streets. i work in the samechool district where i graduated from, and so i live in the community. and so i see them in the grocery stores. i see them at the park. it's just trying to make that human connection with them. geoff: what more do teachers need in order to feel fully supported in the classroom?
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kurt: you know, that's a great question. i think we need just to feel respected. a lot of times we have policies that goes against the fundamentals of teaching. a lot of times you hear about the crt, you hear about book banning. ani think teachers are the experts in the classroom and we need to be treated as such. geoff: two that point, you teach elective courses in african-american history, as well as race, gender and oppression. and you said during the white house ceremony this past week that students need to feel represented in their coursework in order for them to be well-rounded. kurt: students must see themselves in the classroom and curriculum, in order to empower and engage. that's why i created courses to allow students to feel valued . courses that deal with women's rights, gay rights, and a survey of black history. it's important that my students see themselves as i see them,
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with unlimited potential and full of gifts. geoff: what do you make of the effort in your state and across the country to really stifle what students are taught when it comes to identity, sexuality and race? kurt: it's alwayseen my position to make sure that students have a holistic approach to learning. i do not see my children necessarily as students. i see my children as firefighters, police officers, future teachers, doctors, lawyers, where the case may be. and when i see them as those professions, i realized that they need diversity and they need to be able to connect with all types of people. and so it's very important for me to give my students that approach to learning. geoff: do teachers, your colleagues, do you feel as if you've been targeted by the culture wars at all? kurt: for my experience, no. oberlin high school, oberlin
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city schools, the city of oberlin is very supportive in what i do as a teacher and what other teachers are doing the classroom. we always have this position that we e here for the children, learner centered. and i think that's what we do very well. geoff: what was it like being at the white housis past week, being celebrated by your colleagues and by the president and first lady? kurt: surreal. absolutely surreal. first of all, president biden and dr. biden were so gracious and cordial to open up their homes to myself and the other state teachers of the year. it is an experience that i will never forget. very emotional, and at the same time, just realizing the history behind it. geoff: how has this honor or how will this honor change your approach to the job? kurt: i think i'll become more aware because i am learning. it will give me the opportunity to travel and to learn from other great educators out there. and so i could bring that back to my students. this will be all worthwhile. geoff: kurt russell, congratulations and thanks again for your time. ♪
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on our website right now, researchers uncover a na boarding school's painful history. you can read about that and more at and that's "pbs news weekend" for tonight. monday on "the pbs newshour," a crowded republican field vies for former president trump's approval in the election to fill ohio's open senate seat. i'm geoff bennett. join us online and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at "pbs news weekend," thanks for spending part of your sunday with us. ♪ >> major funding for pbs news weekend has been provided by -- ♪ and with the ongoing support of these individuals and institutions -- ♪
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this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. ♪ tioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy.]
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