tv BBC World News America PBS February 1, 2021 5:30pm-6:01pm PST
new york city, and this is "bbc world news america." the u.s. threatens myanmar with sanctions after the military seizes power in a two -- in a coup. russian activist alexey navalny prepares for his court appearance tomorrow. his wife is fined. president biden says he wants to unify america. the challenges whether republicans and democrats -- meanwhile, former president trump replaces his legal team days before his impeachment trial. plus, the world's first biofuels rocket takes flight. the manufacturer claims it is more sustainable and cheaper than current fuels, and even safe enough for us to eat. ♪ welcome to world news ameri on pbs and around the globe.
president biden has called the coup in myanmar a direct assault on the count's transition to democracy. myanmar's armed forces seized power and are detaining the country's civilian leader, aung san suu kyi, and her top advisers. it follows a landslide win in november's election, which the army claims was fraudulent. myanmar, also own as burma was ruled by the military until 2011. democratic reforms by aung san suu kyi ended their control. previously she spent 15 years under house arrest. internationally, aung san suu kyi was hailed as a beacon of democracy and was awarded the nobel peace prize. now her leadership and reputation has been tarnished by the army's ill treatment of myanmar's rohingya a minority, but she still enjoys great support throughout the country. reporter: an army reverting to autocratic type.
swiftly and ruthlessly deposing a democratically elected leader. somewhere behind the guns, aung san suu kyi is once more a prisoner of the generals. and even if people never trusted the military, they are still shocked at what has happened. >> the army assaulted people as a carried out a coup on the civilian government, elected by our people. our country is just a bird learning to fly. now the army has broken our wings. >> i am surprised and shaken. i fear that prices will rise and people will revolt. i hope that aung san suu kyi and her colleagues will be free sooner rather than later. reporter: the crisis began when suu kyi's party won a landslide victory in elections last november. that win may have convinced the military that their hold on key security minisies, the root of real power here, was threatened. >> this was their response, relayed to the public on state
television. allegations of election fraud, from an army notorious for its human rights abuses. reporter:reporter: there will be a state of emergency for yearwood limited list -- with limitless powers to detain enemies. this is the husband of one woman mp asking the soldiers what they want. his wife is taken away, in one of theumerous dawns raids. expect them to escalate. the coup has an air of dark familiarity. for decades, the military has tried to maintain a monopoly of power. this was in 1995, when aung san suu kyi was released after her first six years of house arrest. the woman i met then was a global human rights icon. >> i think i became more political iced -- more political after house arrest than before. because then i became totally a politicaanimal. because this was my whole existence. reporter: but human rights would
eventually come second to politics. three years ago, by now sharing power with the military, aung san suu kyi defended generals accused of genocide against the rohingya muslims, even appearing as the defense for the were crimes trial. do you ever worried that you will be remembered as the champion of human rights, the nobel laureate, who failed to stand up to ethnic cleansing in her own country? >> no, because i do not think there is ethnic cleansing going on. reporter: for western powers, the issue is the principle of democracy in myanmar. tonight, president biden threatened renewed sanctions on the military. but he needs chinese support, and that is far from assured, given the competition for regional influence between beijing and washington, and china's long-standing support for the generals. the army's supporters were on the streets today, but the
cheers will not echo for long. ahead lies deepening isolation, perilous uncertainty. laura: joining us now is our state department correspondent. you heard there, without china joining in sanctions, can the u.s. really have any effect by itself if it imposes them? guest: no, it would need to have a strong international response to effectively isolate myanmar, and joe biden has made that a big part of his statement. he urged the international community to unite and said he would work closely with countries in the region and the world but yes, china is a particular factor and is a strong ally of the generals, although there has been a lot of friction along the way. and china's influence has been somewhat diffused with the transition to democracy we saw in myanmar, which the obama
administration supported, and started to open up myanmar to other influences. but in recent years when you saw the campaign against the rohingya muslims, there was an international backlash against that, and china's relationship with the generals strengthened. so if there is an attempt to isolate it by other countries, especially in the united states, perhaps china could benefit from that. so it is a complicated one and certainly one of the reasons why mr. biden is talking about trying to marshal an international response. laura: the language that was used by the generals in myanmar about a stolen election, it is eerily similar to what the u.s. heard for two months leading up to the capitol riot. has that image of american democracy being rocked, does that affect president biden's impact on myanmar now? guest: that is a good question. that language of election fraud
i think made everybodyit up and remember not to mention that president trump's former national security advisor michael flynn h apparently counseled him to declare martial law and overturn election results. again, an unfortunate memory at this point. spokesperson for mr. biden was asked about this, and she pushed back strongly. she insisted it did not make a difference that joe biden was not associated with that kind of behavior. he was associated with the opposite of th. and secretary of state blinken was asked something similar recently. he said when i was speaking to international counterparts, the feeling of them wanting to get the u.s. to reengage was almost palpable. so they seem pretty confident. i have to say, if there is going to be a multilateral action taken, it is stronger if the u.s. is a very active participant. laura: thank you so much for joining us. now, people ttle unrest in myanmar has struck some familiar
notes. talk of unfair elections and outright coups are all too familiar after the storming of capitol hill. former president trump was impeached by the house of representatives for his alleged role in deciding the election, and now trump has a brand-new legal team. let's go now to run christie, who worked in the white house of president george w. bush. so what is the reason that the president got rid of his last legal team and hired a new one? is it really because he wanted to air this argument that the election was stolen? ron: good evening to you. that is pretty much what i have been hearing. it is not so much the president fired his legal team, i believe the president's legal team left him. from all the repeating -- all the reporting i've seen, the president wanted to put forward it offense same the election was stolen from him. we know that is not true. as a lawyer, i can tell you you
might not like your client, your client might not like you, but you cannot mount a defense when you know the accusations are client is putting forth are false. i genuinely believe his legal team left him because that was a bridge too far, to say the election was stolen. laura: ron, president biden is wanting to try to unify the country against this badrop of what happened at the capitol a a few weeks ago. he is having meetings with senators about a coronavirus relief bill after republicans came up with a compromise. do you see this as an early test of the biden administration's ability to deliver on the promise? ron: i do, but i think a lot of republicans are looking at -- looking with trepidation at biden's intentions. he signed more executive actions on a variety of issues, like dealing with transgender issues, to dealing with a number of matters that republicans had
really hoped to work on a bipartisan fashion. so i think that may have eroded a certain degree of goodwill. the real test will be, as you say, whether or not republicans who put forth about $618 billion for covid relief bill, the democrats want close to $2 trillion, this is an early test to see how this equally divided country can come together with presented is -- with the representatives. laura: let's talk about divisions within the republican party. if we start with liz cheney, you worked for her father, dick cheney. she is facing a revolt because she voted to impeach the president. do you see her survival as a test of whether the -- of where the republican party is going? ron: i really do. i have known liz cheney for 21 years. the key here is whether or not a republican congresswoman or man can vote their conscience, can vote for their state, can vote
for the districtwithout reprisals from lieutenants of the former president. i believe that liz voted on principle and with conviction, and she did what she thought was right. republicans are willing to cannibalize their own, and cannibalize the number three woman in the house republican leadership because they don't agree with her on one vote, that says really volumes, it speaks volumes about how far into the abyss we have fallen as a party if we cannot even allow our members to vote their true convictions. laura: another republican woman is making waves in congress, marjorie taylor greene, a congresswoman who has espoused various conspiracy theories and also claims the of -- claims election was stolen. she said today she will meet with president trump in florida. what image does that give of the party? ron: not a good one. this whole notion, stop the steel, the election was stolen,
and she is going to go down and speak to the former president and they will commiserate about how the electi was stolen. like it or not, president biden is the 46th president of the u.s. if republicans continue to go down this terrible sinkhole, we are never going to get out of this. it is going to be quicksand that will devour the party, devour our brand, devour our ideals of who we are as conservatives. this is foolishness, and candidly, i think this can -- this congresswoman needs to evaluate whether she belongs in the people's house and is deserving of the people's trust. laura: a conversation to be continued. thank you for joining us. now, the wife of the russian activist alexey navalny has been fined 20,000 rubles, about 270,000 u.s. dollars, for taking part in unsanctioned protest. she was among thousands detained in moscow as demonstrations broke out in 90 cities across russia in support of the jailed
putin cric. here is more from moscow. reporter: there are also it's of risks and sanctions people face when they head out onto the streets in protest, because if those protests are not authorized, and very few of th are these days, then protesters face riot police quickly, they face arrest, they face short-term detentions or fines, or potentially criminal charges. we have seen in the past week, people involved in the protest so week ago, allies, close supporters of mr. navalny, now facing criminal cases opened against them potentially, seven years in prison. apart from that, a whole range of people, thousands across the country are now facing fines and potentially time in police detention centers. here in moscow for example, i have been told by protesters who have been detained that the normal detention facilities are full, so those protesters have been moved to centers for illegal migrants outside of the
city limits. so, obviously the system is straining at the limits, because this is a record number of people being detained across the country. although the kremlin saying there were hooligans in the crowds and police are simply doing their job. laura: reporting from moscow. in other words new -- in other news, a world health organization team sent to china to investigate the origins of the coronavirus pandemic visited two centers for disease control and the central region. over the weekend they visited thearket in wuhan where the virus was initially detected. united states suffered more covid-19 deaths in january than in any other month. cdc said there were 90,000 deaths in the first month of the year. america's the worst affected country, with over 440,000 deaths since the pandemic began.
now to somalia, where at least a dozen people were killed in an attack in the capital on sunday. the nine-hour siege was brought to an end by security forces in the early hours of monday morning. four militants were among the dead. here's the latest from mogadishu. reporter: the evening prayer in the somalia capital last night, interrupted by gunshots,s militant islamists -- in a heavily guarded area of the airport. plumes of smoke, the result of a car bomb which donated in the hotel's entrance. they then stormed the building.
the resulting siege lasted nine hours, as soldiers exchanged fire with attackers, killing at least four of them. but not before they left several people dead. among them, a now retired militaryeral. and a young somali couple who were on their honeymoon. >> i could not find my daughter from those who were still alive so i realized she must be dead. those short hours while i tried to find her body, they were telling me to wait. those short hours felt like years to me. >> among the dead are five civilians and the gunmen. three of them shot, and another who detonated himself. the death toll could be higher, and some of the wounded people may succumb. reporter: in the morning light, the label is plain to see. the attack is too familiar to the people of mogadishu, who are
still mourning from a nearby attack last year which left 17 people dead. last night's basalt -- it is feared last night's assault could be repeated in the coming weeks in an effort to unseat the internationally backed government. laura: you're watching bbc world news america. still to come tonight, compressing life into a single day and a single film. how a u.k. filmmaker used personal videos from around the world to paint a portrait of human experience. ♪ south africa is one of the country's -- one of the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus. the first doses of the vaccine was delivered on monday.
they are trying to curb a second wave infections driven by a more contagious form of the virus. the bbc has more now on this momentous day in south africa. reporter: as soon as this consnment of vaccine arrived earlier today, this afternoon, it was taken to an area where it will be subjected to quality checks. and also if it can fight off this new variantwhich is highly contagious, which is also driving the number of infections and deaths in south africa. what we have heard is the government is also going to get millions of more doses from pfizer, which it says its vaccine has been proven to be able to fight against the u.k. variant, and also the south african variant. ♪ laura: the world's first
commercially launched rocket using biofuel took off in maine over the weekend. it successfully flew one mile into the air before parachuting back to earth. our correspondent wrapped up warmly and went to the lnch. jane: making state history in the state of maine. stardust one becomes the first commercial launch of a rocket with a fuel derived from a secret substance found on farms. >> this is awesome. so exciting. this is fantastic. jane: this is the inventor of the biofuel and the head of the company which built the rocket. but it has been a long road to success. stardust made its historic debut on a roadway for heavy bombers at the disused air force base in the far north near the border with canada. compared to other commercial rockets that now fairy i astronauts -- that now ferry
astronauts to the space station, it is very small but cheap to fly. that makes space accessible to many more people. this launch. experiments from a college, and a business -- it will eventually launch satellites into space. >> right now there are free trains to space like scex and ula. there are medium-sized companies and rockets that areaunching, i would call bosses to space -- call busses to space. but we want to be theber to space. jane: maine is well-placed for launching into polar orbit, but it is also really cold. and that can cause its own problems. >> once you get to below -10 fahrenheit, we actually have issues. we did not expect it to get this cold. so we are doing everything to warm up the rocket's internals. we have a heater in there. jane: anyone doubting maine's
ability to establish itself as a key player in the increasingly diverse space industry should look at the history books. during the cold war, this winter wilderness was america's front line of defense. the b-52 bombers that constantly per - constantly patrolled the skies were maintained inside this massive hanger. the base closed in 1994, but the infrastructure is still here. just waiting to play a new role. >> hello! jane: maine has other bases it can use, and some 50 companies already working in the aerospace industry. it is hoped that blueshift's success will boost plans for a new spaceport complex. jane o'brien, bbc news, mai the acclaimed u.k.ne. laura: filmmaker kevin mcdonald has a new maker. it brings together personal
videos around the globe, all shot on july 25, 2020. it is a sequel to a film mcdonald made 10 years ago. his new work is more somber in tone, but also uplifting. ♪ >> in a year when we've all been brought together by covid, with nobody in the world to be untouched by covid and its consequences, this film, in a way that could appear sentimental or hippie-ish, but really is not when you see the film, reinforces the similarities between everyone in the world. i was so surprised by how different this film was then the first one, in that form is kind of the same but the content, a, much more diverse. there's material from really every corner of the world, filmed with smartphones with cameras.
secondly, because the things people chose to film, they tended to be a lot more melancholy and sad, stories about loss. generally, people were more pensive. >> i had two brothers die in police custody. >> we structured around the human life. little children and then at the end of the film we have old age, and in the middle we move through the years. then we go through thematic's within that as well. you go through a sequence about romance and love, sometimes heartbreak, people splitting up on camera. there is a sequence about cid, a sequence about nature and how nature has returned during this time. it really did change the way i saw people.
you cannot help but see these thousands of hours of footage and humanity inll of its forms without feeling uplifted diet. and, you know, aren't we kind of wonderful, in a way? laura: kevin mcdonald's new movie there. before we go tonight, the gnt pandas at the smithsonian national zoo in washington have been enjoying the snowstorms blanketing the east coast. they were caught on camera sliding down a slope and rolling with wild abandon. they only lasted five minutes bere heading back indoors. i know just how th narrator: funding for presentation of this program is provided by.. the freeman foundation. by judy and peter blum-kovler foundation.
puuing solutions for america's neglected needs. and by contributions to this pbs station from viewers like you, thank you. ♪ ♪ man: you're watching pbs. narrator: stream the best of pbs on any device with the pbs video app. all your favorite drama, history, science, news, and documentaries all in one place. watch your pbs station live or catch up on the shows you missed. discover new favorites from pbs and locally produced shows from your station. get the pbs video app now and stream the best of pbs anytime. anywhere.
judy: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the "newshour" tonight, the drive to a deal. president biden pushes to ramp up economic relief to the pandemic, but faces republican lawmakers who want a smaller package. then, seeds of the insurrection . a new report shows signs of coordination leading up to the storming of thnation's capitol last month. and, separated families. we explore the legacy of one of president trump's most controversial policies and how the biden administration wants to change going forward. >> every parent dreams of always being by their child's side, never being separated, watching them grow up, seeing every stage they go through.