tv BBC World News America PBS February 26, 2021 2:30pm-3:01pm PST
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york city and thiss "bbc world news america." u.s. intelligence officials say saudi arabia's crown prince personally approved the operation that killed journalist jamal khashoggi. in his first nonmilitary act as president, joe biden authorizes airstrikes in syria against iranian backed militia. plus, u.s. regulators are reviewing the johnson and johnson coronavirus vaccine. it could be approved as soon as this weekend. ♪ laura: welcome to "world news america" on pbs and around the globe. a u.s. intelligence report made public today says the saudi crown prince mohammed bin salman approved the merger of the dissident journalist jamal khashoggi. he wrote for "the washington post" and was critical of the crown prince. mr. khashoggi was brutally
murdered and dismembered in 2018 in istanbul. let's go live to the white house with barbara. how come u.s. intelligence has concluded the crown prince approvedhis grisly murder? >> they did not cite any direct it is. what they said was the crown prince had control over decision-making in the kingdom, that he had absolute control over security and intelligence apparatuses. they also said some of his close aides have been involved in the killing and that he had shown he was ready to use violence against dissidents abroad, including mr. khashoggi. basically , their conclusion was this could not have happened without his approval given the way the kingdom is structured and the way he has operated. laura: and now, the u.s. secretary of state is saying the white house wants to recalibrate relations with the saudis and not rupture them. is that why they are sanctioning
people who are involved with this killing but n the saudi crown prince? barbara: yes. it is a difficult thing because president biden, the biden administration want to show a new willingness to take on saudi arabia when it comes to human rights abuses. that was a big part of what mr. biden set of saudi arabia when he was a candidate, so calling the saudis out on this issue is one of those measures, and actually putting it publicly into a u.s. government document is quite an extraordinary rebuke , but they have not so far sanctioned the man himself, mohammed bin salman. they sanctioned some people around him, a former intelligence official, his own personal protective detail, and someone. i think they -- and some others. i think they want to walk the fine line and preserve the relationship in the middle east. laura: let's talk more about that.
where does this leave the saudi crown prince, the heir apparent? barbara: he is no longer the main interlocutor with the u.s. president trump left the relationship to the personal interactions between mohammed bin salman and jared kushner, mr. trump's aid and son-in-law. those days are over. mr. biden is dealing directly with king salman, not the crown prince. going forward, i think there will be a rough patch in saudi relations with the u.s. and there probably would have been any way to some degree because mr. biden is trying to recalibrate them to be less cozy than they were under the trump administration, but it will probably take some months to come up with new ground rules for the relationship. but they both need each other. the saudis play a role in the things that matter most to matters in the middle east
and also for sdi arabia, their defense against regional threats. laura: barbara plett, thank you for joining us from the white house. staying with the middle east, presidentiden launched the first public military action of his administers on thursday with airstrikes in eastern syria close to the border with iraq. the strikes targeted facilities being used by iranian backed military groups in syria. at least 17 members of the militia were reported to be killed. the strikes are in retaliation for recent rocket attacks likeness that the u.s. as where a committed -- were carried out by iranian backed troops. it injured six and killed a contractor. they are be deliberate about their approach. >> we are confident in the target we went after. we know what we did.
and we are confident that the target was being used for the same she militia -- shia militia that carried out the strikes. laura: for more now, we are joined by a guest who worked under president obama. thank you for being with us. are the airstrikes against the iranian militia a carefully targeted attempt by the biden administration to punish iran's proxies without going so far as to undercut their enthusiasm for reviving the iran nuclear deal? >> absolutely. you said it best yourself. this was meant to be a very strong, deliberate, and i find quite decisive move on the part of the biden administration to respond in kind to exactly what happened. this is not an organization we have not gone after before. president trump did a very
similar move a year and a half ago, i'm sure as you remember. so what president biden is time to say is this is not the type of activity we will tolerate. yes, there has been a change in president. that does not mean we will approach things in a very weak manner. when we have a problem with activity, if you will go after one of our source members or contractors, we will respond forcefully. i thought it was a great move. the thing in particular i like about it is how decisive it is, and i find the timing given the effort to pursue iran negotiations is particularly interesting because i think it helps the united states and having a leg up. -- in having a leg up. laura: iran has vowed to avenge the death of general soleimani, hasn't it? the iranian backed militias will continue to be a problem for the biden administration. >> yes. they will continue to be a problem.
they have continued to be a problem now for many years. they have promised to avenge for the death of general soleimani but they have not succeeded in that. there have been plots that have been foiled. for example, they wanted to target the u.s. ambassador in south africa. that did not end up working out. there have been other things that they ended up foiling and not working out. they are going to remain to be a problem with their nefarious behavior in the region, supporting terrorism, supporting proxies. th is obviously a problem when you have u.s. interests across the region, whether it is embassies or u.s. basis and such. that is why it is critical that president biden from the get-go -- he has only been in office for a month now -- that from the beginning he set the stage and say this is not activity we are going to ignore. this is something that if we see what we are going to go after and respond. laura: when you see how the biden administration is not
sanctioning the saudi crown prince despite his role in the grisly murder of jamal khashoggi, what do you read into that vis-a-vis the u.s. attempt to revive the iran nuclear deal? >> sure. i actually don't know that it is tied directly to the iran nuclear deal. the decision they took with whether or not to sanction the crown prince mohammed bin salman. the way i viewed that actually, having been on the other site of crafting sanctions regimes and deciding whether or not to target leaders, it is a very big decision. i remember being on the other site of one when we sanctioned the president of syria and it was a very long and deliberate discussion that took months. actually, it was something we waited to do and waited to see how he would behave on certain things. we imposed a round of sanctions and multiple rounds of sentience before we could see if we could change his behavior. finally, when we decided it was the lowest cost is when we imposed those sanctions.
sanctions against presidents or leaders of countries is a decision that is taken very heavily by the u.s. government, not just for financial reasons, but also because especially as a country rk with, we are going to continue to work with saudi arabia. this administers and has made it very clear that they are not going to deal with mohammed been someone because they labeled him a very -- haven't been someone because they -- mohammed bin salman because they labeled him. i thing that is the right way to go. laura: thank you so much for joining us. in the u.s., we could soon have a third coronavirus vaccine. the food and drug administration's advisory committee is looking at the data from johnson & johnson's coronavirus vaccine trials. the drug could receive emergency use authorization as soon as this weekend. joining us now is dr. tom friedman, former director of the centers for disease control, who is president and ceo of resolve
to save lives. thank you so much for staying with as. if we look at the trial data from the johnson & johnson vaccine, it was 100% effective in preventing hospitalizations and it was as much as 86% effective when it came to stopping margaret to severe covid-19 disease. are you excited about this potential addition to the vaccine arbery? dr. frieden: absolutely. the bottom line is you should get a vaccine the moment it is your turn, with whatever approved vaccine is available. when we are finding is not only is there really good immunity after infection, but many different approaches to vaccine development are working really well. that is very good. but we need to do much better in the u.s. reaching historically underrepresented, underserved populations, and globally
ramping up vaccination in countries that don't yet have access. laura: cases have edged up, haven't they in the u.s. in the past three days? the cdc director called the data concerning today. we have this new variant in new york city. how long do we have to vaccinate everyone before we are out run by these variants,o you think? dr. frieden: it is too soon to say what the new variants are going to do. the trends are a little puzzling. we have weather events that can delay diagnosis a result in some changes or shifts in one patients are diagnosed -- in when patients are diagnosed. but we want to vaccinate as fast as possible and want to double down on protocols, mask up, and limit the time he spent indoors with people not in your household. butverall, the news is quite good. we are seeing very steady declines in cases. the fundamental question in the balance right now is i'm a will there be a fourth surgeon the
u.s. -- is, will there be a fourth surge in the u.s.? do we prevent this from happening? laura: even if there is a fourth surge here in the u.s., the white house said today the coronavirus task force briefing that nearly half of people in the u.s. aged over 65 have now gotten one dose of the vaccine, which seems good. dr. frieden: absolutely. what we are seeing in effect is a reduction in the lethality of this virus because we are protecting nursing home residents. we have seen big decreases in deaths among nsing home residents, and i think we will see that continue for the next month until those deaths become much rarer. in order to get cases overall down, we need much more vaccination and we are getting out. but we are seeing -- than we are getting out. but we are seeing very positive trends in terms of reduced deaths and reduced hospitalizations. the fight against this virus is
expanding. from personal behaviors, understanding outdoors are great and masks are important and limited indoor mixing, the vaccinations, to some of the treatments tt are working. we are getting better at doing this. we have to hold on until a safer situation where we can get to a new normal. laura: we are looking forward to that. thank you so much for joining us. dr. frieden: thank you. laura: in other news now from around the world, south korea has begun its coronavirus vaccination program. more than 5000 health care workers and patients at nursing homes will receive doses of the astrazeneca vaccine which is produced locally. so far, the country has done well and keeping cas and deaths low. sir michael samari has ed at the age of 94. known as the father of the nation, he let papa new guinea to independence in 1975, uniting an island group of 3 million people.
the four-time prime minister was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer earlier this month and died at a hospital in the capital. you are watching "bbc world news america." still to come on tonight's program, a new threat to the amazon rain forest. the investigation finds land for sale on social media. laura: armed men have abducted over 300 girls from a secondary school in northern nigeria. the attack is the latest mass least 42 people, including 27 students, were kidnapped in the country last week. >> the police have finally confirmed 317 schoolgirls were taken this morning. according to eyewitnesses who spoke to the bbc, they say these men come over 100 of them, stormed the school in the early
morning hours. they told them to say a prayer, shot t guards, and took them to a nearby forest. a rescue operation has been launched to find the girls. meantime, unicef has issued a statement strongly condemning this latest attack. there has been a number of them happening in the region now across northwestern nigeria. there is real concern children in the region are vulnerable, that their education has been negatively affected. ♪ laura: this week 10 years ago, libya was in chaos. the arab spring uprisings of 2011 had spread there and libya's leader was fighting back. qaddafi was eventually overthrown but it was not the end of libya's instability. the country has endured 10 years of war with militias. and since 2017, two rival
governments. it has the support of russia, the uae, and egypt. the un-sponsored peace process is trying to unify the government with a transitional -- trying to unite the country with transitional government. >> this is the place where qaddafi was born and where he was killed savagely during the battle for the town after his regime collapsed. the uprisings against him spread fast, inspired by the revolution in tunisia and egypt. >> one person just said to me this is a revolution of honor. it is a revolution of sanity. >> in his last major interview, qaddafi showed no sign he sensed disaster ahead. >> no demonstration at all industries. >> did you see demonstrations? >> yes, i have.
>> where? >> i saw some today on the way. i saw some yesterday. >> supporting us? >> no. >> they are not against us. some are against you. >> no. none are against us. they love me. all my people, they love me all. >> nato airstrikes against the regime gave rebels the edge. >> they need to stop this madness. and you need to convey this truth. you need, the world needs to test us, test our promises when we say we want peace. >> that was the spokesman 10 years ago after civilians were killed in a nato airstrike i tripoli. now in europe, he insists libya is the victim of a western conspiracy. >> you come to a society, but bart it with rockets, bombs, kill many children, many
civilians, support al qaeda and isis, and get money and weapons to violent individuals and support them politically on the international arena and give them the loudest voices on the international media. >> sorry to interrupt, but they would deny all that. they would say that a conspiracy theory. >> we were right in describing what was happening in the be a desk in libya. you were -- in libya. you were there. everything i told you what happened has happened in the last 10 years. >> for a while, there was hope. cheating in benghazi greeted david karen and the president of france.is great >> -- >> it is great to be here in free benghazi and free libya. >> butibyans are not free. corrupt lawless militias and for
the last six years, two rival governments, have fought to fill the vacuum qaddafi left when he crushed any political activity that did not pay him homage. a lot of people said afterwards, hang on, we should have done more about whatever that means. kamran and sarkozy went to benghazi. they declared victory and went home. >> yes, they did. they did. i think cameron wanted to do more but did not have the capacity to do it. the ima rockies did. -- the emirates did. others did. in any case, we did not know enough about libya in 2003. >> thousands have been killed in libya since 2011. no one knows for certain how many.
in one town, they are exhuming, identifying, and re-burying people murdered by notorious militia led by five brothers. some of the dead were brought to tripoli 60 kilometers away from a mass funeral. perhaps you and diplomacy can reunite the country -- perhaps u.n. diplomacy can reunite the country. perhaps libya cannot escape the power of the gun with the legacy of a dictator. jeremy bone, bbc news. laura: a decade of chaos in libya. the amazon rain forest is one of the great natural wonders of the world and one of the most bio diverse places on earth. but now, huge chunks of it are being sold on social media. bbc's joe traveled deep into the amazon to investigate this murky online world. here is his report. >> on patrol, he and his friends
are on the lookout for anyone trying t invade and occupy land in their indigenous reserve. the mmunity have been battling the so-called land grabrs for decades. >> we know this job is risky but we are protecting our land. >> land grabbers often sell the land to people who cut down the trees and converted to farmland. for the community, it is a threat to their way of life. i show him a post on facebook advertising for sale a plot of land inside his reserve. >> this mix is very sad. this is a lack of respect to the indigenous people, not only in my land, but all of brazil. >> it happens with or without facebook. but facebook makes it easier than ever for sellers to find buyers. so using an undercover agent, we speak to four trying to sell
land on facebook. >> hey, how did it go? >> it was the most tense meeting we have had so far, in my opinion. >> he is talking about the man selling the land on the reserve. herought several official looking documents, but not a legal land title. one of the documents shows he is a member of an association. the federal police labeled this association as a criminal organization focused on stealing land from the indigenous people. these associations occupy protected areas and lobby politicians in the capital to grant the stolen lands to their members. >> i will tell you the truth. if this is not sorted out by bolsonaro, it will not be
solved. >> he told us one of the politicians helping him was a congressman. i asked him if he knew the group, the association was occupying indigenous land. >> no, no. i was never aware they were occupying indigenous areas. >> and that the land was illegally acquired. >> i did not know. they did not tell me. if they invaded it, they don't have my support anymore. >> facebook says their policies require buyers and sellers to comply with laws and regulations. and they stand ready to work with local authorities. the bbc contacted him for his response, but he declined to comment. as long as the authorities fail to act, the forest gets closer to wha scientists fear could be a poinof no return.
laura: an important story about land for sale in amazon there. before we go, just take a look at these amazing pictures. this is the landing site of the perseverance rover on mars. a panoramic view was released by america's space agency nasa. you can see the brim of the crater where the rover touched down last week. and you can see the cliff face of an ancient river delta in the distance. it was taken incredibly by rotating the rover's mast 360 degrees. nasa says the panorama is composed of 142 individual images stitched together on earth. you can see why they call at the red planet, can't you? i'm laura trevelya. narrator: funding r presentation of this program provided by.. the freeman foundation. byudy and peter blum-kovler foundation.
pursuing solutions for america's neected needs. and by contributions to this pbs station from viewers like you, thank you. ♪ ♪ man: you're watching pbs. hilty: where do i begin about my love for pbs? having both of my children, two very young children, "daniel tiger" is on because they learn so much from it. every major emotional thing that young children have to go through, daniel has a song associated with that. ♪ daniel: take a deep breath ♪ (inhales deeply) ♪ and count to four. ♪ ♪ hilty: pbs is the jewel of television and i feel like we're all better off for having it in our lives.
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight: covid relief. congress moves closer to passing a sweeping stimulus bill despite the uncertain future of a minimum wage increase. then, pressure points. the biden administration faces early foreign policy tests, with a new report on the murder of saudi journalist jamal khashoggi and air strikes in syria. plus, "post"-script. speak to the outgoing editor of the "washington post" about the khashoggi murder and the state of american journalism. >> so many people now are going to sources of information, or so-called information, that affirms their pre-existing point of view. they're looking to be affirmed and not necessarily to be