tv DW News PBS February 21, 2018 6:00pm-6:31pm PST
sarah: this is "dw news," live from berlin. the syrian government's onslaught on a rebel-held damascus suburb intensifies. borders and missiles rained down on eastern ghouta without mercy, killing nearly 300 people including at least 50 children, according to monitors. hospitals overwhelmed, struggled to cope in a besieged area home to some 400,000 people. also coming up, calling for change. students in the u.s. state of florida demand tougher gun laws in the wake of last week's deadly school shooting. but can they prod lawmakers to act? and a teenager fighting cancer. survival rates are improving, but in her case it comes at a high cost. we will look at how cancer has become more curable in recent years.
and it is day 12 of the winter olympics in pyeongchang, and superstar skier lindsey vonn was aiming for gold in her final olympics. keep watching to find out whether or not she clinched it. ♪ sarah: i'm sarah kelly. welcome to the program. thanks for joining us. no words left. the united nations children's agency describes the suffering of civilians in a rebel-held suburb of damascus as beyond what words are capable of expressing. with airstrikes bounding eastern ghouta again today, monitors assay that more than 270 people have been killed since sunday. no, it is not the first time that ghouta has come under attack. back in 2013, the government allegedly bombed it with chemical weapons.
we want to warn you that you may find the images in our next report upsetting. reporter: for a war that has been raging for nearly seven years, the images are no less shocking and no less harrowing. this boy's parents' fate is unknown. and what will become of him? in towns already reduced to shells, any hospital still standing is completely overwhelmed. since sunday, the syrian government, reportedly aided by russian forces, have stepped up its bombardment of this enclave, with little regard for those who inhabit it. reporter: and still,r
jets keep coming. if what happened in homes in aleppo are anything to go by, they will not stop until there's no one left. those who survived this are being starved in their own homes. >> the situation is getting worse and people are forced to stay underground to avoid the shelling, unable to go on to the streets or whatever is left of them to collect or buy food. reporter: world leaders condemn the syrian government, but that comes as little consolation to the people of eastern ghouta, where actions have far more affect than just words. sarah: for more on the situation there let's bring in panos moumtzis, he's the u.n. humanitarian coordinator for the syria crisis.
we thank you so much for joining us this evening from kuwait. panos: thank you. thank you for having me with you. sarah: now panos, we have just seen images of horrific conditions in eastern ghouta. we would like for you to describe to us, according to the information that you have, what is happening to civilians there? panos: the situation for civilians is really beyond imagination. this humanitarian situation is spiraling completely out of control. the protection of civilians has become extremely difficult. basically there has been multiple attacks. bombs falling minutes apart in different locations of the eastern ghouta enclave where 400,000 people are living and whose life in the last few days has become impossible. eastern ghouta has been besieged since 2013. we have not been able to take any envoy since the 28th of november with the exception
of a small one in february. there is no water. markets, everything has come to a complete halt. we have had now multiple hospitals that have been attacked, bombed, health facilities, this can constitute a war crime when health facilities are attacked inside. hundreds of deaths. it's an area that has become hell on earth. it is really very, very difficult for the people who are inside. sarah: we know many other organizations including amnesty international have also raised the specter of war crimes in this specific incident. we also know that this area has been under government siege for years and has suffered an alleged chemical attack back in 2013. the assad regime really seeming to be relentless here. what do you think will happen to these people? panos: well, we hope that we will not see an aleppo scenario take place again because i think
this is really, i mean, for all of us, for the protection of the civilians, the military option is the one that has the most devastating impact on people's lives. even these children who go through this area of bombardment. what is unique about eastern ghouta is it is one of the four so-called de-escalation safe zones established. if anything, it has become an escalation area where we have seen a significant increase of hostility. from our side, the united nations, what we're asking is for a cease-fire for at least two days which would allow us to bring in food and medical supplies. also to take out cases of medical evacuations. east ghouta is 10 miles down the road from central damascus. so at the moment we have hundreds of medical cases that need to be taken to a hospital
and they cannot because of needing permission to go, while the hospital is just a 10 mile drive. it is so close to it. and of course to be able to have convoys to take them in, but we need permission to do so. sarah: panos, i am so sorry for interrupting you, we just have a couple moments left. you mentioned there that you are not only involved on the humanitarian side but also the diplomatic side. so i would like to ask you, you started to talk about the security council in new york. do you think the world will ever say enough is enough and take resolute action to bring this campaign to an end? do you see any hope on the horizon? panos: this is the question we keep asking ourselves. we have had now seven years of a relentless war in syria with hundreds of thousands dead, displaced, millions of people
are displaced. so far there has not been this one moment to say that was a turning point to bring everybody together into a peaceful solution. there is a security council resolution in draft. we hope it will pass this week to bring a cease-fire. it is still being discussed. but this is a moment where world leaders around the world really need to be picking up the phone and putting every pressure they can to bring a change. sarah: panos moumtzis, u.n. humanitarian coordinator for the syrian crisis joining us this evening from kuwait with the very latest on these reports from eastern ghouta. a couple hundred reported dead there. we thank you very much for joining us this evening. meanwhile, elsewhere in syria, turkey saying it will press ahead with its offensive to clear kurdish fighters from a syrian enclave on its border. this, after forces loyal to the syrian government attempted to enter offering and support to the kurds. turkish president recep tayyip
erdogan warned that there would be serious consequences for any group trying to reinforce the kurds. kurdish and syrian fighters have joined forces in the enclave, but a convoy of around 50 vehicles retreated after coming under turkish fire. the latest threats from ankara raise fears of direct conflict between turkish and syrian government forces. to florida now, where several thousand protesters have gathered in front of the state capital in tallahassee to demand stronger control on firearms. leading the protest were students from the marjory stoneman douglas high school, the parkland, florida school where a gunman killed 17 people last week. on tuesday, lawmakers defeated a bill to ban assault-style weapons like the one used in the parkland shooting. but they are debating making it more difficult to obtain such weapons in florida. and earlier we spoke with lewis mizen, a survivor of the school massacre who traveled to tallahassee today. we asked him whether he thought
he and his classmates would be able to get politicians to do something about the violence. lewis: i think you can all look around, we are the next generation of voters and the next generation of leaders. the way we have handled our grief, we have really shown that we will be a strong generation of leaders and we are willing to make change. we are first real generation since columbine. we have grown up with these mass shootings in schools. that is a legacy that has been left to us. we want our legacy to be fixing that and changing that, and i really have hope for the future that we can make this a national issue. it is always a hot topic in american politics. but i really believe that we can be the people who brings it up and makes politicians talk about it and hopefully brings change across the entire country. sarah: that was lewis mizen speaking to us a short time ago, one of the survivors of the gunman attack in florida last week. meantime in other news, every
year, more than 150,000 children around the world are diagnosed with cancer. research suggests the number of recorded -- reported cases is growing. but the survival rate in high-income countries is going up as well. it is above 80%. katharina pohlenz is one of those struggling with the disease. she was diagnosed with bone cancer seven years ago and her life is dominated by her fight for health. katharina: you always think, oh, these poor people with cancer. but you never think it will be you. especially as a child, it's such a slap in the face and you don't know what it means. >> when she got sick, she was only 12 years old. the disease meant that i saw her growing up very, very fast.
at the end of the day, her childhood was stolen from her. reporter: weekly visits to the clinic has become an essential part of family life for katharina pohlenz and her mother. she sees her doctor more often than her teachers. the size of her medical file shows how long it has been. katharina is expected to recover. her progress is good. her general condition has improved. even so, the emotional strain is , for everyone, plain to see. >> she is now getting medication that boosts her mood and appetite. her joie de vivre is back and she has more confidence in herself. reporter: home with her mom is where katharina feels safe and
processes what has been happening to her. katharina: in every situation, no matter how bad it was, we always found something to laugh about. it is sometimes macabre, but it becomes a kind of dark humor that not everyone understands. only cancer people will get it. reporter: sound therapy is her main way to relax. even though she has delayed school exams and can no longer play sport, katharina's days are full with cancer treatment. katharina: for the future, of course i hope that i will get better. i hope that i can go back to school, graduate, and study something nice, whether that is medicine or something else. i just want a banal life.
sarah: for more on stories like that, we're joined now by professor ulrich keilholz. he is the director of the comprehensive cancer center at the charite hospital here in berlin. thank you for joining us this evening. we are really curious to tap into your expertise, especially now. we know that you have been doing research on cancer for more than 30 years. what major improvements do you see when it comes to diagnosis and treatment these days? ulrich: the past five to 10 years were really dramatic in progress because we understand cancer cells much better and that has led to two novel treatment approaches on top of the classic approaches like surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. we now have modern immunotherapy and the target of treatment that really help patients live longer and we hope to improve cure
rates with these new modernities. sarah: immunotherapy, you are hearing about this so often. your work at the charite hospital, how do you see that inventing worldwide research development internationally? ulrich: i was always fascinated by the immune system, that it takes care of certain things in your body but was never capable to attack cancer. we tried to stimulate immunotherapy with various methods, since decades. and we never understood why this would not work very well. now we know that the immune system has very important breaks in order to stop from overreacting. and those breaks, we can take apart for some time in order to allow the immune system to attack cancer. and we found out that this works tremendously well in a variety of cancers. sarah: you sound very hopeful. do i have that correctly? ulrich: it is fascinating. and we also see patients who we
can treat with metastatic disease for whom we did not have good treatment before. and we see that we can deliver this kind of treatment and the patients live long with very few side effects. but that is not the ultimate goal. the ultimate goal is to move this earlier in the treatment paradigm in order to improve the cure rate when a cancer is diagnosed, and that is exactly the age where we're working on right now with trials of the drugs we have developed in patients with metastatic disease. sarah: you hear that so often from doctors, that early detection is really key when it comes to cancer. but i want to ask you briefly before we go, do you feel as if there is enough funding available to continue this research, to really push it to the next step, to potentially have a cure one day? ulrich: at this point, there is funding that we can continue the work. we always ask for more. but we can continue the work as
long as we do not get dramatic cuts. spending in germany has increased. that is not so in other countries, like the united states. but it is not a complaint about too little funding. sarah: we want to thank you very much for joining us this evening to tell us a lot about your important work. ulrich keilholz is the director of comprehensive cancer center pberlin.te hospital here in as we mentioned, you have more than 30 years of cancer research experience. thank you. ulrich: thank you. ♪ fanny: the european central bank has remained silent amid accusations of money laundering at latvia's third biggest bank. now the latvian president has weighed in, saying his country must improve its efforts to tackle money laundering and corruption. bankers in the country are calling on the ecb to step in and sort out the unfolding banking scandal. reporter: the european central bank governing council met today with a notable absentee.
the central bank president is still embroiled in a corruption scandal. and pressure is mounting on the ecb to formulate a response. for his part, he has maintained his innocence. he has called allegations that he solicited 100,000 euros a month in bribes a smear campaign leveled against him by banks angered by tougher financial regulations. he cannot work while the probe is ongoing, but he cannot be fired, either. he's ignoring calls to resign. >> i have taken the decision not to resign today because i am not guilty, because it is the aim of mudslingers for me to resign and prevent me from being able to protect myself. i'm afraid the legal proceedings would last for many years and i would not have a quick and fair judgment. reporter: the ecb is also being called upon to respond to a crisis snowballing at ablv. it is facing money laundering allegations. the commercial banking association urged the ecb to help mitigate the chaos, but so
far the eurozone central banking authority has
been quiet. fanny: the european commission says it is serious about fighting cartels. it was just announced fines topping half a billion euros in three antitrust cases. the companies targeted included maritime car carriers, and brake system suppliers and spark plug suppliers. they fixed prices and exchanged market sensitive information over years. reporter: the eu competition commissioner margrethe vestager wanted to send a message that the european commission will not tolerate anti-competitive behavior. >> today the commission has decided to fine seven companies a total of 564 million euros for taking part in four different cartels relating to cars. three other companies involved in these cartels, well, they escaped getting a fine because
they came to us to reveal the
cartels. reporter: in the shipping industry, the fines affected a chilean carrier, three japanese carriers as well as a norwegian swedish carrier. together they formed a deep-sea vehicle cartel for almost six years. in the automotive parts industry, germany's bosch and two japanese companies ran a cartel applying spark plugs to european companies. bosch was also involved in running another cartel fixing brake system prices. companies can escape fines through the eu commission's leniency policy which encourages companies to hand over inside evidence of cartels. a system, which in the cases announced wednesday, proved to be effective. ♪ sarah: it is lights, camera, action here in berlin, where the international film festival is
still in full swing. dw's charlotte chelsom-pill and scott roxborough are, as always, down on the red carpet for us. welcome to both of you. we know guys that the berlinale , it showcases movies from around the world. the classic is usually iranian films. tell us a little bit more about this year's entry. charlotte: yes, it is an iranian film on show tonight. we just had the red carpet for that film, it was very exciting. behind us we had all the stars and the director walking in to the world premiere of that film. now scott and i were lucky enough to get a preview so we will give you a brief synopsis. basically it is about an iranian director who is blacklisted, and it is about a serial killer, surprisingly, who is gradually one by one is killing off this director's friends, fellow directors.
surprisingly, it is a comedy. scott: yeah, it is not at all what you would expect when you hear iranian movie. you would probably think of something very political, dark, very troubling. this is not that at all. very funny and visually very spectacular. this director is sort of a magic realist. he creates fantasy images and uses amazing cinematic tricks. something very different from what maybe we are used to seeing from iran. we have a small piece to introduce you to the film. why don't we take a look. reporter: "pig" is the story of hassan, a narcissistic film director furious he has been blacklisted from iran's movie industry. hassan is also furious thursday serial killer decapitating iran's top filmmakers, only because he is not one of them. rm
aficionados won't forget that some of iran's top directors really are banned from the country's cinemas. but the "pig" director insists that his black comedy is only parody. sarah: and i understand that you guys actually had the opportunity to speak with the director. what did he have to say? charlotte: well, we were at the press conference. a very funny film, not so funny press conference. scott: yeah, this is very different from maybe what we expected from iran or what western audiences think iran is like. and the director was quite annoyed that all the questions seemed to be about the politics ever it of iran and not the film itself. charlotte: it actually got
heated. he said he was not there to portray iran as a country of victims. he was also asked about the portrayal of women in the film. some very strong and charismatic women. let's have a listen to what he had to say about that. >> it's been bothering me for a long time about the state of iranian cinema as it is seen outside iran. sometimes it conforms to a very specific image that audiences have of us in iran, which is usually gotten through news media and things like this. again, you seem to be asking me how come there are strong women in your film? well, because there are strong women in iran and i chose to show them, as opposed to conforming to this usual image that is presented to you of iranian women as victims. no. that's not how it is. charlotte: and it wouldn't be the berlinale if it didn't get a little political.
-- sarah: and it wouldn't be the berlinale if it didn't get a little political. thank you so much to both of you. ♪ sarah: and it has been an action-packed day. 12 of the winter olympics. matt herrmann is following all the details. max -- matt, excuse me, let me start with cross-country. matt: cross-country skiing history was made wednesday. it had been 42 years since the united states had won a medal of any kind in cross-country skiing. and they had never won a gold medal. all that changed on wednesday in the sprint relay. this was a huge surprise. though both had been knocking on the door on this kind of success for quite some time. this is actually randall's fifth olympics and diggins had finished in the top six in all
four events she entered in these games. perhaps they were just due. sarah: good for them. there was also some happenings in the bobsled. matt: this was actually very nearly another gold medal success for the united states, but this time they were picked at just the last moment by the german pair. the germans had made up some ground each time they went down the track with some really great steering. they actually won by 77seven hundreths of a second. sarah: just briefly, you have to explain who the garlic girls are. matt: they are the korean national women's curling team. they've won eight out of nine games. they face japan on the semi finals on thursday. they won the hearts of all of korea. koreans are trying to imitate the success of their heroes. they are named the garlic girls because they are from a province where garlic is grown in korea.
and everybody wants to get in on the act. sarah: i was wondering where the garlic came in. that does make sense, though. that definitely does make sense. matt herrmann from dw's sports desk, thank you. and with that, you are up-to-date here on "dw news." i am sarah kelly in berlin. thanks for watching. i hope to see you again soon. ♪ [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] @ical music)
- [narrator] the past 70 years has been the era of pax americana. - this new structure of peace is rising up on strong foundation. (cheers) - mr. gorbachev, tear down this wall. (cheers) - [man] three, two, one. (energetic classical music) - [narrator] a period of relative stability thanks to the influence and ballast provided by the united states. (energetic music) washington's grand strategy of promoting