tv PBS News Hour Weekend PBS March 6, 2021 5:30pm-6:01pm PST
captioning sponsored by wnet >> sreenivasan: on this edition for saturday, march 6: after an overnight session and a marathon series of votes, the senate passes the $1.9 trillion covid relief bill. pope francis delivers a message of unity on his second day in iraq. and in our signature segment: 30 years after the largest inland oil spill, the fight over the line three pipeline in minnesota continues. 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. the peter g. peterson and joan ganz cooney fund. 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. >> for 25 years, consumer cellular's goal has been to provide wireless service that helps people communicate 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 www.consumercellular.tv. additional support has been provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the american people.
and by contribions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> sreenivasan: good evening and thank you for joining us. the senate approved a nearly $2 trillion covid relief bill just after noon today. a party-line vote with one republican not in attendance. >> the yays are 50, nays are 49. the bill is passed. ( clapping ) after a marathon overnight session, all 50 democrats in the senate voted in favor, and 49 republicans voted against the bill. >> now that we're in the majority, they don't seem to want to work with us. but we're going to get it done anyways, we want them to work with us. maybe they'll change their minds after this. >> sreenivasan: coronavirus pandemic benefits in the senate version of the bill include $1,400 payments for individuals making up to $75,000 a year and $2,800 for married couples making up to $150,000. additional federal unemployment
benefits were set at $300 per week and extended to september. republicans objected to the spending plan saying it is too large and that the country's economy is already recovering. democrats backed the president's first major legislation and used a budget reconciliation process to avoid needing a 60-vote, filibuster-proof majority in the senate. the legislation now goes back to the house of representatives where democrats hold a slim 10 vote majority for a second approval. this afternoon, president biden urged a quick vote, >> when i was elected, i said we would get the government out of the business of battling on twitter and back in the business of delivering for the american people, making a difference in their lives and giving everyone a chance, a fighting chance of showing the american people that their government can work for them and passing american rescue plan will do that. >> sreenivasan: the number of
new coronavirus cases continues to drop in the united ates but the decline has slowed slightly. yesterday there were more than 65-thousand new cases, a twelve percent drop from two weeks ago, according to the new york times. overall, there have been nearly 29 million cases of covid-19 counted in the us and more than 520,000 deaths. the drop in cases has prompted a growing number of states to loosen health restrictions. yesterday, arizona governor doug ducey ended capacity limits on the state's businesses but kept mask-wearing and social distancing requirements in place. also yesterday, south carolina governor henry mcmaster lifted a mask mandate in government buildings. and california officials announced that theme parks may partially reopen as soon as april. but public health officials, like dr anthony fauci, warn that loosening restrictions now could lead to yet another spike in covid-19 cases. pope francis met with iraq's top
shi'ite cleric today as he continued his historic four-day visit. the pope traveled to the city of najaf to meet with grand ayatollah ali al-sistani --the first-ever meeting between a pope and a senior shi'ite leader. both men called for religious tolerance. after meeting with al-sistani the pope traveled to the city of ur for an interfaith service. muslims and yazidi christians attended the event. ur is in northern iraq where islamic state militants tried to establish a caliphate from 2014- 2017, killing christians and muslims who opposed them. >> ( translated ): hostility, extremism and violence are not born of a religious heart: they are betrayals of religion. we believers cannot be silent when terrorism abuses religion; indeed, we are called unambiguously to dispel all misunderstandings. in the evening, francis became the first pope to celebrate mass in baghdad's chaldean catholic cathedral, chaldean catholics are believed to represent about
80% of the estimated 300,000 christians lg in iraq today. protests continued across myanmar today after the u.n. special envoy urged the security council to take action against the military-led government that took power last month. from the southern city of dawei, to the capital, and in the country's largest city of yangon, police used tear gas to break up protesters. officers burned debris near the barricades, which blocked off entire roads. a line of demonstrators banged shields and hung up clothes on lines as a form of protection. one protester explained that many soldiers hold the superstitious belief that passing under clothes gives them bad luck. around 200 monks led a march in the second largest city of mandalay, with signs saying they reject the military regime. mourners held a vigil for the more than 50 protesters who have
been killed so far this week. many held up three fingers in a salute, a symbol of resistance, used in myanmar, inspired by the "hunger games" book series. in india, today was the 100th day of protests by farmers over a series of new agricultural laws they say will slash their income. tens of thousands of farmers have camped out on the outskirts of the indian capital of new delhi since november. today, thousands of them blocked traffic on a major expressway into the capital for five hours. indian prime minister narendra modi's government says that the new laws are needed to modernize e country's agricultural system. but many farmers believe that the laws will allow large corporations to buy crops below prices that have been guaranteed by the government since the 1960s. for more international and national news, including the latest on the one point nine trillion dollar stimulus package, visit pbs.org/newshour
>> sreenivasan: the ongoing military confrontation between the ethiopian government and the northern region of tigray continues to escalate, months after the tigray people's liberation front attacked a military base there. since then, there have been reports of civilians being massacred, destruction of health facilities, and the displaceme of at least a million people. tens of thousands have fled to refugee camps in neighboring sudan. i spoke with stephen cornish, director general of doctors without borders-geneva about the situation on the ground. stephen, first, you were recently in the region. tell us, what did you see? >> so, on the ground, i was just at the border region where doctors without borders is running two transit camps and two regular refugee camps, oviding health care and water and sanitation services. and, what we saw was that there is a real lack of basic services, tents, food, protection, for those who are arriving now from-- from
ethiopia. and in the refugee camps where they're transiting pple to, those camps have been put up very, very quickly, anso conditions are sub-standard. and there's a lot of work to do that we need to do, as well as other organizations need to do, in order to scale up, bring the proper level of service before the rainy season comes and makes life really much more miserable. >> sreenivasan: give us a sense of the humanitarian crisis that we're looking at already and what could get worse. >> along the tigrayan side in ethiopia, we have hundreds of thousands of peoplthat have been forcibly displaced, and tens of thousands of those are still cut off, in hiding or in areas where there is no access to assistance. power lines, water lines, communication lines have been cut in some areas that we visited. the health system itself has collapsed. many clinics that we visited have been looted or destroyed. some have been taken over by
armed doctors and are now serving their patients, but not the civili population. so we are fast approaching a very, very serious humanitarian crisis affecting hundreds of thousands of people, both inside ethiopia and the 60,000 refugees that have been fortunatenough to flee to sudan. >> sreenivasan: there have been multiple reports of, at this point, war crimes, but there is still denial by the governments. >> so as a medical and humanitarian organization, our primary concern is to access the populations and to work on their medical humanitarian needs. and what we're seeing is, is a scale of need that truly has to be stepped up. we have been fortunate to get greater access in these last weeks into shire, mek'ele and into some of the outlying areas. and that's where we've witnessed really, very high level of need, high level of insecurity, and very low level of basic needs
being met. and we absolutely have to scale those needs up and the response up, so we need more actors and greater services. the government and some aid organizations have brought in some food stuffs in these last weeks, but there are many people that have not had access to those supplies and so many other needs that we see that are still going unmet with the clapse of the health system and with the basic services in many areas still being cut off. >> sreenivasan: what is-- what is a day in the life of somebody who is trying to get by in one of these camps like? >> well, the first thing is that many of these people really struggled-- even to be able to leave the conflict zone and to make it to safety inside sudan. many of them witnessed violence, shelling on civilian areas, killings and other forms of abuse, including sexual and gender-based violence on their way out. so people are traumatized. they've lost touch with loved ones. and in many areas, the communications are still cut down so they can't find loved ones that they've been separated from.
then they arrived in these camps on the border, and these camps should have all the basic needs, including protection. and unfortunately, we're still not there. so we really have to make sure that we're ab to scale up across the board to meet the basic needs of this population. and that includes not only physical health, but also mental health. and we're supplying mental health and counseling in the camps in order to meet that-- that other need. i sat with dozens of refugees to speak about their situatn. the trauma that they had recently lived, was front of mind, sometimes before even the basic needs that were obvious, that still had to be met. and they wanted to-- the world to know, and they wanted to know if the world knew what was happening there and if there was anything they could do. >> sreenivasan: has doctors without borders or any of the other aid agencies on the ground seen a difference now that we have different administrations? >> we're not in a position to say whether different political actors or u.n. actors, what has
made the changes on the ground. we have seen some opening of additional access. we've seen other actors, aid actors, now arriving on the ground. so there is some progress being made to supply assistance. but we still have a long way to go to ensure the protection of the civilian population. we still don't have access to all areas of tigray. so there are areas that are still cut off. and so there's real concern for the nutritional and food situation. there's real concern that the access to basic services be reconnected. we've seen areas where power lines, water lines, banks, all of these things are closed and hospitals are destroyed. and we've been able to do some basic renovations and some clinics to run mobile clinics in some areas to start bringing very basic, modicum of health. but there's so much more work that has to be done. >> sreenivasan: stephen cornish of doctors without borders joining us from geneva. thanks so much. >> thank you for having us.
>> sreenivasan: on his first day in office, president biden signed executive orders aimed at aggressively tackling the climate crisis, including stopping construction of the keystone xl pipeline. but now, many people in the great lakes region are asking the administon to halt a different pipeline project they believe poses an even greater threat. 30 years ago this week, the line 3 pipeline in northern minnesota ruptured, spilling 1.7 million gallons of crude oil into a frozen river near grand rapids, minnesota. if the river had not been frozen, the oil could have seeped into the mississippi river, and contaminated drinking water for millions downstream. protests have been ongoing to stop construction rerouting a section of the line 3 pipeline, which could impact indigenous communities and local waterways. and as newhour weekend's ivette feliciano reports, some say it's time to stop oil pipeline projects in the u.s. once and for all.
( chanting and drumming ) >> reporter: facing freezing temperatures in january, environmental and indigenous activists in minnesota protested an oil pipeline project underway in the great lakes region by canadian-owned energy company enbridge. >> we've locked ourselves down inside of a pipe which is going to become the line 3 pipeline, and we're here to stop them from welding these pipes together. >> reporter: they say the line 3 pipeline is bad for the environment and local communities, and that projects like these set the u.s. back in the transition away from burning fossil fuels. enbridge aims to replace an existing line 3 line that is corroding and operating at a reduced capacity. ike fernandez is senior vice president at enbridge. >> it already exists. so it's unlike, like, the recent decision on the keystone xl pipeline, which was a new pipeline. >> reporter: but, the
replacement does involve building a new, 337-mile pipe along a different route in minnesota that will nearly double the amount of oil the current pipeline carries. it crosses more than 200 water bodies and 800 wetlands, to carry tar sands oil from alberta, canada to superior, wisconsin. fernandez says the pipeline replacement provides many benefits, including more than 4,000 jobs during construction, and additional tax revenues to northern minnesota in a slow economy. >> it's everything, from transportation fuel to heating homes. it can be refined into plastics that are used for computers and television sets. and so right now, the economy very much depends on this. and i get people's concerns. the reality is, is that pipelines are the most efficient and safest way, and most environmentally sound way, to transport this needed fuel.
>> reporter: the project, first proposed in 2014, got its final permit approval last november from the u.s. army corps of engineers. replacement work began in decemb. since then, dozens of people have been arrested for protesting the project. that includes winona laduke of indigenous climate justice organization honor the earth, and member of the white earth band of ojibwe in minnesota. >> you have women like myself-- i'm a grandmother, you know, and we're standing out there. i have six charges against me for this pipeline. and there's a bunch of us that are facing charges for, you know, trying to be a water protector. >> reporter: laduke and others have been part of the seven-year fight opposing the project throughout the state and federal review processes. >> it is the largest tar sands pipeline in the world. this pipeline is the equivalent to 50 new coal-fired power plants. so, you know, if you're trying to save the planet, this is not the way to do it. >> reporter: a report by climate justice organization 350.org and
a physicist at macalester college in minnesota found the line 3 expansion would increase the state's existing annual greenhouse gas emissions. >> we don'teed any more oil pipelines. you know, it's the end of the party. who wants to be holding the last fossil fuels pipeline? >> reporter: in its latest effort to stop line 3, last december, honor the earth joined the white earth and red lake nations, and the sierra club, in filing a federal lawsuit against the u.s. army corps of engineers. the lawsuit argues that the army corps didn't adequately assess the potential for exacerbating climate ange when it approved the permit, nor its impacts on indigenous treaty land rights. tara houska is couchiching first nation anishinaabe and the founder of the indigenous-led giniw collective. >> treaties are in the u.s. constitution as the supreme law of the land. you know, it's time to honor the treaties in a different way. >> reporter: she says the replacement pipeline opens up new areas of the state to potential spills that could pollute fragile waterways and
other ecosystems in treaty territories. >> we've got a president that maybe, maybe actually respects treaty rights. that maybe actually respects the environment. and is calling himself a climate president. if he's going to call himself that, then we need the action. not just the words, we need the action. >> reporter: beginning in 1979, the old line 3 pipeline caused several oil spills along its route in the great lakes region, including the largest inland oil spill in american history in 1991, and a fireball explosion in 2007 that killed two people. as a result, in 2008, enbridge cut line 3's operating capacity by nearly half. mike fernandez says enbridge understands the environmental concerns, which is exactly why a replacement project is underway. >> it's been six years of study and scientic review and technical review. and as a consequence, there are actually 320 routmodifications that have been made. this is viewed as, as
essentially a modernization project, to upgrade what's there so that it is safer. so it does have less impact on the environment. >> reporter: fernandez believes protestors don't speak for everyone, as enbridge employs native people who are working on the pipeline expansion. and, at least one ojibwe tribe has agreed not to oppose the project. >> it's like people are just against pipelines because they fear anything that's fossil fuel. but this is something we're already dependent upon. when i see protesters, and we've had, you know, four administrative law reviews, and we've gone through all of this work with the u.s. army corps of engineers and the bureau of indian affairs. it's a little bit like the election, where we've gone through the entire process and still people still want to not accept that legal process. >> reporter: but protestors in minnesota say they don't want
modifications to the old infrastructure-- they want oil pipelines like these to become obsolete. under enbridge's permit with minnesota's public utilities commission, enbridge must reimburse public safety agencies for expenses at work sites, especially costs for policing protests. last november, a minnesotan sheriff's office requested tens of thousands in reimbursements for additional riot gear and weapons. winona laduke says, that funding should be a red flag for anyone who supports the project. >> i am not a criminal. i'm a water protector. at a certain point, someone has to ask what is right about a canadian multinational financing the police fce in your state to put in a pipeline with so much conflict? >> reporter: laduke says a trial da of n foe felawsat eks to halt the project, which is on track to be completed by the end of the year. yet, opponents hope president biden will intervene before then.
more than 200,000 people have signed a petition asking him to stop line 3. in the meantime, laduke says, protests will continue. >> imagine if there are 50 or 200 people facing cops, and it's ten below zero. you know what's coming? spring. and more people come-- more water protectors will come. i guarantee you that. >> sreenivasan: we will have more news about the political divide in congress and analysis of the president's economic plan for recovery from the coronavirus pandemic on tomorrow's broadcast. that's all for this edition of pbs newshour weekend. for the latest news updates, visit pbs.org/newshour i'm hari sreenivasan. thanks for watching. stay healthy and hava good night. captioning sponsored by wnet
captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org >> 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. the peter g. peterson and joan ganz cooney fund. 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 the corporation for public broadcasting, private corporation funded by the
>> this program was made possible in part by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> sweep all the way up... and lms to the chest. many of us lead such stressful lives and seemingly don't have a way to deal with the mounting stress. >> it's not like we just go on the yoga mat, and then we lead our life in a whole different way. but it's, like, what do we take from our yoga mat and bring out into the world? >> when i'm in mountain pose and just breathing, i relax and i can re-center, and i find that that's a really good way to handle stress and manage anxiety. >> well, i feel like i'm more