PBS NewsHour full episode September 5, 2019

September 12, 2019

JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I’m Judy Woodruff. On the “NewsHour” tonight: Dorian’s deadly
journey north. With rescue efforts under way in the Bahamas,
residents of the Carolinas evacuate, under threat of rising waters. Then: paying for promises. President Trump takes money from over 125
military projects to deliver on his campaign pledge of building a border wall. Plus: the Amazon under attack — in our final
dispatch from Brazil, the growing risks to rain forests’ biodiversity and to life on
earth. SILVANA CAMPELLO, Instituto Araguaia: If we
start losing species, it’s like removing a card from the house of cards. Eventually, there will be a point when the
planet will collapse. JUDY WOODRUFF: All that then more on tonight’s
“PBS NewsHour.” (BREAK) JUDY WOODRUFF: Hurricane Dorian is hugging
the coast of the Carolinas tonight and still doing damage, with winds of 105 miles an hour. The storm flooded streets in a series of towns
today and blew out power to more than 200,000 customers. It is also blamed for four deaths in the U.S.,
plus at least 20 in the Bahamas. John Yang reports again from Nassau in the
Bahamas on the storm’s progress. JOHN YANG: An all-day assault, rattling winds
and unrelenting rain, as Hurricane Dorian batters the Carolinas. South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster: GOV. HENRY MCMASTER (R-SC): We urge everybody to
stay inside. If you don’t need to be out, don’t go out. And in this kind of situation, you don’t need
to go out. Stay off the streets. It’s very dangerous. JOHN YANG: Overnight, the storm actually strengthened
for a time as it push north just offshore. Rushing water flooded streets in Charleston,
South Carolina. By day, massive waves crashed on the Folly
Beach Pier near Charleston. Up the coast at Myrtle Beach, a foam-covered
jeep was partially submerged. Onlookers took selfies as waves rocked the
car. More than 800,000 South Carolinians were under
evacuation orders. Some, like Michael Gordon, sought shelter
in Charleston. MICHAEL GORDON, Charleston Resident: They’re
expecting a lot of water downtown, and it was best to get out. Prepare — I mean, hope for the best, prepare
for the worst. And I’m preparing for the worst. JOHN YANG: But Chip Ervin and others decided
to ride it out. CHIP ERVIN, Charleston Business Owner: We
just kind of waited and watched the storm to decide what was going on, and we have been
through enough storms that we kind of just wait and kind of see how they play out. JOHN YANG: As the day progressed, Dorian lumbered
toward North Carolina, where the Outer Banks barrier islands are vulnerable. Governor Roy Cooper: GOV. ROY COOPER (D-NC): Get to safety, and stay
there. Don’t let your guard down. This won’t be a brush-by, whether it comes
ashore or not. JOHN YANG: Cooper also warned of storm surges
that could reach seven feet. Another danger? Tornadoes. One ripped through Emerald Isle south of Wilmington,
leaving shredded homes and fences in its wake. In the Bahamas, Dorian’s devastation was again
on display. Under sunny skies and along now calm shores,
leveled homes and yachts tossed around a damaged harbor. On Abaco Islands, survivors faced their new
reality. In a shantytown known as The Mud, a rainbow
rose out of the vast rubble. Andrew Evans arrived in Nassau today from
Abaco. ANDREW EVANS, Abaco Resident: Everything in
Abaco is totally destroyed. It literally looks like we were bombed. Everything in Abaco is gone. JOHN YANG: A flurry of rescue and aid groups
geared up in Nassau, hoping to make it to Abaco and Grand Bahama tomorrow. Heather Hunt, an attorney on Abaco, started
a group called Restoration Abaco. HEATHER HUNT, Restoration Abaco: As time goes
on and the days go by, we have to add other things, like building materials and appliances
or whatever else the needs are once we get there and get a full assessment. But, right now, it’s just food and water,
medical supplies, making sure everyone is safe and secure and well-fed. JOHN YANG: Her group rented a 90-foot barge
to haul relief supplies. And celebrity chef Jose Andres is leading
a team in the kitchen of the Atlantis Hotel Convention Center in Nassau. Today, they cook massive batches of pasta
soup and made thousands of tuna fish sandwiches for survivors on Grand Bahama and Abaco. Today’s goal, 10,000 sandwiches. Here in this marina in Nassau, some of these
pleasure boats are being loaded up, ready to make the run tomorrow to Abaco island. These four boats are being loaded with supplies
donated by Chattanooga businessman Lou Lentine. They have 20,000 tarps, generators, medical
supplies, tents, toiletries. They expect to get offshore of Hope Town,
Abaco, and they hope to stay there for three or four days and ferry all this stuff onshore,
an example of people taking efforts into their own hands. JUDY WOODRUFF: And, John, you were telling
us that you have just seen widespread examples of this, of individuals moving to do what
they can on their own. JOHN YANG: That’s right. In the spot, we talked about the group Restoration
Abaco and heard from one of the organizers. Another organizer we met last night was Danalee
Penn Mackey. She’s a native of Abaco. She is now a mortician here in Nassau and,
interestingly, is organizing other morticians across the Bahamas. And she told us the idea behind her efforts. DANALEE PENN MACKEY, Mortician: Me, as a funeral
director, I’m told that there are the number of casualties arising. I have deployed a team of professional morticians. In fact, we were supposed to go today. We couldn’t get in, but we’re leaving in the
morning. But the hard part for me is, I don’t know
if I will be retrieving my own loved ones. I have my mother, I have aunts, I have uncles,
I have brothers, I have sisters, I have nieces, I have nephews all in the area where there
has been no, no, no relief at this particular time, no rescue, no recovery. JOHN YANG: Just an example of people taking
— making efforts on their own in the midst of great personal tragedy, Judy. JUDY WOODRUFF: And, John, you were also telling
us about a number of nongovernmental organizations, how they are trying in their way to provide
help and the challenges they face. JOHN YANG: In the last couple of days, there
have been a number of NGO officials who have been privately complaining about the government’s
pace of giving them permission to take their efforts out to Grand Bahama, out to Abaco. They feel stifled, they feel frustrated that
they haven’t been able to act faster. But, on the other hand, there are other NGOs
who say they understand, that they feel that they need to work with the government, not
go out there on their own. Here’s Joan Kelly of the Heart to Heart International
Organization. JOAN KELLY, Heart to Heart International:
I would say that, generally speaking, it’s important that we work through the agencies
that exists here. They will be here long after we leave and
were here before we were. Frankly, but this is going to be a long-term
response. And I think everyone’s going to need a long-term
support. So that’s, I think, most critical. JOHN YANG: We reached out to the Bahamian
government for a response to the complaints of some of the NGOs. We haven’t heard back. And I should also add that, among the NGO
community, there seems to be a sense of optimism that things are changing, things are getting
moving, that perhaps tomorrow or in the coming days they will be able to get out and start
their efforts on the two — on the islands. JUDY WOODRUFF: And, John, I gather we are
only beginning to understand the full sweep of just how devastating this hurricane has
been. And some of that sense we’re getting is from
these before-and-after images of these islands before and after this hurricane. JOHN YANG: Yes, that’s exactly right, from
social media, from people on the islands who were sending out pictures like this of the
airport on Abaco, just showing how the airport has been inundated, the runways inundated
with water, with sand, with debris. The force of the hurricane-force winds sitting
on that island, sitting over it for more than two days, and we can see the devastation and
the effects of that in those before-and-after pictures. JUDY WOODRUFF: So much work left to be done. John Yang, reporting for us tonight from Nassau
in the Bahamas, thank you, John. Back here in the U.S., the storm has weakened
as it churns up the Atlantic Coastline. But it still poses a threat. And Charleston, South Carolina, is one of
the places in its sights today, as we have been hearing. John Tecklenburg is the mayor, and I spoke
with him by phone. Mayor Tecklenburg, thank you very much for
talking with us. So, what has Charleston seen of this storm? JOHN TECKLENBURG, Mayor of Charleston, South
Carolina: Well, thank you, Judy. Charleston, a beautiful city, has seen kind
of an ugly day. It’s been Dorian day in Charleston today. And the good news is, even though the wind
was higher than we expected, the water was lower. And in a city where flooding and sea level
rise are a number one issue, boy, that was good news today. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, preparations, did you feel
the city was prepared for what might come? JOHN TECKLENBURG: Well, I was. And, Judy, we have had real practice over
the last four years. We have had four years now with the hurricane
preparation. So, we really, if I may say, have this down
to somewhat of a science. We were really prepared. And — but we have seen quite a storm here
today, and now have had some impacts. We have a number of closed roads, lots of
people without power, over half of our citizens. So we have got some cleanup to do, and we
have had a day today. JUDY WOODRUFF: And what about evacuations? Were you in a situation where you had to urge
people to leave? JOHN TECKLENBURG: We have been doing that
for — since Monday, when governor, Governor McMaster, issued an evacuation order, and
we fully support the governor when he does so. And so we have been asking people to leave,
and then we know a lot of folks don’t. So all of those folks remaining, we ask them
to hunker down and batten down the hatches. And I’m very proud of our citizens that, last
night and today, it was like a ghost town, and people were off the street. And that really helps people stay safe, but
it also protects our first — our wonderful first responders that they don’t have to go
out and make response calls that are unnecessary. JUDY WOODRUFF: You do have cleanup. You were spared the worst. You didn’t have the flooding, the storm surge
that you might have had, but you’re saying there’s work to be done? JOHN TECKLENBURG: Oh, absolutely. And we had some flooding, but it just wasn’t
as bad as we anticipated. The wind was a little higher, so, yes, we
have got some cleanup to do. But we have got crews standing by, and now
are finally out in the streets doing work and pumping water and cutting down trees. We have got over 100 local streets that are
closed, mostly due to trees and power lines that are down. So, together, with the power company, we are
working to get those streets back open. And we’re going to have beautiful weather
this weekend. In fact, we will be back in business this
weekend. JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Mayor, how much harder
do you believe this was because of the unpredictability of this storm? It was a Category 5 and then a 4. And, as you know, it was a 2, then back to
a 3, and the time of arrival was so unclear. How much more difficult did that make your
job? JOHN TECKLENBURG: Well, this is a very uncertain
business. And let me say, my heart goes out to the devastation
that occurred in the Bahamas. In fact, we have some local folks that are
already starting local relief efforts for the Bahamas. That was just terrible devastation down there. But a week ago, they were saying this storm
would barrel on across Florida, rather than even coming our way. So it’s just an uncertain science. There’s a lot of science to it, but it’s a
bit uncertain. So you just have to prepare for the worst
and hope and pray for the best. That’s what we always do. JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, we wish you the very
best with all the recovery that you have ahead of you. And, yes, we all are so relieved that it wasn’t
worse than it was in your city. The mayor of Charleston, John Tecklenburg,
thank you very much. JOHN TECKLENBURG: Thank you so much, Judy. JUDY WOODRUFF: Let’s find out more about where
Dorian is right now, the projected path in coming hours, and what it can mean for the
rest of the Carolinas and farther up the Eastern Seaboard. Ed Rappaport is the deputy director of the
National Hurricane Center. And he joins us from Miami. Ed Rappaport, hello again. So, tell us, where is Dorian now? ED RAPPAPORT, Deputy Director, National Hurricane
Center: At this hour, Dorian is centered — and you can see very clearly the eye — that eye
is located about 45 miles from Myrtle Beach, about 85 miles from Wilmington. During the day, it’s been gradually drawing
closer to the coast. And the forecast has it actually coming ashore
likely later tonight or early tomorrow, perhaps in the southern part of North Carolina or
on the Outer Banks. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, coming ashore, does that
— is that more of a sign of potentially more damage? Or what do you expect? ED RAPPAPORT: That’s right. Even with the center offshore today, we have
seen winds of hurricane-force from about Charleston northward. But the strongest winds are still offshore. And as the center makes its landfall, those
winds will come over the shoreline. And we would expect to have wind gusts exceeding
100 miles per hour observed, reported over the next 12 to 18 hours, as the center passes
across Southeastern North Carolina. And those winds will be falling pretty much
the way the rain bands are moving here, moving water ashore. And so we expect there to be a storm surge
that could be life-threatening along the coastline. JUDY WOODRUFF: And what about the speed of
this hurricane? Has it sped up since its very, very slow origin
there in the Bahamas? ED RAPPAPORT: Yes, it’s gradually accelerating. And that’s good news, as it won’t linger too
long in any one place. The system is now moving, the center is moving
towards the Northeast — pardon me — the Northeast about 10 miles per hour, and over
the next 24 hours will be accelerating further, and then pulling away from the coast during
the evening hours tomorrow. JUDY WOODRUFF: Have you learned at this point
— Ed Rappaport, can we understand any better why this storm seems to have been so unpredictable? ED RAPPAPORT: Well, actually, the forecast
has not been off by that much. We did think it was going to — the hurricane
was going to take a run towards South Florida, as it did in a couple days ago, and then slow
and turn and take a course roughly parallel to the coastline up through the Southeast. And that’s roughly what happened. Didn’t get all the details right,. but I think
the sense of what to expect in both the Bahamas and the Southeastern United States was covered
pretty well in the messaging. JUDY WOODRUFF: We’re now hearing about tornadoes
being spawned. Do they have connection to the hurricane? Or is that an independent thing? ED RAPPAPORT: On occasion, there are tornadoes
associated with hurricanes. And often, as they are in this case, they
occur in these outer bands well ahead of the center. And that’s what we saw earlier today. And there is some risk still for tornadoes
during the overnight hours tonight. JUDY WOODRUFF: And the last thing I want to
ask you is, just for folks who may be in the path, South Carolina, North Carolina, Southern
Virginia, what do they need to be on the lookout for? ED RAPPAPORT: We talked about the winds, that
they could have wind gusts at least over 100 miles per hour. The greatest concerns are going to be, as
often is the case, is the water, the depths of the water. And here we have the forecast for the inundation
from storm surge, can reach four to seven feet along the coast, particularly in the
northern part of South Carolina, up through North Carolina, and even some inundation expected
in the southeastern part of Virginia. This is considered life-threatening at these
levels. We also are concerned about excessive rainfall
in just the same areas, six to 10 inches of rain forecast for coastal South Carolina and
North Carolina, locally 10 to 15 inches. And it’s the combination of those two factors,
storm surge and rainfall, that’s going to lead to flash flooding and potentially loss
of life in this area. JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, we are doing everything
we can to get the word out. And I know that you are too. Ed Rappaport with the National Hurricane Center,
thank you. ED RAPPAPORT: Thank you. JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news: A
Taliban car bombing in Afghanistan killed two NATO soldiers and 10 civilians. One soldier was an American, the fourth to
die in the last two weeks. The suicide blast in Kabul left wrecked vehicles
near the U.S. Embassy and NATO headquarters. In addition to the dead, 42 people were wounded. Hours later, a bombing in a neighboring province
killed four people at an Afghan military base. In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is
vowing to push again for early elections in the battle over Brexit. The House of Commons voted Wednesday against
calling elections. It also voted against leaving the European
Union on October 31 without a formal deal. Today, at a police recruiting event in North
England, Johnson said an election is now essential. BORIS JOHNSON, British Prime Minister: I hate
banging on about Brexit. I don’t want to go on about this anymore. And I don’t want an election at all. I don’t want an election at all, but, frankly,
I cannot see any other way. The only way to get this thing done, to get
this thing moving is to make that decision. JUDY WOODRUFF: Johnson’s ruling Conservatives
will try again on Monday to win approval of new elections. Meanwhile, the prime minister’s brother, Jo
Johnson, quit his position as a conservative member of Parliament today. He said he was torn between family loyalty
and the British national interest. President Trump’s Middle East envoy, Jason
Greenblatt, has announced he is leaving the administration. He was the architect of the president’s still
evolving Israeli peace plan. But it has not been released, and the Palestinians
rejected negotiations after Mr. Trump moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and recognized
Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. The president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan,
is threatening to let a flood of Syrian refugees leave Turkey for Western countries, that is,
unless a safe zone for refugees is established inside Syria before the month is out. Erdogan voiced his frustration to officials
of his ruling party in Ankara today. RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, Turkish President (through
translator): We will be forced to open the gates. We will be forced to open the gates. If you’re going to provide support, then provide
support. And if you’re not, sorry. We have tolerated this up to a certain point,
and we’re still tolerating it. Are we the only ones who are going to carry
this burden? JUDY WOODRUFF: Turkey has taken in 3.6 million
Syrian refugees since the war in Syria began in 2011. Erdogan says the European Union has not kept
promises of financial support in exchange for Turkey stemming the flow of migrants. Back in this country, a jury in Oakland, California,
acquitted one of two men charged with involuntary manslaughter in a warehouse party fire in
2016. The jury failed to reach a verdict on the
other defendant. The pair managed the warehouse, where 36 people
died. The place was packed with furniture and other
flammable material, but had only two exits, and no smoke detectors. The U.S. Education Department fined Michigan
State University $4.5 million today over sexual abuse by a sports doctor. The announcement said the school failed to
respond to repeated complaints against Larry Nassar. He is now in prison, effectively for life,
for possessing child pornography and molesting young girls. On Wall Street, stocks surged on news that
the U.S. and China plan to hold new trade talks next month. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 372
points to close at 26728. The Nasdaq rose nearly 140 points, and the
S&P 500 added 38. And basketball great Jerry West received the
Presidential Medal of Freedom today. West was a 14-time All-Star in his Hall of
Fame career with the Los Angeles Lakers, a career that ended in 1974. President Trump presented West with the medal
at a White House ceremony. It is the nation’s highest civilian honor. Still to come on the “NewsHour”: where is
President Trump finding the money to pay for his long -promised border wall?; a threat
to the Amazon is a threat to the planet, — Brazil and the risks of species extinction; fusing
the political and the artistic to critique how leaders wield power; plus, much more. It was one of President Trump’s most notable
campaign promises, that he would build a wall on country’s southern border, and that Mexico
would pay for it. But now there is word this week of 127 U.S.
military projects whose funds will be diverted instead for construction of the border wall. Our own Lisa Desjardins has been digging into
all of this, and she’s here with me now. Hello, Lisa. So, tell us, where is this money coming from? What are these projects? LISA DESJARDINS: Let’s start with that first. As you say, it’s 127 projects. It totals about $3.6 billion that the president
will move to help build border barriers of various sorts. Half of this money is coming from overseas
installations. The other half is from military installations
here in the U.S. Let’s look at where those are. Those are affecting 23 states, and I want
to leave this up for a minute so people can look at their states. Notice, it’s really the perimeter of the country. Judy, it’s interesting. This affects everything from our service academies
like West Point to small and large institutions, training facilities. All of the branches of the service are being
affected by this. These funds, Judy, that are impacted specifically
are those that have been approved by Congress, but there is not a contract yet to start building
them. So this means they are at least on hold. The president is gambling Congress will refund
them later. It’s not clear that Congress will do that. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, 127 different projects. Tell us a little bit more about what these
projects are. Who is going to be affected by this? LISA DESJARDINS: It’s a fascinating list. And it involves strategic installations and
compounds, and it also affect things that affect the quality of life for the men and
women who serve in our military. Let’s look at three that I think are good
examples of what we’re talking about. One, for example, starting over on the right,
$95 million for an elementary school. That’s in Okinawa, Japan. That would be for the children of American
military service members. Military families depend on those schools. Many of them need constant upkeep or need
to be rebuilt. That school is now put on hold. Now, moving back, then we see $15 million
now put on hold for an ambulatory care center or outpatient health center in Camp Lejeune. Health care, a rising problem in the military
in some sectors — that is on hold. Now, then, you look there below, $17 million
that would have gone to a fire and rescue station in Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida. Judy, that one is has especially notable. I picked that out because that fire station
was damaged in Hurricane Michael last year. They were waiting for those repairs. They will have to continue waiting now because
that money has been put on hold again. Also, Judy, in this list, probably the one
area that saw the most — the largest number of projects differed is Puerto Rico, $400
million worth of projects there. That’s something that Democrats will raise. Also, a large number of projects affecting
European defense initiatives. That affects our posture with Russia. Those are being put on hold. That’s something that European allies are
going to watch closely. JUDY WOODRUFF: And Puerto Rico, of course,
devastated by Hurricane Maria. LISA DESJARDINS: Yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: So these are just a few examples
you’re telling us about. But, in turn, President Trump has long said
he wants this border wall. What is he getting out of this? LISA DESJARDINS: Right. And this is important for supporters and opponents
of the president to look at. What the president is getting out of this
is more border fencing and wall. Let’s talk about it specifically — 11 projects
will be funded, they say. There, you see the steel slat fencing that
he’s putting up. It will include some of that, along about
175 miles of additional new fencing and some repaired fencing. I’m going to point out, it’s not all steel
slat. Some of it is that so-called Normandy fencing
that you saw there as well. So the president is actually going to expand
the amount of border barrier because of this money. Now, it’s 175 miles, but it’s a 2,000-mile
border. JUDY WOODRUFF: And tell us, how is he doing
this? I mean, this is money that was appropriated
by the Congress. So how can the president come in and say,
nope, we’re not going to spend it for this, we’re going to spend it for that? LISA DESJARDINS: The Constitution says that
the Treasury can only appropriate money that is passed by appropriations law by Congress. So he’s getting around that here. This is not the will of Congress. Let’s show how the process usually works if
a president wants to divert some funding. He would have to go to Congress and ask Congress
for permission. In this case, we know Congress is not giving
that permission because House Democrats do not want to fund this wall. What’s he doing instead? He has declared a national emergency for the
purpose of going around Congress. He’s invoking emergency powers. And he is not asking congressional permission,
which you usually would have to do even for small amounts of reprogramming. Anything over $20 million, Judy, you need
sign-off from Congress. That’s significant. This is such a huge amount of money. It’s really unprecedented in how much he’s
moving this way. JUDY WOODRUFF: Three-point-six billion, as
you just said. LISA DESJARDINS: That’s right. JUDY WOODRUFF: And finally, Lisa, this affects,
as you shown on that map, a diversity, a political diversity of states, red states, blue states. What kind of political reaction has there
been? LISA DESJARDINS: Democrats are irate about
it, as they have been, as they were expecting it. They call this stealing, raiding, unconstitutional. However, they so far have lost their battle
in court to try and make their case. Courts generally have ruled that if all of
Congress doesn’t agree, the House and the Senate, they can’t take action. They are furious. And I think we’re going to have to see how
this affects the upcoming spending debate this next month, because, in the next 30 days,
we’re supposed to see another spending bill. I already hear from some Democrats, well,
if the Defense Department doesn’t need this money, are we going to pay it for them or
not? Republicans are in a much more tricky position
here, Judy. I haven’t seen any that are outright defending
this idea of diverting money this way. But they are saying that the border needs
secure — to be secure. So they’re in a tricky position. When they come back next week, they will all
be tested to find out, are they going to backfill this money, or are they not? It is going to be a very hot political issue
for our Congress. And it affects so many towns across this country. Judy, dozens of local papers, this was the
headline today. JUDY WOODRUFF: And fascinating. As you point out, Lisa, this is happening
while the Congress is in recess. LISA DESJARDINS: That’s right. JUDY WOODRUFF: They’re not in Washington. It was announced while they’re all back home
in their states and in their districts. LISA DESJARDINS: That’s right. JUDY WOODRUFF: Lisa Desjardins, excellent
reporting. Thank you. LISA DESJARDINS: You’re welcome. JUDY WOODRUFF: South America’s Amazon rain
forest is home to a remarkable diversity of animal and plant life. But a record-breaking number of forest fires
and the already ongoing cutting down of trees is putting many of the rain forest’s original
inhabitants at risk. With the support of the Pulitzer Center, Amna
Nawaz and producer Mike Fritz traveled to Central Brazil to see the efforts under way
to save one of the most pristine sections of the Amazon. It is the last part of our series Brazil on
the Brink. GEORGE GEORGIADIS, Instituto Araguaia: So,
all these tracks are probably puma tracks. AMNA NAWAZ: In this corner of the Amazon Basin
in Central Brazil, signs of life are everywhere. AMNA NAWAZ: So, just by looking at the tracks
like this, you have a better sense of what actually lives in this area? GEORGE GEORGIADIS: Yes. We get a sense of what lives in this area,
of what is more abundant and what’s rare. And then we start getting a sense of, OK,
which habitat do we need to protect more of? AMNA NAWAZ: George Georgiadis is a Brazilian
scientist fighting to protect everything that lives here, animals like giant river otters,
pink dolphins, rarely seen jungle cats like jaguars, and hundreds of species of birds. So their survival is dependent on the survival
of this area? GEORGE GEORGIADIS: Their survival is dependent
on the survival of this area. AMNA NAWAZ: But climate change and the steady
destruction of the Amazon’s rain forest and the surrounding savanna, known as the Cerrado,
has made George’s mission all the more dire. GEORGE GEORGIADIS: We have lost probably half
the natural habitat of this area since 2013. Things are going fast. AMNA NAWAZ: How long do we have? What do you think? GEORGE GEORGIADIS: Oh, it’s already past time. We’re just picking up the pieces. AMNA NAWAZ: To save what they could, George
and his wife, Silvana Campello, helped the Brazilian state of Tocantins create Cantao
State Park in 1998, a nearly 350-square-mile-stretch of pristine forest and grasslands nestled
between the Araguaia and Coconut rivers. SILVANA CAMPELLO, Instituto Araguaia: We fell
in love for this place, because, as biologists, we could understand how important this place
is. AMNA NAWAZ: The couple houses visiting researchers,
who run long-term studies and use motion-activated cameras to better understand what animals
actually live here and what they need to survive. Some, like the giant otters, have even been
saved from the brink of extinction. SILVANA CAMPELLO: We have placed a camera
trap. So we’re going to go there and check the camera
trap and see if there has been any activity. AMNA NAWAZ: And tracking them, Silvana says,
has led to new discoveries about the way they live and interact with each other. SILVANA CAMPELLO: We have been finding also
interesting behavior that hasn’t been reported in science. AMNA NAWAZ: Really? SILVANA CAMPELLO: Yes. AMNA NAWAZ: Among the otters? SILVANA CAMPELLO: Among the otters. AMNA NAWAZ: Like what? SILVANA CAMPELLO: Like, for example, den sharing. A certain group of otters will occupy a den
for couple of weeks, and then they will leave, and another group will come and use the same
den. And then the group will leave, and the former
owners would come back and live in that same den. AMNA NAWAZ: It’s like an Airbnb for giant
otters. SILVANA CAMPELLO: It’s like an Airbnb for
giant otters. (LAUGHTER) AMNA NAWAZ: For all the focus on the threats
to the Amazon rain forest, Silvana says it’s the animals that are the best bioindicator
of a changing environment. Millions of insects, thousands of known plants,
fish and birds and hundreds of mammals, reptiles and amphibians call this area home. You know, one out of every 10 known species
in the entire planet lives in the Amazon. That’s plants, and insects, and animals. Scientists say new ones are actually discovered
all the time, which is why they say they’re worried that, for every acre lost, an entire
species could disappear right along with it. That’s why Silvana says it’s crucial to not
only protect this area for the animals that live here, but for humans as well. SILVANA CAMPELLO: It’s the card effect. People say that nature is like a house of
cards. If we start losing species, it’s like removing
a card from the house of cards. Eventually, there will be a point when the
planet will collapse, because everybody has a role. Everybody’s here for a purpose, the purpose
meaning the balance of the planet. THOMAS LOVEJOY, Ecologist: The single greatest
repository of the variety of life on Earth is in the Amazon. AMNA NAWAZ: Thomas Lovejoy is an ecologist
at George Mason University who’s been coming to and studying the Amazon since the 1960s. THOMAS LOVEJOY: The Amazon actually makes
this planet work. It affects the climate. It affects the hydrological cycles. And all these species that, added up, become
biological diversity, all have evolutionary histories that go back four billion years. AMNA NAWAZ: But the Amazon’s incredibly rich
biodiversity is now under assault from several different fronts. Nearly 20 percent of it has been deforested
since the 1970s, cleared out to make way for infrastructure projects, mining and agriculture. That destruction is having a devastating impact
on the ecosystem, and many of the rain forest’s original inhabitants. It’s estimated that hundreds of species in
Brazil are now facing the threat of extinction. SILVANA CAMPELLO: As we lose species, the
next generation will not miss them. But if you show them, if you bring people
to see giant otters, for example, here, or pink dolphins, if they see them, if they relate
to them, they care now. We must care now, before they go. AMNA NAWAZ: But the monumental effort to repopulate
and regrow what has already been lost in the Amazon is slowly beginning, and some of the
solutions might be found in this small storage facility in Canarana, Brazil. MAN (through translator): The muvuca comes
from 60 to 120 species of seeds that we work with. AMNA NAWAZ: It’s called muvuca, a planting
technique that uses native forest seeds to be spread over burnt or deforested land. The method was developed with input from the
Xingu indigenous tribe. BRUNA FERREIRA, Xingu Seed Network (through
translator): The importance of involving them is because they have been here. It is their call. They are holders of the knowledge of these
species. They know what will germinate well. AMNA NAWAZ: Bruna Ferreira is the manager
of the Xingu Seed Network, a cooperative between indigenous communities, local farmers and
NGOs that started in 2007. BRUNA FERREIRA (through translator): This
is the job of ants. But the seed network is the largest network
in Brazil, and nobody does work like this. AMNA NAWAZ: The hope is that the forest will
slowly regrow with stronger, more durable plants and trees. It’s all part of a larger effort using native
seeds that aims to eventually plant millions of trees. BRUNA FERREIRA (through translator): Today,
there are 600 collectors of native seeds. And the network helped to recuperate and restore
more than 5,000 hectares of degraded areas below the Xingu and Amazon rivers. AMNA NAWAZ: For some Xingu tribal members,
like Abeldo Xavante, a 21-year-old who now works for the Seed Network, regrowing the
forest is essential to preserving the past. ABELDO XAVANTE, Xingu Tribal Member (through
translator): We came from the forest, and, today, nobody else from my tribe lives in
the forest. We live in the savanna. And young people do not know the seeds, and
they no longer want to eat forest fruits and other foods from our culture. They want white man’s food, sweets and sodas. So we must rebuild the forest, so that we
can live there again. AMNA NAWAZ: There’s also a push to have local
Brazilian farmers, like Nedio Goldoni, conserve more of their land. Goldoni owns a cattle ranch outside of Canarana. About 10 years ago, in order to comply with
deforestation laws, he allowed the Xingu Seed Network to work on his property. NEDIO GOLDONI, Farmer (through translator):
We need to produce, because you have a lot of human beings who need to be fed. But, also, we have to preserve what needs
to be preserved. AMNA NAWAZ: Back in Cantao, scientist George
Georgiadis says that, even with new efforts to stop deforestation, pristine areas like
this will likely disappear. You have conceded that it will mostly be destroyed? GEORGE GEORGIADIS: It will mostly be destroyed. AMNA NAWAZ: So why even fight to save what
you can now? GEORGE GEORGIADIS: Because you have to know
the limit of what you can do. It’s like the barbarians are burning the library. You can save a couple of books and hide them
under your shirt. That’s what you can save. You have got to be optimistic and do it. If you’re like, but they’re burning the whole
library, what’s the point, then you don’t even save those two books. And then, in 1,000 years, when people learn
how to read again, there’s not going be anything. So you have to have a different attitude. AMNA NAWAZ: But Georgia and Silvana hope a
different attitude will also help save areas like Cantao and the animals that call this
remarkable place home for as long as possible. Silvana, you have been studying these animals
for years and years, and you still talk about them with, like, a sense of wonder. Does it still excite you to come out and try
to find them? SILVANA CAMPELLO: Oh, definitely. It’s like talking about somebody you love. You never lose your enthusiasm when there
is love. AMNA NAWAZ: Even all these years later? SILVANA CAMPELLO: All these years later, and
— and more. (LAUGHTER) AMNA NAWAZ: For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Amna
Nawaz in Tocantins, Brazil. JUDY WOODRUFF: Stay with us. Coming up on the “NewsHour”: global migration
and a family’s wrenching choice, speaking with the author of “A Good Provider Is One
Who Leaves”; and a Cambodian dancer gives his Brief But Spectacular take on honoring
traditional art forms. In the world of art, political turmoil can
sometimes provide inspiration. In Mexico, the echoes of revolution 100 years
ago can be seen in the work of a contemporary artist. Mexico City native Joaquin Segura weaves history
and social commentary into his work. NPR correspondent Lulu Garcia-Navarro has
his story. Her report is part of our ongoing arts and
culture series, Canvas. LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO: Where you might see the
black bars of a heavily redacted document outlined in red and black to show where the
shrouded words would be, Mexican artist Joaquin Segura sees a tapestry. For his latest collection, Segura found inspiration
in a series of once top-secret documents, thousands of pages of declassified U.S. government
files about the CIA’s involvement in the 1973 coup that brought Chilean dictator Augusto
Pinochet to power. JOAQUIN SEGURA, Artist: So this is actually
the cover letter, the cover page of the daily brief that Richard Nixon received on the morning
of the military coup, September 11, 1973. LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO: Segura’s art takes found
objects and transforms them, like this display of the tattered flags of powerful nations
called G8 for the international gathering that brings them together, or these blown-up
images of leaders from China, the Soviet Union and Germany, with discount price tags, playing
on the notion of a marketplace of ideas where political theory and the people who sell them
rise and fall in value. But his art has a common theme, his view that
the powerful only serve themselves and how real change can only come from the hands of
the people. MAURICIO GALGUERA, Director, Hilario Galguera
Gallery: When art becomes political, it really becomes a very important tool. LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO: Mauricio Galguera is
his longtime gallery representative in Mexico. MAURICIO GALGUERA: He really manages to resonate
all the happenings in our local societies into things that are going on all around the
world. So, in the end, his work really speaks about
human nature. LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO: Some of Segura’s work
explores the relationship between the United States and its neighbor to the south. America has a long history of intervening
in Latin American affairs, including those in Segura’s own country. It’s something he tackles head on in some
of his pieces, like this 2014 statue called Notes on Mexico. The stack of pages are how the sculpture got
its name. “Notes on Mexico” was a book written in 1822
by J.R. Poinsett. He became the first U.S. ambassador to Mexico,
but his meddling in local politics got him expelled. This stone had a previous life too. It was used to protest the outcome of the
2012 Mexican presidential election. JOAQUIN SEGURA: These materials were used
as projectiles by the people in demonstrations, specifically against the election of the Mexican
President Enrique Pena Nieto. LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO: Pena Nieto’s party was
accused of vote-buying, which sent protesters into the streets. JOAQUIN SEGURA: One of the reasons I do art
is to come to terms with everything that’s happening, not only in Mexico, but in the
world at the moment. LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO: Now there is a new leader
in power from an opposing party, but for Segura, the political affiliation is irrelevant. He doesn’t think things will get better because
of politicians. JOAQUIN SEGURA: Corruption in Mexico, it’s
so ingrained in our everyday institutions and structures that, again, it’s something
that we often overlook. LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO: Segura’s political views
was shaped by his parents, who witnessed the 1968 massacre in Mexico City, where hundreds
of students were gunned down during protests around the Olympics. The event is seared into Mexico’s collective
memory, the dead still honored in annual demonstrations. In 2014, another mass killing drew Mexicans
back into the streets in response to the disappearance of 43 students who had been on their way to
a protest in Mexico City. Their bodies were never found, and Mexico’s
attorney general insisted all had been incinerated. But an independent report later dismissed
that explanation, calling it scientifically impossible. Segura’s piece Pyre forces viewers to contemplate
the scale that would require, seen here at a San Francisco showing. JOAQUIN SEGURA: You need 760 kilograms of
wood, 23 car tires, and 71 liters of gasoline just to disappear one single body. It’s not probable. LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO: Mexico is still trying
to uncover the truth behind those 43 murders. Late last year, after taking office, the new
president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, created a new commission to investigate. Segura’s skepticism of any leader’s ability
to solve this or any other national problems has not made him cynical, though. He’s devoted to helping the next generation
of Mexican artists through a two-year training program. JOAQUIN SEGURA: There is something that we
are not satisfied with, and we are working every day to make that different. LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO: He is advising one of
his mentees, Yolanda Benalba, on a video installation, the culmination of her two-year training with
Segura. For Segura, the payoff is about much more
than simply launching careers. Does it make you feel hopeful about the future? JOAQUIN SEGURA: I think hope is also a very
heavy word. (LAUGHTER) JOAQUIN SEGURA: But, yes, definitely. I’m looking forward to see a different Mexico. LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO: Segura knows that history
in Mexico sometimes repeats itself, but he’s committed to changing its future. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Lulu Garcia-Navarro. JUDY WOODRUFF: On our Bookshelf tonight: one
family’s quest to escape crippling poverty the only way they could, by leaving their
children behind to find work abroad. Amna Nawaz is back. She recently spoke with author Jason DeParle
about his book “A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves,” tracing three generations of a single
family across the world. DeParle begins by telling how he first met
the family in the Philippines. JASON DEPARLE, Author, “A Good Provider Is
One Who Leaves”: I was interested in life in shantytowns, not migration. Migration was the farthest thing from my mind. And I wanted to move in with a family and
try to see slum life up close. And I found a family to move in with. And, actually, I went to a nun who lived in
this community and asked her to help me find a family to live with. I thought she would go and screen families
and take me to meet one, but instead she walked me through the shantytown and just sort of
auctioned me off on the spot. (LAUGHTER) (CROSSTALK) JASON DEPARLE: First person she approached,
the woman said, no, no, no. And the second one, no, no, no. And the third was too frightened to respond,
and that was the one that I wound up moving in with. AMNA NAWAZ: And tell me about that family. JASON DEPARLE: It turned out that, while I
wasn’t thinking of migration, migration was the way the family survived. It was a mother home with five kids, and her
husband was a guest worker in Saudi Arabia, go off on two-year contracts, come back every
two years, see the family for a month or two, then go back abroad. And she was raising the kids on the money
he sent back, which was 10 times his Manila pay to do the exact same work. AMNA NAWAZ: Ten times his pay in Manila… JASON DEPARLE: Ten times. AMNA NAWAZ: … to go live abroad in a different
country and send money back? JASON DEPARLE: Yes. AMNA NAWAZ: This is Tita and Emmet, right? JASON DEPARLE: Tita and Emmet Comodas, yes. AMNA NAWAZ: Yes. And how unusual was that arrangement, the
more you dug into it? JASON DEPARLE: Tita was one of 11 kids. In her family, nine went abroad or had spouses
who did. And now there’s a second generation of cousins,
45 or so cousins, and maybe, I think, in the last count, 23 or 24 had gone abroad. The Philippines is the country in the world
where the government does the most to promote migration. Remittances, the money that sent back, are
10 percent of the GDP. And migration to the Philippines is what cars
were once to Detroit. It’s the civic religion. AMNA NAWAZ: As you begin to dig into this,
and you’re spending sort of day-to-day life with this family, you’re talking about a very
big issue, right? It’s migration. People travel all over the world and send
remittances back. It’s not just people from the Philippines. But what are you seeing day to day in terms
of the impact it’s having on the family? How does it affect how they live, how they
relate to one another? JASON DEPARLE: They were one of the few families
in the slum area that — so, if you want a tangible example of what migration meant to
them, it meant they could put a new roof on their house. It meant they could have better walls. It meant they could have indoor plumbing. Eventually, it meant that their middle daughter,
Rosalie, the one I became closest to could afford, if barely, to go to nursing school. And that’s what allowed her in turn to go
abroad and eventually make it to the United States. So migration was more than a source of income. It was ultimately a vehicle for transformation
or salvation for this family. AMNA NAWAZ: You talk too about putting the
context — putting this family’s experience in the context of sort of global migration,
right? It’s a very intimate look at this one family. But what did you learn sort of more largely
about how and why people move? JASON DEPARLE: The moment — I call it the
lightbulb moment for me, when I really understood the importance of global migration, was when
I discovered research that had shown remittances, the money that people send home, are three
times the world’s foreign aid budgets combined. Migration is the world’s anti-poverty program. If you believe that people should get up and
help themselves, that’s what they do when they migrate. It had a profound impact, not only in the
Philippines, but all across the world. AMNA NAWAZ: We are, of course, having a lot
of national conversations about immigration right here in the United States. And I wonder, having followed this family
over multiple generations, having sort of put them in the context of the way the rest
of the world moves, how are you processing the conversations we’re having here right
now? JASON DEPARLE: I think there’s a lot of pessimism
in the United States about the prospects for assimilation. I mean, certainly, on the part of people who
don’t like immigration, they will say, the problem is immigrants aren’t assimilating
the way they used to do. They’re not learning English. They’re not fitting in. But even among, I think, people who are middle
of the road or even some somewhat supportive of immigration, they often worry, will this
generation assimilate the way immigrants of the past did? And no one family can stand for everyone in
a country of 44 million immigrants, but what I found was that, for this family and a substantial
number of immigrants, the powers of American assimilation remain profound, formidable. I mean, this family achieved in three years
the kind of assimilation that used to take three generations, a house in the suburbs,
kids on the honor roll. AMNA NAWAZ: You know, in another interview,
you were talking about this family’s story, and you said, what you put — what you took
away from their story personally was that immigration in America is actually working
much better; immigration as a whole is working much better than a lot of people give it credit
for. What did you mean by that? JASON DEPARLE: Well, as I say, there’s 44
million immigrants. So everybody’s got a different story, and
one can’t stand for everyone. But I think we have been so focused on illegal
immigration and on the crisis of the border — at the border, that we have forgotten that
three-quarters of the immigrants in the country are here illegally. Among new immigrants — our image of immigration
is often still one of Latino immigration, whereas, among new immigrants, Asians dominate. Most come middle class now. The majority have college degrees. The majority live in the suburbs among new
immigrants. So I think it’s — the reality is often very
different than the crisis coverage that drives so much of the news cycle. AMNA NAWAZ: The book is “A Good Provider Is
One Who Leaves.” Jason DeParle, thank you very much for being
here. JASON DEPARLE: Thank you. JUDY WOODRUFF: Now: bringing ancient traditions
alive in a new light. Artist Prumsodun Ok is taking a form of dance
that dates back to performances solely for royalty in Cambodia. His Khmer dance company is transforming that
classical style by using an all-male and openly gay group to showcase the art to the public. He now gives his Brief But Spectacular take
on this unique tradition. It’s also part of our Canvas series. PRUMSODUN OK, Dancer: So, when you look at
Khmer classical dance, there are a lot of curves in our art form. So we actually train our hands. We bend them back like this. And we have four primary hand gestures that
we use. This is — represents a tree. That tree is going to grow and then it’ll
have leaves. After it has leaves, it’s going to have flowers. And after it has flowers, it’s going to have
fruit. That fruit is going to drop, and a new tree
will grow. And so in those four gestures are the cycle
of life. We use those four same gestures to illustrate
sadness, love, anger, pain, joy, pride. The art form was nearly destroyed in the 1970s,
when the Khmer Rouge took over. In a period of less than four years, 90 percent
of Khmer dance artists lost their lives, during a time in which an entire third of Cambodia’s
population perished through disease, overwork, starvation, and execution. My teacher’s teachers were instrumental in
reviving the art form from the ashes of war and genocide. When I think about, what is my role to this
tradition that was nearly lost, I have a responsibility to offer my fullest self, my realities as
a gay man, someone born and raised in the diaspora, in and of and between many different
worlds. I didn’t go to Cambodia with the intention
of starting Cambodia’s first gay dance company. I had plans to move to Mexico City. Then I got a fellowship to work with all young
male gay dancers. And when I got to Cambodia, my friends, who
are the leading dance artists in Cambodia, they would say, Prum, can you stay here? You know, the country needs you. The art form needs you. And I would say, no, because everywhere I
looked around me, I saw so much sadness. After a month-and-a-half of training these
young men, I sat down and I watched them. And I said, oh, my God, they look like a real
company. And, oh, my God, Cambodia’s first gay dance
company just formed in my living room. To call the company, like, a gay dance company
is a very brave and very forward thing. Before I auditioned the dancers, I told them:
I need brave people. You are going to go on stage and you are going
to represent a community that doesn’t have a voice oftentimes. My name is Prumsodun Ok, and this is my Brief
But Spectacular take on honoring your traditions. JUDY WOODRUFF: And you can find additional
Brief But Spectacular episodes on our Web site, On the “NewsHour” online right now: Millions
of Americans stand to lose food stamp benefits under a policy proposed by the Trump administration. New state level data offers a glimpse of who
would be impacted if this rule goes into effect. You can learn more on our Web site, And that is 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, and we’ll see you soon.

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