PBS NewsHour full episode, Nov. 29, 2022

PBS NewsHour full episode, Nov. 29, 2022

Show Video

JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I am Judy Woodruff. On the "NewsHour" tonight: congressional crunch. Democrats push for legislation in the remaining days before Republicans take control of the House of Representatives.

Then: a verdict. The head of a far right militia group is convicted of seditious conspiracy for his role in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. And the immigration debate.

The Supreme Court hears a case challenging the Biden administration's authority to decide who gets deported. All that and more on tonight's "PBS NewsHour." (BREAK) JUDY WOODRUFF: Back from the Thanksgiving holiday, the Democratic-controlled Congress is up against a ticking clock. There are just five weeks until Republicans take over the majority in the House of Representatives and there is a long list of priorities that lawmakers are trying to pass before the end of the year. Our congressional correspondent, Lisa Desjardins, is here to walk us through it all. So, hello, Lisa.

A lot to be watching right now. We know, tonight, potentially historic movement on an important issue. Tell us where we are. LISA DESJARDINS: We're talking about same-sex marriage.

And let's go right to the Senate floor, where the Senate is now in the midst of passing a bill that would essentially codify same-sex marriages that are recognized by any state. Now, I want to talk about this bill. It does need 60 votes .It is expected to get 60 votes in coming minutes.

Let's talk about exactly what this bill does and does not do. First of all, this would mean that states, every state must recognize same-sex and international marriages that are recognized in any state. Any state that licenses such a marriage must be recognized everywhere. However, it does not mean there would be a national right to same-sex marriage.

Essentially, this would be the same effect as, say, the Dobbs decision for abortion. However, we know that same-sex marriage right now has been found constitutional. It's a constitutional right under current Supreme Court law.

But it is not clear. Some are worried that the Supreme Court may change that and reverse that right, as it did with Roe vs. Wade. So this idea for this bill is to protect same-sex marriages in states where that is recognized. I will say, when that Obergefell decision was made and same-sex marriage was deemed a national right, 35 states had laws on the books that meant same-sex marriage was not allowed there. So this is something that for a very large group of Americans is concerning, and Congress is moving on it tonight.

JUDY WOODRUFF: So, a lot going on. We call this the lame-duck session, but it's actually a very busy, jam-packed period of time, as we were suggesting, including some big deadlines, including that railway strike issue. Tell us where we are with that. LISA DESJARDINS: This is an incredibly juicy lame-duck, to be a little bit cheesy about it. But there are very high-stakes issues here.

We are just over a week away from a potential deadline that could cause a national railway strike. Today, President Biden called the four top leaders in Congress to the White House to talk about this and other issues. You can see there they were, the White House decorated, but this -- all of them have very serious faces. All of those leaders left saying that they are serious about passing something to either extend the deadline for this strike for negotiators or to force negotiators into a deal, a kind of beginning deal that they set earlier. Now, here's what we heard specifically from President Biden about that.

JOE BIDEN, President of the United States: There's a lot to do, including resolving the train strike and the train -- the -- what we're doing now. And Congress, I think, has to act to prevent it. It's not an easy call, but I think we have to do it.

The economy's at risk. LISA DESJARDINS: OK, the will from leadership is there, Judy. But this is going to be a very heavy lift in the Senate, where this kind of idea of, trying to avert a strike, would need 60 votes, and we'd need it by next week. Senator Bernie Sanders, among others, is someone who thinks that perhaps workers should get a better deal.

He's holding out for a vote on an idea that he has. I talked to him today. Also, some moderate Republicans who are needed, like Senator Susan Collins, I talked to her today.

She's not sure that she thinks Congress should have to get involved. She thinks that the White House made a mistake here. So we're going to watch that carefully. JUDY WOODRUFF: And then the last thing I want to ask you about, Lisa, is something that matters a lot. It's funding the government.

That's money that's running out. And the clock is ticking, as we said. LISA DESJARDINS: Oh, they have a whole two-and-a-half weeks to try and fund government. Usually, that's actually a lot of time, Judy. But in this case, lawmakers are behind and getting things together. They haven't even agreed yet on basics, like, how much should government spend? So they have a lot to do in just a couple of weeks.

And there are a lot of decisions to be made, in particular about whether to have another short-term deal for maybe a week or so or a couple of months. Maybe they kick this to January. Or do they try and finish the whole year's funding now. Here is incoming House -- the current House Republican leader, Kevin McCarthy, who hopes to be House speaker in January, talking about that perhaps he doesn't want a full deal right now. Here's what he said today. REP.

KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): I'm not going to sit back and let some bill pass in the middle of the night. I'm not going to let them continue to do this runaway spending. I'm not going to let them continue to ignore the challenges that we have in America when it comes to our energy policy, our border policy. LISA DESJARDINS: These dynamics are complicated. He doesn't run the House yet. However, he has a lot of votes there.

And he also has sway with Republicans potentially in the Senate. So, all of these groups have to agree on some kind of large appropriations bill or a short-term deal very quickly. And, Judy, on top of all of that, let's just look at the calendar. JUDY WOODRUFF: Yes. LISA DESJARDINS: Everything that's ahead of us coming up. First of all, one of those deadlines I mentioned, December 9, that is the deadline to avoid a railway strike.

Then, just a week after that, December 16, that is the deadline for the government funding bill. It needs to be passed by then. Now, December 15, the day right before, that's the last day the House is supposed to meet for the year. They don't have any time after that on the schedule.

And then, of course, as mentioned just a couple of weeks after that, January 3 is when the new Congress is set to begin. And, oh, Judy, I haven't even talked about electoral account reform. There's a land bill.

Some folks are talking about immigration. This is a very wild lame-duck session ahead of us. We're going to be talking about it a lot. JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, nobody's better equipped to cover it than Lisa Desjardins. (LAUGHTER) JUDY WOODRUFF: Thank you. LISA DESJARDINS: You're welcome.

JUDY WOODRUFF: All right, and our other major story tonight is, a federal grand jury has convicted the founder of the Oath Keepers militia, Stewart Rhodes, of seditious conspiracy in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. A second defendant was also found guilty. Three others were acquitted. Mary McCord is the director of the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection.

She is also a former Justice Department official. She monitored the trial in Washington, D.C., and she joins us now. So, Mary, before I ask you about this verdict, remind us who Stewart Rhodes is. What are the Oath Keepers? MARY MCCORD, Former Justice Department Official: So, Stewart Rhodes is the self-proclaimed leader of an unlawful private militia organization known as the Oath Keepers.

This organization has been around since about 2009. Stewart and others who are part of this organization attended other standoffs against the federal government, such as the standoff in Bunkerville, Nevada, back in 2015, I believe it was, or 2014, and other standoffs out West. Stewart, particularly in these last several years, has been very vocal in wanting to come to the defense of President Trump. Initially, should he have been impeached and removed from office, Stewart Rhodes had tweeted about the president needs to only call up the Oath Keepers and they would ensure that he was not removed from office.

He continued with that type of rhetoric and planning throughout 2020 and 2021 as the Stop the Steal movement gained momentum. And, as we now know, the jury has agreed that he was involved in a seditious conspiracy with other Oath Keepers to actually use force or violence to prevent the execution of laws of the United States, and that law being the counting of the Electoral College votes. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Mary, that's not a verdict we hear about very often. What's the significance of it? MARY MCCORD: So, it's very significant because, as you noted, it is not charged particularly often. And it's often -- and it's not always been successful in the past. And that's sometimes because it's been charged where what was conspired to happen never actually happened.

And I think one of the things that made this perhaps an easier case for the jury was not just that there was overwhelming evidence of the planning to do exactly what ended up happening, to use force and violence to prevent the counting of the Electoral College votes, but it also actually happened. They did use force and violence to hinder and delay and prevent the counting of Electoral College votes. It was not ultimately successful in overturning the results in the election, but in delayed it by a number of hours. So, a jury didn't have to wonder, would they have really made good on their conspiracy? The jury could see it with its own eyes, hear with their own ears that Stewart Rhodes and other members of the Oath Keepers did make good on that conspiracy. JUDY WOODRUFF: And, just very quickly, Mary, we know other defendants coming up to trial.

Does this have significance for those cases? MARY MCCORD: It absolutely will. With all of these cases coming out of January 6, I think charged defendants have looked to see how others fared at trial. And, so far, those who have gone to trial on felonies have been found guilty.

Now, not every member of this last trial, not all of the five who were charged and tried together were found guilty of seditious conspiracy, but all five were found guilty of some offenses. In fact, all five were found guilty of obstructing an official proceeding, which carries the same penalty as seditious conspiracy, up to 20 years in prison, so very, very serious charges, a very important verdict, and it really is going to put the writing on the wall for the others who face this charge. JUDY WOODRUFF: Mary McCord analyzing for us this verdict of -- in the case of Stewart Rhodes. Mary, thank you so much.

MARY MCCORD: It's my pleasure. JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day's other news: Universities in Beijing and other Chinese cities sent students home after weekend protests against COVID restrictions and against the country's communist leaders. That move came as Beijing police were out in force hunting those who took part in the demonstrations and trying to stop any new protests.

The Foreign Ministry defended those actions. ZHAO LIJIAN, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman (through translator): China is a country governed by the rule of law, and the various legal rights and freedoms enjoyed by Chinese citizens are fully guaranteed. At the same time, any rights and freedoms must be exercised within the framework of the law. JUDY WOODRUFF: The protests were China's largest since its army crushed a pro democracy movement at Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 1989. A new Pentagon report estimates that China is rapidly building its nuclear arsenal and closing the gap with the U.S.

The report says Beijing has more than 400 nuclear warheads and could nearly quadruple that number by 2035. The U.S. currently has more than 3,700 warheads. A tense calm prevailed in Ukraine's capital city today as police braced for a new Russian missile barrage and more blackouts. At one point, air raid siren sounded in Kyiv, but it turned out to be a false alarm. Meeting in Bucharest, Romania, NATO foreign ministers pledged blankets, generators and other aid to Ukraine. They said it is crucial to combat Moscow's strategy.

JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO Secretary-General: Russia is using brutal missile and drone attacks to leave Ukraine cold and dark this winter. President Putin is trying to weaponize winter, to force Ukrainians to freeze or flee. JUDY WOODRUFF: The NATO chief also reaffirmed a commitment to have Ukraine join the alliance, but gave no timetable.

Israeli-Palestinian violence surged again today, with five Palestinians killed across the occupied West Bank. In one case, Israeli forces shot dead a man who rammed his car into a soldier. Clashes have sharply escalated this year, with more than 140 Palestinians and 31 Israelis killed. At soccer's World Cup, the U.S. won a politically charged match with Iran 1-0 to advance to the next round. The Americans scored their goal in the first half, and then staved off repeated close calls in the second.

They play the Netherlands on Saturday. We will get much more on this later in the program. Here at home, the city of Houston lifted a boil water notice for more than two million residents. The notice was issued Sunday after a power outage shut down a treatment plant. Officials say that testing now shows that the water is safe to drink again.

On Wall Street, stocks mostly searched for direction. The Dow Jones industrial average gained just three points to close it 33852 the Nasdaq fell 65 points. The S&P 500 slipped six.

And a passing of note. Democratic Congressman Donald McEachin of Virginia has died after a decade-long battle with cancer. He had been reelected to a fourth term earlier this month in a district that included part of Richmond. Donald McEachin was 61 years old. Still to come on the "NewsHour": Arizona's certification of election results is delayed because of baseless claims of fraud; a deeper look at the United States' World Cup win over Iran that comes amid international tensions; plus much more.

The Supreme Court heard a case today that could have broad implications for how the nation's immigration laws are enforced. Correspondent John Yang is here with more on the day's arguments. JOHN YANG: Judy, two states, Texas and Louisiana, are challenging the Biden administration's guidelines on who of the 11 million people in the country illegally should be prioritized for deportation. Here's our resident Supreme Court watcher, Marcia Coyle, the chief Washington correspondent for "The National Law Journal," who was in the courtroom today, and Theresa Cardinal Brown.

She's the managing director for immigration and cross-border policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center. Theresa, what's the difference that Texas and Louisiana are complaining about, the difference between what the immigration law says and what the Biden administration guidelines say? THERESA CARDINAL BROWN, Bipartisan Policy Center: So, President Biden when he came in asked the secretary of homeland security to review the prioritization of who immigration officials should go after for arrest, for deportation in the United States. President Obama has had similar guidelines. President Trump withdrew them.

And President Biden went and instituted new ones. So they issued a memorandum that is an exercise of what they call prosecutorial discretion, which is, we don't have the resources to arrest everybody who's undocumented in the United States and deport them. So we want to figure out how we tell our people to prioritize. What Texas and Arizona said is the immigration law doesn't give you that authority.

The immigration law says, if somebody is undocumented, you shall take them into custody and you shall put them in removal proceedings. And so some of the debate is, does shall mean shall or does shall mean might? JOHN YANG: And, Marcia, there was also discussion about the difference between the immigration law, the words of the immigration law, and reality. Here's Justice -- Chief Justice John Roberts.

JOHN ROBERTS, Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court: Assuming we think it would be, if not impossible, surprising and very difficult, for the executive to comply, isn't that a consideration? We should take into account in trying to figure out if shall means shall? Because, certainly, there are cases where we have said shall means may. JOHN YANG: Shall may mean may? MARCIA COYLE, "The National Law Journal": That's right.

And the court has said that. And I think the broader context here is really about the discretion that federal agencies have in order to go after violations, not just immigration, but any federal agency that is enforcing a law tries to prioritize who they will go after based on the resources they have, the seriousness of the violation. So this case is being watched closely, not only for immigration, but for what the court may say about that type of discretion. JOHN YANG: And, Theresa, what are the constraints? Why -- would it be, in the words of the chief justice, perhaps be impossible, surprising and very difficult for the administration to actually carry out the letter of immigration law? THERESA CARDINAL BROWN: As you mentioned, the estimates are there are about 11 million undocumented people in the United States. We know that, in our immigration courts today, there are two million cases waiting to decide if people will be deported.

And ICE, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, the agency charged with arresting people and putting them in proceedings, only has a few thousand agents for the entire country. So it's impossible for them to find and arrest 11 million people or even put them in detention, because Congress has not allocated sufficient resources to detain them until they can decide whether or not they can be put into proceedings. JOHN YANG: And, Marcia, another issue that came up in the arguments today was the question of whether or not Texas and Louisiana have the right to bring this case, what's called standing. They are arguing that the administration's guidelines may require them to spend more on things like education, law enforcement, social services, but Elena -- Justice Elena Kagan questioned that. ELENA KAGAN, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice: It's just not enough that you're

coming in here with a set of speculative possibilities about your costs,. You have to do more than that, given the backdrop of what has become, I think, a system that nobody ever thought would occur, which is that the states can go into court at the drop of a pin and stop federal policies in their tracks. JOHN YANG: What's the significance of this, not only in this case, but in the broader outlook? MARCIA COYLE: Well, first of all, I think she was telegraphing that she doesn't think the states here have standing, because the costs that they say they're incurring or would incur are just too speculative. And, as she pointed out in that clip, later, that it would only take $1 with some judges before they would just knock down a government policy, and any state could come in on any policy at any time with speculative costs. But she was also making a point about what has happened. It's not just Republican-led states.

It's Democratic-led states as well that, when they don't like a policy, a government policy, they will go into court, and they will offer these types of costs in order to get standing to bring their lawsuits. And then, she said, they find a judge that might be sympathetic, because they know -- and they know where to file these cases. And that judge, on the basis of a dollar of costs, could bring a government policy to a dead halt. And that's something that I think she and others on the court are very concerned about. JOHN YANG: Theresa, what about that argument? What are the burdens or the costs on the states of this -- of these Biden guidelines? THERESA CARDINAL BROWN: Well, I think the problem is that there's not a differentiation between the overall costs that a state might bear for immigrants that are living in the state and what additional cost implementation of these guidelines might make.

Immigrants in a state that are undocumented may be working and may be paying taxes, but, yes, their kids may be in school, they may have health care costs that those states have to bear. That's the case with any state that has immigrants in it. If you're trying to differentiate what's the cost of this particular policy, then you are trying to guess how many additional immigrants might be in any given state.

And I think that's really hard to do. JOHN YANG: Marcia, there was also a lot of discussion about what this judge in Texas did when the case originally came to him. He wiped out the guidelines entirely. MARCIA COYLE: He did. In fact, you usually think, when judges are faced with cases like this, they might issue an injunction, which basically blocks it, maybe a nationwide injunction, but it still allows the case to go forward on appeal, even if the government can't continue to implement it. But this particular judge used something called vacatur, which means that he vacated the whole policy.

It didn't exist. And the government, the United States says, you can't do that. That's not the kind of remedy that the law allows. And so there was a lot of discussion about a law that we have talked about before, the Administrative Procedure Act, which is the rules of the road for federal agencies when they enact new policies or change them, and whether that act allows federal judges to wipe out a government policy, instead of just blocking it pending an appeal.

What the court is going to do with that, I don't know. I know the chief justice called it a radical argument, because judges are used to using vacatur. But I think the government's given them some food for thought. JOHN YANG: Marcia Coyle of "The National Law Journal," Theresa Cardinal Brown of the Bipartisan Policy Center, thank you very much. MARCIA COYLE: My pleasure, John.

THERESA CARDINAL BROWN: Thank you. JUDY WOODRUFF: Arizona has been a hotbed for election denialism since 2020. And misinformation is now disrupting what is typically a routine election procedure. One of the state's 15 counties failed to meet yesterday's deadline to certify this year's midterm election results.

Stephanie Sy has the details. STEPHANIE SY: Judy, that's right. It was the Republican-dominated Board of Supervisors in Cochise County who voted not to certify the election results by last night's deadline. In response, Arizona's highest election official, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, filed a lawsuit.

She is a Democrat and will be the next governor of Arizona after she beat Trump-endorsed opponent Kari Lake in the midterms. Lake has also since filed a lawsuit against Maricopa County for its handling of the election. All those lawsuits underlie the anger among some Arizonans who spoke out at a public session with Maricopa County's Board of Supervisors this week. MAN: This is a war between good and evil, and you all represent evil. MAN: You are vote traffickers. You are a vote trafficker.

Criminal. So, a curse upon you. A curse upon all of, you smug, smug people. WOMAN: I will just say that the voting booth is supposed to be... MAN: Your time is up. WOMAN: ... a time for a peaceful revolution.

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution necessary. STEPHANIE SY: Right there in the middle of that panel of election officials, the man who joins us now, the chairman of Maricopa County's Board of Supervisors, Bill Gates, a self-described lifelong Republican. Chairman Gates, it's good to have you back on the "NewsHour" here. Describe the acrimony you felt at that meeting last night.

And did the truth about the midterm election come out in the end? BILL GATES (R), Chairman, Maricopa County, Arizona, Board of Supervisors: Yes, well, thanks for having me. Look, we -- my colleagues and I agreed that it was very important to have public comment, to have people come and speak about their concerns about this election. It's an important part of the process. And we were actually just looking at some of our statistics on last night's meeting. It was the most people we have ever had watch one of our meetings from looking at YouTube.

So there's a lot of interest in it. And there were some strong words, no question about that. But, again, that's everyone's right to say those things. Now, unfortunately, a lot of those people who had a lot of bad things to say about Maricopa County, once they spoke, they left. So they didn't stick around to hear the explanation of the election by our two co-directors of elections, in which they responded to a lot of those questions and issues that were raised.

But, in the end -- this is the important thing for everyone to understand -- is that everyone who wanted to vote had the opportunity to vote, their vote was counted if they were an eligible voter. And that's why my colleagues and I voted yesterday to certify the canvass of the election. STEPHANIE SY: Yes, we should say that four out of the five on your board in Maricopa County are Republicans, like yourself. But, sir, you did have printer problems on Election Day at 70 of the more than 220 voting locations. Do you think that the printer issues provided a pretext for unleashing misinformation? And do you have any regrets about not staying more on top of the equipment? BILL GATES: Well, we stayed on top of the equipment. We tested them in advance.

And we were obviously surprised by these issues with the printers. But I give great credit to our team who went in, and they determined what the issue was on Election Day and were able to get those printers back online and to get the tabulators accepting the ballots. And here's the important thing for people to understand. Even if those voters who showed up on Election Day were unable to run the ballot through the tabulator, they had another option. They could put the ballot in a secure ballot box. In fact, in the majority of counties in Arizona, that's exactly how it's done on Election Day.

They don't have a tabulator on site. And, instead, they put their ballot into a ballot box. And it's counted back at central count. STEPHANIE SY: I understand that, but were you concerned about the perception? You knew that this needed to be an airtight process.

You already had election denialists at the top of the ticket for the Republican Party. You had thousands of Arizonans who -- many of whom I have interviewed questioning the integrity of the election. You knew it had to be airtight.

BILL GATES: Yes, no -- no question about that. We're disappointed that this happened. I said yesterday during this meeting there's no such thing as a perfect election. And it certainly was not a perfect election on Election Day. But what people need to understand is that there were redundancies in place. So it was a technical issue, which created inconvenience for people.

But, again, people had that opportunity to cast their vote. And, here in Maricopa County, we have a hybrid system. So you can vote by mail, and we have hundreds of thousands of people who choose that option. Also, for 27 days, people could vote in person. And then, finally, Election Day was that final option.

In addition to the people who did show up on Election Day to vote in person, they could also... STEPHANIE SY: Right. Yes.

I just want to move on to the issue of Cochise. I'm sorry. I want to move on to the issue of Cochise County, because that is the one county that has not certified the election results. And I know you have a background in election law, Chairman. So, I want to ask you, have the Cochise County officials, have they committed a felony by not fulfilling this duty? And do you think it's possible that votes from Cochise could be left out of the final state tally next month? BILL GATES: Well, I'm not sure whether they committed a felony. But I can tell you this.

It's the statutory responsibility of the boards of supervisors, all 15 of them for the 15 counties in Arizona, to certify the canvas by yesterday. We have 20 days from Election Day. So, by choosing not to, we are now into unchartered territory.

We haven't seen this before. And that's one of the reasons why there has been -- there have been two lawsuits that have been brought against the Board of Supervisors down in Cochise County. My understanding is, they have a hearing scheduled for this Thursday at 1:00 p.m., and the court

will rule there. The reality is, this probably ends up going up through the appeals courts up to the Supreme Court to make a decision, because, under Arizona law, the canvass must be certified at the state level by the end of next week. STEPHANIE SY: Bill Gates, the chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, thank you so much for joining the "NewsHour." BILL GATES: Thank you. JUDY WOODRUFF: The World Health Organization has decided that the virus formerly known as monkeypox will now be designated mpox. However one refers to with, the virus spread globally earlier this year, bringing fears of another pandemic, many Western countries fought off the outbreak with treatments and vaccines.

But in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or DRC, the virus remains endemic. And front-line workers there are trying to prevent it from once again going global. Special correspondent Benedict Moran and video journalist Jorgen Samso sent us this report from the DRC's capital, Kinshasa. BENEDICT MORAN: In may, monkeypox spread across the globe, eventually reaching at least 75 countries, including to Europe and the U.S. Today, after widespread use of antiviral medicine and a preventative vaccine, global reported case numbers are dramatically down. But, here in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the virus remains a threat.

In this clinic on the outskirts of Kinshasa, three young children are suspected of being infected. One of them is 2-year-old Kitenga Demichelle (ph). She has a fever and is vomiting.

Painful sores cover her body. Dr. Tresor Gylefwa is treating her. DR. TRESOR GYLEFWA, Bethesda Medical Center (through translator): The children showed up here with complaints of fever, vomiting and rashes. We checked up on them, but already, with symptoms like these, we suspect it's monkeypox.

BENEDICT MORAN: Here, far from Western capitals, there are no antivirals and no preventative vaccines available to patients. DR. TRESOR GYLEFWA (through translator): the only thing we can do is treat the fever and the skin rash. As for the rest, we need help for more specialized doctors to know what to do in order to better help these kids. BENEDICT MORAN: The Democratic Republic of the Congo is the country most affected by monkeypox, and it has continually reported cases over the past five decades.

For the past few years, it has seen a surge in cases. Despite this surge, the country actually has few tools at its disposal to fight the virus. Tecovirimat, an antiviral used widely as a treatment, is authorized for use in the European Union and in the U.S., but not in the Congo or anywhere in Africa.

And not a single dose of the smallpox vaccine, proven to be effective against monkeypox, is available on the African continent. It's a phenomenon some are calling medical racism. DR. BOGHUMA KABISEN TITANJI, Emory University: There's no profit in it. And that's where racism comes in.

BENEDICT MORAN: Dr. Boghuma Titanji is an assistant professor of medicine at Emory University. DR. BOGHUMA KABISEN TITANJI: That's where disenfranchisement of people who are poor, who do not necessarily have a loud voice to actually advocate for these things comes in. There is a certain aspect of people still being very much stuck in the mind-set of, what is in it for me, as in, why do we need to invest in malaria, in T.B., in HIV, in monkeypox, if it's happening on the other side of the planet? BENEDICT MORAN: Dr. Nicole Hoff spends much of her professional life encouraging the world to care, even if here is the other side of the planet.

Hoff is an American researcher at UCLA and has been studying monkeypox in the DRC for more than a decade. DR. NICOLE HOFF, UCLA: So, really, we're seeing cases kind of all over the country at the moment. Recently, the most, the largest outbreak that we have seen has been in Tunda, which is the Maniema Province. But then we have also seen a number of cases up north, closer to Kisangani and up in this area.

BENEDICT MORAN: Because monkeypox almost never caused an infection outside of Africa, it usually remained a distant threat. That meant no money for research. DR.

NICOLE HOFF: There's been almost no funding, especially in DRC, for monkeypox. The cases of monkeypox have really stemmed from here. And so I think to really understand what's going on with transmission, what's going on with the virus, what's going on with mutations, what's going on possibly for the future of monkeypox, really, this is your base. BENEDICT MORAN: After years of neglect, Western donors are now trying to play catchup. A new $3 million research project funded in part by the U.S. Department of Defense hopes to improve virus surveillance.

That starts here at Congo's National Laboratory. It's the only lab in the country that tests for monkeypox. But samples sometimes take weeks to arrive here. Congo is the size of Western Europe, with poor infrastructure. By the time results are in, patients have either recovered or, in about 10 percent of cases, have died. Dr. Thierry Kalonji is the assistant director of the National Institute for Biomedical Research

in Kinshasa. DR. THIERRY KALONJI, Assistant Director, National Institute for Biomedical Research, Kinshasa (through translator): The delay between the start of symptoms and when we receive a lab sample is averaging 21 days. I'm talking about three weeks, and the disease itself usually lasts from four to five weeks. BENEDICT MORAN: By improving surveillance here, donors hope to stop the virus in its tracks and prevent it from once again going global. Peter Fonjungo is the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the DRC.

PETER FONJUNGO, CDC of Congo Director: By building these systems, we believe containing them here, it's -- is the best strategy of preventing a propagation and transmission onward. Containing an epidemic here is the best way of preventing spread originally, as well as internationally. BENEDICT MORAN: But the DRC still won't have widespread access to the antiviral or to the vaccine. Kitenga Demichelle and the two other children are back at their orphanage. Their symptoms have slightly improved. Because of the months-long delay at the National Laboratory, doctors still didn't know if it was monkeypox or something more common, like the measles.

ANDRE NDOUMBE, Nurse, Bethesda Medical Center (through translator): You see it's an orphanage, right? Where the virus came from, no one knows. Who they contracted it from, no one knows. We have to take charge of this situation, so that it cannot spread any further. BENEDICT MORAN: With so many questions unanswered, taking charge of this situation and preventing the virus from spreading may remain a difficult task.

For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Benedict Moran in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. JUDY WOODRUFF: As we reported earlier, it was a big moment for the U.S. soccer program today, as the men's team won a nail-biter to advance to the knockout round of the World Cup.

It is just the third time the U.S. men have advanced to the round of 16. And it is an important victory after the team failed to qualify for the last World Cup. Amna Nawaz looks at the drama behind today's game. AMNA NAWAZ: Judy, by any measure, this was a high-stakes match. In a must-win game, the U.S. held on to win 1-0 and stay alive in the World Cup. But that tension was matched only by tensions off the field, two geopolitical foes facing off, and the Iran's team under a white hot spotlight as anti-regime protests in the name of Mahsa Amini continue back home.

For more on the game, the Cup and the politics of it all. I'm joined by J.J. Devaney, the co-host of the soccer podcast "Caught Offside." J.J., welcome, and thank you for being with us. I want to ask you first about that game, that glorious, heart-stopping, hard-fought game. The U.S. did pull out a win in the end.

What stood out to you from the match? J.J. DEVANEY, Co-Host, "Caught Offside": I thought the dominance of the first half performance. I thought that U.S. midfield once again, Musah, McKennie, Adams, we're going to be listing those names like the founding fathers by the end of the tournament. They were -- they were fantastic.

They are the heartbeat of the team. We got the goal. Christian Pulisic put himself on the line, and then a second half that was needlessly tough and turgid for the U.S., and Iran almost getting that vital equalizer near the end. AMNA NAWAZ: Yes, second half, it had me screaming at the television quite a bit. But, when you look at this team, this is a U.S. men's national team that failed to even qualify for the World Cup in 2018.

How big a moment is this win for them? J.J. DEVANEY: It's huge. It's a huge moment. And when you take yourself back to that moment when we didn't qualify for Russia in 2018, the U.S. program was in turmoil. And now it's a completely young team. There's only one member of the 2014 World Cup site that remains in DeAndre Yedlin.

So, the youth and the fervor of this team, for them to get out of the group at their first attempt was very, very important. AMNA NAWAZ: J.J., as you well know, before a single minute was even played, the politics were part of this match. The protests back in Iran are now in their 10th week. The Iranian players in their very first match did not sing along to their national anthem. The U.S. soccer team briefly posted an altered image of Iran's flag without the emblem of

the Islamic Republic, they said in support of Iranian women. Look, the games aren't being played in a vacuum, but are they usually this politically charged? J.J. DEVANEY: Not really. I think this tournament has really highlighted politics in sport. It was always happening. Maybe we weren't paying attention.

Maybe, with social media, we weren't so aware. But from the minute, the spotlight has been on Qatar as hosts, their human rights record, their attitude to LGBTQ+ people. So, there was a spotlight already on the tournament.

And then it was heightened when the -- when, obviously, the Iranian protests continued to really affect the team on the field, and then, of course, the action that was taken by the U.S. Soccer Federation, not by the team. I should say that. The team were unaware of the social media stance that USSF would take. And I think it caught them on the hop somewhat. And Gregg Berhalter in that press conference yesterday distanced the team from that decision. But you're right.

There's a lot going on in this World Cup, and even Serbia and Albania involved in heightening that kind of that -- that talk about that regional dispute, the Serbians putting a flag in their locker room before the Brazil game with the flag of Serbia and Kosovo superimposed over it. So this has been -- this has been a tournament that really has highlighted geopolitical issues, and they have come to the fore. AMNA NAWAZ: You mentioned that press conference yesterday. That was fiery, to say the least.

And you saw Iranian journalists in particular putting some really tough questions to U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter, also to the U.S. captain, Tyler Adams. Adams was asked by one journalist if he is OK playing for a country in which there is so much discrimination against Black people.

Adams said this in response to that, in part. He said: "There's discrimination everywhere you go. One thing I have learned, especially from living abroad in the past years, is having to fit in different cultures and kind of assimilate into different cultures. He said: "In the U.S., we're continuing to make progress every single day. I think, as long as you see progress, that is the most important thing." J.J., you have watched a lot of these pre-match press conferences.

What did you make watching that one? J.J. DEVANEY: I thought it was extremely aggressive, and not usually the kind of topic that comes up in a press conference, a soccer press conference. I mean, the aggressive tone was from the start. First of all, Adams was attacked in terms of his -- the way he pronounced Iran, and then taken to task over the racial injustice issues in the United States.

Gregg Berhalter was asked questions about the position of U.S. Naval fleets in the Persian Gulf. So this was really just a kind of a -- I think it was inflamed by the U.S. social media posts.

And there seemed to be some kind of backlash from Iranian journalists, many of them state journalists. But you don't see that regularly. It's never usually like that. AMNA NAWAZ: Of course, we have many more games to go.

So, look ahead for me. The U.S. men's national team will now face the Netherlands in the next round, the knockout rounds. Can they win? J.J.

DEVANEY: Yes, they can. The Netherlands haven't exactly pulled up any trees. They did qualify with some ease out of their group. But they haven't quite been the team that we expected. They are vulnerable. And the U.S. have proven that they can control the ball, they can control the game.

Can they score enough goals? That's the question. AMNA NAWAZ: That's the question. We will be watching. J.J.

Devaney, host of the soccer podcast "Caught Offside," thank you for joining us. J.J. DEVANEY: Thanks for having me. JUDY WOODRUFF: And we will be back shortly.

But, first, take a moment to hear from your local PBS station. It's a chance to offer your support, which helps to keep programs like ours on the air. For those stations staying with us, we take an encore look at efforts to create sustainable fishing through what's known as aquaculture. As Miles O'Brien reports, increased demand for seafood has led to more fish farming and more controversy. MILES O'BRIEN: If you build it, they will swim. Smack dab in the middle of a cornfield in Albany, Indiana, sits an impressive display of nature meeting human ingenuity.

The crops are a long way from home. Why the watch? SYLVIA WULF, President and CEO, AquaBounty Technologies: Biosecurity is absolutely critical, because we have to protect the fists from anything that could harm them, like virus, pathogens, et cetera. MILES O'BRIEN: That's Sylvia Wulf, president and CEO of AquaBounty, a company focused on fish farming, minus the ocean. It does seem like an unlikely place to see thousands of salmon.

SYLVIA WULF: I would say most people would say it's unusual to see them in big tanks, but this is the future. MILES O'BRIEN: It's a completely enclosed fish farm. They produce 1,200 metric tons of salmon a year, moving them from tank to tank as they grow, swimming against currents of conventional wisdom. SYLVIA WULF: And we want to make sure that we're creating an affordable healthy protein alternative, so that more people can choose it.

MILES O'BRIEN: This is salmon for the masses? SYLVIA WULF: Salmon for the masses. MILES O'BRIEN: She walked me through the stages of growth. SYLVIA WULF: These guys are three to four months old. They swim, they eat, they poop.

That's what they do. MILES O'BRIEN: That's life. SYLVIA WULF: That's life. So these guys have reached their harvest weight. So they're going to be shipped to market. We're going to harvest.

They have been here, they have been in a farm for roughly 19-ish months. MILES O'BRIEN: That's about six to eight months less than other Atlantic salmon. That's because these fish, all sterile females, are genetically engineered.

Thirty years ago, scientists spliced in a growth hormone gene from Pacific Chinook salmon, which are hardier, more voracious eaters. They also added a so-called promoter gene from ocean pout fish which turns the growth gene on. SYLVIA WULF: They eat and eat and eat. And so they grow faster, not larger, faster.

But the other thing is, they're incredibly efficient in the way that they process their feed into body mass. And so we actually can feed our fish less to get that accelerated growth rate. MILES O'BRIEN: In 2015, AquaBounty salmon became the first genetically modified animal approved for human consumption by the Food and Drug Administration. The government is requiring it be labeled bioengineered. But critics say regulators didn't require the company to do enough research.

They are concerned eating the fish might cause unforeseen consequences to human health. Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski is a strong critic. SEN.

LISA MURKOWSKI (R-AK): We call this combination Frankenfish, because it's just not right. It's just not right. And it disturbs me, quite honestly. MILES O'BRIEN: The FDA has mandated the salmon be raised in secure land-based facilities.

AquaBounty has never reported an escape. But opponents of the GMO salmon are concerned they might harm wild fisheries. Indigenous fishers in Alaska are among activists calling for a boycott. Fawn Sharp is vice president of the Quinault Indian Nation. FAWN SHARP, Vice President, Quinault Indian Nation: The Quinault Nation opposes genetically engineered salmon because we believe very strongly that the salmon were gifted to our ancestors from the creator.

And when the creator made and designed salmon, it was perfect. And for man to think that they could somehow modify it and make it better is very arrogant. It's not right. MILES O'BRIEN: The boycott campaign has worked. Many big food service companies and grocers are vowing not to sell AquaBounty salmon. So far, only two distributors have signed on.

SYLVIA WULF: The opposition is pretty loud, but it's a -- what we call a very vocal minority. And what it does is it creates this uncertainty in the consumers' mind, but they're willing to listen. MILES O'BRIEN: AquaBounty is expanding, despite the pushback. In April, the company broke ground on a $350 million full-scale production facility in Pioneer, Ohio, able to produce 10,000 metric tons of fish annually. The company is seeking a state permit to draw five million gallons a day from the aquifer.

ETHAN DAHLEN, WANE 15: Outside of North Central High School, a group of about a dozen protesters were making themselves heard today. MILES O'BRIEN: Sparking opposition and a lot of local media coverage. Sylvia Wulf says AquaBounty has installed an elaborate water filtration and treatment system. She says the company releases only treated clean water back into rivers and creeks. To the extent that water comes out of this facility, is it pretty clean? SYLVIA WULF: It is.

We have our own wastewater treatment facility in the back of the farm. So we're actually taking any water discharge, putting it through our water -- wastewater treatment to make sure that, as we discharge it, we also have settling ponds, which continue to remove any -- anything that wouldn't -- we wouldn't want discharged into the creek or the river. And we're monitored very closely by Indiana EPA and the federal EPA. MILES O'BRIEN: Landlocked fish-farming is energy-intensive and expensive.

Author and journalist Paul Greenberg has spent much of his career focused on the fishing industry. PAUL GREENBERG, Author, "Four Fish": It's very high energy costs to keep water at a constant temperature and keep that water circulating. All these kinds of things that nature does on its own in a tank-based situation, you have to pay for. So it's hard to make that profit margin work. MILES O'BRIEN: But demand for seafood is rising.

And about 70 percent of the fish we eat in the U.S. is important. When compared to fish flown in from Norway, Scotland or Chile, the delivered cost of salmon raised on land might be on particular. But can an indoor fish compete on taste? I asked AquaBounty to send me a sample. Wow. They give us the whole darn fish, didn't they? My partner Suzi (ph) cooked it up. This looks like regular salmon? WOMAN: Yes, this looks like any Atlantic salmon that I would cook.

MILES O'BRIEN: OK. And it passed the test. Consistency is good. Smells great. It's delicious.

Seafood without the sea, it might be one way to help feed the planet. But it comes with a side of controversy and concern. It's definitely not a free lunch.

For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Miles O'Brien in Albany, Indiana. JUDY WOODRUFF: Elizabeth Yeampierre is an attorney and a climate justice leader born and raised in New York City. As executive director of UPROSE, Brooklyn's oldest Latino community-based organization. She's leading change in sustainable development, environmental justice, and community-led adaptation. Tonight, she shares her Brief But Spectacular take on community resiliency. ELIZABETH YEAMPIERRE, Executive Director, UPROSE: My father died of an asthma attack when he was in his early 50s.

My mom just had lung cancer and passed away recently. I had a bilateral pulmonary embolism that almost took me out a few years ago. And what we all have in common in my family is that we were all born and raised in what we call environmental justice communities. So, this problem of environmental racism is personal. You grow up in a family that has asthma, upper respiratory disease, living in the midst of spaces where there are brownfields, lead paint, and the kinds of emissions that harm our community, as descendants of colonialism and extraction and enslavement, we are particularly susceptible to toxic exposure. I think it was around 1996 when a woman in the community told me that she would get up in the middle of the night to see if her children were still breathing.

They lived under the Gowanus Expressway. And I realized that, if we couldn't breathe, we couldn't fight for justice, that, literally, there wasn't anything more fundamental than the right to breathe. That's like my entry into the environmental justice movement. Environmental justice is the disparate citing of environmental burdens in low income-communities and communities of color. All we need to do is look at Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Maria, Hurricane Andrew, and you will know who was impacted most.

Literally, the people least responsible for creating climate change, Black, indigenous, people of color, people who have -- historically have always lived within their carbon footprint, those are the communities that are most devastated and most impacted by climate change. I think, if our ancestors had thought that everything was hopeless when they were in shackles, when they would be brutally beaten, we wouldn't be here right now. And so I tell young people to get lessons from their ancestors, and remember that we are supposed to be fighting, building beyond this moment of crisis right now.

When you do this work, the people that you love that have been toiling under the worst circumstances for generations aren't at those tables that we're at. And so we bring that narrative with us. We bring that personal story with us.

We can't separate that personal narrative, that narrative from policy, from science, from research, from data collection, from decision-making. Everything that we do is shaped by the concern to ensure that future generations are not impacted like our families have been. My name is Elizabeth Yeampierre, and this is my Brief But Spectacular take on climate justice. JUDY WOODRUFF: So important to hear that perspective. And that's the "NewsHour" for tonight. I'm Judy Woodruff.

Join us online and again here tomorrow evening. For all of us at the "PBS NewsHour," thank you, please stay safe, and we'll see you soon.

2022-12-06 02:59

Show Video

Other news