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tv   PBS News Hour Weekend  PBS  November 14, 2020 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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captioning sponsored by wnet >> senivasan: on this edition for saturday, november 14: the latest on the presidential transition. covid-19 cases continue to explode across the country. and, how president-elect biden might implement his ambitious climate change agenda. next, on pbs newshour weekend. >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: sue and edgar wachenheim iii. the anderson family fund. bernard and denise schwartz. the cheryl and philip milstein family. barbara hope zuckerberg. the leonard and norma klorfine foundation. charles rosenblum.
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we try to live in the moment, to not miss what's right in front of us. at mutual of america, we believe taking care of tomorrow can help you make the most of today. mutual of america financial group, retirement services and investments. additional support has been provided by: consumer cellular. and by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the american people. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> sreenivasan: good evening, and thank you for joining us. one week after being named president-elect, joe biden said today that he is getting closer to naming his cabinet. the president elect and his wife jill, surrounded by secret service agents, were out for a bike ride this morning when reporters shouted questions about the presidential transition. >> are you any closer to making a cabinet decision? >> yes. >> sreenivasan: the bidens were
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near their vacation home in rehoboth beach, delaware, where they spent several days. in washington, d.c., president donald trump, who still has not conceded, took a drive through a crowd of demonstrators who came to support him as he headed off to his virginia golf course. >> four more years! >> sreenivasan: this afternoon, thousands of demonstrators-- falsely claiming mr. trump won-- marched to the supreme court. a ballot audit is continuing in the state of georgia through next wednesday. mr. biden was declared the winner there this week by about 14,000 votes. the trump campaign continues to pursue lawsuits challenging vote counts in a number of states, but it lost several challenges terday. and last night, in a close house race in southern california, the associated press called republican young kim the winner, giving republicans more seats in the house of representatives than last term, although democrats will still have a majority. >> sreenivasan: to learn more
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about the presidential transition and what role it might play on defense, strategy and capabilities, i spoke with mark cancian, senior advisor at the center for strategic and international studies in the international security program. there has been some concern about quite a bit of shuffling of leadership at the pentagon in these last few days, even since president-elect biden has been declared. what are the things to look out for? >> well, there has been a lot of turbulence at the top in d.o.d., and that's unfortunate, because it does weaken the decision- making apparatus in the department of defense. but we should keep in mind that the military is still there. the senior military officers who have been there for many years, they're still there. so they will provide a continuity, not just in the last two months of the trump administration, but into a biden administration. i think the trump administration has actually lost an opportunity to influence national security events during its last two months, because you have a lot
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of people who are new at their jobs, don't know the staffs, don't know the processes. >> sreenivasan: are there things that president-elect biden should be most aware of, most concerned about, and te action quickly on? >> probably on the top of the list is the relationships with the allies. we are blessed with having a lot of wealthy allies, and we should take advantage of that strength. and that requires reestablishing relationships with both the european and the asian allies. trump had pushed them to contribute more to their defense, and every president, secretary of defense, in the last 70 years has done that. i mean, that's not unusual. but he took a very transactional approach and most experts are very uncomfortable with that. so i think that would be one of his first things. >> sreenivasan: how does joe biden re-established trust with countries who look to america as that consistent baseline? >> well, in terms of reestablishing trust, i think
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he's going to call a lot of foreign leaders when he takes office to tell them that he wants to have better relationships. and there are always a series of meetings, nato meetings and overseas trips, where he could do that person-to-person. important to keep in mind that trump has not abrogated treaties with the exception of the intermediate nuclear forces treaty in europe. what he's abrogated are executive agreements. and, what i would say to any administration is, if you want something permanent, make it a treaty, make it bipartisan. it's very tempting to sign an executive order that establishes some foreign policy priority. the obama administration did that a lot. the treaty, or the agreement with iran is an example. but that may only have the shelf life of your administration. so if you really want it permanent, you need to make it bipartisan. and that's hard. >> sreenivasan: what should president-elect biden's first priority be? >> i think the reestablishment
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of relationships with allies is a top priority. he also has some campai promises that i think he will implement very quickly. for instance, that the southwest border, you know, you have military activities going on down there. i think he will pull those back. there are some personnel issues. for instance, on transgenders, that the democrats have, you know, vowed to lift the restrictions. so i think he will do a bunch of those early on. >> sreenivasan: one of the disagreements that we hear, that defense secretary esper had, was on whether and how to withdraw troops from overseas. are there any things that we should be concerned about, in terms of where america is engaged right now and the consequences for that during this transition? >> well, president trump has been quite emphatic since h campaigned that he wanted to pull u.s. forces out of the middle-east and what he regarded as the entanglements of the conflicts there. ironically, you see the same thing from the biden
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administration and the democrats. they talk about ending the forever wars. soi think the two parties are really in sync here. the issue is about how you do it, the pacing. so the thing to watch for is whether there's any precipitate action in the last two months. now i don't think that there will be because, of course, the military is still there, and they will be advising the president that you can't just tell 5,000 troops in afghanistan to get on the airplane and come home. so i don't think that that will happen very precipitously. >> sreenivasan: mark cancian, thanks so much. >> happy to do it. thanks for having me on the program. >> sreenivasan: the number of covid-19 cases in the united states continues to set new records as the coronavirus resurges. more than 181,000 new cases were reported across the country yesterday, according to the "new york times." that's a 76% increase from the average just two weeks ago. in california, which was the second state to report more than one million cases yesterday, the largest covid-19 testing site in the country drew long lines outside dodger stadium. due to the increase in cases,
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the governors of california, oregon and washington have issued a joint advisory against non-essential out-of-state travel, and urged those arriving from another state or country self-quarantine for 14 days. some states have re-imposed lockdown measures not seen since the spring. new mexico governor michelle lujan grisham ordered all non-essential business to be closed and for residents to" shelter in place" starting monday for two weeks. oregon governor kate brown announced a two-week statewide" freeze" closing many businesses and restcting bars and restaurants to take-out only, starting next wednesday through the thanksgiving holiday. and in texas, the first state to record one million confirmed coronavirus cases, two hospitals in lubbock have started building medical tents to help with the growing number of patients. >> sreenivasan: as newshour reported yesterday, el paso, texas has seen the number of covid-19 cases and death dramatically increase in recent days. late yesterday, a state appeals court said it would not challenge a ruling against a
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county shut-down order, allowing the state and local restaurant owners to continue to operate. angela kocherga is news director from npr station ktep in el paso, texas. angela, we've been hearing about the numbers increasing in el paso, the pervasiveness of the virus in the population. what's also interesting is the attempts by the city to gain control and whether they have the authority to do so or not. >> that's been a legal battle, in addition to the health care battle we're waging right now, with hospitals filled to capacity. and that fight is really with the top elected official. in texas, it's the county judge, so that's been el paso county judge, ricardo samaniego. and then our mayor has also been involved, but he rely did not support a shutdown. and so that's what the battle's been about. can we shut down non-essential businesses to slow the rampant spread of covid? and we have heard from a texas
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appeals court that the answer is "no." a group of restaurant owners and the texas attorney general challengeat shutdown, saying only the governor has the authority to do that. and we just heard from the court that, no, that that's over. and so the judge said he's not going to challenge it, and trying to figure out how to move forward and still protect lives. >> sreenivasan: so can the mayor or anybody impose things like curfews or can they-- what can they do to try to keep their population safe? >> no, this is really now, across texas, and we had so many counties and cities watching this closely-- it's totally up to the governor to set the standards. so, for example, el paso went back to 50% capacity, half-capacity, at businesses, when the goal was to shut down non-essential businesses. the curfew was also in place. that's over. an overnight curfew is no longer in place. so there really isn't that authority. now, there are some limitations
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triggered by hospitalizations that happen across the state, but they were not as strict as a shutdown and a curfew. >> sreenivasan: when you are in the community in el paso and you know that the numbers are going up in the hospitals, are people conscious of this? are they aware of what's happening? >> well, unfortunately, hari, more and more people are being touched directly. they know a loved one or they personally have someone in their family, a coworker, a classmate. so they are hearing direct horror stories about this. and we heard from nurses in el paso hospitals yesterday really imploring the court and state officials to please allow the shutdown to stay in place. they talked about the grim reality of being overworked, not having enough p.p.e., not having enough medical staff, and of course, the sheer human tragedy that they're experiencing. local officials had a fatality management meeting. people are passing away so quickly, and so many.
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they also said el paso-- you know, they used a word people don't wa to hear-- is on the verge of rationing care. so that that's a very scary thing for people to hear. and the hope is that this message will get across to individuals. you know, hari, it's not just people going out, having family gatherings, which, of course, is a problem, but we have a lot of essential workers in el paso who have to go to work and unfortunately are exposed on the job. >> sreenivasan: how concerned are these doctors, these public health officials, about thanksgiving and christmas? >> they're very concerned. el paso, you know, our strength here is that we're very family- oriented and gatherings, you know, large, multigenerational, extended family gatherings are the norm. and those bonds stretch across the border on both sides. so there's a real fear that people will get together with family members who are not in their households. and so every single, no matter how much local authorities or state authorities may have disagreed on the shutdown, everyone is in agreement trying to get this message out right
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before thanksgiving. "please don't do it." because that could lead to-- we know what it leads to. another spike in cases, more hospitalizations, and then more deaths. >> sreenivasan: angela kocherga, news director for ktep, thanks so much for joining us. >> thank you, hari. >> sreenivasan: in georgia yesterday, a judge denied bond for the white father and son charged with the murder of ahmaud arbery last february. the judge said the two men, travis mcmichael and his father gregory mcmichael, took the law into their own hands and endangered their neighbors by pursuing and shooting arbery, and would be a risand danger to the community. arbery, a 25-year-old black man, was jogging on a residential street in glynn county near brunswick, when the mcmichaels armed themselves and chased him in their truck. the mcmichael's attorneys say the men suspected arbery was a burglar, and were defending
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themselves. prosecutors say arbery was not committing any crime and that the mcmichaels acted as "vigilantes," motivated by racist views. evacuations are underway in parts of central america as people there brace for yet another tropical storm that is expected to strengthen into a major hurricane on monday. tropical storm iota, which formed yesterday afternoon, is projected to hit the coasts of nicaragua and honduras as early as tomorrow night, according to the national hurricane center. it's the 30th named storm in a record-breaking atlantic season this year. many regions in central america are still reeling from flooding and landslides caused by hurricane eta earlier this month, which killed scores of people from panama to southern mexico. the hurricane center forecasts show iota could have winds of up to 120 miles per hour when it makes landfall. secretary of state mike pompeo arrived in france today, the start of a seven-country tour of europe and the middle east. pompeo and his wife wore masks,
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but the u.s. ambassador to france, jamie mccourt, did not, as she greeted them. paris and many other french cities are in the midst of a lockdown aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus. after france, pompeo will travel to turkey, georgia, israel, the united arab emirates, qatar and saudi arabia. the leaders of all seven countries have already congratulated president-elect biden on his victory. the "new york times" is reporting that al qaeda's second-highest leader was killed in iran in august. the "times" says intelligence officials confirmed that abdullah ahmed abdullah, who went by the name abu muhammad al-masri, was shot and killed on the street in tehran by israeli operatives at the request of the united states. the "times" reported that the israeli prime minister's office and the trump administration's natial security council declined to comment, and iran denied that any al qaeda members are in the country. al-masri was indicted in the u.s. for crimes related to the bombings of the u.s. embassies in kenya and tanzania in 1998, which killed 224 people and
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wounded hundreds. the reported killing happened on august 7, the anniversary of those bombings. >> sreenivasan: for more national and international news, visit >> sreenivasan: the day after last week's election, the united states formly left the paris agreement, the nearly-five-year- old global pact to curb greenhouse gas emissions, and prevent the most catastrophic effects of climate change. president-elect joe biden has pledged that on day one of his administration, the u.s. will rejoin the paris accords. it's part of a set of ambitious climate pledges biden made during the campaign. but as the dust settles on the election and control of the senate remains up in the air, how much can the biden administration really get done on climate? newshour weekend's christopher booker has more. this segment is part of our ongoing series, "peril and promise: the challenge climate change."
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>> reporter: when president- elect joe biden took the stage in wilmington last weekend, he listed several battles he's committed to fighting, including covid and rooting out systemic racism. but he also highlighted a key issue mentioned frequently throughout his campaign. >> and the battle to save our planet by getting climate under contol. >> reporter: biden campaigned on an ambitious plan to combat climate change, including a $2 trillion proposal to spur the transition to clean energy, aiming to remove greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector by 2035, and the entire economy by 2050. as the biden-harris administration begins its transition, climate change is listed as a core priority that will be addressed on day one. >> it's a reflection of how dramatically the landscape has shifted, how much time we've wasted through inaction, and how much the sense of urgency has increased. >> reporter: jason bordoff is the founding director of the center on global energy policy at columbia university. he also served in the obama
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administration as an advisor on ergy and climate change. >> the obama administration came in also in a similar situation, with an economy that was reeling, and focused on investments in economic recovery and stimulus, and a major focus on clean energy. i suspect this time will be even larger. the cost of borrowing for the u.s. government is incredibly low, and we have a lot of unemployment and people looking for work in this country. so now is the time to make investments today that pay dividends in the long term. >> reporter: bordoff says a stimulus to help the economy recover from covid-19 could include massive investments for research into clean energy innovations, as well as green infrastructure like electric vehicle charging networks and transmission upgrades to deploy more renewable energy. but action on a stimulus, and much of biden's climate change agenda, is dependent on working with congress, the partisan make-up of which won't be determined until january's two senate run-off elections in georgia. the incoming biden-harris administration may very well have to contend with a
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republican-controlled senate. >> a biden-harris administration, even with a republican nate, still has existing regulatory authority to use, through the environmental protection agency, the clean air act, to regulate emissions from power plants and cars and trucks. there's still a great deal of executive branch authority that comes in the conduct of foreign policy. >> reporter: that includes rejoining the paris agreement, the 2015 global pact to limit global temperature rise to less an 2 degrees celsius. in 2017, president trump withdrew the united states, a process that formally finished last week. president-elect biden says he will rejoin the pact on day one of his administration. >> rejoining the agreement is, that's just table stakes, right? it's actually quite easy to do mechanically. the big thing is, in order to be a party to the paris agreement, countries have to have a target in place. >> reporter: nat keohane is senior vice president for climate at the environmental defense fund, and also is an obama administration alum.
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>> that target has to put us on a path to 100% clean economy, net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest. that's the overall target. and that means by 2030, we need to be 45% to 50% below 2005 levels of pollution across the economy. so that's a big lift. to be credible, the biden administration needs to show it is working on all fronts, including with congress, to get the policy changes that we need. >> reporter: both keohane and bordoff say, given the political headwinds, the incoming biden administration will need to think strategically about how to incorporate climate into all aspects of the executive branch. both were on the steering committee of the climate 21 project, a blueprint released this week laying out actionable advice for a government-wide climate response coordinated by the white house. >> the climate 21 plan was really thinking deeply about how to move quickly and elevate climate change within the priority and staffing structure of the federal agencies.
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but not only the ones you would expect-- the environmental protection agency, the department of energy-- but really to say this requires a whole of government approach. >> reporter: nat keohane helped draft the section on the state department, and argues climate is a topic where the u.s. can reassert its leadership after four yea of the trump administration pulling away from multilateral diplomacy. >> i think there's an opportunity for the state department to really mobilize the entire machinery of u.s. foreign policy. every multilateral forum that we engage in-- the g7, the g20, apec-- all of those forums, climate should be on the agenda. it is a central issue for our allies. it's a top issue for them. it needs to be a top issue for the united states. and i think when we do that, we'll find that is the best way to reeablish american leadership and standing in the world. >> reporter: biden's climate diplomacy has already started. he discussed tackling climate change with every world leader he's spoken to this week, according to read-outs of the calls from the biden-harris transition. while greenhouse gas emissions,
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particularly in the energy sector, have fallen in the united states since 2005, the reduction is not eugh to hit the benchmarks established by the paris agreement. after four years of climate inaction from president trump, both jason bordoff and nat keohane argue that the incoming biden administration can't reach these targets on its own. it seems really difficult to see the biden-harris administration reaching these markers if the government is split. >> i don't want to be pollyannish about it. it would most likely, it would surely be easier to move with aggressive legislative action if you had democrats in control of the senate and the house. we don't exactly know how leader mcconnell will approach cooperation with the biden administration, but his approach to the obama administration is not encouraging. i think there are areas where democrats and republicans can work together on things like energy, innovation, and technology. those are not sufficient, to be cle. i mean, we need comprehensive economy-wide climate legislation to be durable, and that's going
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to be harder to achieve. >> this is pbs newshour weekend, saturday. >> sreenivasan: alcohol abuse is a serious public health issue indigenous communities in the canadian arctic. but it's a difficult topic to address. for the next several weeks, we're going to bring you the stories from yellowknife in canada's northwest territories, stories produced, directed and told by indigenous people themselves, as part of the" turning points" project, in partnership with the global reporting center. here is an excerpt. the full story can be found at >> my father died too young. my father was basically 59 when he passed on. and there's no way that i want to follow my father's footsteps with the alcohol and die young. i want to see my grandchildren graduate. i want to see my grandchildren
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get married. i quit drinking before all on my own. i quit cold turkey. it was too many emotions, too many feelings that i didn't know how to experience. so i just ended up started drinking again because i didn't know how to handle it. but my second time, i had help from my men's group. i also needed faith. ieeded prayer. i needed god. i needed the creator to help me. whoever is going to decide to quit drinking should go out and ask for help. my mother has helped me out tremendously in my life. she's always been there for me. >.oh, hi. hi, mom. >> how are you? >> good, good, good. how are you. >> good to see you.
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>> good to see you, too. i'm happy to say this coming july would be seven yeas of sobriety. i love my new life. i love it. >> sreenivasan: that's all for this edition of pbs newshour weekend. for the latest news updates, visit i'm hari sreenivasan. thanks foratching. stay healthy, and have a good night. captioning sponsored by wnet captioned by media access group at wgbh >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: sue and edgar wachenheim iii. the anderson family fund. bernard and denise schwartz. the cheryl and philip milstein family. barbara hope zuckerberg. the leonard and norma klorfine foundation. charles rosenblum.
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we try to live in the moment, to notiss what's right in front of us. at mutual of america, we believe taking care of tomorrow can help you make the most of today. mutual of america financial group, retirement services and investments. >> for 25 years, consumer cellular's goal has been to ovide wireless service that helps peopleommunicate and connect. we offer a variety of no-contract plans, and our u.s.-based customer service team can help find one that fits you. to learn more, visit additional support has been provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the american people. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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