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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  May 24, 2022 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT

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william: good evening. i'm william brangham. judy woodruff is away. on the "newshour" tonight, a tragedy in texas -- more than a dozen children have been killed in a mass shooting at an elementary school in uvalde, the latest horric act of gun violence here in the u.s. then, vote 2022 -- georgians cast their ballots in critical primary eletermine the state's future, and theecti extent of former president trump's influence. and opportunity on the menu. a new orleans non-profit works to counter the racial imbalance in the restaurant industry. >> it's not that there's a shortage of talent. it's not that there is a lack of diversity here. it's -- i believe it's a lack of access. william: all that and more on tonight's "pbs newshour."
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this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. william: the nation's recurring nightmare has happened again. texas state officials say a gunman killed 14 children and a teacher at an elementary school today. it appears the 18-year-old shooter was killed by police. gunfire broke out early this afternoon in the city of uvalde. it's about 85 miles west of san antonio. heavily armed police swarmed the school, with ambulances close behind. school staffers and others waited and watched.
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having just returned from a trip to asia, president biden spoke tonight at the white house, trying to console families and calling for greater action. pres. biden:s a nation we have to ask when in god's name are you going to stand up to the gun lobby? when in god's name are we going to do what we all know in our gut needs to be done? i am sick and tired. we have to act. and don't tell me we can't have an impact on this carnage. william: earlier today, texas governor greg abbott spoke abilene. gov. abbott: when parents drop the kids off at school, they have every expectation to know that they're going to be able to pick their child up when that school day ends. and there are families who are in mourning right now, and the state of texas is in mourning with him. william: as we learn more about
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this griffith event, i am joined now by reporter from the san antonio express news and she is following all of this closely from san antonio, which is about 85 miles east of uvalde. thank you so much for being here on this horrendous day for your community, protects us, and for this entire -- for texas, and for this entire country. whats the latest you have heard from law enforcement about this tragedy today? >> right now the latest tha we are hearing is unfortunately the death toll has continued to climb. ever since the initial reports we have gotten so far like you said, we have 18 children dead, two, possibly three adults who have also perished in this. just a community, a state, and a country right now in utter disbelief and heartbreak. william: i cannot imagine with the parents and the families in
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that community are going through today. we are talking about a massacre at an elementary school. these are ostensibly children who are eight, nine, perhaps 10 years old. is that correct? have officials said anything more about the children themselves? >> that is correct. robb elementary school is second, third and fourth graders. very young children. we know some of the victimsre as young as 10 years old. having to watch as these parents and students and teachers have to do with something like this. william: we understand that the shooter himself was not a stranger to this community. he was from the local area. have we learned anything else about why, if there is any real reason why he visited this horror on this particular school
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today? >> unfortunately we do not. police have not released any sort of motive, if they even have one. unfortunately in situations like this especially with the shooter who is now deceased, there is a great possibility that this is a question we never get answered. we hope that one day that we will know why this heinous act was committed, but we may not ever know. william: can you tell us a little more for people who are not familiar with uvalde, what kind of a community is this, who are these families going through this unspeakable moment? >> uvalde is a small town in texas about 16,000 people. robb elementary alone only has about 600 students. it is a small, very close-knit area. a lot of families, a lot of roots held there. when something like this happens
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it cuts to the core of the community. william: i have been seeing reports that we heard from your governor earlier, we certainly heard what president biden had to say about the need for greater action to try and arrest this. your lieutenant governor and attorney general spoke earlier and said to their minds, the solution to this is hardening schools, limiting exits and entrances, and arming more teachers. is that kind of a response going to be accepted? in the moment of such a terrible tragedy, are those kind of responses from your reporting going to be tolerated by people? >> it is really hard to say. as we have seen on multiple occasions with massive school shootings and mass shootings in general and our country, often that is the very quick response right after a shooting. and here we still are. i think a lot of schools and
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things have already started to do those measures where they have limited entrances and exits, where they have made people come in and get visitors badges, where there are metal detectors, things like that. some counties in texas are now arming the teachers. it gets to a point where, how many more measures can you take? what else is there left for us to do to try and protect the citizens of our state and of our country? william: that is certainly a question we are going to keep asking for a long time. thank you so much for joining us. >> of course. thank you. william: for more reaction from texas to this mass shooting, and repeated tragedies like this that occurred nationally, i am joined by kris bown, the advocacy campaign that has focused on background checks and more. thank you for being here. i know you have been working on
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this type of an issue for years now. but i wonder before talk about possible legislative solutions, could you just reflect on, as president biden said today, we seem to be the only industrialized nation on earth where these types of tragedies continually occur. can you reflect on this day for us and the scope of our history in this country with gun violen? kris: yes. i agree with the president and those are just facts. we are looking at a 50% spike this year in active shooter situations over last year. 2020, which is the last data we have, was among the most deadly in american history going back 25 years. and by the way -- i think of this as the head of rady by the
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way -- none of this is a salve, or any possible positive news for any of us. least of which are the people o are families today who are not having their children come home. to me as a mom and as an american citizen, i find this unconscionable. because gun violence can be solved. it is just that basic. what this is is a public health epidemic. and in the 1950's when we had automobile fatalities, we did not ask the question, what is the one thing we can do to solve this. it was all of the things we can do. and i would call upon all of us to really think about those things. because it is children dying today. it was children dying in sandy hook, and countless other situations. but last week it was black
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americans targeted grocery shopping. before that it was people in synagogues. before that it was people walking to a concert. when is enough is the question we all have to ask. and i don't understand fundamentally why we don't have a body politic, especially in the senate, who says ok, it is enough. and let's just do something simple. let's start here. expand brady bkground checks. they have stopped 4 million sales of guns to individuals who should not have them. can we not start there? that could be passed tomorrow. it is sitting in the senate. to me, that is democracy. it is also doing something to recognize that this is a uniquely american problem. it does not have to be this way. william: as i am sure you are
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aware, we have already seen senators like joe manchin say they do not support reporting -- reforming the filibuster to support new gun laws. mitch mcconnell saying he does not see this is the right time for that. you have also been through many of these campaigns, after newtown and sandy hook, where we all as a nation thought legislation, something that would be done, failed to occur. do you have any hope that this time will in fact be different? kris: i am not sure it will, but i will say one thing. i'm an able-bodied citizen of the united states of america. and i care. i have two daughters. i have neighbors. i could not live with myself right now if i had a bill to expand a law that 90% of americans support, like expanded brett brown checks.
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-- background checks. let me be clear, who stand with a crazy proposition who are -- for individuals seeking a firearm are subject to background checks. why is that important? we have certain prohibitive purchasing categories. convicted felons. commit stick -- convicted domestic abusers. we want to make sure those people do not easily access to guns. if i were a member of the united states senate like my neighbors, likeveryone that i could walk down the street and talk to, they would say yes, i would stand for that. but i think most americans do not understand is why is a bill like that, to expand background checks to state that have not yet put that in place, not coming to the floor of the senate? and there is no good answer. if you saw what chris murphy said earlier, and i know that
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you all covered this extensively, he said let's bring that bill to the floor. i agree. i think the democratic leadership should bring that to the floor. and the question is not, to be perfectly honest, will that come to the floor and have a vote that withstands the filibuster. the question is, can it be brought to the floor, and if it does not withstand the filibuster, we have to end the filibuster, because the filibuster is killing us. so priority one is to bring that vote to the floor. and if it fails, priority two is to end the from the buster. and if we want to stop gun violence, those are the top tw prioritieso, or the next mass shooting is going to occur. william: kris brown, thank you very much for joining us on again, another renders day. -- another horrendous day.
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kris: thank you. william: in the day's other news, news, russia's war in ukraine passed the three month mark with no end in sight. the head of the russian security council said moscow is not chasing deadlines, but its bombing of cities has intensified across ukraine's donbas region. meanwhile, the mayor of mariupol reported finding 200 bodies in a collapsed building. and the u.s. treasury department announced it will bar russia from using american banks to repay bond-holders. that could cause the kremlin to default this summer. we'll return to all of this, later in the program. president biden has wound up his trip to asia, warning that the world must do more against russian aggression. in tokyo today, he met with leaders of japan, india, and australia, where he pushed for stronger military and economic
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ties, and for greater action to defend ukraine. pres. biden: we're navigating a dark hour in our shared history. the russian brutal and unprovoked war against ukraine has triggered a humanitarian catastrophe, and innocent civilians haveeen killed in the streets and millions of refugees are internally displaced and as well as exiled. this is more than just a european issue, this is a global issue. william: the president's message appeared aimed partially at india, which has yet to join in sanctions against russia. and, as the leaders met, russia and china conducted joint flights near japan's airspace. the japanese defense minister called it an increased level of provocation. a russian court today rejected alexei navalny's appeal of his nine-year prison sentence for fraud. the opposition leader says the charges politically motivated. navalny appeared in court via a video feed from the prison
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colony where he's already serving time for a probation viation. he criticized president vladimir putin for starting what he called a stupid war in ukraine. the world health organization is expressing confidence that an outbreak of monkeypox is controllable. as of today, there've been more than 130 confirmed cases and another 106 obables in 19 countries sincearly may. but, in geneva, w.h.o. officials said the risk is low because the virus does not spread as easily as covid-19. dr. lewis: what we know from this virus and these modes of transmission, this outbreak can still be contained and it is the objective of the world health organization and member states to contain this outbreak and to stop it. william: most monkeypox cases have been in europe, which raised alarms since the virus is rarely seen outside of africa. but one w.h.o. official urged calm today saying quote, let's not make a mountain out of a mole hill.
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earth's were up -- the cdc sayshat is still about 86,000 lower than before the pandemic. the latest numbers mark a slight uptick from 2020, when americans had the fewest babies in more than 40 years. an independent commission today recommended new names for fort bragg and eight other u.s. army are now named for confederate officers. it is part of a military effort to address racial justice issues. among others, fort bragg in north carolina would be named fort libty. and in georgia, fort gordon would become fort eisenhower. automaker hyundai is recalling 239,000 cars in the u.s. because seatbelt parts can explode and injure drivers and passenger. the problem involved the pre-tensioners that tighten the belt in a crash. the recall expands three previous ones and includes accent and elantra models from 2019 to 2022.
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on wall street, tech and communication stocks led the market mostly lower. the dow jones maged to gain 48 point to close at 31,928. the nasdaq fell 270, 2%. the s&p 500 slipped 31. still to come, a rise of new covid infections raises questions about the u.s.'s current approach to the pandemic. we speak to a ukrainian coerced into leaving his home for russia. plus much more. >> this is the "pbs newshour" from weta studios in washington and in the west from the walter cronkite school of journalism at arizona state university. william: today may be the biggest test yet for former president trump's influence in the republican party. voters in five states head to
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the polls to pick party nominees for the midterm election. the newshours nicole ellis is here with me to walk through what we are watching. the big race people have in watching is in georgia where former president trump his finger on the scale onset i want to get governor brian kemp out of there because he did not support me in 2020. tell us more about that race. nicole: we have results. brian kemp won the republican primary for the governor's election. that means he will be up against stacey abrams who also won the democratic primary. we kind of knew where that was headed. but trump -- basically brian kemp was at the forefront of trump's criticism, and that is why he endorsed david perdue to run against him. that said, kemp has won that race, but there are many more races ahead. william: the other race people have been paying attention to is secretary of state's race in
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georgia. brad raffensperger was the man who famously rejected her than trump's desire to find, quote-unquote, 11,000 votes. what has been happening in that race? nicole: he is technically still in the lead but a lot of votes need to come in. he is running against a former congressman and a well-known and vocal election denier. it will be interesting to see what happens in that race. and that one is tight in comparison to the race for the senate primary, where herschel walker already won that nomination. william: georgia is not the only state we are looking at. texas, there is also a democratic primary that could in some way help us understand what the future of the democratic already, -- party, or a slice of it might look like. nicole: this is a rematch between the incumbentf the 20th congressional district in texas and an immigration attorney. it is truly neck and neck at
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this point. and it is a benchmark as for how the democratic party will see themselves as they had to november. the incumbent is antiabortion. she's very vocal about supporting abortion rights and is supported by congresswoman aoc and bernie sanders. the incumbent has the support of house leadership. it will be important to see how that pans out. it is very close. william: texas and georgia are not the only places we arle:e wg alabama where mo brooks was running for thsenate primary. quite honestly, it looks like he will not win that race. likely it is heading to a runoff. mo brooks was endorsed and endorsed by donald trump and it is a pretty tight race.
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william: it is a real test of his influence. thank you so much for doing this. nicole: thank you so much for having me. william: voters and many of today's primaries are navigating new and sometimes controversial voting laws that were implemented in the aftermath of the 2020 election. to get a better sense of how these new laws are affecting the current election cycle, i'm joined by jessica huseman. she's the editorial director of votebeat, the newly launched newsroom dedicated to following elections and the voting process. jessica, great to have you back on the "newshour." so, as i mentioned, voters over the last few weeks and today have been going to the polls in many cases under these new laws that were passed, some of them very, very controversial and contested laws. what have you been watching? what have you been thinking about?
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jessica: i think i have been watching georgia and texas most closely. of course, both of them are voting today. and both of them passed pretty significant voting laws in the wake of the -- in the wake of the 2020 election. and so it's been interesting to watch how those laws have taken shape over timin the last few months. and today is -- has been fascinating to watch as well. william: and, particularly, i know that georgia passed a lot of laws there. this was an incredibly close election in 2020. president trump fought that and claimed baselessly that there was immense fraud. and governor brian kemp there has championed this law that they passed to say, look, we addressed the issues that people might have had. and republicans there have been touting the fact that voter turnout, early turnout, has been very, very high, thus, there's no sense of voter suppression, which was the accusation. is that your sense that that is true, that voters have been able to navigate these new laws? jessica: i think they certainly have been able to navigate them,
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but that's no thanks the legislature or to brian kemp. there's a really fascinating statistic that came out just a couple of days ago. georgia is actually the most registered state in the country, 95% of georgians w are eligible to vote are now registered, which is a truly amazing statistic. and i think that it's because of the fervor that came out of the passage of these laws. activism groups have been incredibly instrumental in registering folks and rning them out to the polls in georgia. so, i think high turnout after a law that made voting less easy stl doesn't make voting easier. so, i don't know that it's appropriate for them to take credit for this high turnout. i think, in fact, conversely, the anger over those bills is what's driving people to the polls. william: so interesting. i know you have also been monitoring polls today in different states. have there been any irregularities that rise to the level of really paying attention to?
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jessica: you know what? not so far. we have been following the election closely in texas and in georgia, and last week in pennsylvania. and, essentially, all of the big problems that we saw -- well, big is probably an exaggeration. most of them have been basically routine. even in a place like lancaster, pennsylvania, in which their ballot vendor misprinted several thousand ballots that were unable to be scanned, they were able to remedy that problem and recopy the ballots on to -- recopy the votes on to valid ballots and count them with only a couple of days' delay, which is really an amazing thing logistically, if you consider it. and given all of the hubbub that's gone on over election administration and voting rights in the last six months, that election administrators have been able to pull off essentially error-free elections in the last couple of years is really stunning. william: yes, it's a terrific testament to the mechanics of democracy. there are -- speaking of the hubbubs, one of the hubbubs has
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been this ongoing, much-debunked lie that the last election was riddled with fraud and that it was stolen from former president trum and a lot of t people who are running in some of these stes are themselves proponents of that baseless theory. and there are a lot of voters that echo that, that do believe that there was terrible corruption in the last election. how do you see that those views and those candidates have actually played out in this -- in this election? jessica: i'm really concerned about the trajectory of this. there are certainly a lot of folks running for offices that used to be sleepy bureaucratic positions held by people who really did want to work in the bureaucracy and help their neighbors out. those positions are changing. they are now heavily politicized. they are now seen as a stepping-stone to higher office. and so we're seeing a lot of really troubling conspiracy theories being spread about by people running for the very
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offices who are supposed to safeguard these positions. and so that's really, really concerning. william: what do you think that does to voters, who are somewhere in the back of their mind thinking, i have been hearing that this mechanic, this process is tainted? jessica: i think tha only tell peopyole for su o long that the system is flawed before they choose to stop participating in it. and georgia is an excellent example of this. there was not a single pollster in the country who would tell you that both senate seats in georgia in 2020 would flip to democrats, but they did. and that's largely because republicans elected not to vote by mail, because they were told that the system was flawed. and theyigured, what's the point? and i think i see that on both sides of the aisle, right? if you listen to the very far left that is convinced that every single law that changes voting even a little bit is voter suppression, and they tell people that they're going to face monumental hurdles going to the polls, and then, more specifically and i think more
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detrimentally, on the right telling people that the entire system is flawed and has been rigged for a specific party, we're really facing a time of troublingly low confidence in american elections. and that has a huge effect on our ability to trust the workings of government in general. william: jessica huseman of votebeat, always good to see you. thank you so much. jessica: thank you. william: as we reported, it's been exactly three months since russia invaded ukraine. it is the largest war in europe in 80 years, and, at its peak, displaced more than 13 million ukrainians. that's 30% of the country. tens of thousands of ukrainian civilians have also died. and though there is no official number, u.s. and ukrainian officials have said tens of thousands of russian and ukrainian troops have also been
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killed. to take stock of where we are, i'm joined by nick schifrin. nick, the russians are currently focused on the eastern donbass region. but, as we well know, that was not their original intent. can you remind us of the evolution of this invasion? nick: yeah, at the beginning, it's what president volodymyr zelenskyy calls total war, the idea of overthrowing the government in kyiv, and targeting civilians in order to break the will of the population. let's go back to february 23 and the map before the invasion of, crimea, parts of donetsk and luhansk in red controlled by russian forces since 2014. and then, february 24, russian forces invaded in the north toward kyiv, in the east, the second largest city in kharkiv, and from the south in crimea. u.s. officials feared that kyiv could fall within days. fast-forward to march 24. kyiv held, but russia seized swathes of territory. this is the high watermark of the invasion.
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but in the north and the east, russian forces were already bogged down. ukrainian forces were beating them back. and so, by april 6, what you see in blue in the north there, ukraine won the battle of kyiv, pushed russian troops all the way out of northern ukraine. and then this is the map today. russian forces have been pushed beyond artillery range in kharkiv, but, in the south, they have consolidated their control around mariupol, giving them a land bridge to crimea. and now russian goals have shrunk. you see that city in the east, severodonetsk. that is the last ukrainian city held in luhansk. that is the russian goal. and u.s. and ukrainian officials,illiam, fear that this war could be a grinding stalemate that could go on for a long time. william: so, in that scenario, who benefits? nick: it's a key question, but it's not a simple one to answer. let's look at ukraine. ukraine believes that, over time, it will have more weapons online. that means american artillery that it's already using, anti-ship missiles thait could target russian ships blockading the largest port.
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and multiple u.s. officials telling me they're considering sending the multiple-launch rocket system himars. now, ukrainian officials tell me that those weapons combined will allow them to launch counteroffensives. but an official close to zelenskyy admits to me that it's unlikely that the military will be able to dislodge the russians om territory they already occupy. and that means that zelenskyy will either have to cede territory, which he's already ruled out, or this war will go on for a long time, because russia is not going to give up the territory they have already occupied. william: and, in the meantime, as you have well reported, civilians are the ones who get stuck in the middle. nick: yeah, absolutely. you mentioned the number of refugees, the number of displaced at the beginning of this segment. in addition to that, ukraine says half-a million ukrainians have been coerced to leave their homes and go to russia. and during my trip to ukraine recently, i spoke to one of them, a resident of mariupol who's still in russia, about the destruction of his hometown and his life before the war.
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two days before he lost everything, andrei stood in the lobby of his club confident in the future. we're changing his name and keeping him anonymous because he's still living the hell that, on this day, he couldn't have foreseen. with u.n. grants, he built amusement centers with star wars themes. his clientele, children on their birthdays. he had a months-long waiting list and planned to open a third club. and he always brought his own inner child to work. he was becoming a successful entrepreneur. andrei: when you help children mood, it's a wonderful energy. business was a pleasure. we loved doing this. nick: we spoke to him via skype from ukraine. andrei: when you do what you love, it gives you joy. nick: what happened when the war began? andrei: i did not believe until the last moment that they would bombard the city center, that they would start attacking residential buildings. i didn't believe it until it was too late. nick: russia reduced mariupol to
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ruins. what use 400,000 residents bed came a ciy that belonged to the dead. officials say the siege killed at least 20,000 people. the mbardment was relentless. the only safe space was underground. and, for andrei, that meant the club for celebration became a shelter from war. andrei: we stayed there for 43 days, 43 days, but it seemed like an eternity. sometimes, in normal life, you don't notice when a day or a week passes. but when we were down there, every hour seemed like a whole day. approximately a week after it started, the lights went off, then the gas. then, after a whe, the city was reduced to ruins. and it was impossible to buy anything anywhere. we all saw dead people lying around. we had a headless man lying at the entrance to our neighborhood. no one cleared it out for a week.
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the whole city was covered with corpses. nick: andrei photographed depantrtmes now bombed, markets now burned, a city almost entirely powerless, trying to maintain hope. he's smiling behind the blur. how did you end up leaving mariupol? andrei: we lived through a situation where there was no longer anything left to bombard. the humanitarian corridors into russia opened up. they were safe. i heard that some made it through the front line towards ukrainian-held territory, but it was dangerous. people left in convoys. and these convoys were shot at. so we had to leave for russia, because i didn't see another safe option. nick: on april 8, andrei, his wife and children traveled in a russian-controlled convoy north toward nikolske through russian filtration. andrei: filtration takes two weeks. people wait their turn. they are screened on various subjects and on any connections to the military. god forbid they find any ukrainian regalia. you would be led away. and not everyone comes back.
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nick: on april 30, russian foreign minister sergey lavrov said moscow had received -- quote -- requests for assistance in evacuating 2.8 million people to rusa. but at a g7 meeting earlier this month, ukrainian president volodymyr zelenskyy compared russia to world war ii germany. pres. zelenskyy: the deportation of more than 500,000 ukrainians to russia and the so-called filtration camps are imitations of the deportations and concentration camps that the nazis organized in europe. >> so, the convention is adopted by this assembly by unanimous vote. nick: in response to that nazi genocide, after world war ii, the members of the general assembly unanimously signed the genocide convention. it defines genocide as intent to destroy a group in whole or in part, and highlights forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. ukraine says that's what russia is doing today. andrei, his wife and his children were taken across the russian border to taganrog.
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andrei: there is a tent camp where refugees are accommodated and fed. there are many volunteers who understand the situation and help people. nick: but, back in mariupol, his grandparents and his wife's entire family had stayed behind. so he returned to rescue them. he compared the destruction to chernobyl. his own apartment had taken a direct hit. this used to be the kitchen. this was his bedroom, just outside, russian troops whom andrei says are bribable. andrei: when i went to the city the second time, i had to go through filtration. i could pay money to go through an expedited process. usually, it takes two weeks for people to go through it. it took me one day. they copy your phone contact list. they check all of your social media, take a photograph, take your fingerprints. you feel like a prisoner. nick: he retrieved his exhausted in-laws and his grandmother who, behind the blur, shares his smile.
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andrei: we did the right thing to leave, because most of the survivors cling to the remnants of their property and their memories of the city as it once was. there will be nothing there in the coming years, and it will not be quick to restore it from scratch. nick: today, he and his family live in the russian city of krasnodar with tens of thousands of displaced ukrainians forced to live in a city of three-quarters of a million russians. andrei: a lot ofeople here are against what is happening. a lot of people hug us and cry and talk to us and say, we understand what's going on. but there's nothing we can do. there is huge anger at the government. i haven't been issued any documents, and i don't want them. i don't want documents from a cotry that destroyed your city and your life. nick: a life that felt limitless two days before the invasion, today, like his hometown, destroyed and controlled by moscow. for the pbs newshour, i'm nick schifrin.
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william: our coverage of the war in ukraine is supported in partnership with the pulitzer center. new orleans is one of america's most unique cities. its people are part of a rich and diverse melting pothat's also made new orleans' cuisine world famous. but many of the people whose families originally developed that cuisine over generations are now shut out of the top jobs in the city's restaurants, including as leading chefs, and that's had serious consequences for black workers in the industry. newshour communities reporter roby chavez has the story on efforts to change that. it's part of our coverage of race matters. roby: kiall wilson had has been trying to make it as a new orleans chef for eight years. kiall: it's been a rough path trying to find your place in the kitchen. roby: there have been setbacks, he says, because he's black.
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kiall: i had an experience with a front of house server to where i was painted as the bad guy in the situation. and both of my managers, who were white men, took the side of the server and put me out because i was the only man of color in the kitchen. roby: and that makes youeel like you don't matter? kiall: it made me feel like i didn't matter. and it also made me realize exactly how far we actually have to travel on this path of diversity in the industry. roby: new orleans' famous food scene is largely rooted in creole and black culture and history. yet, in this majority black city, 80% of restaurant executives and 71% of general manager jobs are held by white workers. when it comes to the top job in the kitchen, it's the same story. if you google restaurants and chefs here, what will you find? robert: majority white, and majority white male. roby: on the other hand, the lower paid back of the-house jobs like dishwashers and food prepares are done by mostly black workers.
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lauren darnell heads up the made in new orleans foundation. lauren: it's not that there's a shortage of talent. it's not that there is a lack of diversity here. it's -- i believe it's a lack of access. roby: byron bradley has faced that lack of access to top restaurant jobs. byron: it didn't matter what my resume looked like. i would still get treated this certain -- the certain way. that's just the way it is. roby: despite a degree from the culinary institute of america and years in fine dining, bradley says he has been passed over for promotions, as was a former black colleague. byron: he was there for 19 years, i think it was, before they promoted him to sous-chef. roby: and then there's the pay. byron: we're not going to be paid what the normal person is paid. and if you put up a fight, you're probably not going to be there long. in my most honest opinion, i think a lot of this is subconscious. we just need to see more african americans building more businesses. roby: bradley started a personal chef business to create his own
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opportunities in a city where most well-paying hospitality jobs are held by white people and 69% of below living wage positions are done by people of color. covid-19 may he been a turning point. as pandemic restrictions were lifted and restaurants here in new orleans slowly started to reopen, they found themselves with a worker shortage, many not wanting to return to work without a pay increase and a clear path for promotion. gerald: we can't hire enough people. we can't retain enough people. roby: that's what restauranteurs tell gerald duhon, who runs cafe reconcile. it's a nonprofit restaurant and job training program. gerald: it's not like there was a rapture and people have left the earth. the people are here. they just don't want to work for you. if you have a safe environment that values your staff with time off, benefits and a living wage, then that's a place that people are going to want to go. roby: lauren darnell's made in new orleans foundation, mino, is helping to train employers that
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want to be more equitable. lauren: nobody wants to be called a racist, right? it's not, aha, that, like, you're a terrible employer. it's, aha, like, ok, so now what can we do? how do we put our minds together, figure out a better solution? roby: leblanc + smith, which operates five restaurants, has been working toward that better solution, starting with pay equity. robert: what we decided to do was pay people in the front of the house significantly more. we also pay more in the back of the house. but we give a portion of the tips to the peoplen the back of the house. roby: what does that look like? if i'm a waiter, i made this amount, and now i'm making this amount? robert: if you're a waiter, a lot of times, you're making $20 an hour. now people are making $26, $27 an hour. if you were in the back of the house, you were making $16, $17 an hour. now they're also making $26 an hour. roby: the company also stepped up recruiting in african american communities. another goal is to include staff in decisions. robert: we invite the entire team to ask questions, to share our thoughts and opinions.
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you start to really see great leaders emerge. and we didn't do a good job of that prior to covid. we didn't think about it. we just didn't know. roby: yet there is still work to do. alexis: i mean, there's so much learning and unlearning that you have to do. roby: alexis tabor, general manager of leblanc + smith's the chloe hotel, lowered the starting pay for a job opening so there'd be room to grow. but she quickly learned it's a delicate dance. alexis: i offered this employee that lower amount, and their reply was like, well, you're offering that to me because i'm a person of color. that's not what i intended. but, obviously, from the eyes of the employee, that was a huge jab. roby: did that person stay? was it a healing moment? alexis: yes, they did. it was a lot of emotion, but we were able to have a very good conversation about it and move forward from it and learn. roby: but there are more basic barriers to advancement for the 32% of black new orleanians who live in poverty, says gerald duhon. gerald: you can't have a job,
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keep a job and do a good job at your job if you're homeless. opportunity others have.e we're trying to level that playing field. roby: at cafe reconcile, interns from at-risk communities are trained to prepare and serve lunch in the restaurant. 19-year-old aaron webber began earlier this year. aaron: i was in foster homes at the time, and came to cafe reconcile. they changed my life. roby: and so now what does your future look like? what do you hope to do? what do you want to do? aaron: open up my own restaurant. roby: here, interns learn both hard and soft skills, says terrance crump. terrance: i wasn't a big person feedback, because i always looked at feedback like criticism, but, most of the time it's constructive, like them trying to get you to better what you're doing or better yourself. roby: in the past year, cafe reconcile has worked to diversify its own team. workers now make a minimum of $15 an hour, plus benefits.
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and there's a wage floor interns after they leave. gerald: we're not going to place them into a job that's paying them $8 an hour, $10 an hour. we need the $12, $14 hour jobs, where they have got a chance in three months or six months to get bumped up to $15, $16. roby: a few years ago, kiall wilson got a scholarship from mino to attend culinary school. he's now the chloe's lead morning cook. he hopes to move up in the industry. kiall: at time it's a little difficult to know that there are not too many people of color that are in management positions. but then it gives me the hope to be like, ok, let me try to break that barrier. let me try to push forward and see if i can get to a management position. roby: amid continued staff shortages, lauren darnell thinks more businesses will need to have an equity reckoning, since new orleans' $10 billion tourism industry is wholly reliant on its workers. lauren: people come to new orleans because there's a proximity to culture that they
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not necessarily feel at home. i would probably argue it's a closeness to black culture and a closeness to being able to let their hair down and sort of come as you are. and so when you come and you feel that, and it invigorates your soul, and you want to come back, think about the people who've made that experience possible. roby: for the pbs newshour, i'm roby chavez in new orleans. william: now to the latest on the pandemic. cases are moving up again at a rapid pace, driven by a highly contagious offshoot of the original omicron strain. meanwhile, parents of very young kids are eagerly awaiting approval of covid vaccines for children under five years old. for the latest on where we are in this viral war, i'm joined by katherine wu. she writes for the atlantic, and has a phd in microbiology.
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welcome back to the newshour. let's talk about the kids vaccines first. i know there are a lot of parents of very, very young kids who have been waiting for this to eventually come. pfizer says they've got a three shot dose that is great for kids. moderna is going to be following suit. what do we know about how effective these might be and when they might be available? katherine: yeah, so we are finally, finally getting some good news for this youngest age group and the hope is that, you know, the middle of june the fda is going to convene a meeting of its advisors to talk about these two vaccines. unfortunately, you know, the data that is public right now is still a little bit limited. it's also preliminary. what the vaccine makers are doing is they're spending some time analyzing the data now. and so the estimate they're putting out there are preliminary. the main thing vaccine makers wanted to do was see if they could tickle out an antibody response and these little kids that was comparable to what they saw in adults, and both vaccine
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makers did that. they've also released some preliminary estimates saying that, you know, moderna's two dose vaccine is about 40% to 50% effective at stopping symptomatic cases of covid-19 in kids under and pfizer's three six. dose vaccine which has you know, more to it, it's going to take longer to do with four doses is about 80% effective at doing the same thing. william: how much demand do you think there might be for this? because we've seen with the five to 11-year-olds, there's not been as much uptake as public health officials had hoped. en talk of a booster for that age group. do you think that there will be better uptake for the five and under crowd? katherine: it's a great question. and i think it's a tricky one to answer. we really will have to wait and see but the pediatricians i've been talking to in recent weeks, they're optimistic certainly that some parents are going to be very eager but recent polling and, you know, recent discussions these pediatricians have had suggest that uptake may be lower. it seems that as we move down to
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the age brackets, especially in people under the age of 18, uptake has been pretty sluggish. and that trend is expected to continue for infants and toddlers. william: i want to ask you about the vaccines and their effectiveness, because as everyone is aware in their own circles, so many people are getting infected now including people who are doue shots, shots, some even fourth booster shots. what is going on there? help us understand that. is that the vaccines losing their effectiveness, is that the potency of these new variants? what's happening there? katherine: yeah, so it's a great question and one that i think has been a little complicated to untangle the past year and a half. the most important thing to keep in mind is that the vaccines are still across age groups, across variants, across people, in most cases, doing an extraordinary job stopping the worst outcomes, severe disease, hospitalization, and death. and you can sort of think about this as, you know, those are the most difficult things for the virus to accomplish. it takes time to land someone in the hospital, for severe disease
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to really unfurl from an infection. all the way on the other end of the spectrum, it doesn't take much time or you know, work for a virus just get inside a cell and start copying itself. the easiest thing for the virus to accomplish is going to be the toughest thing for a vaccine to prevent long term. people who are vaccinated maintain great protection against severe disease and death. but it does unfortunately make it somewhat easy for the virus to reinfect someone in the months after someone gets their shots, especially if the virus is mutating and becomes less recognizable to the immune cells that have been trained on a version of the shot that was based on an earlier version of the virus. william: in your most recent piece in the atlantic, you use the metaphor of a mountain and that we have climbed a certain distance, a good deal up that mountain with our vaccines are giving us good protection. the question in your piece is, are these new variants coupled with potential weaning of these vaccines, could that potentially push us back off the mountain back to square one?
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is that going to happen? katherine: the short answer i think, is that's quite unlikely. it's really, really, really difficult for any version of this virus to slip entirely around our immune defenses, which are so diverse, so multifaceted. that would be really difficult. but i think the main thing to keep in mind here is that this virus is being pressured to continue to escape our immunity. that's how it's going to keep infecting us. and so the important thing is to make sure that we're using as updated trail map as possible as we're ascending this mountain, not using something that's two years out of date as our vaccines, in some ways are, making sure that we're using as updated intel as possible so that we don't lose any of the ground that we've gained whatsoever as the terrain is sort of shifting beneath us. william: you've written a great deal about the issue of complacency, and as anyone that has traveled around the country knows, most of this country has moved beyond this pandemic. they feel like it's in the rearview mirror. masks are very uncommon.
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places are crowded all over again. do you think that if a new vaccine comes around that we will again, in the fall or the winter, that people will take a new vaccine, that people will if this if cases continue to rise and hospitalizations rise, that people will be willing to put some of these precautions back into place? katherine: i certainly hope so. but there are some things certainly working against that. you know, pandemic fatigue is a very real thing. people are sick of thinking about the virus and any of the measures that are required to take to stop it. we can sort of think about flu vaccination as a benchmark here. flu vaccination is nowhere near where some expts hope it might be, you know, maybe 50-ish percent of adults take it each year. it's a little bit higher and older adults, but really, we would love to see those rates in the 80's, 90's, 100% would be amazing. you know, covid vaccines have been even more polarizing and
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that that's had knock on effects on other vaccines. a lot of experts are wondering, are we going to see incredibly low vaccination uptake this fall? we know that only 30% of americans are boosted right now. asking them to get a fourth shot or a fifth shot, we may see more drop o with each iteration. what i am hopeful for is that the promise of an updated vaccine, you know, something that's not original recipe that may have its own appeal. this is this year's vaccin this is something that we're updating, maybe it'll have the appe of an iphone upgrade and motivate some people to roll up their sleeves again. william: i love that strategy. thank you so much. katherine: thank you so much for having me. william: and that is the newshour for tonight. join us online here and again tomorrow evening. from all of us at the "pbs newshour," thank you, and we'll see you soon.
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(latin music) - [danielle] across the united states, the vast asian diaspora is producing chefs who are experts in the art of the culinary mashup. this week, we set out to explore some of these cultural composites. from casual teries, serving filipino, american barbecue, and afro-asian rice bowls. to a fine dining restaurant that's introducing new yorkers to nikkei cuisine, a melding of peruvian and japanese influences. we also delve into the lives of these adventurists and award winning chefs. on this episode of lucky chow. (upbeat inspiring muc)