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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  October 13, 2021 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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'cause we ar captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight: bottlenecks and backlogs. inflation hits record highs, as delays in shipments from overseas increase prices for everyday goods. we talk with commerce secretary gina raimondo. then, crime and punishment. the supreme court hears the boston marathon bomber case, after an appeals court found errors in the original trial. and, critical shortage. covid-19 exacerbates an already-serious lack of nurses in american hospitals, especially in rural areas. >> before the pandemic, we were facing a nursing workforce shortage. the pandemic was like a gasoline
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can over the fire. >> woodruff: all that and more, on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> fidelity wealth management. >> consumer cellular.
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>> johnson & johnson. >> financial services firm raymond james. >> b.d.o. accountants and advisors. >> supporting social entrepreneurs and their solutions to the world's most pressing problems-- >> the lemelson foundation. committed to improving lives through invention, in the u.s. and developing countries. on the web at >> supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. commitd to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information at >> and with the ongoing support of these instituons: >> this program was made possible by the corporation for
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public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: ships are sitting, goods aren't moving, and prices keep rising. that triple whammy topped president biden's agenda today, as he promised new efforts to unsnarl the supply chain and tame inflation. white house correspondent yamiche alcindor begins our coverage. >> alcindor: it's a crisis of global proportions. from major bottlenecks at busy ports, to a lack of computer chips for auto manufacturers, and even a shortage of truck drivers to deliver all those goods. today, president biden met with major retailers, port executives, and union representatives, to address some of the supply chain challenges triggered by the covid-19 pandemic. >> if federal support is needed, i will direct all appropriate action. if the private sector doesn't step up, we're going to call them out, and ask them to act. because our goal is not only to
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t through this immediate bottleneck, but to address the long-standing weaknesses in our transportation supply chain that this pandemic has exposed. >> alcindor: the bustling port of los angeles will now pivot to operating 24/7, the move aims to help ease the massive shipping backlog there. last month, e port in long beach, california made that same shift. together, those two ports account for roughly 40% of all shipping containers entering the u.s. >> the quickest route from asia to the united states and interior points is through los angeles. and that's what everyone is trying to maximize, at this point in time. but it's like taking 10 lanes of freeway traffic and squeezing them into five. >> alcindor: major retailers like walmart and target, as well as shipping companies like u.p.s. and fedex, are also expanding their hours to help move more cargo off the docks. they hope this will get cargo ships to shore faster as the busy holiday shopping season rapidly approaches. trucking companies are struggling to keep up with
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increased demand. wilford williams drives trucks throughout the midwest. >> i haven't had any real downtime, or anything like that. as far as the company i'm running with, they've been keeping me pretty busy. >> alcindor: small businesses, like ashley collectibles in oma, nebraska, are feeling the pinch. >> in order to keep your shelves full, we have to order eight weeks in advance. >> alcindor: tracie jensen manages a toy shop in kansas city, missouri. she said it's been a logistical nightmare. >> there are certain things that are not coming, that will not be here. there's part shortages. there's wood shortages. there's problems with shipping, especially overseas. >> alcindor: and, the shortages and bottlenecks also mean higher prices. in september, the cost to transport shipping containers from asia to the u.s. shattered a record high. according to the freightos index, the median price to ship a standard metal container from china to the west coast topped $20,000.
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that's nearly double what it cost in july. the skyrocketing costs have prompted major retailers to charter their own ships to transport goods. all that added cost is also pushing consumer prices higher. they rose nearly 5.5% in september over the previous year, to match a 13-year high. for the pbs newshour, i'm yamiche alcindor. >> woodruff: in the day's other news, household heating bills are expected to soar this winter. a federal forecast says global inflation and supply shortages will push up energy costs as much as 54% over last year. this winter is also forecast to be slightly colder nationwide. the surge in inflation means social security recipients will get their biggest cost-of-loving adjustment in 39 years.
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the increase announced today amounts to 5.9%-- an average of $92 a month. creases had averaged less than 2% a year for the last 10 years. the nation's land borders will reopen to non-essential travel by foreigners, after a pandemic-era closure that lasted 19 months. the biden administration says fully-vaccinated visitors may enter from canada or mexico as of early november. in another development, the federal covid coordinator jeff zients reported that vaccination rates are up 20 percentage points from mid-summer. >> since late july when the president first announced vaccination requirements and called on organizations to follow his lead, the number of eligible americans who are unvaccinated has decreased by about one-third, from 97 million down to 66 million individuals. >> woodruff: zients credited vaccine mandates for the increase. meanwhile, the chicago police
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union is urging officers to defy a city mandate. they have to report their vaccine status by friday, or face unpaid leave. the u.s. supreme cou heard arguments today on the fate of dzhokhar tsarnaev, one of the two boston marathon bombers. he is fighting re-instatement of a death sentence, wch a lower court threw out. the 2013 bombing killed three people and wounded more than 260. we'll take a closer look later in the program. hurricane pamela is moving inland tonight, across northwestern mexico. it came ashore today, north of mazatlan, on mexico's pacific coast. the storm left flooded streets and downed trees in its wake. forecasters say remnants of pamela will bring heavy rain to parts of texas and oklahoma by thursday. awind-blown wildfire in southern california has threatened more than 100 homes for a second day. one is near the nch once owned
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by psident reagan, and known as the "western white hous" the fire in santa barbara county ignited monday, and high winds quickly spread it. by this afternoon, it was only 5% contained. the white house today kicked off a virtual summit involving 30 nations on cyber security. but, russia was not invited. the focus is on ransomware attacks, and many of them originate in russia. still, at an energy conference in moscow, president vladimir putin said he expects better ties ahead. >> ( translated ): in general, president biden and i have rather stable working relations. i assume that fundamental interests of the two countries will definitely lead one way or another to our relations being repaired. >> woodruff: the meeting will last two days. the biden administration hopes to see as many as seven wind farms built off
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the east and west coasts of the u.s., and in the gulf of mexico. interior secretary deb haaland said today that lease sales could be held by 2025. federal officials estimate that the projects, if built, would generate enough electricity for ten million homes. the f.d.a. released voluntary guidelines today on cutting sodium levels in food, over 2.5 years. the voluntary guidelines cover everything from cereals to french fries to condiments. they envision 12% reductions in sodium, to 3,000 milligrams a day. on wall street, tech stocks advanced, but the rest of the market lagged. the dow jones industrial average lost half a point to close at 34,377. the nasdaq rose 105 points. the s&p 500 added 13. and, "star trek's" captain kirk, william shatner, rocketed briefly into space today. he traveled courtesy of blue origin, the space tourism company owned by amazon founder
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jeff bezos. shatner and three others lifted off from west texas. the sub-orbital flight carried them 66 miles high, and touched down after ten minutes. at 90, shatner is the oldest person ever in space. still to come on the newshour: the supreme court hears the boston marathon bomber's case. world powers negotiate with the taliban over providing afghanistan with humanitarian aid. georgia election workers are fired for shredding some 300 voter registration forms. plus, much more. >> woodruff: now, let's ta a closer look at several economic issues, including
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our lead story-- how the biden administration plans to address the challenges around getting the goods americans want delivered from overseas, when they want them. and for that, i'm joined by secretary of commerce, gina raimondo. secretary raimondo. welcome back to the newshour, so good to you have. we listened carefully to what the president had to say today. people are saying it is a step in the right direction but he's also saying a lot depds on the private sector. how much difference is it going to make if you simply say the ports are going to be working 24/7. >> good evening, nice to be here. it will make a huge difference. what the president did today is significant in showing the leadership necessary to have the two of america's largest ports open 24/7. but he also convened that the white house, the private sector, like you sate, wal-mart, samsung, the importers and asking them to do their part. which is also commit to working
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weekends, commit to working evenings, commit to putting more people on staff so we can unload the cargo and make, you know, make space on the port. so this problem wasn't created overnight. it's not going to be fixed overnight. but this is a big step forward and i think we will start to see relief. >> i'm asking because people close to this, what the ports do are already sounding sceptical. they say not all the terminals at these ports out on the west coast areperating 24/7. they are pointing out truckers are still being required t return a certain kind of container in order to fill up another, to fill it up with other goods. how much of that has been worked out? >> we are working through all of those details. i will say this is within the administration, a 24/7 effort on our end. you know, the ports will go 24/7. we're at 24/7. st incredibly complex. all of the supply chain issues we are grappling with are incredibly complex. so as we say, theres no one
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fix. the ports have to be open 24/7. the private sector has to step up and do their part, hire more people, have nights and weekends. logistics experts are coming in to help. secretary buttigieg and the white house and my team, we're going through the details to make sure that we unclog the bottle neck at every level. >> woodruff: and does that mean what people want in time for christmas will make it? what is the time table you are looking at? >> that is the big question. consumers are struggling right now. i'm sure you see it yourself. things are more expensive. it's harder to get what you want as fast as you want it. and i think we all have to be a little bit patient but we're still in october so i'm optimistic for a good christmas. i think we're going to start to see progress over the next 30, 60 days because of the actions we're starting today. >> >> woodruff: we know this is not just a pandemic related thing, e-commerce is the wave of the future.
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>> that's exactly right. and a lot of what we are struggling with is, you know, we had been primarily a services economy. then when covid came everybody stayed home and start buying things. and we haven't yet caught up. so we just need a bit more time to get the supply chains moving so we can increase the supply. prices will come down and people will be able to access what they want and need. >> woodruff: let me ask about another part of this supply and demand mismatch that we're dealing with right now, a very big part of it. that is semiconductors, you have been very focused on that piece of the problem. these are the tiny computer chip that power everything from cars to smartphones to every imaginable kind of appliance. how long are those bottle necks going to be with us? >> they could be with us for awhile. so we are-- things are going to get a little bit better over the course of the next six, nine months. but to really solve that problem, judy, you need to make
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more chips in america. it's very simple. we don't make enough here in our country. so right now as part of the president's pakage that he's ying to get through congress, is an investment of billions of dollars to incense-- incentivize companies to make semiconductors if america again. we founded the semiconductor industry in america and now we make none of the world's leading edge chips in america. it is mostly all in tie want. so i am extremely focused on this. we are working with suppliers to encourage more transparency, pushing them to the limit to increase production. but the real solution here is what president biden is asking for, which is investments in american manufacturing. >> woodruff: and again what people are asking is how long is this going to take. you mentioned tie want. china is also a piece of this puzzle. we did hear the president say this afternoon we should never have to relay on one country for goods, especially when that one
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country does not share our values. i mean that sounds like he is in a hurry to get this done. >> he is in a hurry. he neds to be in a hurry. he feels the pain of the american people who can't buy their cars, can't buy their trucks. trucking companies can't, you know, put the fleet, can't buy whathey need because trucks and cars and medical equipment are all being hld up for want of semiconductors. so he is in a hurry. we are in a hurry. but congress needs to be in a hurry and go ahead an pass the build back better legislation so we can get back to work. >> woodruff: when should americans look for semiconductors to be made in any significant quantity? >> i think you will start to see improvement next year. you know, it will take years, really. but in to 2022 we will start to see relief in the semiconductor supply chain. >> woodruff: the broader economy, inflation.
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everybody is talking about it now. new numbers out today, we see it is running much higher than the administration's experts, the federal reserve had been forecasting. how long-term a problem do you believe it is. and how much concern do you have that whatever the concrete factors are that higher prices get built into people's expectations, and then that begins to have a self-fulfilling effect on how much things cost. >> so this is a tough one because we believe it's temporary. but that doesn't mean it is not realight now. so if you're going to the grocery store or you're filling up your car with gas, prices are higher and that is hard for americans, that is a reality. that is today's reality. but we're working like crazy to make sure it's temporary. and the reason i believe it's temporary is, listen, we track this every day all day. it's still primarily related to covid. so car prices are high, used car
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prices are high, that goes directly to the lack of semiconductors. other prices are high, you know, our manufacturing sector hasn't ramped up again post covid. so i'm hopeful with a little bit of time, with the investment that congress has to make in workforce,n manufacturing, in infrastructure, we will be able to keep a lid on inflation. but i don't want to take anything away from the fact that it is a moment, if you are listening to me, you're saying yeah, but it's expensive. we have to work to make sure it's temporary. >> woodruff: i hear you saying it is short term, but just a moment ago you said it will tak time, for example, to get the semiconductor issue worked through. so it is hard for someone looking at this to see how these prices just quickly start to come down. >> yeah, again, i don't think there is a quick fix. i will say though, if you look at say lumber, a few months ago
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lumber prices were shooting through the roof. we've worked hard on that. we in the white house have done some-- with the lumber industry. those prices have come down and they're coming undo. i think steps we took today with the port, you're going to start to see things improve. so it is more, i suppose, slow and steady but when you asked me about inflation, for the long-term i am much more worried about the economy if we don't make the build back better investment. like our long-term job creation and productivity depends on the vestments in infrastructure, ports, broadband, job training, child care, elder care that the president is calling on, that's what is going to make america able to compete in the long run. >> and right now that is a question mark, isn't it. >> it is. we're working hard. we're still optimistic. the president is showing leadership but congress needs to make it happen. >> woodruff: the secretary of
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commerce, gina raimondo. thank you so much. we appreciate it. and now we look at the limits to what president biden can do about the supply and delivery issues and the affect it is having on the broader economy david lynch covered this extensively for "the washington post" and he joins me now. david lynch, welcome back to the newshour, i know you listened today to what president biden had to say, you were listening just now to secretary raimondo. how much difference do you think these moves that the administration is announcing to try to break up this bottle neck, the supply chain, how much difference is that going to make? >> well, i think it is a step in the right direction that the margins may improve what has been a very difficult situation. but it is not entirely accurate to say that the port of long beach has already gone 24/7. in fact, they have six container terminals at that port. only one of the six has
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lengthened its hours in a pilot program. and at that, that terminal is open 24 hours monday through thursday. so it is not quite 24/7. that leaves five other terminals out of it it completely. at the port of los angeles which is the new initiative that was announced today, it is not clear yet how many of their terminals will go 24/7 and just what the operational details will be. so we're still waiting to hear on that. the problem i think, you know, for the administration is that this is really a challenge that is not immediately amenable to federal power. the entire supply chain is composed of private sector companies, all independent, all operating sometimes in a very sillod way. and so the administration and i think they've acknowledged this, recognizes that they can play a roll sort of convening, getting people together, jaw boning them
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to cooperate and share data but it is not as simple as cutting taxes or increasing spending. this in many ways was beyond the government's immediate power. >> woodruff: well, we heard, in fact, i read some of the reporting you've done on just what you were talking about. and i did ask secretary raimondo, you know, what about the fact that ports may not be fully 24/7. she said we're working on those details. so tey say they're doing that. but we also heard her say that it is up to the private sector. and we heard president biden say we're going to call them out. if they don't step up. so what does that exactly mean. does the private sector feel that kind of pressure from a president? >> i sni i think they do or they don't. i mean it is a very fragmented system. so even the people directing the ports, say in los angeles, long beach, they can't order the
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terminals to stay open until 3:00 in the morning. because those ports operate as landlords, and so the terminals set their own hours. and in the past when there had been these night and predawn hours available truckers often won't show up because if you think about it, you know, if you are a trucker, you can show up at 3 a.m. to collect a shipping container. but then where are you going to go with it. the warehouse may be half an hour away or 45 minutes away. they are not open at 3 a.m. so it really is essential, and obviously the administration officials involved with it understand this, but getting one part of the operation to longer hours will help but only if everybody is part of that process. and it's going to take some time to make that happen i think. >> woodruff: i'm asking you about these details because this problem as we now know is affecting so many americans and
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whether they are waiting to remodel their house or they're waiting for something that they ordered, that hasn't arrived. and i'm still trying to get at this question of how much difference can the administration, i guess you can call it jaw boning, how much difference did that make. coupled with the moves that they say they have the ports make on their own. >> i mean you know, i think at the margin the administration can help and i think they're trying to help. i think they're also trying to look as if they're engaged and trying to help. because this is a prosh t is not just an economic problem. it is a political problem, secretary raimondo acknowledged that. this is sort of the kind of you know, main street economic problems that can really cause a president's problem. every person i talked to in my
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neighborhood has got a story to tell about something they went out to buy at the stor and couldn't find. i was waiting on a garden variety auto park that should have taken two days under normal circumstances. it took me three weeks. my wife constantly complains she can't find a specific type of cat food. for our incredibly fussy cat. none of these problems in and of themselves are fatal or show stoppers. but as they accumulate, they become along with inflation, the kind of economic problems that any white house is going to be really concerned about. >> woodruff: and just in a word we heard secretary raimondo say people will see a difference by christmas, do you believe that? >> it's possible. i mean these problems aren't going away by christmas. most of the people we spoke to for our recent project on the supply chain say we' got another year of disruption ahead of us. and one reason for that is in its middle of next year, the big contract with the long shoremen
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union out on the west coast expires. and so a lot of companies that have already been having trouble getting their goods are starting to place precautionary orders for next year because they don't want to get caught short if there is some kind of bor action on the docks in the milled of 2022. >> woodruff: david lynch with the "washington post," thank you very much. >> woodruff: with all nine justices back in the courtroom today, the u.s. supreme court heard oral arguments in the case of the boston marathon bomber's death sentence, eight year after the attack. john yang has our repo. >> yang:he april 2013 attack stunned the nation. ( explosion ) >> oh, god! get out of the stands! >> yang: two homemade bombs detonated near the finish line of the boston marathon, killing three spectators, one of them
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eight years old. more than 260 were injured; 16 of them lost legs, including a seven-year-old girl. >> if you see these men, contact law emen ang: bore -day manhunt ended, boston was locked down and a college police officer and one of the suspects, tamerlan tsarnaev, were dead. his brother, dzhokar, was captured. after a three-month-long federal court trial, a jury convicted dzhokar tsarnaev on 30 counts, and sentenced him to death. last year, an appeals court threw out that penalty-- though not the convictions-- saying the trial judge made two mistakes. first, the appeals court said, the trial judge wouldn't let defense lawyers ask potential jurors if they had been influenced by pre-trial publicity. >> we felt very strongly that this case ould not be tried in boston. >> yang: federal public defender miriam conrad was on tsarnaev's trial defense team, but is not involved in his appeal.
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>> it wasn just the media coverage, but it was the way the event permeated the entire city. many people were exposed to false and inflammatory information during the time when the case was pending, and we felt it was absolutely crucial to find out what they had read or heard or seen, especially given the proliferation of social media. >> yang: second, the appeals court said the trial judge wrongly excluded evidence the defense said suggested that tamerlan tsarnaev was more responsible for the bombing. >> tamerlan tsarnaev, dzhokhar's older other, had murdered three men in waltham, massachusetts, on september 11, 2011. the judge excluded the waltham murders, explaining that it would be confusing and a waste of time. if it had not been for tamerlan,
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dzhokhar never would have committed these crimes. if he was not the instigator, if he s not the planner of the bombings, then he is less culpable. >> yang: in today's oral arguments, justice samuel alito seemed to agree with the trial judge: >> at a trial, you don't have these mini-trials. if a person's on trial for murder x, you don't have a trial about murder y and murder z. to what degree can a trial judge at the penalty phase say "we're not going to do this?" because what would happen then is another trial within this trial, about what happened at waltham. >> yang: but justice elena kagan suggested to deputy solicitor general edward feigin that the jury should have had the chance to hear it. >> isn't this a classic case in which the evidence, understood one way, is highly relevant to a mitigation defense, and the evidence, understood in the way you just suggested, you know,
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just says "that's crazy, it didn't happen that way." but that's what a jury is supposed to do, isn't it? >> your honor, unlike the other evidence that you have cited, there was going to be no cross examination here. the only people who might have known what happened in waltham-- both of them were dead. >> yang: justice amy coney barrett asked feigin about president biden's opposition to the federal death penalty. >> but you're here defending his death sentences. and if you win, presumably that means that he is relegated to living under threat of a death sentence that the government doesn't plan to carry out. >> what we are asking here is that the sound judgment of 12 of respondent's peers-- that he warrants capital punishment for his personal acts in murdering and maiming scores of innocents, and, along with his brother, hundreds of innocents at the finish line of the boston marathon-- should be respected. >> yang: marcia coyle is chief washington correspondent for the "national law journal." i think the bottom line here
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is that the court may very well, in a divided opinion, reinstate the death penalty for tsarnaev. i think the court is divided, in terms of the six conservatives being more sympathetic to the government's arguments, that the federal appellate court here was wrong to set aside the death penalty for tsarnaev, and also wrong on how the trial judge should've questioned jurors about the publicity they had experienced. >> yang: the justices are expected to rule by next summer. but, no matter what they say, tsarnaev wl die in prison, as the appeals court ruling did not affect his 11 life sentences. for the pbs newshour, i'm john yang. >> woodruff: it's been two months since the taliban took control of kabul and solidified their grip on afghanistan. since then, living conditions
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have deteriorated. the banking system is said to be in free fall, and the economy all but collapsing. afghanistan needs help, and needs it fast. that was the message from the head of one of the largest humanitarian aid organizations operating in the country. he spoke with nick schfrin. >> schifrin: for years, afghanistan has been heavily dependent on international financial assistance and humanitarian aid. one of the largest organizations that has been working in afghanistan is the norwegian refugee council, which provided help to hundreds of thousands of afghans. but with the taliban takeover, the council's ability to help has been severely disrupted, as thweather is beginning to turn cold. jan egeland is the secretary general of the norwegian refugee council. he recently returned from a trip to kabul. he joins me now. jan egeland, welcome back to the newshour. we have seen these scenes in kabul, not only of the internally displaced, but of entire families, selling all of their furniture simply to stay alive.
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how desperate is the situation there? >> it is beyond desperate, really. listen, i've been to afghanistan many times over recent years. always the crisis, violence, horrors, displacement. but this time, you feel like the whole population is in, like, a free fall. the mothers and the children, the fathers i met in the camps around kabul-- these are people who have fled to kabul over the years, including now, very recently-- they told me, "we have no reserve, we have no income. there is no food. we will freeze and starve to death this winter unless aid is able to flow, and the public sector is able to resume services, including paying public servants." >> schifrin: the u.n. secretary general antonio guterres said this week that the taliban are
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cooperating, and are allowing humanitarian aid workers to move in the country. is the norwegian refugee council able to do what it needs to do? >> yes, we are. we have been negotiating access now, province by province, not only through the meetings that i and others had with the top taliban leadership in kabul. the most important thing has to happen with the leaders, the commanders, the men with the guns locally. they have allowed us unimpeded access, with male and female staff, in one province after the other. i think it's sinking in with them now that the population that they now control are in a desperate situation, and they need our help to help people. >> schifrin: and what are the greatest needs? what are you delivering for that help? >> now we're in life-saving mode. they do not have heating, they
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do not have shelter, they do not have food at the moment. there's been a collapse in the economy. there is no banking system, functioning. we cannot transfer money to-- to our aid workers. this has to-- to restart again in afghanistan if we are to save lives. >> schifrin: the international community is concerned about supporting the taliban, about giving the taliban any kind of recognition. do you believe aid can be delivered without the taliban benefiting from it? >> yes, it can. we are in situations all over the world where the rulers, those in control, are not to the liking of our donors. we as humanitarians are impartial, neutral, independent. but we can, as international actors, do the direct relief. we can help millions through the u.n. system, the international
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n.g.o.'s there, and the red cross red crescent system. but on top of that, we need to get the public services up and running again. there are 300,000 publicly funded and paid-for teachers. they were on the payroll of the world bank, up until now. the health sector as well. unless there are trust funds held by the u.n. directly funding these teachers and nurses and doctors and water engineers, with the world-- world bank money, which is sitting in washington, we will fail because we as humanitarians cannot do it all. >> schifrin: well, let's talk about that money sitting in washington. senior u.s. officials tell me they're in no rush to unfreeze billions of dollars that have been frozen since the taliban took over. are you saying that the u.s. must unfreeze billions of dollars that are currently being held, in order to prevent
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or at least confront this humanitarian crisis? >> yes. listen, i understand that nobody wants to help the previous enemy, but this money is not for the taliban-- these are the civilian population that were left behind. it's the same women and children who were there before. so, the urgency has to be given now to the decision-makers. i was not that impressed when i saw that the g-20 countries on one hand agreed with me that it is urgent, and then didn't come up with a formula that can be put into practice. now we don't have. we don't want weeks, we have days to fix this. >> schifrin: and what you're saying is, what's important is not only to-- to unfreeze the assets, but also banks in kabul need to be allowed to function again, right? >> the u.s. needs to take the lead in unfreezing the assets of these banks so that they will function, so that we can
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do aid work. they need to unfreeze the funding that needs to go to the public sector. but the two things have to happen in the next days. we have no time to wait because people will perish this winter. >> schifrin: when you met the taliban, you told them that they must respect human rights, they must respect women's rights, which is one of the key requirements that the international community says the taliban have to live up to in order for money to flow. today in northern afghanistan, we see some girls going to school, but many in kabul are not. do you believe the taliban are respecting human rights? >> in many places, not, but in more and more places, we are able now to negotiatwhat is important. free, unimpeded access to all minorities-- religious, ethnic, et cetera-- for male and female staff. boys and girls education, also. yes, but it's mixed.
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it has always been mixed. but we are doing a tremendous dissvice with the women and children that we are so concerned with, if we are sitting now-- doing a sort of a hands-off exercise, sitting on the fence and seeing how this moves. if we wait for the last girls education corner in afghanistan, we will wait for years. it would be the ultimate insult to these girls that we do not provide food for them because we're still negotiating secondary and tertiary education. >> schifrin: jan egeland, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: early voting started in the state of georgia this week, ahead of next month's municipal elections. but almost a year after the 2020 election, some republicans--
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including former president trump-- continue to push a false narrative that there was widespread voter fraud. today, a superior court judge dismissed a georgia lawsuit seeking a review of nearly 150,000 absentee ballots from last year. lisa desjardins starts with one key county. >> desjardins: judy, many headlines have centered on fulton county, the most populous in the peachtree state, home to atlanta. president biden won there with more than 70% of the vote. this week, as early voting kicked off, two county election workers were fired, for shredding out 300 voter registration forms. those removals were announced by richard barron, the non-partisan director of elections in fulton county. and he joins me now. you very much, fulton county has been in headlines for years with election problems even before you joined the staff there. but what do you say to people looking at this incident now
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as -- who say to them this indicates the system is tainted. how do you respond? >> well, i think that it shows that we have employees in place and checks and balances in place that are able to catch something like this. we became aware of it, two employees became sus hi-- suspicious of it on thursday evening and by friday morning three employees had reported this to their supervisors and from there we terminated those two staff members. so we took care of it as soon as we knew. >> did you know if this was intentional by those employees shedding-- shredding those documents. >> we have no idea of the motivation right now. we reported it to the district's attorney's office. almost as soon as we found out and then we made the call on monday morning to the secretary of state's office to report it
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and asked their office of investigation to investigate it as well. >> that secretary of state, republican did make a serious charge about your county this week. in a statement he wrote the department of justice needs to take a long look at what fulton countsee is doing and how their leadership disenfranchises fulton voters through incompetence and mall fees-- -- mall feeance, how do you respond to that and how did the justice department reach out. >> the justice partment did not reach out. i am not surprised. he is in a fight primary race for next year. and i think his press release is meant to play to his base, and his politics, you can't take politics out of this. that is where we are at with his press release. usually he has set fulton county up to be his foil and he likes the relationship to be
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adversarial because it benefits him. >> i want to talk to that idea of politics some more. as reported this is th largest democrat leaning county in the state, the state government is run by republicans. and they made your county the first one for this new sort of controversial way of reviewing elections. and you are currently under a review process in which the state could take over your election board. i'm wondering, are you concerned about any sort of political power play there or no? >> they actually took the time to choose three really good people for this performance review panel. so i'm confident that the process will play out and that the state will find no reason to take over the election board. >> president trump continues to criticize your state even as judges including one just today, had dismissed lawsuits about fraud. i want to ask you in a bigger picture way, what do you think is needed to thep americans trust their own election process
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more? >> well, i think that there are basically right now a group of elected officials that are scared of their base. and they aren't being honest with people. they aren't leading, they're following their base rather than leading them and telling them the truth. and i think that's the situation that we have here, in georgia and across the country we have seen judges all over the country throw these cases out. the secretary of state's office provided the judge today with a lot of testimony that showed that they looked at these ballots where there were chrges that they were counterfeit. and the judge made his decision partially based on what the secretary of state's investigators already found. and so i think what it did was just affirm the fact that there has been no fraud in this election. and that we need to move forward rather than continuing to look
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back. and that the elections am this country are run well. and that they, that we need to become the model. because if we keep questioning the system and we become no better than any third world country with election issues. >> from the front line there, what is your pern-- personal thinking or concern about the state of our democracy right now? >> i think it's on shaky ground. i mean we need leaders to step up and start speaking the truth to people about the election. the people that were re-elected last year are not questioning the results of their own election. so there is some hypocrisy there. be brave enough to speak to their constituents about how the elections were runs. >> rich barron, thank you so much. >> you're welcome, thank you.
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>> woodruff: last night, we reported on heightened interest in careers in the medical field, including moves to train more nurses. tonight, we look at how the shortage of nurses is impacting health care workers and hospitals. in just the past few days, nurses and other workers in southern california and oregon authorized a potential strike against kaiser permanante, and under-staffing is part of those disputes. john yang is back with a report from south florida on how shortages are affecting hospitals there. >> and then tomorrow, let's see... we're down mid-shift again. >> yang: every morning, chief nursing officer dakota redd sits at his desk and plugs holes-- moving nurses around on the schedule for the next several days, to meet his hospital's daily needs. >> if you move brett to back to 11:11, at least you're covered until 11, and then we can try to see what we can do at 11:00 to get you some help. >> yang: it's a constant
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cenr.le for redd at hendry la r, cualpise population around clewiston, florida, a small city on the south-western shore of lake okeechobee, nicknamed“ america's sweetest town” for its location in the heart of florida's sugar industry. the medical center is a major employer in clewiston and-- with 25 beds-- the biggest hospital for more than 20 miles. >> we provide primary health care for this community. and so, if we can't provide that care, that means that you may have to travel an additional 30 to 45 minutes to get that care, to seek that care, which is why it's so important that we manage better for rural hospitals so that we don't lose that. >> yang: many hospitals serving rural communities like this one were already facing a shortage of nurses before the pandemic. but the past 18 months have put this problem into sharp relief mary mayhew is president of the
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florida hospital association. >> and certainly before the pandemic, we were facing a nursinworkforce shortage. the pandemic was like a gasoline can over the fire. >> yang: a recent study commissioned by the group found that even before the latest delta surge, the sta had an 11% vacancy rate for registered nurses-- roughly the same as the national rate. it also found that a quarter of florida's registered nurses and a third of critical care nurses left positions in the last year, citing job dissatisfaction, burnt, or other opportunities in health care. and it projected that if current trends remain the same, by 2035 there would be a shortage of nearly 60,000 nurses. >> we have nurses that are retiring at younger ages. we have nurses who have left the intense 24/7 environment of the hospital for other opportunities in the community. and then certainly we have
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nurses that have pursued opportunities with staffing agencies around the country. >> yang: after his morning huddle, dakota redd makes his rounds, checking in on his staff to see how they're doing and what they need. the worst of the delta spike here came over six weeks, from august to september. at one point, the ten-bed emergency department had seven patients on ventilators. the day we visited was the first since july without a hospitalized covid patient. but, redd says his staff is emotionally and physically drained, and with eight vacancies in the emergency department-- about half what he needs-- stretched very thin. >> the overriding concern is always, do i-- am i giving them enough tools to do their job? am i providing them with what they need to do? what we're asked? what the ask is? >> i would describe nursing at this time almost like we're going to war.
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>> yang: for registered nurse brittney johnston, a clewiston native, caring for people she grew up with is one of the joys of working here. but during the delta surge, it became a source of sadness. >> it was way worse than the first surge that we had in this area. like, i've never seen this in 12 years of my nursing career. this past friday, i had a classmate of mine. i'm 37 years old. we went to kindergarten together, all the way to graduation, and i-- he passed away of covid. and i was in the room, and i was working. we did a code for over two hours, and the physician just said, can just one person just make it? can't just one make it? >> yan to deal with short staffing, nurses work extra shifts, and alongside nurses hired on short-term contracts. right now, these so-called“
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travel nurses” are about 40% of hendry's emergency department. high demand for travel nurses during the pandemic means higher salaries than for staff nurses, sometimes leading to resentment, and to bigger budget holes for hospitals. but it's an attractive option for staff nurses who feel underpaid, like tamika cade. she left hendry's emergency department after eight years for a nearby travel nurse job. >> i'm stressed, i'm burnt out. i'm tired, i'm exhausted. well, these circumstances are going to be the same anywhere i decide to work. why not go 55 miles up the road and do the same thing, for double the pay? >> yang: in september, she returned to a new position in hendry's i.t. department, working with nurses on the computer systems they use. she says she's happy to be back, but never would have returned for full-time patient care. >> you know at? i needed a break from it for a while, because it took a toll
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on me. it took a lot out of me, and i just needed a moment, like a minute, to just, you know, do something different besides that. just to kind of regroup, right? because it's a little traumatizing. >> yang: but as the delta surge ebbs, hendry's nurses fear the trauma of their work is only bound to intensify again, especially in an area that's less than 50% fully vaccinated. >> we're just waiting for the next strand to come through and making sure that we're prepared mentally and physically, and emotionally. >> yang: to address the long- term shortages, mary mayhew of the florida hospital association says changes can't wait. >> right now, urgently, we need to make sure that our nursing programs in our community colleges and our university system are able to open the gates a little bit wider, to add to the number of slots.
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we know that there is still great interest, in terms of the number of applications that our nursing schools are receiving. but we've got to expand the capacity to meet that. >> yang: because even if covid eventually does recede, the need for qualified nurses never will. for the pbnewshour, i'm john yang in clewiston, florida. >> woodruff: so concerning. thank you for that report. and with the flu season coming, many people have wondered about getting the flu shot at the same time as a covid vaccine or booster shot. you can find answers to some of your covid questions on our instagram page, @newshour. and that is the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us online, and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you, please stay safe, and we'll see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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♪ hello, everyone, and welcome to "amanpour & company." here's whas coming up. >> they are life saving. game changing for our country. the covid-19 vaccine and the pioneering couple behind it. i asked doctors ugur sahin and ozlem tureci how variants and vaccine skeptics harm a pandemic-free future. then -- >> syria's nightmare where there are no vaccines, just a surging delta variant. we get a report from idlib. this is my real life we're talking about and i am scared. >> from monica lewinsky to "funny girl," beanie feldstein joins me on her breakthrough moment. and -- >> the tone of, you know, around a