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tv   PBS News Hour Weekend  PBS  April 25, 2015 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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captioning sponsored by wnet >> on this edition for saturday, april 25: devastation in nepal following a powerful earthquake- - more than a 1,500 people are feared dead; new protests in baltimore following the death of a young african-american man in police custody; how israel's water surplus could alter relations with its arab neighbors. >> israel not only has plenty to drink, but potentially plenty to share. >> can what israel has learned be put to use in california? next on pbs newshour weekend. >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by:
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corporate funding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we are your retirement company. additional support is provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. from the tisch wnet studios in lincoln center in new york this is pbs newshour weekend. >> stewart: good evening. thanks for joining us. about 1,500 people have been killed in nepal after a powerful earthquake registering 7.8 on the richter scale struck earlier today. ellen barry, the south asia bureau chief of the "new york times," has been following the story from her post in neighboring india and joins us now via skype. ellen, can you give us some of the details, fill us in on some of the details, for example
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what area was hardest hit? >> reporter: sure. i mean the part of katmandu that was most seriously devastated was the old historic part of town where there is sort of densely located heritage landmark buildings, temples and palaces. a number of those were simply pancaked in some cases with a the lot of people inside them. >> stewart: ellen, for those that did survive this quake and are trapped in the rubble and are being rescued, what kind of medical attention is available to them? >> what i heard towards the end of the day is the hospitals were completely overflowing or being treated in the street and there were shortages of basic medical goods like gauze, as well as medications. there are a lot of people who had to have amputations because they were stuck in collapsed buildings during the course of day. water is going to be a big problem in katmandu. the stores were already running short of bottled water, and even under normal circumstances it's
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a city that has serious problems with water. >> stewart: in terms of relief agencies have they been able to get to the city and get to the site? and who's sending relief? >> both china and india have come forward proposing significant relief but i think a lot of it is on the way right now. there's a whole area that has been-- has not really been reached by anyone, and that is a lot of villages around katmandu, where people are living in thatch and mud houses that may have been completely demolished. those numbers, we'll get more of a sense tomorrow i think when rescue teams get out towards the epicenter of the earthquake, which is about 50 miles northwest of the capital. >> stewart: i've been following your twitter feed, and it seems there are still tremors being felt? >> reporter: yes, and the population of katmandu is very, very rattled.
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people scream every time there's an aftershock. some of the aftershocks were very prolonged. in the first two hours i think there were 12 significant aftershocks, which is a lot. many people have refused to go back in their homes overnight so they're sleeping outside at the parade ground or at mosques or simply on the road because they're afraid if they go inside, they would face another building collapse. >> stewart: ellen barry of the "new york times," thank you so much for making the time for us. >> reporter: thank you. >> stewart: from the middle east, word of new gains by islamic extremists in syria. fighters from the al qaeda- affiliated nusra front captured what's been described as a strategically located town with a population of 50,000 in the northwest of that country. last month, another town near the syria-turkey border fell to the islamists. west of baghdad, islamic militants in vehicles packed with bombs attacked and reportedly captured control of part of a dam. according to reuters, the dam serves as flood control for baghdad and other cities.
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isis claimed responsibility for the attack, which reportedly took the lives of dozens of iraqi government soldiers including two senior officers. here in the united states, large new protests today in baltimore over the recent death of an african-american man while he was in police custody. 25-year-old freddie gray died last sunday. his family said in a statement that his spine was 80% severed at the neck after police apprehended him. the baltimore police department says it has not concluded its investigation but did acknowledge that the arresting officers should have called for an ambulance. we'll have more from a baltimore sun reporter covering this story in a moment. now to hawaii. it is on the verge of becoming the first state to raise the legal smoking age. both the state house and senate have passed legislation that bars anyone younger than 21 years old from smoking, buying or possessing either cigarettes or electronic cigarettes. however, the governor still needs to sign the bill. the centers for disease control and prevention says smoking is
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the leading cause of preventable death in the united states. nearly half a million people die a year die as a result of smoking. tennessee has a new law allowing people with handgun permits to carry their firearms to parks playgrounds and sports fields. the national rifle association hailed the news as a victory for second amendment freedoms. the legislation was opposed by gun control activists and by the mayor of the state's second biggest city, nashville, who said the new state legislation would override any local bans that had been put in place. almost 17 million people watched olympic champion bruce jenner say in a nationally televised interview last night, quoting now, "for all intents and purposes, i am a woman." jenner, who won the decathlon in 1976, said during an interview with diane sawyer of abc news that he has known he's truly female since he was a child. jenner is now 65. jenner also told sawyer the interview was his last as a man. and if you're looking to go
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somewhere where people are happy, you might want to book a trip to switzerland. switzerland came in number one in the u.n's third annual world happiness report. factors considered included life expectancy, economic standing and freedom. in case you were wondering, out of 158 countries, the united states came in 15th. >> stewart: for more about the investigation into the death in baltimore of 25-year-old freddie gray, we are joined now by luke broadwater. he is a reporter for the "baltimore sun." luke, can you just get up us to speed on where the investigation stands now? >> yes. the police department is focus in on what they don't know and what they still need to figure out. and there are two key gaps in the information that we know. one is the time from when freddie gray runs from police to
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that time when the first video that we've all seen picks him up on the ground, screaming as police are arresting him. and the second is what happened inside the van? >> stewart: let's talk a little bit more about that time inside the van. there's been a lot of attention given to what has been called "rough rides," giving rough rides to people who are in custody. can you explain to our viewers what that means? >> well, a rough ride is an unsanked technique. it's actually illegal. you're not supposed to do it. it violates department policy. by "policy" detainees are supposed to be seat belted and secured inside a van, and any sometimeanytime an officer drives erratically to try to throw somebody around and injure them that is intentionally causing harm and that is not allowed under police procedures. there have been multiple
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lawsuits against the police department, over time including some big judgments, for these kinds of actions. and the problem with a rough ride is because the person has their hands handcuffed, they can't brace themselves. so if you take a rapid turn around the corner and cause the gentleman to fall forward, bashing his head into something, there's no way for him to brace himself. >> stewart: there have been two enormous judgments, one for $39 million for one person another for $7.4 million. we should say that both of those people were paralyzed. and a third woman is sue-- a third person is suing in federal court, and i want to read a quote-- this is from the "balt sun" which some of your colleagues are evaporated. she described it this way: so if we pull out a little bit does this suggest a bigger problem regarding the police in baltimore? >> the baltimore police have a
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long and negative history with the city of baltimore, with the residents. this dates back frankly, it dates back a century. and iewdon't think that necessarily the problems of the police department can be looked at just in a vacuum. baltimore itself has a long history of racism and racist practices in terms of segregationist housing, where white-- coff nantz for white neighborhoods cause some people to live in some neighborhoods and blacks were forced out into other neighborhoods. and to this day we've seen the ramifications of that. under two mayors ago governor o'malley in a tough-on-crime effort a program called zero tolerance, was put into place, and that resulted in over 100,000 arrests of baltimore city residents almost every year. that's about one in six people
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in baltimore were arrested. and sometimes as much as a fourth of those cases didn't even result in charges. and those resulted in a big rift between the community and the police department. >> stewart: luke broadwater from the "baltimore sun." thanks for sharing your reporting, luke. >> reporter: thank you. >> stewart: and now to our signature piece, our original reports from around the nation and around the world. tonight, we take you to israel, which, during the past dozen years, has used technology to overcome chronic water shortages. it's a development with potentially important political implications for that part of the world. newshour special correspondent martin fletcher reports. >> reporter: the biblical river jordan, a rare freshwater resource in the middle east. it forms the border between israel and the west bank and jordan. at this bend, about six miles
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from jericho, it is believed john the baptist baptized jesus of nazareth. these pilgrims hail from ballston spa, upstate new york. how's the water? >> it's cold! >> reporter: and shallow, too. in the '60s, the water level of the jordan river was actually where we're standing now. >> in wintertime, it was this high. >> reporter: gidon bromberg is israel director of ecopeace middle east, an environmental group. >> pilgrims, when they came here, were under threat of being drowned by the strength, by the power of this river. today, a mouse wheel will hardly turn with what's left of this river. >> reporter: for decades, israel and its neighbors diverted the jordan's flow to supply drinking water and water for crops. while the river is down 95% from its historical flow, there's hope that someday it could return to its former glory. that's because israel today has more water than it needs; it's gone from drought to water surplus in just a few years-- impressive anywhere, but
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especially in the arid middle east, one of the driest regions in the world. for years, israel's water authority ran public service tv ads like this one. "israel's drying up," she says, as her face begins to crack. "save water!" now the ads have been discontinued, not needed anymore. through a combination of recycling, conservation and most recently desalination technology-- removing salt from saltwater-- israel not only has plenty to drink, but potentially plenty to share. and that could be good news for easing tensions in a region where water is often the source of conflict. israel is already easily the world leader in water reuse, far outpacing the rest of the world including the united states. across israel, plants like this one in the desert town of rahat treat wastewater instead of letting it go to waste. so-called grey water from the kitchen and bathroom as well as black water from sewage is filtered, cleaned and reused for
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irrigation. it's a perfect little recycling ecosystem. the waste from the people of rahat over there is treated here and then used to irrigate the fields nearby. but the real leap forward has been in desalination technology, vastly improving israel's ability to turn salty water into fresh drinking water. in ten years, israel has built five desalination plants along its mediterranean coast in ashkelon, ashdod, sorek palmachim and hadera. each cost around $400 million. they're privately owned and sell their water to the government which sells it on to the people. together, the desalination plants provide up to 50% of israel's drinking water. the israelis have achieved something extraordinary. five, six, seven years ago, it was all about "save water and bathe together," and now they've got more water than they need. >> it is remarkable. it's been a slow process. so israel's leadership in treating sewage has taken place
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over the last 15 years but the breakthrough has been in the development of membrane technology for desalination because that breakthrough in technology dramatically reduced the costs of desalinating seawater. >> reporter: from about $1 a cubic meter to about 40 cents. >> exactly. to less than half the cost. >> reporter: ten miles south of tel aviv, the sorek plant, open only 18 months, calls itself the world's biggest seawater desalination plant of its kind. it can produce more than 600,000 cubic meters of drinking water a day, enough for 1.5 million people, almost a fifth of israel's population. avshalom felber is c.e.o. of ide technologies, which built the sorek desalination plant. this is where the water from the mediterranean enters the plant. >> exactly. under bhere is a deep pit about 70 meters down where all this water is collected, and it comes by gravity from the sea; it's under sea level.
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the pumps here lift it here from this pit to the pretreatment area. >> reporter: from pre-treatment, the water moves through a series of smaller and smaller screens and filters. then, the water is piped into this complex of buildings where a fine membrane is used to remove the last bits of salt and other minerals. there's about 2,000 pressure vessels here that shoot water down through the membranes at a pressure of 70 atmospheres. halfway down, the water becomes drinking water. the desalinated water finally passes through these pipes to enter israel's water grid. this tap is always open to check at every instant the quality of the water that israelis will drink. >> 45 minutes ago, this was seawater, and now drink it and see how tasty it is. like it? cook to >> reporter: still, there are
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questions about its environmental impact; very salty water is a byproduct of the process, and it gets dumped back into the mediterranean. environmentalists say there's not enough information to know the long-term impacts that might have on sea life. and the process uses a lot of energy, around 3% of all of israel's annual electricity output. as everything here is politics, israel's new water independence could yield political progress though historically that progress has been slow. >> the biggest problem is the mindset. it's been all or nothing for the last 20 years. the negotiations in the peace process have either been "we agree on all five final status issues of the peace process-- water being one of them, but also jerusalem, settlements borders-- or we agree on nothing." and therefore, for 20 years, we've agreed on nothing. >> reporter: water's often caught up in wider political debates. for example, we visited the planned west bank palestinian city of rawabi, where construction stopped for a year and a half over disputes about water. the israeli prime minister cut
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through the red tape this year and promised to open the tap this spring. still, in the past, the israelis have used water to prevent conflict. in their 1994 peace accord, israel agreed to provide jordan with 5% of its annual water needs at no cost, and that's been increased to about 7% just because israel can. and water experts like bromberg hope israel's government will use its current water surplus to extend the same generosity to the palestinians living in the west bank. >> we can move forward today, and every palestinian can turn on their tap and have water flowing. >> reporter: in fact, the israeli government has agreed in principle to sell the palestinians 20 million to 30 million cubic meters of its desalinated water, enough to pply drinking water to the west bank for about eight months. water officials from both sides say they are eager to work together. the head of the israeli water authority's desalination division, avraham tenne:
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>> we, as the water people, we do speak together. we don't wait to have committees to meet together. we meet many times, even during all kinds of wars, all kinds of conflicts that we have with them. water people are talking all the time, meeting all the time and sharing information all the time. >> reporter: palestinian water minister mazen ghoneim: >> we have nothing against the israeli side. what we want, exactly, just to help our people. >> reporter: today israel's challenge is to do all it can to secure its water independence and to use that independence to build bridges with its neighbors. >> stewart: keeping israel's successful plan in mind, we wondered if or how israel's water technology, especially its use of desalination, could be put to use in drought-stricken california. for more about that, we are joined now from san francisco by daniel potter.
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he is a reporter for kqed science. so daniel, it's sort of obvious. people look and think, well, california's is obviously right next to the pacific ocean. why isn't desalinationation a bigger conversation about the drought? >> i think the short answer is because desalination-- set upg a desalination plant is a very long-term process. it requires a lot of permitting and a huge amount of investment. so setting up a desalination plant, a lot of people i have talked to have said there is a good chance that plant will not be finished until long after the drought ended. >> stewart: are there desalination plant working in progress in california? i know there are a couple that are in the process of being constructed correct? >> reporter: there are a few tiny ones that already exist and are desalinating presently. the biggest one is in carlsbad. it's set to come on line probably this fall, and when it's ready it will produce something like 7% of the water
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for san diego county. that project is on the order of something like $900 million or maybe $1 billion. >> stewart: so is there some sort of subtext here about the privatization of water? >> reporter: i think that's a topic, especially in california, because the history of water policy here is so complex and so many people have different and competing sources of water. you have a farmer in one place who has to let his crops die, and a farmer in another place who is planting almonds which are a very water-intensive crop because one guy has access to water and another one doesn't. one place can pay maybe 10 bucks an acre foot which is about a third of a million gallons of water. another place in southern california, people pay hundreds of dollars per acre foot. >> stewart: what's the political climate around desalination? >> there's a tension there. i think companies that see desalination as an investment opportunity, there's a lot of potential, and they see it as a big growth area.
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other parts of california-- california, obviously has a very strong environmental culture, and a lot of people are skeptical of it. a lot of say why turn to desalination? it's almost an extreme response compared to conservation, compared to reclaimed water. >> stewart: and the environmental issue is the extra salt that comes out of the water, what happens to it when you fut back in the ocean? is that right? >> reporter: one big factor, yes. there's a lot of leftover salt if you're not careful, if it's dumped back in all at once it's much denser than sea water so it sinks and can hurt sea life on the bottom wherever it's dumped. it takes a lot of energy to run a desal positive plant and people grouse about the carbon footprint as well. >> stewart: daniel potter from kqed, thanks for sharing your reporting >> stewart: want to know more about desalination? see the step-by-step process in our video from the israel plant. visit
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>> this is pbs newshour weekend saturday. >> stewart: a couple of million people visit the prado museum in madrid, spain, each year to see world-famous works of art such as "the annunciation," "the garden of earthly delights" and "las meninas." now, for the first time, the museum is attracting a set of patrons who are able to experience the artwork in a different way, by touching it. 56-year-old joseé pedro gonzaález lost his sight at age 14 due to a detached retina. today, he is at the prado museum, running his hands along el greco's "nobleman." it's one of six reproduced paintings in the exhibition called "touching the prado." >> ( translated ): suddenly, i saw the ruffs. they go all the way up to his ears. i saw them. and what else did i notice? well, how the painting is done. look, this has a different
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texture than this. >> stewart: gonzaález represents la once, spain's national association for the blind. it's one of the organizations that helped bring this exhibition to the museum. >> ( translated ): i have never been given the chance to touch a painting in a museum, not even in a smaller version of it. so, for me, this is a unique experience. >> stewart: the tactile copies are the result of a special technique called diduú, developed in spain by durero studios. diduú was first used in a 2010 photo exhibition by a journalist who had lost most of his sight due to illness. the process uses special inks and ultraviolet light to raise parts of the images, allowing the works to be visualized. the prado paid a little more than $6,000 for this mona lisa, which took 20 days to recreate. the reproductions include works by goya and correggio. black cardboard "glasses" are provided so those who can see are able to experience the exhibit as the visually-impaired do."
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touching the prado" runs through the end of june. . >> stewart: some more news before we leave you tonight. israeli security forces today killed two palestinian men who reportedly attacked them with knives. later, palestinian protesters threw rocks at israeli riot police in east jerusalem. and a state of emergency is now in effect in nepal after today's major earthquake. the united states has deployed a team of disaster relief experts. join us on air and online tomorrow. i'm alison stuart in for hari sreenivasan. have a good night. captioning sponsored by wnet captioned by media access group at wgbh
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>> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: corporate funding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we are your retirement company. additional support is provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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of state parks in the nation. more than one and a half million acres protected within 278 parks. they are visited by more than 80 million people every year. parks that preserve the storied landscapes that define california. historic sites that commemorate the events that shaped the california dream. yosemite, the birthplace of the park idea is also california's first state park. the story of california state parks is the story of preservation in america and the world. next on "california forever: episode one": yosemite, big trees, coast, mountains and desert. the story of california state parks.