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tv   DW News  LINKTV  July 29, 2021 3:00pm-3:31pm PDT

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>> hello d welcome focus on eope. i'm lara babalola, nice to have you with us today. you may have heard of mythical underwater creatures like nessie and kraken. today we present a colossus that is little-known, but absolutely rl. me the caspian sea monster. a giant, flying boat. a feat of soviet engineering in the 1960s, it was abandoned after the collapse of the soviet union. the ekranoplan, as the vehicle is called, was one of the largest and heaviest aircraft in the world. it was developed in secret
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during the cold war, but now it's being put on display for a new generation in southern russia on the shores of the caspian sea. once upon a time, he was in the cockpit, retired engineer aligadzhi abdulgalimov. for him, the memories are bittersweet with the sea monster out of use. aligadzhi takes us on a trip back in time to its heyday. ♪ >> colossal, quick and dangerous. this monstrous vehicle - part ship, part airplane - is on a beach by the caspian sea in the reblic of dagestan. the ekranoplan, or screen glider, was designed for military use - presumably against the west. aligadzhi abdulgalimov served as flight engineer on test flights for the wing ship, or ground-effect vehicle, as they're generically known. colloquially, this one is called the caspian sea monster.
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>> i operated the propulsion units from here. it's a great machine - just incredible. >> the first wing ship was designed in the 1960s. it was meant to guard russia s -- rusa's coastlines and fight enemy ships - while staying undetected by radar aerodynamic interaction with thisthe surface beneath. thwings crte just enough lift to carry the 380 -ton giant a w meters above the water. ♪ >> but it never saw genuine service. fourteen years after the caspian sea monster s launch, the soviet union collapsed. and test flights were ended. >> there are hardly words. we were so proud of our country at the time for developing such - let's call them products --
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unlike what any other country in the world had! after all, it wasn't a monster. there were even plans to use the ekranoplan to carry passengers, because it didn't need long runways or airports. >> abdulgalimov devoted 14 years of his life to the ekranoplan. he logged a bit more than five -- 500 hours of flight time - which he says is not much for a professional test pilot, but the flights were anything but easy. something always went wrong. the prototype had only been built for test flights. >> we had various firefighting protocols in the event of an accident. but to be honest, we never once had to use them. >> today, the caspian sea monster stands near derbent, a two-hour drive from abdulgalimov's home.
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the now retired flight engineer is proud to have been the only dagestani on the team of soviet researchers. hardly any photos remain from his time with them. after all, it was a top-secret soviet military project. >> i was the only non-party-member they took on. all the other coworkers were communists. when the head of our test pilot division found out about that, he was shocked. how could a non-party-member have become a crew member? >> today, party membership means nothing. the country aligadzhi abdulgalimov was so proud of, the soviet union, is history. and the colossal wing ship is destined to serve as an attraction in patriot park, a tourist site planned on the caspian sea coast.
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>> everything is ruined. the work of so many designers and engineers. but at least it's still standing here. there was talk about dismantling it for scrap. i hope it'll help young people understand what fantastic technology we had and what a great country. and i hope that will help them feel proud of this country and its people. >> and so, the caspian sea monster faces a very different mission in today s russia: to -- today's russia. to bear witness to the one-time power and greatness of the former soviet union. >> the coronavirus pandemic has changed the way many of us
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work. living rooms and closets have -- living rooms and kitchens have turned into offices as video calls replace board rooms. for silvana hadic, it's been a welcome change. she moved from the serbian capital belgrade to a village that was on the verge of dying out. now it's gotten a much-needed boost, as city and country folk join forces to bring the llage back to life again. >> silvana hadic relishes these lush surroundings. they're a ste's throw from her new home. >> the first te i came t vrmda d saw the wonderfu cliffs was when i was learning ck climbin i haa strong vion that ts placcould be transformed into an ideal place for climbers. basically, that dream has come true. >> silvana used to work in human resources in the serbian
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capital belgrade. she would visit vrmda to go climbing in her spare time. but then the pandemic hit, and everythi changed. workinremd to relocate to the countryside. >> we didn't t want to stay in the city because of the coronavirus and the whole situation. our life has totally changed - i think, for the better. >> plenty of city dwellers have recently picked up sticks and moved to the village of vrmda, in serbia's poor east, in search of a more pleasant living environment. mote working has given them the flexibility to do so. vra has beenrying to aract urbanites foyears. >> in 2006when we set up the council, we'd done a study that found thvillage was about todi.
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so, we made a plan to install new infrastructurend develop r natural potential. two years later, we had internet access,nd then w road >> dgana tomic pretty ch mastermied the vilge'shen w juvenation she'a top manager,ho reloted to vrmdza years ago. she says having proper infrastructure in place is important for attrting new people. but sos the righmindset. >> covid has had a lasting impact, not only on vrmdza. i think e crisis has made people all over the world think abouwhat they ally value in life. >> dragana's idea was to combine tranquil village life with the opportunities afforded by modern technology. locals have benefitted as we, for ample, bgetting gh
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speed internet access. dragana has coached a number of villagers alread >>he newcome have heed in. many ways, especially drana.r of she was the first to hold workshops where the women got together and learned various things. all that helped us. >> sneana is one of the great success stories here in the village. she and her family have benefited from this development towards more tourism and its potentl. she's got a facebook profile to rent out her roo - and a small-scalcheese pduction - >> sneana and her husbd usedn barely rape by what they earned from their little farm.
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now, they rent their rooms, mostly to tourists who come to vrmdza for climbing. >> the internet is very importan because people see our page and what we offer. th can order our cheese or book a room. the way it used to be, without the internet, who would know we even existed? >> silvana has done hepart for it, asell. she is an avid climber and hase put up several routes in the ensured th vrmda sliffs silvanay will be a prime destination for sport climbing in serbia. >> i've imbed in my places around serbia, and so, i spottethe potential here. a phenomenal varietyf routes in a small area. and they're not constantly in
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the sun, but mosy in the sha. and there's the creek, the camp and the infrastructure in the viage. >> theigh point far was last yr's serbn ampionships. the ndre of climbers are spreading the word about vrmda - internationally, as well. anso, for th the villa and s new resints, it'a win-n situatio vrmda has over 2000 years of anstory,nd now, inhet'a pandemic, it has a future again, too. >> want to live like royalty in a chateau? in france that dream could become a reality as more and more historic buildings are being auctioned off. coronavirus aid packages have lightened state coffers and now the government is turning to investors to refill them. properties that are too costly to maintain are being sold to the highest bidder. but is this putting france s -- france's cultural heritage under threat? some are alarmed at just how
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far the scheme will go - even parts of the palace of versailles have gone under the hammer. the world-famous palace of versailles is a glorious example of france's cultural heritage. built in the 17th century,t was e principal residence of louis the 14th, own as the sun king. located on a nearby street, thisesser-known building served as the office of france's minister of culture. though it's partf the versailles complex, the french state simply sold it off. >> they stuck a for sale sign on it and added a cell phone number. anybody could call, it's as if they were making an ordinary sale. buthey were selling off one of the victims -- king's public office bldings!
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>> preservationist julien lacaze is outraged that france s cultural heritage is being snapped up by investors. during louis xiv's day, this building in versailles even housed the mona lisa. yet the new buyer turned its former picture gallery into dull apartments. this conversion, he says, has completely destroyed the building's character. >> they puin new flos, and chped the space up into sepate rooms, marring th overall impression. in our eyes, it's truly a scandal. >> and it's no isolated case either. across france, the state is engaging real estate agents to sell away its historical buildings, as it lacks the funds to maintain them itself. this former prefecture has changed hands. as has this old hospital. such sales brought some 500 million euros to the state's coffers in 2019. ♪ regional and local governments are also dissing theirrchitectur heirlooms. the forme chartreuse du glandier
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monastery belongedo the city a sanitorium. now it's been auctioned off to an investor from bordeaux. the man who brokered the deal thks the ste did the right thg. >> money's tight and loans are the man wexpensive.d the deal if the bldings aren't in use and have no political significance, it's easier to sell them off than it used to be. >> to facilitate sales, many public entities are putting old buildis up for auction - online. though it's not enough just to place the highest bid. buyers must also declare what they intend to do with the buildings. since the corona pandemic emptied the public purse, business for auction houses like these has been booming. more real estate in the coming growth and emonths.sell even >> julien lacaze has no problem with buildings that have no
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historical value being sold off. but he says the state shouldn't part with treasures like this hunting lodge in the wds of historicalsaint cloud. sold off. butbut despite his warnings,n't forest management is now seeking a buyer as the lodge is in desperate need of repair. >> they should hold onto the pavilion and make it accessible to the public. it's a pfect destination for pele taking walks in the forest. you could open up a restaurant here or shoot films. >> still, some residents of versailles don't seem too concerned who the buildings belong to, as long as they're in good ape. >> ihink it'ok to se the buildings. i dot know if the government s enoughoney to maintain them. >> i've watched the buildgs fa apart.
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having seen the quality of the renovations byrivate firms, of the palace itself, i'd be but if it wworried.fct a wing >> julien thinks it is best to lease the buildings. >> it's a good solution. we won't have access to it for a w generations. t in 99 years the state will get its building back, in good shape, and the renovations wlr have been paid for by a private company. >>hat's impoant, becau france's historic buildings aren't just a financial burden. they're valuable pieces of its be preserved for future cultal hegenerations.need to >> who would have thought this was possible just decades ago? packs of wolves roaming germany's forests.
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their population is thriving after nearing the brink of extinction. they're now a protected specs, and cservationists are thrilled. the wolves often feed on sick , wild animals in the forest, which is good for the ecosystem , but their appetite for livestock is on the rise. f rodewald, one wolf in particular is keeping them awake at night. roddy is a fugitive at large, but not everyone wants him captured. >> suri and isi are following the wolf s trail. -- the wolf's trail. alongside wolf expert christian berge, the two wolfhounds are roaming through the rodewald heath. they're on the lookout for wolf gw 717-m, also known as roddy. >> where's roddy? >> i won't tell you.
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>> has definitely been here before. he has occasionally help attempt to this man's sheep. -- he has occasionally helped himself to this man's sheep. >> no. i don t know. >> much to the joy of animal rights activists -- advocates who regularly catch the wolf on camera, where exactly this rare footage was recorded remains a secret. but roddy is known all over northern germany. >> he is the most notorious male wolf in rodewd. dna analysis has confirmed that he jumped the fence the first four times. it was him. >> rose says roddy and his pack attack especially large numbers of animals, even calves and horses. as the mobile fence around his pasture is no obstacle for them, the shepherd had to keep watch at night. >> well i had no other choice but to sleep next to the sheep. so, i slept in the car. and i had a baseball bat with me in case of an emergency. the geese in the nearby pond started cackling the first time they came.
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i remember thinking, what's going on? but then the sheep started bleating, and i knew that the wolves were here. so, i got out of the car and chased them away. they came three times that night. >> sin toccasions.olf has they have even named this area after him, roddy. the authorities say the leader of the pack poses a problem and shooting him is permitted. to escape even if he does leave but so farrodtraces.naged >> definitely wolves feces? >> yes, definitely. you can tell from its consistency. the sun has dried it out now, but if it were fresh, it would stink horribly. >> so it could be roddy's? >> exactly.
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exactly, this could be roddy's. >> is this roddy? no, this wolf is fenced in and belongs to hunter frank fass. frank isn't sure if he s ever seen roddy but hunting him down is difficult. >> when you see a pack of five or six wolves, nobody can tell them apart. how would anybody be able to tell which wolf to shoot? and as hunters, who are out here every day, we don t come across wolves every day. >> germany'solf popution s growconsiderably in recent years. according to official numbers, about 120 wolf packs currently live here, with more expected to come. hunter frank faß believes in erecting higher fences than the ones stefan rose uses, to safeguard animals. >> it's definitely possible to live in harmony with wolves in germany. >> so y don't you? >> because i can't afford to. we put up around 40 fences on a good day. they're heavy, and they keep
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getting heavier, so it's a lot of work. >> so, is thera struggle for survival, shepherds versus wolves in roddy's territory now? >> it's not like wolves think, i'm going to go to get some sheep from the pasture, because they can't escape, so i'll target them. wolves are clever, they can learn. but when they get into the pasture,t's all-you-can-eat. i'm sure chasing after a deer is more work. >> but roddy and his pack don t shy away from putting in the work. wolves primarily eat game from woods and meadows. >> we've got so much hoofed game in germany, like deer, stags, or wild boars. that's what guides the wolf population and their density. more prey means more wolves. >> i don't know the solution. if only i had a crystal ball.
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perhaps wolves should become vegetarians. >> stefan rose's animals don t -- don't seem convinced. they can only hope that shy and cunning roddy, and his pack, will leave them alone in the future. or move on to a new nting ground. >> this may look like intimidating to some drivers, but for italians it's par for the course. driving in italy takes nerves of steel. and a helping hand is sometimes needed to bring order to busy crossings like the famous piazza venezia in rome. police officer fabio grillo conducts the symphony of chaos with precision and pride. rome's traffic directors have been given the green light to wave their white gloves again after a long absence. >> tirelessly directing traffic, with white gloves, elegance and a concentrated gaze. ♪
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for most 20 ars now, pzza nezia has been the workpla fabio gllo >> the most important thing is the precision of the movement . elegant, accurate and decisive: this is the only way the driver understands my signal. if i make a mistake, anything can happen. >> due to road works on the piazza, drivers have had to do without fabio's conducting skills for almost a year. now the human traffic light is back on his usual podium. romans love their vigilant traffic officer, although the job in the center of the piazza is not suitable for everyone. >> you definely need a lot of enthusiasm to do this job! it's not just about traffic control. >> this podium and its conductors have even made it
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in italian film history. >> the film was shot here! cowith us officers, in thist piazza, in our workplace! it made us famous. >> at the crossroads. but rome has since moved with the times. eleonora ludovici has served here for three years. as a woman on the podium, she believes she even has an advantage over her male lleagues maybe becse driversre morempressed by a woman, they show more respect. at least they follow my signals closely. >> eleonora remembers all too well how during the lockdown no traffic directions were needed in the otherwise bustling and crowded piazza venezia. >> around the vittoriano monument, there were hardly any
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cars. everything was empty. the silence felt surreal. you could even hear the birds singing! >> there is no semblance of that now on the piazza. but the traffic officers are glad to be back. >> even though you re breathing in fumes on the podium, it's still nice to be up there. it's a symbol of everyday life. the city needs us up there. because we are synonymous with life! >> as the podium rises, a little bit of normality returns. as well as the old elegance of the roman metropolis. >> i will definitely be taking the subway in rome. thanks for watching focus on europe. do get in touch with me on twitter and let me know your thoughts about this week's show. don't forget you can watch more
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of our program online at bye for now! ♪
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>> two french overseas territories are set to go back into covid lockdown. they are both combating rising numbers of new infections. joe biden is set to make vaccination and obligation for federal staff, the largest workforce in the u.s., sending a clear message to the private sector and other parts of the u.s. economy it is july 29. five months until the end of the year, but we've already consumed more natural resources than the planet can regenerth


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