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tv   Focus on Europe  PBS  May 2, 2015 6:00pm-6:31pm PDT

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damien mcguinness: hello, and a and will very warm welcome to "focus on europe." bringing you the best personal stories behind the headlines. thanks very much for joining us. we have a fascinating program and lined up for you today. in italy, migrant who survived and i the world's most dangerous will you sea journey. in cyprus, the cheese that is a political issue. and in britain, the cyclist who is making the roads safer. this year, the death toll among you migrants trying to flee across the mediterranean is set the to be the worst ever. the number of migrants has
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athe number of migrants has remained constant, the proportion of people who have died trying to make the crossing have shot up dramatically. you and will that is because the italian search and rescue operation has been stopped, only to be replaced by a smaller eu operation designed to keep people out, rather than rescue them. to find out more about what it's like to make that there was journey, we've been to meet one young man who survived the crossing. reporter: they are the lucky ones. they have survived a treacherous journey from africa, and have found somewhere to stay in sicily. muslims and christians live here in the coastal town of priolo gargallo, side-by-side. father vinci looks after them. wally was only 17-years-old when he arrived last year from senegal. a former child soldier, he came all by himself. the traumatic journey to italy will stay with him forever. wally: it was too cold, and the
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boat we were at, there were many people there. 300 people plus. it was two deck, both up and down. if you see the condition of the boat, it was terrible. for you, yourself in it, you know there is not a thing that can help person to survive, to protect one's life in this mediterranean sea. in this sea, it is terrible. you will not know until you enter. reporter: wally shows us the local refugee reception center. young men are playing football there. a few days ago, some muslim refugees allegedly threw some christians they were sharing a boat with overboard. but wally thinks the fight was probably over the last few drops of drinking water. here there is no sign of religious conflict. wally: playing football, we need
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patience, but at times we do go out of control. that is just when the field. from here, i go inside and forget about everything. reporter: these are what's left of the boats the refugees arrived in. here in lampedusa, flavio di giacomo works for refugee organization. he has heard from many refugees that human traffickers are increasingly threatening them with weapons, forcing them on to the boats. flavio: the african refugees are often put in the cargo hold. there are no windows, they have to breathe and toxic engine fumes, the consequences can be fatal. reporter: the human traffickers charge up to $700 for a place in the cargo hold. a place on deck cost twice as much. usually only syrians can afford that. flavio is disappointed by the eu's operation triton, launched last november. flavio: the primary goal is to rescue people who are forced to flee if they are in distress at sea. triton only operates up to 30 nautical miles off the coast of italy.
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reporter: many refugee boats run into trouble well before they reach european shores, often capsizing because they are so overloaded. the latest such incident occurred just a few days ago, when over 800 migrants are believed to have drowned over 125 kilometers off the libyan coast. far beyond the waters patrolled by triton. italian coast guard's already rescued over 23,000 refugees this year alone, in many cases they have been aided by cargo vessels, rarely by triton ships. giovanni pettorino: now that the mare nostrum rescue mission has ended, the number of people being trafficked across the mediterranean has risen. that is a problem. more and more people will die if there are today rescue ships. reporter: in the wake of the high number of accidents in recent weeks, calls are growing louder in europe for a rescue
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mission to replace mare nostrum. a mission that could save the lives of refugees like wally. even if they survive the journey and make it to italy, their problems aren't over. in the neighboring port out of augusta, they have to face the resentment of the local population. >> you see them every day, the town is full of them. >> so, where are they? >> they are here, dozens of them. reporter: to father vinci, the african refugees are part of his committee. he's concerned by the hostility towards them, and what it could lead to. savlatore vinci: you see that people resent them and judge them, and of course that makes the refugees aggressive. it would have that effect on anyone. reporter: the refugees have a deeply traumatic experience behind them.
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here in priolo, they hope to start new lives. they, and thousands of other migrants who reached the shores of italy in recent weeks. damien mcguinness: it's really difficult to know what the answer is. some argue the rescue missions simply encourage traffickers to send more refugees out of the boats. others say this is just cynical, and that europe has a duty to help people fleeing war and oppression. that, or any of the stories on today's show by getting in touch with me on twitter. and we have a new facebook page. for the past 40 years, the mediterranean island of cyprus has been divided between greeks cypriots and turkish cypriots. turkey sees north cyprus as turkish territory. but the international community sees the entire island as an independent state. negotiations have stalled, and now things are looking even more strained.
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over cheese, or to be more precise, halloumi, which the greek cypriot government wants to register as protected goods to prevent overseas copycats. reporter: in antonis hadjipieris' cheese factory, warm whey is already flowing at 7:00 in the morning. the whey is pressed to make halloumi, a soft cheese made from the milk of cows, sheep, and goats. halloumi is the national cheese of both the greek and turkish parts of cyprus. he is one of the few on the greek side that advocates a joint patent, and joint worldwide marketing for halloumi cheese. antonis' father took small steps toward the reconciliation of the two ethnic groups. antonis hadjipieris: when we couldn't -- the greek cypriots couldn't eat halloumi because it has milk. my father used to go in the other area, selling the halloumi, because that time was not their feast. he was having the combination
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cooporation with turkish cypriots as well. reporter: today, cyprus is divided. just a couple hundred meters behind hadjipieris' cheese factory is the buffer zone separating the turkish north from the greek south. going further in that direction would put us in mortal danger. in the distance is the turkish army outpost. in town, the other greek cypriots mistrust antonis hadjipieris' support for a joint application for halloumi. they say, let the turks make halloumi, but only we should be allowed to sell it. >> their cheese product should bear the stamp of the republic of cyprus, and be distributed only by us. then, no problem for me. reporter: but the turkish cypriots don't want to be dictated to. hadjipieris meets his friend,
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sheep farmer yildiray beyaz, a turkish cypriot. defying the prejudices built on both sides, they have long worked together. beyaz has a special permit to let his sheep graze in the no man's land between the two parts of cyprus. he is also allowed to sell his sheep milk to the greek cypriot hadjipieris. yildiray beyaz: it's crazy, milk and halloumi cheese don't just belong to antonius or mustafa. they belong to the whole island. and while we quarrel here, other countries like turkey are producing imitation halloumi. reporter: antonis and yildiray are confident together they can sell twice as much halloumi. but southern cyprus, which unlike northern turkish cyprus is internationally recognized, submitted an application for patent protection for halloumi without asking turkish cypriots. antonis thinks this is absurd. antonis hadjipieris: we are cypriots. why are we discussing this?
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we are cypriots. reporter: not all cypriots think that way. before the beginning of the new reunification negotiations, nationalists in the turkish north banded together against the greeks, who were going alone. the turks suspect the greeks of wanting to monopolize halloumi and to dominate the turks. faiz sucuoglu: on the turkish side, about 50,000 people have directly or indirectly from halloumi production. if we make ourselves dependent on the greeks, they can withdraw the permit at any time and cut us off on the world market. pquality control in the hands of a foreign independent institution. reporter: a compromise on halloumi would boost the economies of both parts of cyprus. joint marketing could make the cheese a worldwide export hit, says this turkish cypriot halloumi producer.
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he uses greek machines in his dairy. producers and vendors in the north and south alike could easily agree on a cypriot halloumi if it were up to them. yunus betmezoglu: i frequently exchange views with my greek colleagues. we get along just fine. the problem is the politicians. reporter: halloumi manufacturers and aficionados have provided a role model. common interests could provide the basis for steps towards reconciliation at the upcoming peace talks. damien mcguinness: switzerland is one of the most amazing places to ski, but can also get pretty crowded. for expert skiers who want to get away from the crowd, heli-skiing is seen as the ultimate experience. it's where a helicopter drops
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you off onto the top of mountain and you ski down. sort of like off piste, but a lot more spectacular and more difficult. the problem is, the more popular heli-skiing gets, and the more helicopters buzzing around the alps, the worse the impact on the environment. reporter: wild, untouched nature. thousands of years old. the jungfrau aletsch protected area in the swiss alps is a unesco world natural eritage site. it is also a recreation park. playground of heli-skiiers, with all the noise and exhaust the luxury sport brings with it. the environmentalists from mountain wilderness say that is a brutal intrusion for both people and nature. the group is made up of activists ranging in age from 10 years old to 70 years old, they want to experience the alps in a pristine state. they start off at dawn for risky summit tour. >> there no tracks, so we really are pioneers. reporter: these people prefer the comfortable approach, with a
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helicopter. eight 40-something snow boarders are looking for the ultimate thrill in deep powder snow. they are promised a breathtaking descent from a summit 4000 meters high down through secluded landscapes. >> for me, the thrill is definitely the flight. the elevation. the mountain world. flying along the beautiful north face. reporter: it's a departure into the eternal ice, the flight along the north face to the top takes just seven minutes. fast-forward through a spectacular mountainscape. contrasted with a self-propelled 500 meter elevation gain. it would be a fantastic hike, if it weren't for a constant din from the helicopters. for years, the activists from mountain wilderness of been fighting for fewer landing sites in environmental liberty to ly protected areas.
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but they haven't had much success. >> it's really annoying. look around, it's wonderfully quiet, and all day long we have the racket from the helicopters. it is infuriating. reporter: but there is a lot of money to be made from heli-skiing, some 15,000 such flights take off in switzerland each year. that is more than any world in europe. landing in a protected area with no effort, with kilometers of untouched glacier awaiting you. the snow was packed hard, and the view is stunning. down in the valley, a helicopter is already waiting to bring up the next party. at 2:00 p.m., the environmentalists arrive at their bivouac camp. they are exhausted and behind schedule. there is not much time to rest. it will be dark in three hours. and five igloos have to be dug and secured before then.
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katharina conradin: this isn't about making a point against heli-skiing, it's also about showing that it is possible to enjoy mountain sports and experiencing the mountains far away from the bustle of the piste without wasting energy. reporter: but christian von allmen does not want his business ruined by environmental activists. for the head of air glaciers, heli-skiing is nice additional income. for years, his industry has been fighting against bands planned by the government. it says it also has to do with the pride of the people who live in the mountains. christian von allmen: the city people are against it. they want a paradise where we live. and we want to live and earn some money. reporter: a flight cost 700 euros per person. does this really have to be done? >> yes, it does. definitely.
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reporter: darkness has fallen over the bivouac camp. it is time for a torchlight procession in the icy cold, before the environmentalists bed down for the night in their igloos. it is a silent protest against the noise. their wish is silence in the swiss alps. [singing] damien mcguinness: now, to eastern ukraine, where in theory, there's a cease-fire. in reality, some fighting still continues between pro-russian separatists and ukrainian forces. here in germany, people feel the conflict is very close, and n fact, geographically it is. that's also because of the close links the germany has to both ukraine and russia. there is now increasing concern about german citizens starting to get involved in the fighting themselves. reporter: the last control post before donetsk. it's almost like an international border.
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no one gets past year without being checked by the pro-russian militia. one of the militia men is a man who lived in germany until he joined the separatists five months ago. he wants to see our passports. born in russia, he had his parents emigrated to germany as ethnic germans. he is one of many fighters in eastern ukraine. >> we simply want our peoples republic of donetsk. people here don't want to be a part of russia. at first they believed in putin, but he left us in the lurch. he could have ended all of this without firing a shot, like in crimea. reporter: hollywood, a former nightclub on the outskirts of donetsk, is where the 23-year-old lives when he is not on duty. in the course of the war, the separatists turn the club into a barracks. we are not allowed to film inside. the club has whirlpools in a fitness room.
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he used to be a wind energy electronics engineer. more recently, his battalion fought for weeks in the surrounded city. he says most of the germans fighting for the separatists have russian roots. >> we are not terrorists. we are perfectly normal people. these civilians, the children walking over there, that is who we are protecting. reporter: he came to donetsk because his cousin was on flight mh17, shot down over ukraine last july. at first, he was a civilian helper, but that he let the separatists train him to be a fighter. he blames all the destruction here solely on the ukrainian government. as an ethnic german from russia, he feels obligated to support other russians, like those into a mosque. >> in the first month i was here, i thought this is my war. but then, there were these
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pensioners. reporter: what happened? >> 12 of them died in an artillery barrage. when i covered the corpses, it was clear to me this was my war. i will remain here until i die. reporter: he doesn't think the cease-fire will hold. he makes no bones about the fact the separatists are regrouping near mariupol. >> we are fortifying our positions around mariupol. it is an important city. there is a total cease-fire, fine with me, i will have reached my goal. but if the shooting continues, the city of mariupol belongs to us. reporter: he believes that, thanks to russian support, the pro-russian militias have nothing to fear. he posts his views of the war on facebook every day. he says russia is only defending its interests in ukraine. he is wary of returning to germany at the moment, he is afraid his german citizenship could be rescinded for taking
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part in the war in ukraine. damien mcguinness: finally to london, where cycling is not for the fainthearted. i used to live there and would cycle around town, and i remember how many drivers would not even notice cyclists. it can make the commute to work rather hairy to say the least. but now, one london cyclist has decided to make the streets safer, and is rather bravely taking matters into his own hands. reporter: the streets of london are not for the faint of heart. rush-hour can seem like a combination of formula one racing and demolition derby. as millions of people try to get through the city as quickly as possible. for some, that means taking the rules of the road as mere suggestions. dave sherry has declared war on scofflaws.
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he is a self-styled traffic cop, armed with cameras and a horn. [horn blast] dave sherry: that is a point of view camera that captures all the bad drivers on their mobile phones, pda, jumping red lights. this is the beast. reporter: dave sherry is a kind of volunteer sheriff. at an intersection in the center of london, he records traffic with his helmet cam, picking up violations. dave sherry: red light jumper. we are watching the flow of traffic. as you can see, red light jumper. typical. reporter: is it disappointing to see a cyclist? dave sherry: he is more vulnerable than the vehicle, and they are the ones who are dying. reporter: a day earlier, a young woman cyclist was killed just around the corner after being hit by a truck.
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the third fatal bike accident in london within four weeks. dave was spurred to action by an accident too. dave sherry: a vehicle hit the back of my bike, i call the police, and they said it's your word against his. nothing could be done. i thought i'm not going to have done with that. i decided on putting cameras on my bike, so the next time it happened, i have evidential evidence, which is admissible in court and can't be disputed. reporter: it became his mission. by trade, sherry is a bus driver, and he uses his bike to commute between the city center in the suburbs. he sees a lot of people using their phones while driving or committing other traffic violations. dave says he is britain's most hated cyclist. and it is no wonder that people don't like him, since he doesn't just confront them with his camera, he also names and shames those who break the law.
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when the amature detective comes home, he uploads the videos he recorded on the roads to youtube. and he is merciless. the driver of this bus lost his job when dave caught him texting while driving. dave says he thinks the punishment was justified, even though in this case, it involved a colleague. dave sherry: i don't feel ashamed of making the bus driver loses job, because he had the safety of his passengers in his hands, he had a duty of care, being a professional driver. he should know better. reporter: dave's wife supports his hunt for scofflaws, even though it's not exactly a normal hobby for a husband and father. lianne sherry: sometimes i do get scared for him. people don't like being told they're wrong, do they? the fact that they then find out it is on camera, and you know not going to go away, think they don't like that.
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reporter: this video shows the risk dave is taking. the white van has cut him off. and the driver isn't happy about being filmed. but because of that attack, the driver ended up in court. now, he has a police record with a warning. and could face tougher charges if he is caught again. dave sherry: it was, and if it wasn't for the video, he would've gotten away scott free. cameras do work, and police do work with it. reporter: modern technology has sparked a trend for hobby detective work, and the professionals are grateful for the extra sets of eyes. they can't be everywhere at once, after all. david osborne: it's something we have had to adapt to, it can be useful. it is useful for us to know where dangerous locations are in the kind of driving that's going on. we had prosecutions as a result of some of the video that has
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been sent to us. reporter: dave sherry's efforts have resulted in 70 convictions. he doesn't care that some people hate him for his videos. he just hopes he can help make the streets of london a bit psafer for everyone. damien mcguinness: interesting idea. making the streets safer with certainly be nice. but things might start getting chaotic if everyone started taking the law into their own hands. feel free to drop me a line and tell me what you think about that or what you would like to about the show. or even what you didn't like. i can be reached on twitter and on our new facebook page, where you can find a video showing what happens on "focus on europe," behind the scenes. i look forward to seeing you next week, same time, same place. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit]
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