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tv   Global 3000  PBS  February 17, 2017 7:30pm-8:01pm PST

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host: this week, global 3000 heads to afghanistan, to meet refugees who have returned to their war-torn homeland. we find out why. in the rainforests of cameroon we learn why people are putting down their weapons in the name of conservation. but first we go to thailand where sex-change surgery offers hope to many transgender people. the word "transgender" has many meanings though we're focusing on gender reassignment. a man may want to become a woman, or vice versa. at least 25 million people worldwide consider themselves transgender.
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the first sex change operation took place in berlin in the early 1930's. only very few countries actually allow their citizens to freely determine their own sex, even without an operation -- argentina, ireland, malta, norway. this year, denmark has ceased to classify transgender identity as a mental disorder. but that's not the case in many other countries. and the world health organisation continues to label transgender identity a mental health issue. in iran, transgender people can receive treatment in the form of sugery. the state even subsidises it. iran conducts more sex change operations than any other nation. except for thailand. and there, many doctors are specialised in gender reassignment. >> she's waited half her life for this moment. but for litmar del rosario the last few hours seem to take an
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eternity. finally the door into a new life opens, a new life without a penis. >> i researched for years that it's really irreversible. and i'm open about it. and i'm very happy for what will be. because it's my truth. and the truth will set free. reporter: thailand is a popular port of call for people who feel as if they were born into a body with the wrong biological sex. transgender people come here from all over the world from japan, russia, the u.s., and europe. gender reassignment surgery in thailand costs around 2000 euros. in other countries, it can run to over 50,000. there are no waiting lists here. it's a cash down procedure at your own risk. the operations however are generally carried out by skilled doctors. litmar comes from the philippines.
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she's been taking female hormones for 16 years and already has breast implants. now it's time for the final cut. >> for example, when i change your pants to make a dress. not cut it out. keep as much as possible. and take out some things that are useless. and make a new thing. reporter: turning a man into a woman. here, the procedure is low-cost and fast. but foreign transgender tourists face regulations even in thailand. litmar meets the requirements. she's over 18, has been in counselling with at least two psychologists, and has undergone hormone therapy. and before the doctors will operate, every man-to-woman client also has to spend time living as a woman. >> at the age of three or four i found that i was different than the other boys in my town. i wanted barbies, not a gun. i wanted cosmetics.
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not the things normal boys play with. and at that time i knew there was something different with me. reporter: half male, half female. called katoeys in thailand, transgender people have an accepted place in society an expression of buddhist tolerance. known as the third gender, katoeys frequently work in the cosmetics sector -- or as models, or actors. amy ratchada made a name after gender reassignment. she now runs her own beauty parlour in bangkok selling fashion and perfume. amy often appears on tv and in the tabloid press. >> my father came to the hospital with me, i was only 18. he had to sign the paperwork and had tears in his eyes. i had it all done in one go top and bottom. i'm really proud of myself, and what i've become. reporter: amy's found happiness, and recently a boyfriend as well. he's got short hair, and is
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slender of build. >> i haven't really thought about the gender reassignment. but i've had my breasts removed. since then i feel a lot more self-confident. amy was born a man, now a woman. her boyfriend born a woman who'd rather be a man. it's a little confusing -- but only at first. it's litmar del rosario's big day. she's prepared for surgery in kamol cosmetic hospital in bangkok. litmar slept badly. her mind was racing all night. >> i was thinking about recovery. and how it is with the pain. but i think that's pretty normal the day before the surgery.
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reporter: litmar enters the operating theather. operations like this are daily routine for dr. kamol and his colleagues. along with a few extras that might appeal to a man wanting gender reassignment surgery. things like cheekbone sculpting, nose and shoulder reduction, lip augmentation or breast implants. litmar's operation takes almost four hours. it won't only alter her body, it'll change her whole life. then it's over. >> she's got to recover now. there were no complications. we're happy with the result. reporter: for the first time in her life, litmar feels like everything's just the way it's supposed to be. she'll stay in bangkok for two weeks of post-operative care. the incisions will take three months to heal. but a new chapter of her life has begun.
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>> my sister, some nurse staff here, and also my husband wished me a happy birthday, because they think that this is my new birthday. i was like a butterfly. it's a metamorphosis. reporter: litmar has ambitious plans. she wants to work as a model, to study, and find a good job. but her biggest wish is that people will just accept her as she is. as a human being. host: and now for global ideas, when we meet people working hard to protect our planet's natural life. this time, we go to cameroon. our reporter, grit hofmann, spent much of her childhood in the forest though it was not as extraordinary as the korup national park in the west of the country. it's one of the world's oldest rainforests and it's in danger.
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reporter: john ekpoh is respected as one of the best hunters around here. he has hunted most of his life. >> when you bring the meat to the house, they would feel very, very happy. if you don't have anything else, they won't be happy. that is our own tradition here. because you cannot eat empty food. reporter: he caught a rodent in the forest for his family's meal today. cameroon has banned the hunting of endangered species. >> you go to prison now. when they catch a hunter, they take you to prison. reporter: by they, he means the rangers here in korup national park in the west of the country. park ranger is considered a good job. brenda mue grew up in a city, and there are no hunters in her
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family. but she has learned to spot the traces hunters leave behind. >> i don't smile with hunters because i know that they destroy our forest. i don't joke with hunters. when i meet one, i show them that i am a woman with a difference. don't you realize that it is forbidden to enter korup on hunts? reporter: it is a real problem. people living in what is now the national park have always eaten animals they find in the rain forest -- including species that are now endangered. the conservation authorities are getting tougher as they seek to protect them from extinction. representatives of an ngo are visiting the park with the rangers. they set up camera traps to help them make an inventory of the shrinking populations of the endangered species, such as chimpanzees and drills.
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forest animals are a primary source of protein for people here. some animals are also sold to outsiders. it is one of very few ways to make any money. the village of erat is located within the national park. the park's director has come to visit. when he was here two years ago, the welcome was not so warm. but now, the park administration and the villagers work together. if they abide by the rules, they receive significant material benefits, such as solar electricity. >> this time, locals become the center of conservation efforts. for the first time, we were consulted at every stage.
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we now became convinced of the fact that we could have different ways of earning a living inside the national park. reporter: what alternatives are there to hunting? the villagers and the park administration have together agreed on different zones and set up signs to mark their boundaries -- the protected rain forest, the communal forest where local people can gather wood, and the area where they can farm. john ekpoh, the former hunter, has been farming for years. he is approaching sixty, and hunting was becoming very tiring. he grows cocoa, bananas and mangos. the conservationists want to persuade other hunters to follow his example. john ekpoh says he and his family are better off now as farmers. >> i earn 100,000 francs per year. i should even use more ground. it's very easy money and the
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harvest is easy. it's not as hard as hunting, where i used to have a lot of problems. reporter: hunters spend long days and long nights in the forest. it's a dangerous occupation. so why don't they all turn to farming? >> if i have a problem and i need the money immediately, you go for the way to get the money. cocoa trees take some time. these trees here you have to plant them. well, you can plant some fruit crops with them when you plant them. so you have some first income. they bear fruits after four years, so there is some difficult time to pass. reporter: at the village assembly, the village chief has proclaimed a ban on hunting. the heads of all the families agree to the ban and to the penalties for infringements. 10 men surrender theiruns to
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the park rangers. in exchange, the village gets 10 motor bikes. now these men have to learn how to drive them. they used to be hunters. now they hope to earn money as couriers or providing taxi services. that's an option now that a path has been opened connecting erat with the outside world. before that you had to hike for six hours to reach the nearest village. in the rainy season, when the river was high, even that was not possible. the new bridge is set to be completed by april. >> for them it is very important to have access to the market but also access to other services. goods can come into the village,
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and the people can easier go to school, see the doctor and other things. reporter: john ekpoh says he hopes they don't widen the path. he doesn't want to see illegal logging destroy the forest and his world. >> korup forest is a friend to me. if this forest disappears, i might even die myself, i also can disappear. host: the number of civilian casualities continues to rise in afghanistan. more than 8,000 in the first nine months of last year alone. the perpetual violence in the country causes many to flee. there are at least 2.7 million afghan refugees worldwide most of them in neighbouring countries.
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many though are being sent back. over 1 million people have returned home from pakistan and iran. refugees from europe too, have come back though rarely voluntarily. reporter: it's a fresh start for obaid in kabul. the german government gave him 500 euros, and he's invested the money in a small shop. three months ago he returned to afghanistan, where he was born -- but where he now feels like a stranger. >> life here is difficult for me. because i was in germany where everyone is on time. but here in afghanistan nobody cares. i really regret coming back. reporter: obaid originally fled afghanistan with his brother. they paid traffickers 8,000 euros. he now earns around 10 euros a day. but he says the worst thing about coming back is the almost daily terror attacks. his brother stayed in europe.
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obaid returned because he couldn't leave his beloved sister alone any longer. when he was in germany he only learned a few words of german on the streets. he was never offered a language class although he lived near frankfurt for a year. he says he wanted to integrate, but couldn't. still, leaving was hard. >> at the airport i started crying, and the police asked me if i really wanted to return to afghanistan. i said yes. i have to. >> i was really happy that both my brothers had made it to germany. but i was sad, too. i felt very lonely, and cried a lot. i thought i'd never see my brothers again. reporter: for many returnees, the most vivid memories of germany involve bureaucracy. mokhtar fazil also fled to europe via turkey and the balkan route, paying traffickers over 5000 euros.
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a dangerous journey. >> people told me i would get a house in germany, and find work. but it wasn't like that at all. i lived in a really remote area. reporter: mokhtar ended up in the state of brandenburg, far from any urban center. he'd hoped his wife would be allowed to join him. or that he'd at least be able to send money back to his family. >> i thought i would at some point get a passport, and would be able to help my family in afghanistan, and i would be able to go to school in germany. reporter: mokhtar lasted nine months before returning, frustrated, to kabul. he hasn't found a job here either. unemployment is rampant. the e.u. wants to send around 80,000 afghans home to a country that, even according to its own government, is plagued by war and terrorism.
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>> in 2015, germany said that refugees could come. so a lot of afghans sold everything they had. and if they're deported now, it's a big problem for us. reporter: afghanistan is overwhelmed, something evident every morning here in eastern kabul. around 7,000 refugees are returning from pakistan every day. many of these people fled decades ago. around 3 million afghans still live in the neighboring country. many were born in pakistan, and are now in their homeland for the first time. like 21-year-old niaz. >> we have a lot of problems. we're living with relatives because we have no house -- hopefully we'll find one soon. but most of all -- we want peace! reporter: the government doesn't have the means to help these people who left everything behind years ago. so the u.n. has stepped in. most refugees come here first.
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returnees are given $400 apiece on average to get started. not just niaz and his wife, but the two children as well. he's glad to get it, but knows it won't suffice. >> i dream of the day when i won't be dependent on help like this. i want peace, security and an education for my children. i can't read or write. reporter: around $1 million are handed out in kabul every day -- an untenable situation. there simply won't be enough for all of afghanistan's far-flung refugees. they have to start again from scratch. for most afghans, it won't be the first time. and probably not the last. obaid often feels unhappy about coming back to kabul. so he's come to a decision: >> i'm going back to germany.
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no one can stop me. and i'm taking my sister with me. reporter: even if they make it, there's not much chance they'd be allowed to stay. but hope springs eternal. host: we're heading towards a new technological age that of the 3d printer. will these machines be able to produce everything in the future? three decades ago, a patent was registered. now a revolution has begun. today's printers can already work with gel, to iron and plastic. they can even produce medical prosthetics and prototypes of artificial organs. and that's just the beginning. reporter: at local motors, they dream up the future of the
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automobile. and then they make it happen. it's amazing what you can do nowadays with plastic pellets and a giant 3d printer. this is local motors' micro-factory at its facility in knoxville, tennessee. greg haye says there is still a long way to go before the company's cars enter production. >> this is the starting point. this is what was developed almost two years ago. in parallel, we are working on materials development, where we have about 70 materials that we are going through and characterizing for specific applications. reporter: material testing is ongoing, but one day tailored vehicles will probably be made to customer specifications in micro-factories. this is a prototype of the firm's strati electric car. it's not yet certified to hit the road in the real world. industry analysts see 3d printing as the future in the
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auto industry. >> this is really a game-changing technology -- down the road. we're not making dies and tools and moulds. you're making the part itself. it'll cut out casting for the dies. it'll cut out the tool and die-maker. it'll cut out machining. it will make it much quicker to go from drawings to manufactured parts. reporter: the printing process isn't fast. but developers are working on speeding it up. with some success. >> the very first time we did it, it took 44 hours. now it takes 27. the advantage is the flexibility of design, and rapid integration of technology. when you get to a certain amount of production capacity, you will actually use more conventional manufacturing, and you will only produce what's needed. so you're not producing a thousand vehicles a day, you're producing what's needed for your local customer base. reporter: if cars were cars custom-made in decentralised networks of local micro-factories, car dealerships
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would start to suffer -- and be forced to adapt. at its maryland facility, local motors has developed olli, a self-driving electric shuttle, which could be a big taxi or small bus. if it gains approval and catches on, the jobs of many human drivers will be in danger. olli uses the cloud-based cognitive computing capabilities of ibm's watson internet of things technology. >> hello. my name is olli. i am the first cognitively enabled vehicle. i seat 12 passengers. and you can ask me anything. >> olli, i'm hungry. where can i get some food? >> well, try the crab cake cafe. >> all right! reporter: olli has a human-drive mode as well as a self-drive mode. we take a trip around the company's car park. >> it's learning from a network of vehicles and being able to adapt it repeatedly the same time every time.
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rather than a human, where you start learning when you get in your car for the first time and you are only learning when you are driving. reporter: detroit has been at the heart of the u.s. automotive industry since the 1890's. this is where henry ford pioneered mass production and conveyor-belt based assembly lines. but the city has been shrinking, and crises in the car industry have contributed to the loss of countless jobs. but the major manufacturers are still here, and all are experimenting with 3d printing and with self-driving vehicles. tests are conducted at the university of michigan. somebody still has to be sitting behind the wheel, for safety reasons. how will we humans feel if we delegate life-and-death decisions on our roads to computers? there are many unanswered
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questions about liability and insurance in an era of autonomous vehicles. manufacturers, retailers, information providers, vehicle-control system makers... who pays if there's trouble? the first victims of such a development will be people who drive for a living -- bus drivers for example. >> they have to find other jobs, don't they? and taxi drivers will have to find other jobs. but it's a slow evolution. it's not going to be, turn the switch, and everybody is out of work, like we sometimes have when the industry goes through its ebbs and flows. i think this will be, over time, a winnowing away. host: and that's all from us. we're back next week with a new edition. you can watch the programme online any time and we enjoy hearing from you. write to us at and follow us on facebook, bye for now.
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- [voiceover] this program is made possible in part by the town of marion, historic marion, virginia, home of the wayne henderson school of appalachian arts, celebrating 21 years as a certified virginia main street community. the ellis family foundation, general francis marion hotel. the historic general francis marion hotel and black rooster restaurant and lounge, providing luxurious accommodations and casual fine dining. the bank of marion. the bank of marion, your vision, your community, your bank. wbrf 98.1 fm. bryant label, a proud supporter of our region's musical heritage. ("cherokee shuffle" by gerald anderson/spencer strickland)


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