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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  August 24, 2022 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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♪ announcer: good evening and welcome. i'm amna nawaz, judy woodruff is away. on "the newshour" tonight, loan forgiveness. president biden cancels up to $10,000 for millions of americans, a move sharply dividing advocacy groups and budget hawks. then voters peek. in new york, democrat tries um of in a special election while in florida they choose a former republican to challenge governor ron desantis in november's mid-terms. and one year on. afghans who fled their homes in the u.s. withdrawal reflect on the last 12 months since the taliban takeover. >> i was afraid, because i was a female artist and all my artwork was about women's lives.
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we decided to leave afghanistan until we are able to greet again. announcer: all that -- amna: all that and more on tonight's "newshour." >> major funding for the pbs "musehour" is provided by -- "newshour" is provided by -- >> moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf. the engine that connects us. >> cfo. caregiver. ellipse chaser.
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a raymond james financial adviser tailors advice to help you live your life. life, well planned. >> supporting social entrepreneurs and their solutions to the world's most pressing problems. >> the lemmuleson foundation, on the web at supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation, committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. and with the ongoing support of these institutions. >> this program made possible by the corporation for public
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broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. amna: president biden today announced his long-awaiting plan on student debt a historic move toy dreases the $1.6 trillion in federal loans held by 45 million americans. in the plan, borrowers making less than $125,000 a year will be eligible for $10,000 in forgiveness. for pell grant recipient that goes up to $20,000. in an effort to help those with the greatest need. and the president also extended the payment pause one final time through the end of this year. in remarks today the president anticipated opposition from republicans and said the relief was targeting low and middle-income americans. president biden: i will never apologize for helping working americans and the middle class. especially not to the same folks who voted for a $2 trillion tax
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cut that mainly benefited the wealthiest americans and biggest corporations, that slowed the economy, didn't do a hell of a lot for economic growth and wasn't paid for and racked up the nor mouse deficit. amna: our white house correspondent laura barron-lopez has been following it all. what's the significance of this? laura: president biden, it took him a long time to get to this decision but it went further than many expected. a big piece of this is what it did for the pell grant recipien. the student loan foregiveness for them is, as you noted, $20,000 forgiveness if they make less than $125,000 a year, roughly 2/3 of federal loan borrowers are pell grant recipients, black borrowers are twice as likely to receive pell grant as white borrowers. pell grants are federal tuition aid that doesn't necessarily have to be paid back for low-income americans and this
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addresses additional loans that they took out on top of that. the white house argues that pell grants no longer cover the same amount of tuition that they used to cover. and we spoke to braxton simpson today, a student who has some $40,000 in student debt. she's also an activist who works for an advocacy group that's trying to make college more affordable. here's what she had to say about how it impacts her. >> when you come out of college, you start a new job, you're starting your new life. there's a lot of things being thrown at you. you're really focusing on adulting, picking up bill, trying to figure out what your next meal is going to be. so having, of course, the cancellation of the $10,000 definitely helps to bring that, scale that down. make things seem a lit more attainable. laura: for borrowers like braxton who are looking to get relief it's their 2020 and 2021 tax years that will be assessed
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when they apply. and the education department will recease a short and simple form in the coming weeks for people to apply for relief. amna: some people wanted the white house to go further, some have been calling for $50,000 in forgiveness. how did the white house get to this number and what are progressives saying? laura: up until today, progressives had been in the president's ear telling them to go further. what everyone was expecting was for president bide ton forgive the $10,000 in student debt but the $20,000 for pell grant took it a step further for something progressives were fighting for a lot. i spoke to wisdom cole of the naacp today and he said he's looking for the white house to go even a step further. >> s that great first step in the right direction. and the fight to cancel student debt. we've been fighting for, you know, quite some time now,
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pushing the administration to cancel a minimum of $50,000 or more. the idea that now we are having an open conversation around what is possible and dreaming about a future where debt is not going to be something that's going to be holding back millions and millions of black and brown borrowers around the country, who are wanting to see a better future, wanting to become homeowners, business owners, have discretionary wealth-building income. laura: like wisdom cole who leads their youths division for the naacp, a lot of progressives will reset once the payments start again next year and start pushing the white house to potentially forgive even more for nonpell grant recipients. amna: the administration announced this loan forgiveness and also changes to how loans are to be repaid. laura: this is another big component. it's new ince-based repayment plan. what this does is it makes it so borrowers repay 5% of their
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disposable income per month rather than 10%. no monthly payments for people making less than approximately $15 an hour. it forgives loan of $12,000 or less after 10 years instead of 20. and no monthly interest for people making their repayments. amna: among the critics, there are people who say this will worsen inflation. do we know what kind of impact it could have on the economy? laura: the white house came out prepared for those arguments. what they're saying is the loan repayments starting next year happening at the same time as those targeted debt relief, they argue it's going to offset. they also say that the economists they're talking to, be it analyst firms like moodies, that it will be neutral or de-inflationary. of course, there are a number of economists, even democrac ones, that don't agree with that. the committee for the responsible federal budget estimated that it would cost
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some $400 billion to $600 billion. i spoke to jason furman, an economist and democrat who worked for the former president obama and he was not happy with this announcement today. >> i think this is a terrible policy for the point in time we're in. as a country. it's nearly half a trillion dollars of gasoline being thrown on what is already an inflationary fire that we're dealing with. the economy cannot absorb this money without generating more inflation. without generating bills that will have to be paid in the future as well. so you're helping one group in the country and hurting a lot of other people in the process. laura: the white house's response to that is essentially that this is something the president believes is fair. it's something that he wanted to take action on. now again, he initially wanted
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congre to do this. he didn't want to have to use his executive action to forgive the $10,000 in student debt. but ultimately felt it was necessary. amna: you mentioned fair. there's been a question around fairness, we've heard it from the beginning about the talk of student loan forgiveness from republican lawmakers and a reporter shouted out a question on this, people who argue this is unfair to people who didn't go to college or who have already paid back their loans. what does the white house say to that? laura: first i think we need to look at how popular the provision is. which is actually recent polling from npr found that the $10,000 in forgiveness alo is actually what's popular with the american public. some 55% of americans support it. 35% do not support it. but going beyond that is where things can become less popular with the american public. and so again, some democrats like jason furman agree with republicans who are saying that
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this isn't necessarily fair and what about the students who already repaid all of their loans? and so he said that it could definitely become difficult for the white house to explain that. >> we're very constrained as a country. who is your priority to help? is it a couple making $250,000? is it a single 24-year-old making $75,000? i just don't think those should be the top priorities for policymakers. laura: now ultimately, again, wf students across the country in the past year. students like braxton simpson, and they say, every tim i ask them what's the one thing you'd like to see from president biden now that he's elected to office and the first words out of their mouth were student debt. this is what braxton simpson had to say in response to that fairness question. >> i think that students, everywhere, are going to be
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excited about that. probably going to get them out to vote knowing that there is a possibility that the administration does have them on their mind when it comes to their education, funding their education and allowing students not to focus solely on funding their education, strog work to make ends meet just to go to school. but being able to actuall pocus on school itself. laura: justs like braxton, that's big thing democrats are thinking could play well with young voters. president biden's numbers with gen z voters and millenials has not been good in recent months. potentially a number of democratic strategists i spoke to say these voters, these yuck voters, are going to be key potentially in swing states heading into november. amna: we'll see how much of a difference it makes or doesn't. laura, thank you so much. laura: thank you.
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♪ amna: in the day's other news, a russian rocket attack in central ukraine claimed scores of victims as ukraine marked its independence day and six month since the war began. president zelenskyy said the attack killed 22 people and wounded dozens at a strain station -- train station. the u.s. announced another $3 billion in mitary aid for ukraine. the pentagon said it sends a strong message to russian president putin. >> his theory is he can outlast everybody, packages like this that says we're not just providing assistance right now but a steady stream of assistance that will stretch over many months and years, is precisely challenging putin's miscalculation, we believe, that he can just grind it out and wait it out. amna: the u.s. has supplied ukraine with nearly $14 billion in military assistance since the war began. the u.s. military says it traded fire today with iranian backed militia fights for the eastern
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syria. that followed u.s. air strikes in deir ez-zor, a region bordering iraq. u.s. central command said the militias attacked american troops in the region last week. in ethiopia new fighting in the tigray region after a months' long ceasefire. tigrayian officials accuse ethiopa of a large-scale offensive, e ethiopia said tigry attacked first. today the president insisted the fighting stop. >> today i am deeply shocked and saddened of the news of resumption of hostilities in the area. my strong appeal is for immediate cessation of hostilities and resumption of peace tks. amna: the fighting in tigray has claims thousands of lives and left millions starving.
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mediion struggles to make progress. in this country, a congressional report has new details on how the trump white house interfered with the f.d.a. early in the pandemic. a house select subcommittee says then-president trump and his aides pressured f.d.a. officials to re-authorize hydroxychloroquine to treat covid. by thentudies had found it didn't work on the virus and could cause heart complications. first lady jill biden has covid-19 again. the white house says she tested positive today, apparently suffering a rebound case as the president did earlier this month. mrs. biden tested negative on sunday, ending her initial bout with covid. officials say she has no new symptomsut will re-isolate and remain in delaware. a federal judge in texas has temporarily blocked federal officials from enforcing new guidance on emergency abortions. the guidance requires hospitals to end pregnancies that endanger the mother, even if state law
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sharply limits abortions. the white house today called the court ruling, quote, a blow to texa. >> we've been very clear as you look at what's -- what is -- what happened last night in texas. republicans, legislators are working to roll back the freedoms of americans that they relied on for a half century. a half century. and it's more and more clear that this is against the will of majority of americans. amna: the federal judge's rules applies only to texas but a similar case is playing out in idaho. students in ohio's largest school district started the year remotely and with substitute teachers today. the regular teachers and other staffers in columbus went on strike on monday. they are demanding smaller class sizes and better conditions including guaranteed air-conditioning. twitter's chief executive rejected claims that the comny lied about its defenses against hackers and spam accounts. reuters reports the c.e.o. held an employee meeting today and said the allegations are, quote,
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foundationally, technically and historically inaccurate. the company's former security chief accused twitter of misleading federal regulators. on wall street, stocks inched higher today. the dow jones industrial average gained 59 points to close at 32,969. the nasdaq rose 50 points. s&p500 added 12. and a passing to note. football hall of famer len dawson has died. in 1970, as quarterback, he led the kansas city chiefs to their first super bowl championship over the minnesota vikings. and he set numerous records that stood for half a century. later he worked for years as a broadcast analyst for nfl games. len dawson was 87 years old. still to come on "the newshour," ukrainians mark their independence from the soviet union even as they fight russian's invasion. afghans who fled their homes in
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the chaotic u.s. withdrawal reflect on the last year. the late actor michael k. williams' posthumous memoir tells how his life informed his career and 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. amna: we are 76 days away from mid term elections to determine which party controls congress next year. votes for the florida and new york have chosen their nominees for house and senate races setting up major showdowns in november. our lisa desjardins has more on last night's results. lisa: from the last swirl of primaries in august has emerged renewed hope for democrats and veteran politicians. in florida, charlie crist is both. democrats chose him, a former republican governor, to face off against current governor and
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rising republican star ron desantis. crist made that part ofis opening argument. >> this guy wants to be president of the united states of america and everybody knows it. however, when we defeat him on november 8, that show is over. [cheers and applae] lisa: desantis who face nod primary, stoked his image as a maverick and navy officer including in an ad referencing the "top gun" movies. >> got involved to help candidates fighting the machine, fighting the lockdowners, fighting the forced maskers, fighting the people that want to indoctrinate our kids instead of educate our kids. >> the democrat party has been taken over -- lisa: marco rubio also faces a high-profile fight. >> your party has abandoned you. lisa: last night democratic vote
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es overwhelmingly backed congresswoman val demings from orlando to challenge him. >> i stand before you tonight believing in the promise of america. lisa south carolina few celebrations were louder than that of the man running if demings' seat. 25-year-old democrat maxwell frost is favored to win in the fall, which would make him the first member of generation z in congress. veteran republic congressman matt gaetz and daniel webster each survived challenges last night. webster's opponent, election deniers and self-described islam phe made it a race and is refusing to concede. >> i'm aware -- lisa: a fellow far-right congressional candidate carl paladino in new york rejected his projected loss. others handled tough defeat head on. >> i have called congressman nadler to congratulate him on his victory.
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lisa: house oversight chairwoman maloney conceded in a rare matchup against fellow democrat and judiciary chairman jerly nadler, a battle sparked by redistricting. nadler paid tribute to maloney after his blowout win. >> i speak for everyone in the room tonight and i thank her for her decades of service tour ocity. lisa: someone who worked with nadler als pulled through the redistricting cloud. he won in a new democratic-leaning district knocking out one-term progressive representative monodare jones who played higher than expected. one final if temporary result, in new york's hudson valley, democr pat ryan, a combat veteran, campaigning on abortion rights, won a special election beating a republican and expectations in a closely watched house race. and joining me to discuss last night's primary is congressman-elect pat ryan of new york.
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congratulations, congressman-elect. you won in a swing district. you were not expected to win. why do you think you did? pat: i think we stood up loud d clear and said this is a referendum on freedom, on choice in the country. certainly in this community. and people responded overwhelmingly to that and sent a resounding message. i think so much of this was just being clear and unequivocal in our values and principles and doing it in a way that's unifying. and so to see my community where i was born and raised respond in this way, in this moment, i'm so proud. >> since last night the cook political report has changed how it sees mid terms saying it believes democrats are diluting republican's advantage. one suggested reason is abortion, an area you campaigned on. how much of a factor do you think that was in your win? pat: i think it played a major role. i believe that the dobbs decision hit a guardrail of democracy and served as a major
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wakeup call that fundamental rights and freedoms, that i risked my life in combat to defend, that so many worked for so many decades to secure, and to hold, are really now under threat and people actively trying to rip away those rights and that is something that strikes a deeper nerve and really results in the things we've seen in kansas what we saw here last night and people saying, this is not who we are as america. >> your win means you will now represent the 19th district of new york. that's what it looks like right now. but of course because of redistricting that map is about to change. you'll be running in november for the 18th district in new york, a different district. your opponent, the republican in that race has already indicated that one line of attack could be that he will accuse you as other republicans are doing with democrats of being soft on crime. i wonder how you respond and how
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democrats are responding to that chge that democrats are soft on crime? pat: my opponent in the special election just spent over $2.5 million trying to do that, unsuccessfully. and again this is where actions speak louder than words. i've worn the uniform. i very much understand what safety is about. as county executive where i served the last few years, we've increased funding to law enforcement, including our violent crimes task force, and literally just a few months ago had the single biggest seizure of guns and illicit open yoadz in our county's history. that doesn't land and i think it's a desperate and ineffective strategy because people see through that. people understand what's at stake. and this really is an existential moment for our democracy. >> you outperformed president biden in that district last night. the he remains an unpopular president by and large. how do you campaign with that
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factor involved, president biden? pat: what people right now is help they want relief. we have been delivering that at every single level of government. i've been working on that as county executive, just proposed our biggest property tax cut in 40 years. cut our gas tax in half to provide relief at the pumps. then to add on to that, the incredible delivery of help from the federal government over the last few weeks and months, the chips act is going to bring hundreds of jobs right here to this district. the inflation reduction act, bringing down prescription drug prices, making big corporations pay their fair share of taxes. i campaigned hard and clearly on that toward the end of this special election and it had a big impact. i think we'll continue to see that momentum, you know, crazy idea, when you step up and help people and deliver, they appreciate it and trust to rebuild. i think that's what we're starting to really see gain
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momentum. >> those are so many of the issues we've been covering. would you want president bide ton campaign with you in your district? pat: we would love to have anybody and everybody that wants to help us deliver here. i think the president from the beginning of his administration has delivered an american rescue plan that let us in this community invest in infrastructure, small business relief, mental health, desperately needed housing. followed up by the single biggest bipartisan infrastructure bill since eisenhower. so i would welcome, again, the president and anyone and everyone who wans to help deliver and provide relief for folks right now who desperate pri -- desperately, december fratly need it. >> you campaigned on the idea that there's a threat to democracy right now. i wonder, how do you deal with that in a very fraught election year? how do you confront, perhaps constituents, who believe these falsehoods strongly, while still trying to engage with them even
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if they disagree with you? how do you deal with that? pat: this goes back to a lot of things i learned as a west point cadet, an army officer. it's about finding that common ground. remembering that we're all in this with a purpose and a mission greater than ourselves. sometimes it takes a lot of work to bring that out in people because everyone is distrustful right now. everyone is exhausted. everyone is near or at their wits' end. that's where leadership is even more important. i mean i had this incredible challenge and privilege to guide our community through this pandemic. and i saw some real moments of division but largely we were able to hold it together by reminding each other that there is reason to be hopeful. there's reason to be optimistic. there's reason to remember we're all in this together. and i know that sometimes that sounds almost naive but so much of our campaign in this special election was saying, in a moment of real darkness and division, we have to continue to lead with
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hope and optimism and remind people that we're heading in a better direction. >> congressman-elect pat ryan of new york, thank you for your time on a long and big day. pat: thanks, lee savment ♪ amna: as we reported earlier it was another day of grisly attacks on civilians in ukraine as russian forces struck a train station in the central region of the couldn'tly -- country killing and wounding dozens. that strike coincides with ukraine's independence day and comes exactly six month since the start of the war. it was a stark reminder of the brute breutal fight already waged and the battle ahead. residents in kyiv awoke to the usual wail of air raid sirens but an unusual parade, of
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destroyed russian tanks, rolled through downtown as ukraine marked its first independenc day, a show of defiance six month into the war. promised victory. >> a new nation that emerged on february 24 at 4:00 a.m. not born, but reborn. a nation that didn't cry, didn't scream, didn't get scared, didn't run away, didn't give up. this flag will be everywhere it should be by rights both in donbas and crimea. amna: but the war has been costly. the past six months have been brutal. a theater shelteringomen and children bombed a maternity hospital attacked. the suburban town of bucha the scene of russian war crimes with residents including children kill and dumped in mass graves. according to the united nations,
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5,587 civilians have been killed and 7,890 have been injured between february 24 and august 22. a third of ukraine's 41 million people have fled their homes. 6.6 million now living as refugees across europe. ukraine's armed forces report almost 9,000 ukrainian military personnel have also been killed in the war. the losses are heavy on the russian side too but casualties are a state secret. u.s. intelligence estimates that some 15,000 have been killed so far. western sanctions have hit hard. last month, russia defaulted on its foreign bonds for the first time in a century but russia's oil revenues have increased by 11% in june as europe struggles to phase out russian oil. the united states with its nato and e.u. allies all continue to stand mind ukraine. british prime minister boris johnson met president zelenskyy in kyiv and vowed to continue helping ukraine fight russia.
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>> if putin were to succeed no country on russian's -- russia's perimeter would be safe and if putin succeeds it would be a green light to every autocrat in the world that borders can be changed by force. amna: russia launched the war by attacking from the north, south and east heading toward kyiv but was pushed back by ukraine. intense fighting continues along frontlines in the country's east and south. russia has now occupied nearly 20% of ukrainian territory. but even as the war enters a prolonged phase, ukraine says victory is the only option. >> we will put our hands up only once, when we celebrate our victory. the whole of ukraine. because we do not trade our lands and our people. for us, ukraine is all of ukraine. amna: to further discuss how ukraine will use this latest package of u.s. weapons assistan where the war stands now and how it will evolve, we
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turn to keir giles from chatham house, a london-based policy institution. we are marking six months in a war that wasn't supposed to last this long. many thought it would be over in a matter of days. when you think back six months ago did you think the war would still be going on today? keir: no, i was one of those people that was surprised russia did not fight the war it had been training and equipping itself for and instead blundered into entirely the wrong kind of conflict, fighting it the wrong day and -- wrong way and was repupsed byhe dogged ukrainian resistance. i thought russia would end the conflict in a matter of days in the way they'd been training to do. the fact that yao yain -- ukrainian is sill ecelebrating its independence day as an independence nation is a terrific achievement. part of that is through russia's own self-inflicted injuries and the way they've fallen victim to
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their own propaganda in the early stages of the conflict thinking that ukrainians would greet them with flowers instead of javelins. amna: you mentioned ukraine being able to repulse the initial advance. have we seen a meaningful counteroffensive by ukrainian forces? kei rrveg: the counteroffensive has been promised for weeks and a lot of people are disappointed that they're not seeing the front line moving, they're not using the you crepian advances pushing russian forces back. ukraine argues the counteroffensive is taking place in a different way, all the roation of russian military power by striking deep behind russian lines by targeting logistics, airfield and so on, is ukraine fighting back. and of course ukraine has to be sure that when it does mount finally a move to push russia out of those occupied regions, it can do so without being observed by russia, whether being targeted by russian
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artillery. the preparation we see going into ukraine's attempts to liberate occupied territories should be expected to last for some time yet. of course in a way it's already been successful. the promise of an offensive in the south has drawn russian troops away from where they were advancing in the east of the country in the donbas region where those advances have stopped. in a way ukraine has already succeeded. amna: the front line seems static, correct me if i'm wrong. is russian continuing to seize additional territory at this stage? keir: the front line has been surprisingly static for a considerable amount of time. that doesn't mean military operations aren't continuing. this war has been through several very distinct phases and it's lurched from despair to optimism for ukraine along the way. what marks this current phase is the way in which ukraine can reach out and touch areas which russia might have thought were safe. it's those long-range strikes deep into the rear which are having an effect not only on russia's fighting potential but
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also on russians themselves. we shouldn't underestimate the psychological impact when people who are on beach holidays in crimea suddenly see they're not in a safe area and reality co-liedz with the picture they've been sold by russian state television of what russia calls special military operation which according to russia is going perfectly according to plan. amna: what about the latest round of u.s. support. the $3 billion, the largest aid package in the six months of war. is it enough? keir: there will never be enough to satisfy all of ukraine's demands and everything a ukraine could absorb. the simple fact of high intensity warfare ongoing in europe means it could suck in vast amounts of military equipment from all of the nato militaries and still possibly not be satisfied. but, what ukraine has demonstrated is it can field military support extremely rapidly.
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they're fighting a desperate war of natnal survival so any assistance that's provided gets used in the most effective way and most rapid way possible. at the same time of course you have to plan for the long term because even if this current conflict is resolved, there have to be lo longer term plans for ukraine to defend itself in the future as well. while it's tempting to interpret some of the supplies announced in this most recent trawnch as preparing russia for the current offensive everyone has been expect, we need to keep and eye to the longer term as well. amna: what about the longer term? u.s. officials and european officials continue to say putin's theory of victory is he can wait everyone out but eventually u.s., nato, e.u. support will dwindle. do you think the risk is there? keir: in a way that's the risk ukraine has faced from the beginning of the conflict. it's keeping the backers in europe and north america on their side to provide the support that's needed.
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that's not just military support and weapons supplies it's also economic and humanitarian support to keep ukraine functioning as a state and the ukrainian economy going while it's under this stranglehold by russia. now all of tha is going to become even more a challenge as we head into winter and the real effect of the price spikes in energy brought about by russian energy blackmail make themselves felt among european populations. it's going to be harder and harder to resist ukraine fatigue and most importantly to resist those calls for ukraine to make some kind of concession, some kind of agreement to a cease fire to end the fighting and relief the economic pressure on the rest of the world. for ukraine, of course, that would be disastrous because it would effectively be surrender and abandoning those occupied territories and the people who live there to this brutal russian oversight. amna: keir giles, senior consulting fellow at chatham house, thank you for your time.
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amna: the u.s. withdrawal and taliban takeover last august prompted hundreds of thousands of afghan it's a to the flee their home country. over the last year more than 76,000 of them were evacuated to the united states and most entered on humanitarian parole which allows them to live and work in the u.s. for two years. nick schiff rib and producer valley plesch spoke with two refugees whose lives hang in the balance as they face uncertainty over their immigration status one year on. nick: in suburban virginia, every brush stroke illustrates irreplaceable loss. red for danger. marking one year of fear and silence. >> it was a day that vanished the hopes of all afghan women.
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so the colors i chose are based on the current situation in afghanistan. nick: the artist, jahan ara rafi is thousands of miles from home. her new series of paintings is called women in red, girls and women whose lives, like her own, were shattered after the taliban's takeover. one group faces the horizon united in prayer. >> you can see women around a dry tree they tied fabrics in the tree as is their cultural paradecision because all the doors of hope are closed for afghan women now they don't have any option. other than to pray. >> today rafi is one of the lucky ones. her niece and nephew, twins, lived in the states she escaped on an evacuation flight last august. just hours after a suicide bomber killed hundreds of afghans and 13 u.s. service members at a makeshift airport entrance the abbe gate.
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rafi knew she had to leave. >> i was afraid because i was female artist and all my artwork was about women's lives. so we decided to leave afghanistan until we are able to breathe again. nick: you boarded the plane and the plane took off. can you tell me what you were thinking as you had to leave kabul? >> when i was looking at my people inside the airplane, a plane that was probably meant for 100 people, but there were 600 or 700 people inside. i was crying for kabul, that its people were displaced. i cried for the land where neither women nor men were valued. there was no art in that land anymore. only a dark regime that had taken over. nick: that day she had to leave all her paintings behind. the brought only three books that immortalized her art. this is your work right here? >> yeah. nick: an international contemporary art cat los. >> make art, not war. nick: a series of her paintings exhibited in germany.
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and the origin of the work that makes her most proud. she helped start the country's first contemporary art center and taught a class of young women. >> when a society doesn't have art, it's as if that place is unknown. art and culture are a country's identity. women are part of society, same as men. when a boy can learn, why can't a barrel? -- a girl? nick: in virginia, her day begins at 8:00 a.m. when she good-bye to her father and goes to work. a social worker helped her find a job. she was offered two but chose the closest to her house, a bakery inside the local giant supermarket. how has it been at the bakery in giant? >> i don't know whether it's fortunately or unfortunately, my job is designing cakes. fortunately because we're at peace. up fortunately because we're
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refugees and don't have a country and there's a feeling of emptiness. i nick: and uncertainness. she's on humanitarian parole so she can live and work here for two years. she wants to return to kabul when it's safe. until then she's applying for asylum. >> bassed on what i have heard after one year we would be apleu loued to apply for permanent residence. >> at this moment that's more aspirational than reality. nick: krish o'mara vignarajah is head of a service that helps refugees resettle. >> they enter on a humanitarian status but the drawback is it only provides that short-term protection. nick: what are their options for staying in the united states? >> their real pathway at this moment is asylum. the asylum system is backlogged, it's complex, it typically
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requires a lawyer to help navigate it. for the individuals who come time is of the essence and frankly they don't have the resources to be able to always get a lawyer to navigate it. nick: the calls on congress to pass newly introduced legislation, the afghan adjustment act, to adjust the status of an afghan in the united states cuently here on pa roan to, quote, lawfully permitted permanent residence. >> it would allow them to apply for a green card and then ultimately get citizenship. it would be an unprecedented failure if congress didn't because they have done this for every modern wartime evacuation population whether that's been the vote ma these, the cuban, this iraqi kurds. i do have faith that we'll do this for the afghans. >> when i arrived here somebody told me the united states of america is a land of opportunity. nick: in another virginia suburb this afghan also evacuated kabul
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last august. we're keeping him anonymous. he's a former officer who used to hunt for taliban spies inside the afghan military. >> we removed those people for isis, for tourist group, those are not accept human rights. i think my future will be here. nick: why is that? >> if i go to afghanistan and they catch me, they'll kill me. nick: he's trying to make this rental house feel like home. his cooking isn't as good as his mom's or his wife's and there's no father to talk to. the family he had to leave behind. nick: do you talk to your family in kabul now? >> every day. nick: what do they say? >> they say they are trying to find me. nick: the taliban is hunting for you? >> uh-huh. several times they come to my home and they told us where's your son? and my family just told him, my
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son is not working. he was just a student. and right now he is turkey or iran. nick: they have to lie? >> yeah, they have to lie. it's difficult. because my family, i miss them. it's not easy for a father or for a mother to live without a son. nick: in the u.s. he applied for jobs at giant supermarket and wal-mart but was reject. he got a new job running cables for local i.t. workers but every day he drives uber eats this order is from a local taco bell. two tau toes -- tacos and two drinks. the delivery is to a nearby residential building. the trip takes about 15 minutes. over two to three hours of driving he'll make $15 to $20. after all you've been through what's it like to be doing uber eats here? >> one day i hope to don't
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deliver foods to people. one day i hope to go to school, to learn skills. but right now i have to drive. because i have to support my family back home. and i have to support myself also. nick: he's also applying for asylum and hopes to bring his family here he dreams of creating a home for himself and others like him. what do you hope for your i hav? >> i hope one day i open my own business in america. i will help other refugees, not just from my country, from other countries, to live in america. nick: perhaps like rafi over the last year she's exhibited her work in washington, d.c. she dreams of being the change she wants to see. >> my past work delivered messages of despair. i want to bring some changes to my artwork to show the hope, smiles and happiness that afghan women feel.
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i'm coming from a country where women were always deprived. my goal is to use my art to be the voice of these women. i want to voice their message to the world. nick: and she's become that voice that many of them do not have. for the pbs newshour, i'm nick schifrin. amna: a posthumous memoir out this week tells of the life and legacy of actor michael k. williams who died of a drug overdose last fall. he's known for his powerful performances on screen but the memoir reveals his struggles and the impact he made through social justice and community activism. jeffrey brown explores the roles and man as part of our arts and culture series, canvas.
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jeffrey: the whistle, the walk, the way of being of omar, the stick up and man killer who only takes on drug dealers. and a gay man in a violent, homophobic world. he was an indelible character on one of the most highly regarded series in television history "the wire." the actor who brought him to life, michael k. williams. >> he played powerful figures, pioneering characters in terms of the portraitsf black men we've seen on television. jeffrey: eric is the television critics for npr. >> michael was constantly sort of reinventing our vision of what black maleness could be, what black masculinity could be. jeffrey: other actors also saw the talent. wendell pierce. >> we are getting to witness in his young career, we'll see a lot more. like one of the great american actors giving voice and giving
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flesh to characters that most people would have never given the same humanity to. jeffrey: chalky white, a prohibition-era gangster in "boardwalk empire." montrose freeman, the mysterious, traumatized man who lived through the tulsa massacre in "lovecraft country." williams was a powerful presence in high profile series for hbo. now the man mind the characters comes to life in a posthumous memoir, "scenes from my life," co-written with john sternfield who completed the work after williams' death. >> this billing is where i lived all myife from conceptionp until season two "the wire." jeffrey: williams, seen here in a video from 2021, lived here in a huge housing proj. in the book he described a vibrant but violent world amid the crack cocaine era of the 1980's and 1990's.
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a love bug strict mother. an absent father. his own crippling insecurities. what he called his softness in a hard environment. and his turn to drugs. he got the scar running down his face that would in some way december fine his on-camera image after being slashed with a razor in a fight. the arts became a way out, first as a dancer then actor. >> it was interconnected, his personal experiences through his professional experiences through work and through some of his characters. jeffrey: his nephew and friend also dpreu up in the area. a loft michael's personal experiences breathed life into his characters. but what heas to me i believe he was to most of the people who knew him in the world. he was an amazingly talented human being who cared about
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people, who understand what it was to suffer and how to help people heal from suffering. jeffrey: what dupont and others want the world to know of williams is his commitment to social justice and community work. a legacy as important as his acting. >> i ain't no angel. i've made some bad choices. but god lift me up so the way i show god i appreciate my second chance in life is by coming home and making sure that i show my youth what i did. >> the greatest gift michael was able to give to people a lot of the time was making them feel like they mattered. because he was going to the aces that other people don't go. jeffrey: dana rachlin co-founded rebuild the blockith williams, an organization aimed at increasing public safety lew community-building initiatives.
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williams, she said, was eager to reach people and young lives. >> when we talk about mentorship, looking for positive role models or looking for love, that's what made michael so special. he understood that he had to share pieces of himself to make other people feel whole. >> the focus on social justice also showed up in his work on camera. in "when we rise" about the gay rights movement. and as a father to one of the exonerated central park five in "when they see us." >> i was that kid that, you knee, the neighbors thought wasn't going to make it. jeffrey: also in a series of documentaries reraised, "raised in the system" in which he took viewers into jeufl detention centers and prisons and "black market," a visceral look into the world of crime and illegal markets. in the memoir, he wro candidly of his own continuing struggles with addiction and the dark places his roles often took him
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and the difficulties he had returning from them. npr's derek dagans. >> the fact that he'd take on those roles anyway, knowing the danger to his sobriety, sort of spoke to the mission that he felt as a performer. to bring those men to life. even though it was at great risk to his own sobriety and health. i thought, that was sort of the tragic dilemma of his life. jeffrey: on september 6, 2021, he was found dead of an overdose of fentanyl-laced heroin. he was 54. four men were charged with dis beulting the drugs that led to his overdose. >> in a few weeks it'll be a year already. feels like just yesterday. what i understand, what michael would want us to understand, is there's a lot more work to do and we can use this situation as an opportunity to make people
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more aware about substance abuse and addiction and how do we help people, then we have gained something. we have made progress. >> i have a lot of rage when it comes to michael's death. and a lot of sadness. hope that what comes out of this is michael's legacy, and that is a legacy of love. and heang. and a mirror that's put up to all of us. that we're not just telling the stories like michael told in "the wire" or "the night of" or "when they see quus," but we're going things to change that. jeffrey: in addition to "scenes from my life" a final on-camera role comes this month with the release of the film "breaking." while dana rachlin continues the work she and william began with rebuild the block and other
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programs across the city. for pbs newshour, i'm jeffrey brown in brooklyn. amna: what a legacy he leaves behind. that's the newshour for tonight. join us online and again tomorrow evening. for all of us here, thank you for joining us. we'll see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour is provided by -- >> for 25 years consumer cellular's goal has been to provide wireless service to help people communicate and connect we offer a variety of no-contract plans and we can help find one that fits you. visit >> and with the ongoing support of these individuals and institutions. and friends of the newshour including jim and nancy bildman and kathy and paul anderson. the ford nowndation. working with visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide.
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>> and with the ongoing support of these individuals and institutions. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. [captioning performed by thenational captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy.]
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[dramatic music] - hello everyone and welcome to "amanpour & company" from kabul in afghanistan. here's what's coming up. a world exclusive with one of afghanistan's most powerful and secretive figures, the deputy taliban leader, sirajuddin haqqani, on working with america and the rights of women and girls here and why he's finally coming out of the shadows and revealing his face to the public. then, reaction from the west and the thorny question of how the international community should deal with the taliban in order to help t people. laurel miller joins me, america's former acting special representative for afghanistan and margot wallstrom, sweden's former top diplomat who put feminism at the center of her foreign policy. plus, america's tortured relationship with the taliban


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