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tv   PBS News Weekend  PBS  May 22, 2022 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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♪ geoff: good evening. i'm geoff bennett. tonight on "pbs news weekend"... as a series of devastating wildfires continue to burn throughout new mexico, a look at the role of climate change. then... a new documentary focuses on often overlooked stories o people figing against authoritarian governments around the world. and. the power of resilience -- the incredible story of one woman who started running marathons after she lost her leg to cancer. jacky: and there are so many things that you get told you can't do -- you can't do this, you can't do that -- and running was one of things. it was more of a stubbornness inside me -- i'm like, you know what? i want to give it a shot. geoff: all that and the day's headlines on tonight's "pbs news weekend." ♪
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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: it is good to be with you. we begin tonight with new mexico, where thousands of firefighters are battling a colossal wildfire, now the largest in state history. part of the blaze was caused by spot fires from a prescribed, or intentional, burn. but it's also fueled by abnormally warm, windy and dry weather. the fire has destroyed hundreds of buildings and forced thousands of evacuations. a historic drought -- the worst in over a millennium -- coupled with climate change has led to longer and more destructive wildfires across the west. this is all happening as rising housing prices are pushing people further into fire-prone
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areas at the edges of wildlands. for more on this, i spoke with michael mann. he is a professor of atmospheric science at penn state university and author of "the new climate war: the fight to take back our planet." we started by talking about what accounts for the scale of the new mexico wildfire. michael: this is a tragedy that we're seeing play out. you know, it doesn't really matter much what starts these fires, whether it's a prescribed burn, whether it's a lightning strike, what determines the scale, how fast they spread, how wide they spread, how hot they burn, how much damage they do ultimately is a function of how much fuel there is, how much sort of dry wood and other material that's available to catch on fire. and that is a function of how dry the climate is. so, you know, we are seeing record levels of drought over a large part of the western u.s. year after year.
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ght now, a substantial part of the western u.s. is in either extreme or exceptional drought. so you take that extreme drought, you combine it with that heat, the warming that we're seeing, and you get these unprecedend wildfires that we've seen play out in california, coloradoarizona, new mexico, oregon, washington, parts of canada in recent years. it's not rocket science. you combine the heat and the drought. you get these sorts of devastating wildfires. geoff: what should be done about it, given the exceptional drought across parts of the westn u.s.? michael: well, you know, ultimately, the only way to prevent all of this from getting worse, from it getting drier and hotter and seeing even more widespread, even more destructive and more deadly wildfires is to solve the problem, you know, at its core,
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which is our ongoing burning of fossil fuels and the increased carbon pollution in the atmosphere that is warming up the climate. there are things that we can do to try to increase our resilience, move away from especially, you know, wildfire prone regions, taking adaptive measures to try to cope with the increased risk that we're now seeing. but ultimately, we are stuck with that. we are stuck with these levels of elevated risk that we're going to have to deal with. and if we don't stop warming up the planet through carbon pollution, it will get worse and worse. geoff: i'm struck by the connection between housing policy and climate policy. given that housing is so unaffordable across so many parts of the country to include the west. you have people moving further and further out into these wildfire zones, how should we rethink housing policy in ways that are sort of climate responsible? michael: as many as a thousand homes are likely to be lost in this wildfire.
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we need to ultimately move away from those increasingly risk prone areas and we need policies that incentivize that. ultimately, folks who live in these sorts of regions are going to find it more and more difficult to get insurance, to get home insurance. and as i've said before, uninsurability is sort of the first step along that path to uninhabitability. and that's what we're coping with now. geoff: yeah. given the vast amount of writing and research you've done on this topic, how do you guard against climate defeism, this sense that this problem is so vast, it's so complicated, it oftentimes seems like there's not a whole lot that we can do about it, how do you advise people against that? michael: here is something that we can do. we can get off fossil fuels. and the science here, in a sense, is encouraging. the science over the last decade or so is shown us that if we stop putting carbon pollution into the atmosphere, if we stop,
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you know, with these ongoing carbon emissions, then the warming stabilizes fairly quickly. so there is an immediate and direct impact of our efforts to decarbonize. can prevent warming from crossing certain catastrophic thresholds like one and a half degrees celsius, three degrees fahrenheit warming, where we will start to see some of the worst impacts of climate change. there's still time to do that. but, you know, there is agency. we can still do it, but there is urgency. we have to reduce global carbon emissions by 50% within the next decade if we are to keep warming below that catastrophic level. and that's going to require policy. that's going to require politicians who are willing to support climate friendly policies. and that means us voting for those politicians who will act on our behalf rather than acting as rubber stamps for polluters. geoff: agency and urgency. michael mann, thanks again for your time and for your insights. we appreciate it. michael: thank you. always a pleasure, geoff.
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geoff: and now to today's headlines... president biden is in tokyo, after wrapping up a three-day visit to seoul. before departing, the president thanked u.s. and south korean troops stationed at osan air base, and toured the air operations center, where the military monitors and defends against threats from regional adversaries, namely north korea. asked by a reporter if he had a message for north korean leader kim jong un, mr. biden responded by saying simply, "hello," underscoring the administration's low-key approach to the unresolved tensions there. the president also touched on the growing concern about a rare, but spreading virus: monkeypox. pres. biden: it is something that everybody should be concerned about. we're working on it hard to figure out what we do and what vaccine, if any, may be available for it. but it is a concern in the sense that, if it were to spread, it's consequential. geoff: a case of monkeypox has been confirmed in massachusetts, as well as a likely case in new york.
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the cdc says it's monitoring a handful of other cases in the u.s. the president of poland spoke defiantly before ukrainian parliament, during a visit to kyiv today. it was the first such speech by any foreign leader since the russian invasion began months ago. meanwhile, just a day after president biden signed a massive $40 billion aid package, russian airstrikes have continued in the eastern donbas region, and decimated thousands of educational institutions and cultural sit, according to ukrainian president zelenskyy. in pennsylvania, lieutenant governor john fetterman was released from the hospital after suffering a stroke more than a week ago. fetterman is the democratic nominee for the u.s. senate in pennsylvania. this pt week, he voted absentee and won his primary contest from his hospital room. meantime, the baby formula scarcity in this country got a much-needed resupply today. a military cargo plane carrying nearly 40 tons of nestle baby formula from switzerland arrived
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earlier in indiana. officials say the formula supply will be sent to hospitals, pharmacies, and doctor's offices with the most need. jif is recalling a number of its peanut butter products over concerns of a salmonella outbreak. 14 people have reported illnesses, and two cases have resulted in hospitalizations, according to the cdc. the full list of jif's recalled products is available on the fda's website. and australian swimmer and olympic gold medalist arianne titmus added one more to her record book finishes today -- breaking the world record in the women's 400-meter freestyle. her finish bested american katie ledecky's prior world record finish by 6/100 of a second. still to come on "pbs news weekend"... a new documentary explores the often-forgotten wars happening around the world. and... how a cancer survivor is defying the odds, running marathons and breaking records. ♪
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>> this is "pbs news weekend" from weta studios in washington, me of the "pbs newshour," weeknights on pbs. geoff: more than 6 million ukrainians have fled their country since russia's invasion in february. while most of those refugees made their way to neighboring european countries, some are now living in the u.s. pbs wisconsin's marisa wojcik spoke with one woman about her difficult decision to leave. marisa: maria is like any other six-year-old girl. every morning, she gets ready for school with the help of her parents. her mom is there to pack her backpack. her dad has to check in from thousands of miles away. she has only had this odd routine for three months, since she and her mother escaped ukraine. they came to madison, wisconsin
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to stay with friends. her mother video calls her husband back in ukraine every morning. and same as if he were here with them, accompanies them on the half mile walk to school. >> i had a perfect life. i had everything. i had family, husband, the best daughter. i couldn't accept this new reality. the russian army came. it was a forced decision. and we can't decide by ourselves what we will do, where we will leave, how we will leave.
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they decided for us. my husband, he asks every day, you should leave, you should leave please, you should leave. i saw a picture of a dead girl on the internet. she was the same age as my dahter. i thought it could be my kid too. marisa: they made it to the u.s. on march 3, but more than anything, anya wants to return home. >> i'm here only because of my daughter. i think if i didn't have her, i would be in ukraine with my husband, was all of my family. marisa: she is also seen things
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through her young daughter's eyes. >> she said yes i miss home, but i want to leave too, to have a real life. marisa: there russian relatives refused to believe the reality of the war. >> i have relatives in russia, and they didn't believe. they didn't believe me. i sent pictures for my apartment to touch them personally. i think they will wake up. marisa: without knowing the future, anya endures. >> we have to be strong, everything will be ok, we will rebuild everything. ♪ geoff: a new documentary aims to
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draw attention to the wars, fighting and atrocities happening around the world that are often under-covered or forgotten. correspondent ali rogin sat down with french philosopher, journalist and author bernard henry-levi to discuss his film. ali: bernard-henri levy, thank you so much for joining us. this film and the book that accompanies it are based on your travels in late 2019, well into 2020, to some of the most dangerous places around the world. why did you take this on? bernard: because i wanted to meet ladies and gentlemen who fight putin, erdogan, iran, china and the islamic caliphate. this is a topic of this movie. those who fight these five authoritarian regimes, all groups threatening democracy all over the world. i felt that my duty, my task as
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a public intellectual was to go there to bear testimony on what is happening there, the carnage and the resistance, which is confronting the carnage and the massacres. ali: and, of course, each of these countries is unique. they have their own characteristics. but what is your sense of what the people there want outside observers to understand about the conditions in which they are living? bernard: the people i met can be in bangladesh, in kurdistan, in donbas, in ukraine. what they want is to live normally like us in democracy, in a state of trsparency. without the freedom, without these authoritarian boots on their head and sometimes on their body. this is what they want.
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to raise their families, to rule their house, to rule their life in a in a normal and liberal way. ali: in bangladesh, there are a group of women who are known as national heroines for what they endured. can you tell me about what they went through to earn essentially that title. bernard: 50 years ago, at the moment of the liberation of bangladesh from pakistani rule, the pakistani soldiers used rape as a weapon of war. they raped ladies on a large scale. and of course, a nine month after that, when the country was freed, they gave birth to, to babies. and as often in traditional countries, they -- the first reaction was to damn them, to curse them, to ban them from the society and sometimes their families.
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and there was in bangladesh a great leader named mujibur rahman, whom i knew well. and mujibur rahman took the great decision to name these ladies who had bn raped and who were giving birth to those babies, not cursed ladies, but biranghona, heroines of the nation. and in the movie, i -- 50 years after i see them again and i meet again, these young teenagers, who are now of my age, of course, who have changed. but i see in their eyes the same magnificent light of spirit, of hope and of resistance. 50 years after, in a way that did not change. ali: you had a l of dark
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moments throughout your journeys. but i know that you also observed things that gave u hope. what are the things that most gave you hope about the places and the people that you visited? bernard: the incredible dignity of the victims whom i film. the christians of nigeria facing boko haram and facing the fulani militias. they keep hope. they keep standing on their feet and on their values. the kurds of syria and of iraq of krg, same. they keep resisting with a dignity, which is an example for the rest of the world. so this dignity of the victims gives me hope in in darkness. ali: the film and the book by the same name is "the will to see." bernard-henri levy, thank you so much for your time.
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bernard: thank you, ali. thank you. ♪ geoff: finally tonight, our weekend spotlight with amputee marathon runner jacky hunt-broersma. i spoke to her about how she's breaking barriers and challenging misconceptions about athletes with disabilities. the south african born runner, who lost her leg to cancer, recently ran her way into the record books, completing a staggering 104 marathons in as many days. what drove you to set a new record? jacky: i thought this would be a greaway to show everyone what to get out of your comfort zones, and you can do hard things. geoff: starting mid-january, the 46-year-old mother of two ran a 26.2 miles each day. sometimes in official marathons, but usually on dirt trails in phoenix, where she now lives,
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and even on her own treadmill. how did you do it? people who run marathons might run one marathon a year. to run 104 consecutive marathons is unthinkable for a lot of people. jacky: when i started, to be honest, i wasn't sure, especially because i run with a prosthetic, i wasn't sure i would make it even to 30. i thought this would be interesting to see, how does my body and leg hold up. there were so many factors to think about. when i hit 104, the first thing i thought to myself is, how did i do that? i can't believe i did it. geoff: in 2002, she was diagnosed with a rare type of bone cancer. within weeks, doctors amputated her leg to save her life. she was only 26 years old. what factors go into running as an amputee? jacky: there are so many -- your body is working at least 25% harder than if you had your regular legs. then also, you have this
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prosthetic strapped to your stump, as i collect, and there is so much -- as i call it, and there is so much friction. there is a bunch of rubbing going on and to be honest, it hurts. everything is working harder to make suryou are running in sync. geoff: did you ever think about quitting? jacky: i did. i got to marathon 50 and i thought, 50 is a good distance, i think i am done now. itas the weirdest thing, i was feeling physically like i was fine, but my mind was trying to convince me -- 50 is fine my it is a good distance. my kids have always been -- they check on me everyay. they are like, what number on you on today? when they get back from school, are you done, have you finished? i had that in my head and i thought, i cannot quit.
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they knew i was going for 100, so i kept moving. geoff: people might think with a running streak like yours, you've been running your entire life, but as i understand it, you did not pick it up until you had your leg amputated. jacky: that is correct. i was the kind of person, i thought runners were crazy. i thought, why would you do that? it is weird. when you lose something like a limb, you are kind of put in a box. everyone thinks, no you are an amputee, you are disabled. that frustrated me. there are some may think you get told you can't do, and running was one of those things. it was more of a stubbornness inside me that i was like, you know what, i want to try it and see what happens. that's how i got into running. i've been running for six years now and it has been phenomenal. geoff: long distance running can be as much of a mental challenge as a test of physical fitness.
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how do you build up the mental toughness to do what you have done? jacky: what i often do when i am struggling, i tell myself, just get to the next mile. just get your mile. when you get there, you kind of celebrate that and you are like, i've done a mile, that is fantastic. then you get to the next. you trick your mind a little bit. eventually when you are done, you are like i've actually done that, i can do hard things. geoff: you said before you started running, you thought marathon runners were crazy. what do you say to people who might say your story is inspiring but running 104 marathons in a row is a little excessive and they might wonder are you a little crazy to do it? jacky: i have been told i'm crazy. i probably wouldn't recommend 104 marathons and 104 days because it is a little extreme. what i would say is, it is gd to push your limits. you will surprise yourself. going into this, i thought in my
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actually going to be able to do this? you put yourself out there and take risks and you are like, what happens if i fail? i just feel like, you are capable of so much more, you just need to try. geoff: you had a lot of time to yourself, running i guess thousands of miles by now. how has this long distance running changed you? what have you learned about yourself? jacky: that i can be really tough. it has definitely improved my mental strength. now i know i can do anything. i just need to try. geoff: thank you so much for your time. jacky: thank you. geoff: and next up for jacky? the moab, a grueling 240-mile race in utah this fall. she is incredible. that's "pbs news weekend" for tonight. 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
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weekend" has been provided by -- ♪ and with the ongoing support of these individuals and institutions -- ♪ this proam was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. ank you. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy.]
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