tv BBC World News America PBS February 17, 2021 2:30pm-3:01pm PST
defense ministers are meeting to discuss what to do about 10,000 troops. a withdrawal timetable is now under review by president biden. our chief international correspondent has more. reporter: a stark snapshot of a gathering storm. the national police hospital. doctors tell us they have never seen so many patients. there is fighting in some of the provinces. this policeman took a bullet. >> the taliban blew up a building outside of school. i went there to help get the children out. to taliban start shooting, and required back. the bullet hit me here and came out the other side. reporter: and they are brace for more. this is a training exercise and
is all too real. afghan police on theunt for suicide bombers. civilians trapped inside. the government gave us access to film this. the taliban warned if the deal breaks down there will be more of this. the interior minister thanks his men. what is his advice to washington? >> i would say let's review what the taliban agree to. that they cut the relationship with the terrorist. a telephone call to arms. they insist they have kept their commitments.
every day more. she survived a suicide bombing. >> when i become i say goodbye to my family. reporter: 20 years after forces came and there is no easy way out. violence may search whether they stay or go. there is still talk of peace and plans for war. laura: reporting on whether nato troops will stay. in the united states, the brutal winter storms have left millions without power.
texas has been hit hard. and striking that these power outages happening in a state with such abundant energy soreporter: another day of wintr misery for texas. millions of texas -- people are still without power. this storm has generated an energy crisis. it is freezing cold, and people are seeking warmth wherever they can find it, even in this furniture sre. getting food has also become a mission, rationed out in places. that catastrophe has triggered the politics of climate change. the republican governor blamed clean energy for the scale of the power failure. >> cover wind in our solar got shut down. they were collectively.
it shows fossil fuel is necessary. reporter: the grid operator reports the power planted and not prepare for such a winter. the author of a policy on global warming challenge the governor. scientists say global warming is partly to play. its left arctic weather patterns escape further southward and state longer. the storms have engulfed large swaths of the midwest and seven states. power grids have buckled elsewhere, but overwhelmingly, free markets and deregulation are partly to blame.
>> the outcome of preventing that turned out to be a long. of outages. reporter: right now texans are facing another long cold night. laura: it's not just here in the u.s. parts of europe and russia are also freezing. what is behind the onslaught. reporter: the extreme cold is causing icy conditions. temperatures are plunging. in moscow, the heaviest snowfall and decades have left roads and cars submerged. cities further south have not escaped.
there have been frosty scenes in athens and is humble. what is the science behind what is happening? to understand this, you have to look nor toward the arctic. the polar vortex is an immense whirlpool of cold air circling the north pole. it is usually held in place by the jetstream. when that system gets disrupted and cold air travels south brings freezing weather with it. such extreme cold extending. there is no consensus among scientists. if global warming is to blame,
these kinds of patterns, even in places like texas could become more common. laura: wild weather everywhere. returning to our top story tonight, the debate over nato troops in afghanistan. reporter: we have to look at the calendar and look what has to be done. it is simply not possible. what we understand if it is actually physically impossible to meet that deadline. the message we are also getting
is a strategic context, they do not believe it is the right decision to meet that deadline. laura: this is something that was agreed between the taliban. how do you think the taliban is likely to respond? reporter: very badly. they made it clear that they believe they sign an agreement that the united states and not one administration. they are very angry, they do not understand why the deal is not being followed. they believe they have kept their commitments to cut ties to al qaeda. they believe that the violence is reducing even thoh all of the evidence is that it is intensifying. they do believe they have been an effort on the peace process. they have been warning for weeks that if the deadline is not met, they will intensify their
attacks against u.s. and nato forces. that was one of the achievements of this deal. they have not been attacked, no debts of nato soldiers ever since the deal was signed. they also will intensify their attacks against the afghans. laura: this is a war that began after 9/11. america's longest war. president trump pledged to end it. what are you sensing from the biden administration about their fears about withdrawal? reporter: president obama wanted to bring the troops home. president trump made a big effort to bring the troops home. president biden, when he was vice president, did not approve of the surge of troops. there were at least 90,000 troops at the peak of engagement. it is known that he is not an advocate of staying in this more -- staying in this war.
is also very cognizant that if they pull out too quickly, the greatest fear of all is that afghanistan collapses into civil war, the taliban rushed back into power, that this will be a huge defeat and humiliation for america and for nato forces. remember, this is the biggest native engagement outside its traditional theater of operation. there is so much at stake. it is the national security interests. they believe they need more time to assess wh kind of threat still comes from afghanistan. laura: thank you. the biden administration here at home says it is ramping up the virus vaccine supply. it will spend $1.6 billion on expanding testing, trackinthe sequencing of new run of ours variants. the white house press secretary says the resident is on course to exceed higoal of 100 million vaccine shots during his
first 0 days in office. >> by the end of may we will have about 400 billion doses. at that point, there will certainly be a larger swath of people who will be eligible, to get access. in terms of when every american who wants a vaccine can get a vaccine, we will have enough doses by the end of july, does have already been ordered from pfizer and maternal. laura: will the biden team need to pick up the pace? joining us now is our guest. clearly there will be hundreds of millions of vaccine doses by the summer, but do you think the biden administration is going to be able to get them into our arms? reporter: thank you for having me. that is such an important question, and one that we are seeing that does not have an answer yet.
we know a major issue, in addition to having a scarcity, is that the rollout process has been uncertain, stuttering, we know that there are certain populations that have not received the vaccine, even though those communities have been hardest hit. but the biden/harrison administration will need to do is ensure those logistics and processes for getting vaccines into the arms of americans are refined over the nt few months, so when the vaccine supply is greater than demand, every american will be vaccinated. laura: the number of coronavirus cases in america has been dropping recently, so to have a number of tests being carried out every day, and we learned today the biden administration is going to spend more on testing. you must welcome that news. >> absolutely. one of the main strategies to preventing the spread of this virus is testing, and that is
one area that has always needed improvement since the pandemic began last march. a robust testing infrastructure is absolutely necessary to mitigating the spread of this virus. that news that he will be investing those resources into expanding testing is important. we need to make sure we communicate to the public that they need to get tested regularly, especially if they have high risk exposures. laura: the coronavirus task force said today that more than 1200 cases of the u.k. variant has been identified here in the united states. how much of a threat do you think this variant could be to what looks like a good picture otherwise of more vaccines? >> we are in a race. a race against the variant from the u., south africa, we need to get people vaccinated as soon as possible.
we know that these mutations happen as the virus infects people and spreads. one, we need to double down on public health measures. mask wearing, physical distancing, preventing large gatherings, incredibly important. the other piece is to get as many americans vaccinated as soon as possible, so that we can prevent arianss from mutating even further. laura: americans are so fed up with all of the precautions that they are having to take, children are dying to go back to school. when do you think we can get some semblance of normality? president biden seem to say by around christmas. >> i think that christmas is probably a little bit optimistic. probably in the first part of 2022 we will start seeing some semblance of what life was like before. what it is going to depend on is how quickly we can get americans vaccinated.
if we can get a large proportion, critical mass of people vaccinated by the fall, early 2022 will look very good to us. laura: thank you so much for joining us from new york. and other news, rush limbaugh has died. he was 70 and have been suffering from lung cancer. the outspoken conservative provoked his opponents with colorful and sometimes offensive language. he was also a staunch supporter of president donald trump. he received the presidential medal of freedom last year. mr. trump called the radio ho irreplaceable. russia has rejected a call from the european court of human rights to free the jailed kremlin critic alexi navalny.
judges at the european court of human rights called for his immediate release because of the risk for his life in pson. u.s.uthorities have charged three north koreans to conspire to steal more than $1 billion in cash and cryptocurrency, banks and businesses worldwide. the u.s. justice department described the intelligence agents as the world's leading bank robbers. the three are believed to be in northorea. you are watching bbc world news america. still to come on tonight's program. huge crowds of protesters gathered in myanmar's biggest city for what the organizers say is the largest demonstration yet against the military coup. ♪ laura: south korean officials say a man was caught crossing the border from neighboring north korea. reporter: this all took place in
the early hours of the morning in cover of darkness. it appears that this north korean man swam from north to south. this is a five mile wide heavily fortified border. it looks as though he swam across the maritime border, and hit land, and he has made his way through a tunnel, some kind of drainpipe underneath the barbed wire. and he has slowly tracked his way south. he was found at a checkpoint within the restricted area. this all comes from the joint chiefs of staff who release these details today. they say they are launching an investigation. troops monitored this man's movements and it is said they did not act quickly enough.
laura: myanmar is seeing some of its biggest protests yet against the military coup that deposed the civilian leader earlier this month. hundreds of thousands of people gathered across the country, including drivers who staged a breakdown protests, locking key roads. the campaign of civil disobedience has entered its 12 consutive day. reporter: the military government dismissed the protesters. today, people across myanmar set out to vikram -- set out to prove it wrong. this is the capital, the seat of power. it was the military's decision to pressure trial on flimsy charges that brought out the charge -- the crowds today.
serpents, teachers and bankers, part of a movement that aims to cripple the new regime by withdrawing their labor. here, they sat down at the spot where a young woman was shot in the head by police last week, enchanted press for her. -- enchanted prayers for her. today began with a breakdown protests. drivers leaving their cars in the road to block anyone trying to get to work, and any polic or army vehicles too. people came into the city on foot to protest. these are membersf the union. these mariners work on ships all over the world. with no traffic, they have the city center to themselves. few signs of the security forces here. they filled the streets. they sang old songs of resistance. from a previous era that they
thought they put behind them. the military has promised to be patient in the face of this powerful challenge to its authority. but, for how long? laura: a real challenge there. the chief of edinboro spending his second night in hospital. prince philip was admitted last night. buckingham palace that it was a precautionary measure after he reported feeling unwell. his condition is apparently not related to coronavirus, and the duke was set to be in good spirits when he was admitted. our correspondent have the latest. i am morning, his report does contain flashing images. reporter: he has been retired for more than three years now and has remained largely out of public site during the lockdown.
this was july of last year. he took his leave from the rifles, one of the regiments he had been honorary colonel in chief for many years. the most recent image of him is this. at windsor castle with the queen, a photograph released last november to mark their 73rd wedding anniversary. part of that, there was a photograph last june on the occasion of the duke's 99th birthday. for the real doctors, it will no doubt has been his age as much as anythg which persuaded them to air on the side of caution. the duke has apparently been feeling unwell for several days. last night, his doctors decided to admitted to hospital. at 2:00 this afternoon, the palace issued a statement. the duke's admission is precautionary, on the advice of his royal highness's doctor after feeling unwell. the duke is expected to remain in hospital for a few days for servation and rest.
the duke isn't -- it is understood he was driven there by car. it was not an emergency admission. is not covert related, set the palace, and the duke is said to be in good spirits. >> he is a known unknown's -- no-nonsense sort of man. i think you would be embarrassed. i am sure he is in good spirits. he is always in good spirits. reporter: the duke was admitted to the same hospital just before christmas, 2019 for treatment of an undisclosed condition. he left aerr ftou fnitsgho ttodn continuing with business as usual. this was prince charge and the duchess of cornwall this morning at a hospital. the queen has remained at windsor castle. she too is carrying on with her duties.
the fact that the duke is just for months short of his 100th birthday. laura: our thoughts are with the duke tonight. before we go, to the cold an snowy weather is not ruining everyone's fun. a female panda in the moscow zoo seems unbothered by the recent cold, running around and doing tricks in the snow. temperatures in the russian capital can dip below -29 degrees celsius. meteorologists expect it to get even colder over the next few days. hardly fitting for most of us, but the panda does appear to be perfectly happy. completely adorable. there is more snow coming here to washington tonight. i am larger by an. -- i am laura trevelyan. narrator: funding for presentation of this program is provided by.. the freeman foundation. by judy and peter blum-kovler foundation.
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captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, an uneven impact-- lower income neighborhoods bear a disproportionate burden of the effects of the ongoing massive winter storm. then, the resistance continues-- protests against the military coup in myanmar grow despite internet restrictions and police crackdowns. and, a return to the red planet. nasa sends another probe to mars with ambious goals in mind, including learning whether life ever existed on the now desolate surface. >> when we get those samples back in the laboratory, that's what's going to give us our best opportunity to say whether or