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tv   PBS News Hour Weekend  PBS  September 26, 2021 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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to learn more, visit captioning sponsored by wnet >> sreenivasan: on this edition for sunday, september 26: investigators search for the cause of a deadly passenger train derailment cleveland makes a big investment in trees to help lower temperatures. >> sreenivasan: and a playwright debuts her pandemic-delayed play as broadway theatres reopen. next on “pbs newshour weekend.” >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: sue and edgar wachenheim iii. bernard and denise schwart the cheryl and philip milstein family. the anderson family fund
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the estate of worthington mayo- smith. leonard and norma klorfine. the rosalind p. walter foundation. koo and patricia yuen, committed to bridging cultural differences in our communities. barbara hope zuckerberg. we try to live in the moment, to not miss what's right in front of us. at mutual of america, we believe taking care of tomorrow can help you make the most of today. mutual of america financial group, retirement services and investments. >> for 25 years, consumer cellular's goal has been to noontract wireless plans, designed to help people do more of what they like. our u.s.-based customer service team can help find a plan that fits you. to learn more, visit additional support has been provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting, a private corpation funded by the
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american people. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thk you. >> sreenivasan: good evening and thank you for joining us. investigators are on the scene of the deadly amtrak train derailment in montana today. at least three people are confirmed dead, and seven people remain hospitalized after an amtrak train travelling west from chicago to seattle derailed. the accident happened around 4:00 p.m. local time yesterday near the tn of joplin, montana. the empire buier train had approximately 141 passengers and 16 crew members on board. eight of the train's ten cars derailed, some falling completely on their side. the national traffic safety board is investigating the cause of the derailment, in conjunction with amtrak and b.n.s.f., which owns and operates the rail line. b.n.s.f. is a newshour funder. while derailments of passenger trains are rare, there have been at least seven deadly accidents since 2013.
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new york governor kathy hochul says she may call in the national guard to help if tomorrow's covid vaccination deadline for workers at the state's hospitals and healthre facilities causes staffing shortages. new york state's department of health mandated all healthcare workers at hospitals and nursing homes receive at least one dose of a covid-19 vaccine before midnight tomorrow. as of last wednesday, 16% of new york's 450,000 healthcare workers are not fully vaccinated. there is no data on how many may have received only one de. in a statement released yesterday, gernor hochul said she may declare a state of emergency to address the staffing shortage, saying, “we need to fight with every tool at our disposal.” she also urged, “all remaining healthcare workers who are unvaccinated to do so now so they can continue providing care.” new york's labor department has said that any worker terminated for refusing vaccination without a medical exemption will not be elible for unemployment
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benefits. in addition to bringing in medically-trained national guard members, an emergency declaration would allow new york to bring in out-of-state medical workers, retirees, and recent graduates to fill vacant healthcare positions. according to "the new york times," as of yesterday, new york was averaging more than 5,100 new cases of covid-19 a day and nearly 40 deaths. democrats in the house of representatives passed a procedural hurdle this weekend in their push to enact a ten year, $3.5 trillion spending package. but the ultimate fate-- and size-- of the budget resolution remains unceain, as democrats continue to negotiate between themselves over the final contours of the bill. yesterday evening the house budget committee approved the package which includes spending for several biden administration priorities, including childcare, healthcare, and climate change. the vote was the final step before the bill can go to the house floor. passing the so-called reconciliation bill with no republicans will require yes
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votes from all but three democrats in the house and all 50 democrats in the senate. moderate senators joe manchin of west virginia and kyrsten sinema of arizona have raised objections at the size and scope of the current bill. in an interview today, house speaker nancy pelosi said negotiations are continuing. >> we'll see what we need, we'll see how the number comes down and what we need in that regard. but we have agreed on an array of pay-fors in the legislation, this will be paid for. so, when some say, what about inflation, it will be paid for. >> sreenivasan: in addition to the larger spending package, democrats in the house are also negotiating over when the separate bipartisan infrastructure bill will come up for a vote. and if that wasn'tnough, congress musalso pass a measure to fund the government this week in order to avoid a shutdown on friday. it's still too early to know who will control germany's parliament and who will be the next chancellor after one of the most hotly contested elections in the country's recent history.
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outgoing german chancellor angela merkel's christian democratic union party is in a dead heat with the center-left social democratic party as of late this afternoon. germany's left wing green party and the pro-business free democrats were trailing. both of those parties will be key to forming a ruling coalition government and determining a new chancellor. merkel's union party candidate for chancellor, armin laschet, expressed disappointment over what may turn out to be the party's worst ever result. for more on how the new german government is taking form, i spoke with deutsche welle television political correspondent thomas sparrow about an hour and a half after the polls closed. thomas, why was this election so significant for germany? >> it was significant, one of the first reasons why it was significant is the fact that it was the end of angela merkel's 16 years as german chancellor. this is very unusual in german politics. in german politics, normally, power is actually defended or
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lost at the ballot box. but angela merkel in 2018 actually said that she did not want to be a candidate this time around. so, for germans, it is essentially a very difficult decision. it marks a completely new era, and that is certainly one of the reasons why this has been so tight. but another element that explains why this is such a special election, such an important election, it's really because the countris very polarized. and that's something that we can clearly see now as those first results started to come in, the fact that those big tent parties, which in the past got a majority of the votes, which basically grouped all sorts of different people fm different parts of germany, well, that's no longer the case. and now, german voters have plenty of different options. so, these two elements explain why essentially that the race has been so tight and alsohat makes this election so special. >> sreenivasan: what were the issues that drove people to the polls? why did they care to show up so much? >> we have to differentiate between the big election campaign topics, for example,
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climate change, something that all major parties really focused on, or the coronavirus pandemic, which has played obviously as in basically everywhere around the world, a very important role here in germany in the last few months, but also in the last year as well. so, those are the topics that politicians were often discussing. but, and this is also very important, but here in germany, if you ask german voters what the reasons are why they would choose one party over the other, they normally say they focus on some of the big problems that germany still has, for example, locally, so, housing, pensions, education. those are issues that are also very important when it comes to deciding what party people vote for. so, it's not only about those big election campaigns and those big promises that candidates and parties have made in recent weeks. it's alsabout the issues that voters are facing locally or regionally as well. >> sreenivasan: are we likely, as the united states, to see any structural changes in how germany interacts within the
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e.u. or with the united states? >> that essentially depends on what coalition is built here in germany. it's not as in the united states or in other countries where on sunday after the vote, you know exactly what party will ad or what the next leader of the country will be. this could actually take a long timeere in germany. in 2017, coalition building took five months. and experts are now stressing that because the country is so polarized, that could also take a long time. so, we could see different accents, but it is very unlikely that we will see radical change here in germany. germany is not a country accustomed to radical change. >> sreenivasan: thomas sparrow joining us from berlin tonight. thanks so much. >> my pleasure. >> sreenivasan: for the first time in iceland's history, the country has elected a female- majority parliament. female candidates won 33 out of 63 seats in the icelandic legislature. the three-party governing coalition led by prime minister
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katrin jakobsdottir increased its majority by two seats and is expected to remain in power. for more national and international news, visit >> sreenivasan: this past summer was the hottest on record in 126 years in the contiguous united states. to shield against rising temperatures, many cities across the country are looking to trees, which have been shown to cool the air by as much as ten degrees. newshour weekend special correspondent karla murthy reports from cleveland on that city's effort to increase its tree canopy. >> we do want to talk about the importance of trees, howo maintain them, just give you some tips and tricks and a few pointers. >> reporter:n a late summer day in august, residents in the old brooklyn neighborhood of cleveland have come out to learn about trees. >> most people like to plant them and forget them. you have to really baby them over the first 3-4 year mark
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then they start to take off. >> reporter: their neighborhood community organization will be planting 100 trees this fall after receiving a grant from the county. to get a free tree in their yard, homeowners have to attend one of these workshops. >> you know, ultimately these trees need to get into the ground. >> reporter: it's all part of a citywide effort to dramatically increase the tree canopy. cleveland was once proudly known as the forest city, but since the 1950's, it's lost about half its tree canopy. today, it continues to lose nearly 100 acres of tree cover every year. >> so, we don't have a lot of trees to begin with, and we're losing them faster than we're planting them currently. >> reporter: sandra albro is the director of community partnerships at holden forest and gardens, one of the founding organizations of the cleveland tree coalition, which has grown to over 40 public, private and community groups since it was formed in 2015. >> currently we are at about 18% tree cover for the city. so that means that slightly
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under one fifth of the city is shaded by trees. >> reporter: and what is the ideal number to hit in terms of percentage? >> in urban areas, benefits really start to hit a tipping point at around 30% tree cover. >> reporter: those benefits include keeping neigorhoods cooler, lowering energy bills and absorbing heat-trapping carbon-dioxide from the air. trees also capture storm water runoff, improve air quality and increase property values. to reap those benefits, the coalition developed a plan to reach 30% tree cover across the city by the year 2040. reaching that go is more complicated than just planting more trees, and will take a massive city wide effort. >> so this is an aerial shot of cleveland. >> reporter: albro says the city should first focus on areas that need trees the most. >> here you can see a map of cleveland with, in terms of urban heat stress. in the central area where you don't have as many trees, a
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lighter green here, we also see that those areas tend to be the hottest already and are at most risk for deadly temperatures with climate change. >> reporter: that central area is where samira malone lives and works. >> i actually lived right over here. >> reporter: malone is a neighborhood planning manager at midtown cleveland, a member of the tree coalition. the midtown neighborhood near downtown has a 6.5% tree canopy, much lower than the city's average of 18%. that lack of tree cover contributes to what's called the "heat island effect." so, we're standing in a heat island. >> we are. >> reporter: it is only like 10:00 in the morning. i mean, what does this feel like right now? >> it feels very hot. it feels very soupy to be in my business casual. ( laughs ) but, yeah, this is the reality of so many residents. this area, folks use a lot of public transportation. so, people are walking up and down the street to get to the bus. people are walking to work up and down these areas that leave
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very few refuge for actual shade. >> reporter: in fact, heat islands in downtown cleveland can be up to 20 degrees hotter than in suburban areas with more trees just outside the city limits. malone says the lack of trees also correlates to many health issues. residents in this area have some of the highest ratesf asthma and heart disease. she says these disparities reflect a broader pattern of racial discrimination and decades of disinvestment. >> specifically in our neighborhood, these census tracks that have the lowest level of te canopy also have the highest percentage of black residents. and that's not something that's just a coincidence. >> reporter: malone has been developing a tree plan which will be implemented this fall. her organization was recently awarded a grant from the county to plant 175 trees per year for the next two years. >> the thing that's beautiful about this project is that we're not just haphazardly throwing trees in the ground, right. like i mentioned before, there's been an economic disinvestment and tree infrastructure in black and brown neighborhoods.
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so, this is really an act of racial restorative justice. >> reporter: just east of midtown, a tree planting event is being held by the famicos foundation, a community non- profit. today, four trees are being planted in a vacant lot to create an outdoor learning center for the school across the street. over the last two years, famicos and its partners have planted over 250rees throughout the three neighborhoods it serves. >> so, the students will be able to come out and help, watch them grow. >> reporter: erica burnett is the director of community building and engagement. she says getting trees in the ground is actually the easy part. taking care of them afterwards is a lot more challenging, especially during the first year when trees have to be watered regularly. >> each tree had to get five gallons of water after planting. and we had to do tt repeatedly. so, we were like, open up drants, fill up buckets and walk the buckets literally up d down the street to water trees. so, i was like, oh, this is a
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lot of work. >> reporter: burnett says part of their efforts to increase the city's tree canopy is to encourage residents to plant trees in their own yards, but all that work and the costs for watering and pruning trees are a big concern, especially for the many low-income families that live in the area. >> it's about basic needs and basic survival. if i have to choose between food on my table versus a tree, i'm going to choose food on my table. so, that's one of the biggest struggles, is to get people to take on new trees. >> reporter: while yards might not be as accessible, there's no shortage of vacant lots like where th tree planting is taking place. in fact, there are over 30,000 of them across the city. >> this is the perfect piece of land for trees. and there are little pocts like this all ov cleveland that we can put a lot of trees on. >> reporter: lizzie sords is an urban forester with the western reserve land conservancy, another founding member of the tree coalition. this city-owned lot, known as jack rabbit hill, had been
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vacant for over 20 years. last year, the land conservancy cleaned up the site and planted 85 trees here. >> elm trees i was really excited about putting here. they're fast growing, they're native. they provide great wildlife habitat and they cast awesome shade, provide really good canopyover. >> reporter: decades from now, this baby elm tree could grow into a fully mature tree, like this one. >> tackling these bigger projects is what's going to help us get to our canopy goals rather than planting one tree in a yard. and i do think those are important, but these are the projects where we'll see canopy grow. >> when people think about trees, you think about tree planting and how gratifying that is to plant a new tree, but what we've learned is that it's just as important to preserve the existing canopy, the mature tree canopy. >> reporter: jenny spencer is a city councilperson on the west side of cleveland. she created a tree canopy steering committee for her ward.
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despite efforts to plant more trees, the committee organized a walk for residents to learn about the loss of trees the detroit-shoreway neighborhood. >> there are two areas where trees were currently planted all the way up until 2016, and those are now gone. >> reporter: a variety of factors contribute to tree loss. there's disease and weather- reted losses. utility and infrastructure projects also contribute to the loss of trees. >> really, any time you hear concrete work, sidewalks, curbs, kind of the alarm bells should go off. when you damage a tree root in a certain way, it can lead to decline that can't be reversed. and, ultimately, the tree needs to be removed. >> reporter: but she says there are simple measures the city has done with very few resources to mitigate that damage. in 2018, the city passed an ordinance to put tree protections in place ding development projects. sidewalks had to be replaced during a gas line replacement in
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spencer's ward, and were re-poured six inches narrower to protect the trees. it's so nimal. >> it's so minimaland yet, the city of cleveland's urban forester said, "yeah, that will really help." >> reporter: and this was something that didn't cost any extra money, right? >> no. i mean, it was like this aha moment where everyone realized "this is this is so easy, why hadn't we thought of it before?" >> reporter: since the tree coalition began, the city of cleveland has committed a million dollars each year for the next ten years towards maintaining existing trees and planting new trees. but according tohe cleveland tree plan, achieving 30% tree ver will require not only preserving the existing canopy, but planting over 300,000 new trees in the next decade. it just seems like a huge undertaking and a monumental goal to reach. i mean, how feasible is it? >> the number is daunting for sure, but having a number has forced us to have very realistic conversations about what it will
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really take. i think it's important to confront that, but not let it stop us from continuing to work on the problem. >> sreivasan: tonight's tony awards for the 2019-2020 season that preceded broadway's shutdown during the pandemic will be presented just a few weeks after new york's theatres officially reopened. major broadway hits like“ hamilton” and “the lion king,” have returned, as well as smaller, off-broadway productions. newshour weekend's zachary green spoke with the author of“ sanctuary city,” a new play which recently received a glowing review in "the new york times." it opened this week-- 18 months later than expected. >> can you let me in? >> you climbed up the fire escape? >> can i come in? >> what time is it? you know i have a test tomorrow. >> reporter: in march of last year, pulitzer prize-winning playwright, martyna majok, was gearing up for the off-broadway premiere of her new play,“ sanctuary city,” produced by new york theatre workshop.
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>> we were 10, 11 days away from opening. so, we already had previews. audiences were coming in. we're having such a good time. and i was like, "oh, certainly the-- the shoe's going to drop soon and, like, all of this goodness is going to come crashingown." i did not think that would be a global pandemic. >> reporter: on march 12, 2020, new york's theatres shut down as covid-19 began to spread throughout the city. can you talk to me about what it was like having to-- to shut down production on this show in 2020? >> oh, man, it was devastating! ( laughs ) i was sad that i wouldn't get to see these people the next day. the work that we made and the work that we're really proud of-- we wouldn't be able to share it with other people. the call was not mine. ( laughs ) i think i tried to bargain with the theatre. if i could just, like, have one more performance. maybe "the new york times" can come in and review it. something where i just would feel like this existed. >> rorter: for more than a year, theatre companies, lik new york theatre workshop, have had to pivot to online readings and performances in order to showcase their work. but this month, after new york
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lifted capacity restrictions in the state, broadway and many other theatres have begun to reopen.“ sanctuary city” is the first play to be staged by new york theatre workshop in front of a live audience since the shutdown. what's it like seeing something performed that you basically had to, kind of, put down for over a year? >> it just feels great. ( laughs ) it's the same people that we had last year. and so, um, i wondered if we would feel distance from each other and if-- if it would be hard to kind of gather the energy and the excitement that existed 18 months ago. i was really moved and surprised at how quickly we can just go back to-- to being friends and coworkers and-- and working on something that we all really love. >> reporter: “sanctuary city” follows two young immigrant friends-- one a naturalized citizen and the other undocumented-- as they navigate high school and young adult life together. what happened? >> she's going back. >> who? >> back home. my mom. >> back? >> she's going back. >> reporter: majok, who
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emigrated from poland to the u.s. when she was five-years- old, says the play is based in large part on her own experiences growing up in a working-class immigrant community in new jersey. >> i was naturalized when i was 17. i was able to see what opportunities i was able to access that others just were not. people that may have worked just as hard and had similar backgrounds, had similar experiences, but there were just less things that they could do. less doors were open to them. to feel and to know that you are not wanted in the place that you have grown up, in the place that you were brought to, in the place that you maybe even love, is ptty devastating. and so, i can imagine that that has probably played, um, played a role in the way that they have moved through the wod. >> so, she's going back. >> what about you? >> she said i can decide. >> decide what? >> if i want to stay or go back. >> what? >> yeah. >> reporter: to present that world to an audience during a global pandemic, majok and the cast and crew of “sanctuary city” are taking numerous health precautions. >> i have never had to spit in a vial more times than this past
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month. ( laughs ) we were testing once a week at first, and then that quick changed to three times a week. everyone who enters the theatre has to have been vaccinated. so, we need their photo i.d.s and their prf of vaccination and masks are worn all the time. there are ushers that will check to make sure that you are wearing your mask or your neighbor is wearing your mask. everyone's been trying to be as safe as possible just so that we can bring the play to people again. >> reporter: could you talk about why you think it's important for people to come back to the theatre after being away for all this time? >> i think that everybody is going to make the choice that they feel is most comfortable for them. we're doing our best to make it safe, t i totally understand people who don't feel-- who don't-- who don't feel ready. i have calculated the risks and to me it's-- to me it's-- it's worth it. it is a really wonderful feeling to be in a room with other people experiencing something together. what has moved me in the theatre is when i have-- when i've seen stories that have made me feel less alone in whatever other-- my circumstaes or my strangeness or just, you know, the strangeness of being a
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human. and so, i hope that this can also do that for them, for somebody else as well. >> sreenivasan: that's all for this edition of “pbs newshour weekend.” for the latest news updates visit i'm hari sreenivasan. thanks for watching. stay healthy and have a good night. captioning sponsored by wnet captioned by mediaccess group at wgbh >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: sue and gar wachenheim iii. bernard and denise schwartz. the cheryl and philip milstein family. the anderson family fund. the estate of worthington mayo- smith. leonard and norma klorfine. the rosalind p. walter foundation.
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koo and patricia yuen, committed to bridging cultural differences in our communities. barbara hope zuckerberg. we try to live in the moment, to not miss what's right in front of us. at mutual of america, we believe taking care of tomorrow cahelp you make the most of today. mutual of america financial group, retirement services and investments. additional support has been provided by: consumer cellular. and by: and by the corporation for publicroadcasting, a private corporation funded by the american people. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. you're watching pbs.
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(light music) - even in perfect conditions, this is a rugged place to travel. (wind howling) third night in a row, high winds. this is kinda demoralizing physically and mentally. so i want the guys to have a good night of sleep and rest. there's gonna be a lot of ground to cover tomorrow, the next two days, to cover death valley. but like most things in life, the payoff is greater when the journey is a struggle, and coming to film in death valley national park during a late winter storm means dramatic landscapes like this will come with a cost. it's a little cold up here. it can be chilly up here. right now, as you can see behind me, we've got lots of storm activity. but on this desert road trip, mother nature isn't the only one making it rou. do they have diesel there? - they didn't answer. so we don't know on that. - travel isn't always smooth, but when you push through and roll with the punches, incredible things usually happen.