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tv   PBS News Weekend  PBS  December 4, 2022 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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geoff: good evening. i'm geoff bennett. tonight on “pbs news weekend,” a preview of this week's supreme court hearings on redistricting and a clash between free speech and civil rights. then, the plastic problem -- we take a closer look at the movement toward a global agreement on reducing plastic pollution. and, haiti in crisis -- the ongoing violence and instability creating chaos in a nation plagued by natural disasters and political turmoil. >> the kidnappings continue. so does the gang violence and haitians really don't feel safe at all. off: those stories and the day's headlines on tonight's "pbs news weekend."
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station from viewers like you. thank you. geoff: good evening. it's good to be with you. we begin tonight in iran, where that country's attorney general says that iran's controversial morality police -- whose actions helped trigger months of protests -- may soon be gone. iranian state media strongly pushed back on those comments, saying the interior ministry oversees that force, not the judiciary. still, the remarks would representhe first concession by iran's theocratic regim since demonstrations erupted in september after the death of 22-year-old mahsa amini in police custody for allegedly breaking strict rules on head coverings. u.s. secretary of state tony blinken addressed the comments today. sec. blinken: if the regime s now responded in some fashn to those protests, that could be a positive thing. but we have to seeow it actually plays out in practice. and what the iranian people think. this is about them, and it's up to them.
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gef: there have been reports of a decline in the number of morality police officers across iran since the protests started, but the country's law requiring hijabs -- or head coverings for women -- remains in place. and on this nfl sunday, cleveland browns quarterback deshaun watson is back on the football field after an 11-game suspension without pay, and a nearly two-year absencfrom the game. he returned to texas today to play his former team, the houston texans. it also marked a return to the community where more than two dozen women accused watson of sexual misconduct from 2020 to 2021. watson has since settled lawsuits with 23 of his accusers out of court. two texas grand juries declined to charge him criminally, and he maintains his innocence. earlier this week, watson spoke with the media and avoided all questions related to the allegations. deshaun: i understand that you guys have a lot of questions, but with my legal team and my
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clinical team, there's only football questions thai can really address, at this time. i have so much love for the city of houston, and h-town, and everyone in that city, pretty much, knows that. so, i'm excited to do that. but the most important thing is that i'm excited to be in front of cleveland browns fans, for sure. geoff: watson was victorious today in his first start for the browns, beating the texans, 27-14. back overseas, an active volcano on indonesia's most populated island of java erupted earlier today, sending a massive cloud of toxic fumes and smoke into the sky. hundreds of terrified villagers could be seen running for shelter, some of them covered in ash. evacuations are underway, though no deaths have been reported. the same volcano erupted almost exactly one year ago, killing 51 people. and in today's world cup play, both the defending champion france and powerhouse england won their matches and will advance to the quarterfinals. for france, they are propelled by their young star, kylian
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mbappe, who now leads the tournament with five goals. isx ordehi ode ns.y eiotthn de and still to come on "pbs news weekend," international negotiators meet to reduce plastic pollution. and ongoing gang violence and a cholera outbreak exasperates the political and humanitarian crisis in haiti. >> this is "pbs news weekend," from weta studios in washington, home of the "pbs newshour," weeknights on pbs. geoff: two cases before the supreme court this coming week have the potential to reshape anti-discrimination laws and federal elections nationwide. one case on monday poses the question of whether a website designer in colorado can refuse to create a wedding website for a same sex couple, despite state law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.
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the other case being heard on wednesday asks whether the u.s. constitution gives absolute power beyond the reach of state courts and other laws a state legislature to regulate federal elections. john yang is here and joins us now for a closer look. it's good to see you. john: great to be here, geoff. geoff: so let's start with this colorado case, which centers on a dispute involving this website business owner laurie smith. she wanted to expand your business to include wedding websites, but she says she oppos same sex marriage on religious grounds, doesn't want to create websites for same sex couples. colorado law says she can't do it. you spoke with lori smith and the colorado ag. what did they tell you? john: well, the key to lori smith's argument is that she sees herself as an artist. she says that these websites that she designs are unique, each one different. this is not a template that she creates, just sort of plug and play. and so she says that as an artist, the government cannot
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compel her to convey a message she doesn't want to convey. lori: it's never about the person requesting it. there are some messages i can't create no matter who requests them, and the government does not have the right to compel and force an artist to create custom artwork that goes against their deeply held beliefs. whether those beliefs are the same as mine or different, it does not have the right to do so. john: but on the other hand, the colorado attorney general, phil weiser, says that they aren't regulating what she produces, they aren't regulating the message of what she produces. they're regulating who can buy it. >> anyone, a website creator, a book writer, a baker can make whatever service products they want to. they then have to sell it to anyone who comes and asks for access to the product or service if they're open to the public. john: so that's the two conflicting views of this case the justices are going to have to sort out. geoff: well, the colorado ag's mentioned a baker. there was a case back in 2018 of
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a colorado baker who didn't want to design wedding cakes for same sex couples. one would think that that case was settled back then. how is this different? john: well, that was a very narrow decision. it was a 7-2 decision, but on very narrow grounds. it was on the grounds that the colorado civil rights commission seemed hostile to the baker's religious beliefs in their proceedings, in their dealings with him. so it was a very narrow, very narrow decision. they're hoping -- the proponents of the website designer and her backers are hoping for a broader decision, that this will talk about all cases in which people are forced or compelled to deliver or sell products to same sex couples. geoff: well, let's talk about this other case, more v. harper, the supreme court will decide whether thnorth carolina supreme court has the power to strike down the legislature's illegally gerrymandered congressional map for violating north carolina's constitution. tell us about that. it sounds really complicated
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john: it's really complicated, but it could be really significant. this is a long-standing fight that's been going on for a while between the north carolina legislature and the north carolina state cous over the redistricting maps. the courts threw them out. they said they violated the state constition ban against gerrymandering and actually drew a map on their own. now, the key to this is the interpretation of a part of the constitution called the elections clause that says that the times, places, and manner of holding elections for senators and representatives shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof. the legislature, the moore of this case is timothy moore, the speaker of the house of the north carolina house. he says that means that the legislature alone can make these decisions, that they can't be second guessed, they can't be send guessed by the courts, they can't be held up against the state constitution. the opponents on the other side
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are saying that that is too fine a reading, that the legislature doesn't just refer to the house and the senate, it refers to the all of the state machinations in state government. geoff: so bottom line then, if the court sides in favor with the north carolina republicans, what effect -- what's the implication for federal elections? john: lawyers on both sides use the words revolutionary to talk about this. state constitutional bans on gerrymandering and in states like florida, ohio, and north carolina would likely be struck down. independent redistricting commissions in places like arizona, california, and michigan would be struck down. and it's important to remember that this is the theory that a lot of the legal advisers to donald trump were using. geoff: right. john: to say that the legislatures can appoint electors however they want, regardless of the popular vote.
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so that, legal experts say, would be the next logical step in this argument. geoff: john yang, you have quite a busy week ahead. thanks for starting it here with us. john: thanks, geoff. geoff: from packaged food, to disposable bottles, plastic is a part of daily life. and plastic pollution and its harmful impact on humans and wildlife continues to be a major environmental concern. amna nawaz has the latest on an international effort aimed at eliminating plastic waste. amna: every minute, an entire garbage truck worth of plastic waste is dumped into the world's oceans. that's according to the united nations environment program. this week, the first-ever global plastic pollution negotiations kicked off in uruguay. representatives from 150 nations are meeting with the goal of dramatically reducing or eliminating all plastic
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pollution by 2040. meanwhile, in the u.s., two democratic lawmakers introduced a new bill this week to help curtail the harmful impacts of plastic wae here at home. the proposed legislation from senator cory booker and congressman jared huffman would strengthen protections for frontline communities hardest hit by plastic production and pollution. joining us now is michael birnbaum. he's a reporter at "the washington post" covering climate and security. michael, welcome to the "newshour" and thank you for joining us. michael: thanks a lot for having me. amna: so this summit, these negotiations, these meetings, the fact that 150 nations are taking part in these right now, what does that tell you about the scale of the plastic pollution problem right now? michael: well, there is a major plastic pollution problem globally. and i think there's global acknowledgment that it's a problem. no one is in favor of plastic pollution, even if there are disagreements about what to do about it. and so there is kind of increasing interest in a global
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effort, concerted and coordinated action to address plastic pollution, much in the same way that the world has come together to address greenhouse gas emissions. amna: what could that look like in the way of coordinated action? what are likely to see in terms of real plans to come out of these meetings? michael: they are still very much in the beginning phase of talking about how to approach the issue, but there are different things that countries can do. one thing is that they can set a global cap on plastic production since a lot of people say you need to address it at the source. another thing they can dis regulate the kinds of chemicals that are going into plastic that could make it safer to produce and also safer to recycle, fewer toxins in the air. and then there are different kinds of thingthey can do once you're done with plastic, actually recycling it or at least limiting the flows into the oceans, which are a really major problem and one that's
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getting worse. amna: u mentioned countries comingogether on issues like greenhouse gas emissions, but even then, different nations view the issue very differently. so when it comes to plastic pollution, what are some of the sticking points? michael: one country, saudi arabia, was arguing in this gathering in uruguay that, you know, plastics are a great thing and we shouldn't do too much to limit their production because they have so many advantageous uses. most countries are in favor of somewhat more aggressive action than that. there are disagreements about whether countries should be focusing their energy on really kind of reducing pollution and what's going into wats, or should they be thinking more about the production process and reducing more at the outset? amna: michael, what about multinational corporations, companies that work in a number of different countries around the world?
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when you look at the numbers, and research from last year shows that just 20 multinational companies are responsible for producing more than half, 55% of all single use plastic waste in the world. when it comes to regulation there, what can be done? michael: well, that's a really interesting question. multinational companies are represented right now in uruguay. and ere are some arguments from advocacy groups that there is no role for those companies to take part in the talks. they point to efforts to limit tobacco use in years past, and tobacco companies were excluded from those talks. right now, i think there is discussion about, you know, what can those companies do to limit the harms that they're creating? and so that could be using different chemicals, changing their production process, or doing things to make it easier
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to recycle plastics. right now, only about 10% of plastics actually get recycled. amna: knowing how big the plastic pollution problem is across the world, what if they don't end up reaching some kind of agreement? michael: well, right now there are studies that estimate that we are on track to triple the plastics going into the world's oceans in the next 20 years. there's a lot of anxiety around this issue, but a real sense that something does need to be done, increased urgency, and looking at the problem a lot like the way that the world has been looking at global warming and greenhouse gas emissions. but there's still more that's being done in a coordinated way now than a few years ago, and so i think there's the expectation and hope that something similar will happen for plastics. amna: that is michael birnbaum, who covers climate and security for "the washington post." thank you for joining us. michael: thanks a t.
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geoff: haiti has been plagued for decades by natural disasters and political turmoil. last year, president jovenel moise was assassinated and another deadly earthquake hit, throwing the country into chaos. and the crisis has only deepened in recent months. gangs have overrun parts of the country, kidnapping citizens and foreigners and putting up blockades to stop the flow of critical supplies like fresh water and food. a new cholera outbreak has killed hundreds as hospitals have struggled to provide basic services, and the u.n. estimates that nearly half of the population is going hungry. the crisis has many calling for international intervention, even as the united states continues to deport haitian migrants back to the island nation. for more, we turn to jacqueline charles, who covers the caribbean and haiti for "the miami herald." it's good to have you here. jacqueline: thanks for having
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me. geoff: and you have reported extensively on the violent gangs that now control much of haiti. give us a sense of the growing security crisis there. jacqueline: it is indeed a owing security crisis. i mean, we are seeing reports of massacres that are happening not just in port au prince, but also outside of port au prince. just a few days ago in o particular town, you have at least a dozen people who have been killed, 11 of them residents, were massacred by armed gangs. the individual was actually a gang member, according to the mayor, an interview i did with him. but people are living in fear. we had a two-month blockade of the country's key oil terminal, and while that is no longer the case, the reality is the state -- is that kidnappings continue. so does the gang violence, and haitians really don't feel safe at all. geoff: how is the country and how is the international community working to address this crisis? jacqueline: well, the united states penned two resolutions at
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the u.n. security council. one was for sanctions. the other one was for an outside force at the request of the interim haitian government to come in and to provide some assistance to the haitian national police. the u. did unanimously adopt sanctions, the first time in five years, the only one in this hemisphere. but the reality is, is that the request r an armed intervention force to go into haiti, right now, we're not seeing it. it remains stalled at the united nations security council. we are hearing that there just aren't any takers. the u.s. supports this, but it doesn't want to lead this effort. and so far, we don't have any country stepping up and saying, hey, we will go in. geoff: haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere, as you well know, due in large part to foreign intervention, foreign debt. given that, i mean, this foreign intervention now, given that, you know, that fraught history, is that a real option?
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jacqueline: i don't know. we can say to haiti's, you know, poverty is the result of foreign intervention. i mean, ye haiti has had different countries intervening, including in 1915 with the united states that went into haiti. and it went in and it created the present day, you know, tax collection agencies and other structures that exist inaiti today are a result of the u.s. involvement in haiti in 1915. that remains a controversial point of contention for some people. they see it differently, including the mo recently by united nations peacekeepers. when you say to haitians, do you want a foreign occupation? yeah, they're going to tell you no. they see their country as being sovereign despite the problems. but when you say to haitians, hey, do you want some assistance for your security forces? you will hear from people, yes. we're notalking about the politicians or the people that have the microphone. we're talking about the mother who is worried about her child beinraped or killed or kidnaped when that child has to go to school. we have had children who have not be able to go to school. we have a lost genation in this country. and so, you know -- and i'm responsible for this, too, as journalists.
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i mean, we don't talk enough to the people on the ground, the people who don't have access to the television stations or the radio stations. and they're the people that are enduring the suffering. geoff: in the metime, there is a group of house democrats who are urging the biden administration to extend protected immigration status for haitians, it's known as tps. tell us more about that. jacqueline: after last year's assassination of haitian president jovenel moise, the biden administration did extend temporary protected status, which basically gives nationals of the countries that are designated to the right to live in the united states temporarily, but to also work here legally. and what we're seeing here is that there were a number of haitians, thousands of haitians who arrived after that designation, which the effective cutoff date was july 29. so that did not involve the people who left after the deadly earthquake, which was five weeks after the assassination, or the flows that we have been seeing coming to the shores of florida
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and puerto rico on boats. we're in the largest haitian migration crisis in 18 years. and so what advocates are saying is they want to have it redesignated so that you can havedditional individuals who can qualify. otherwise, they're here, they're undocumented, they're out of status, and they don't know what's going to happen to them next. geoff: jacqueline arles covers the caribbean and haiti for "the miami herald." thanks so much for your time. jacqueline: thank you. geoff: online now, you might have heard of quiet quitting, but what about quiet firing? what you need to know about that workplace dynamic on our website, and that's our program for tonight. on monday's "pbs newshour," we get the latest from georgia ahead of tueay's senate runoff election. i'm geoff bennett. for all of us at "pbs news weekend," thanks for spending
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part of yo sunday with us. have a great week. major funding for "pbs news weekend" has been provided by. 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 the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy.]
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