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tv   Worldfocus  PBS  August 6, 2009 12:00am-12:30am EDT

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>> tonight on "worldfocus" -- back home, as two american journalists freed by north korea enjoy an emotional homecoming, we ask, what did america have to give to get them back, and why is south korea concerned? in iran, as police confronted protesters shouting death to the dictator, mahmoud ahmadinejad is sworn in as president nearly two months after his disputed elections triggered massive unrest. while most of the world has moved on from the story of the battle by pakistani troops to oust the taliban from the swat
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valley, we check in on the humanitarian crisis it triggered and find it far from over. and in a reminder of the "people power" she inspired more than two decades ago. tens of thousands of filipinos turn out in manila to bid former president corazon aquino farewell. from the world's leading reporters and analysts, here is what's happening from around the world. this is "worldfocus." made possible, in part, by the following funders -- good evening, i'm martin savidge. they had been detained for five months and faced 12 years in a north korean prison camp. but this morning american journalists laura ling and euna lee were finally back on american soil freed after a surprise visit to north korea by former president bill clinton. as ling put it, the two women were finally "home and free." it's an emotional story that's gripped the world for the past
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24 hours. but it's far more than just a personal tale. as we explain in our "lead focus" tonight, this is a story with major diplomatic implications -- one that has some of our closest allies a bit uneasy. >> ladies and gentlemen, please help me in welcoming home laura ling and euna lee! >> journalists euna lee and laura ling arrived home earlier this morning in burbank, california. their safe return, the culmination of a nearly five-month ordeal. an emotional ling told the crowd of the moment when they realized they'd been freed. >> we were taken to a location, and when we walked through the doors, we saw standing before us president bill clinton. >> donald kirk is a correspondent for the christian science monitor.
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he has spent the past 12 years based in south korea. >> caller: i think it's a big deal in the sense that it says something about u.s./north korean relations. the fact that kim jong-il was glad to receive a high-profile american visitor in the form of bill clinton was certainly interesting. there's hope that perhaps it'll be possible to resume negotiations on one level or another. >> outside of the united states, reaction was mixed. in nairobi at a conference of african leaders, secretary of state hillary clinton told reporters, she was "excited' by the news. nonetheless, she reiterated america's hard line regarding north korea's nuclear program. >> they have a choice. they can continue to follow a path that is filled with provocative actions, or they can decide to renew their discussions. >> in south korea, reaction to
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the news of the release of lee and ling was noticeably subdued. north korea currently detains several hundred south koreans, some of whom accidentally strayed into north korean territory. others thought to be prisoners from the war of the 1950s. >> caller: far from being encouraged by the fact that these americans were let go, i think that south korea's position might be, why do they let these americans go? and say nothing about us? leaving us out in the cold as usual. refusing to talk to us. refusing to let our people -- refusing to let our people go. and so i think that this might actually be a source of concern, if not anger amongst people in south korea. >> for more on this, we turn once again to charles armstrong, professor of korean studies and director of the center for korean research at colombian university. good to have you back. >> nice to be back. >> why now? why did the north koreans seem
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do an about-face and suddenly become magnanimous with the united states? >> it seems the north koreans have showed the world what they wanted to show. that kim jong-il's in charge that he's a tough leader that they have the capacity to produce a nuclear weapon to test their missiles. and that they have to be taken seriously. and now kim jong-il is ready to make concession and make this magnanimous gesture of releasing the two american journalists. >> what does north korea expect to get out of this? i know you described it's a good pr campaign. i guess what i'm asking is, is the photo opportunity with president bill clinton unto itself worth letting those journalists go? >> well the importance of a photo-op with former president bill clinton should not be underestimated. it's very important for kim jong-il's for his image domestically that he brought this visit to pyongyang to meet with him and to show around the world. but we can assume that north korea expects something beyond that. that they are sending a signal that they may be ready to come
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into negotiations again with the u.s. and move forward and improving relations. >> mr. clinton comes home with a wealth of information. i mean, the sit-down with the president in north korea tells us a great deal about him, doesn't it? >> yes, it does. there's been a lot of speculation about kim jong-il's health, about his state of mind, but his capacity as a leader. and now bill clinton has met with him, had extensive talks, and can give us a much better sense than we have before of how kim jong-il is doing. >> and that benefits us in what way as we move forward? >> well, we didn't know whether kim jong-il was really in charge, or if he was passing on his leadership to someone else. now it seems that he is in control and he's the one we have to deal with and the regime itself is under his command and we're going to have to deal with this regime for the time being. >> who's court is the ball in now? >> there are a couple of tngs that will be going on. we can assume. first, there will be
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negotiations behind the scenes between obama administration officials and north koreans about where we go from here. and north korea will expect some sort of -- an offer from the united states down the road about what it will expect for north korea to come back to negotiations. >> and if i'm south korea, if i'm japan, how do i view all of this? >> with some concern. south koreans and the japanese have their own issues, which are not the same, that the u.s. has with north korea. and they're not all that excited and enthusiastic about the u.s. dealing with north korea directly without them. but moving forward, no real substantial change in policy in north korea is going to happen without the u.s. consulting with its key allies in the region, south korea and japan. >> charles armstrong, thank you very much. >> thank you. protesters took to the streets again today in iran, shouting death to the dictator, as president mahmoud ahmadinejad was sworn in for his second
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term. amateur video posted on the internet showed what was said to be groups of people gathering near the parliament building in tehran, where that inauguration was held. state run television reported that 5,000 security forces were deployed in the area. witnesses claim that police used tear gas and batons to break up the antigovernment rallies. even with ahmadinejad now officially installed as president, iran's opposition leaders are promising more protests. itn's carl dinnen reports on today's ceremony and what's next for iran's government. >> reporter: mahmoud ahmadinejad has tightened his grit on a second term. he has sworn the oath of office. >> translator: i, as the president, swear to god before the holy quran and the iranian nation that i will protect the official religion, the system of the islamic republic and the country's constitution. >> reporter: then a faultless embrace with the head of the iranian judiciary. maybe they'd been practicing
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since this embrace with the supreme leader two days ago seemed so very malcoordinated. today, mr. ahmadinejad went on to tell the western government who had not congratulated him and that includes britain that iranians didn't care. >> translator: nobody in iran is waiting for your congratulations. the iranian nation does not give importance neither to your friends and threats, not to your congratulations and smiles. >> reporter: but even inside parliament always is not as it seemed. many had boycotted the ceremony, including former presidents mohammad khatami and akbar hasemi rafsanjani. the seats apparently filled out with sports stars and celebrities. mr. ahmadinejad's troubles are not over. >> we've got a president of time where he's trying to build a cabinet with his challenges from his own conservative side as well as from the reformist and opposition camps over the next
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few weeks until he's prayed to the cabinet. >> reporter: outside parliament a few pictures have been smuggled out of riot police motorbikes but the media are banned from filming demonstrations. as the ceremony ended, witnesses said there were hundreds of protesters outside and at least ten arrests. and the clampdown continues. its emerged that spectators will be banned from a football match later this week to avoid any risk of political unrest. a reminder of the cold war tonight. "the new york times" is reporting that two russian nuclear-powered attack submarines are on a rare mission off the east coast of the united states. the subs are in international miles more than 200 miles offshore but still closer to the united states than at anytime in the past 15 years.
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according to one defense department official quoted anonymously in "the times," any time the russian navy does something so out of the ordinary it's caused for worry. the u.s. navy continues to track the subs which they believe are on a surveillance mission. the united states military command in afghanistan's investigating a new claim that an air strike killed four civilians this morning. it happened in a village near the city of kandahar in southern afghanistan. later the bodies of three boys and a man were brought to kandahar, where local residents called for the death of those responsible. the crowd was dispersed by police. in neighboring pakistan, military officials claim a missile strike killed the wife of one of the taliban's top leaders today. the missile strike reportedly hit a house in a town in northwestern pakistan's lawless tribal region of south waziristan. intelligence officials say one the victims was the wife of baitullah mehsud. mehsud is suspected of involvement in the assassination of former prime minister benazir bhutto and dozens of suicide attacks.
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and that brings us to our signature story tonight. the humanitarian crisis in pakistan. we reported extensively about how the pakistani military under pressure from washington has moved aggressively after the taliban in the swat valley, but once it did, an estimated 2 million people fled that region to an area known as mardan, overwhelming services there. aide workers from the irish humanitarian group called concerned worldwide recently visited the affected area and documented the very difficult concerns there. they shared their videos and interviews with our "worldfocus" producer yuval lion who brings thus report. >> reporter: children were back in class this weekend in pakistan's battled-scarred swat valley. we open schools is a psychologically important step in this religion. the taliban had destroyed schools, particularly those teaching girls. but attendance was low.
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of the 2 million people who had fled swat and the surrounding area when the pakistani army mounts a military campaign in late april to oust the taliban, only about one-third have returned home. the reports from inside swat indicate that they are returning to towns with electricity and water shortages and where food is scarce. and security's still a concern in some parts of swat where the pakistani military continues to fight the taliban. just two weeks ago, richard holbrooke, the u.s. special envoy to afghanistan and pakistan, was denied permission to visit the swat capital city of mingora, due to security concerns. the lack of security and services are just some of the reasons that more than a million refugees have not started to go home. jamrod, a 63-year-old refugee from swat was so traumatized by what happened there that he's too frightened to return. [ speaking in native tongue ].
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>> reporter: like jamrod, most of the refugees are still in the neighboring district of mardan. the massive influx of refugees doubled mardan's population to 2 million. >> what we've seen in pakistan in the last few months is we've seen an incredibly rapid displacement of people. it's unusually rapid even for other places in the world. so in a really few months almost 2 million people that we know of that have been verified as being displaced have chosen to leave their homes suddenly. >> reporter: only about 15% of refugees in mardan were held in camps like these. they have now returned home and the camp's dismantled. but majority of refugees continue to live in cramped conditions with relatives or host families or squatting in a few thousand schools in the area.
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>> six. >> more than 60. >> 60 people in one house. one house. >> reporter: some schools have also been used as aid distribution points. concern worldwide, an irish humanitarian organization came to this school outside of the toughen mardan last month to hand out nonperishable items like mats, jerry cans, mosquito nets, and cooking equipment. >> the suggestions come from idps from displaced people. that we need these items especially hygiene kits, kitchen sets, jerry cans to solve their daily problems. >> reporter: before the distribution begins, concerned staffers determine each bag will receive. and then each representative is signed in and registered as a refugee. finally they receive their supplies and carefully take testimony back to their families.
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the aid group says they have helped more than 3,500 families, close to 25,000 people. dorothy blane who is concerned world wide direct nor pakistan believes refugees will need help even after they return home. >> we in international community and the government, in more, otherwise we're just sending people back to fail. they're going to be driven out again by the lack of these basic services so i think it's absolutely vital that we remember that our commitment is not just during the time that they're displaced but also during the return. >> reporter: while in mardan, these refugees will continue to put a strain on the resources of their host communities. which is why the pakistani government is pressing for most of them to head home by the end of august. whether they will actually return to swat, defends on if the refugees believe their situation will be better back home. >> for more about all of this, we are joined tonight by dominic macsorley. he is the operation's manager of correspond world wide u.s. and recently returned fr pakistan. thanks for joining us. how great is the humanitarian crisis in that area today?
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>> this is a huge crisis. i mean on the scale of -- it's been referenced to on the scale of rwanda, just in terms of the numbers of people that have been forced to flee and that have been displaced. so 2 million people three months ago fled their homes. some of them overnight. some of them with very, very little notice. and basically swamped the areas of mardan and districts around that. so in terms of crisis, this is big and it's still big. >> but i thought, you know, as many people in this country probably believed, people had started returning back to the swat valley, going back home and this, this crisis was slowly starting to alleviate itself? >> well, that's partly true. some people have gone home about 600,000 of the 2 million you know have voted with their feat and are heading home now there are problems with that because not everyone are actually going hole. there are still fighting going
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on in some of the mountainous areas. the challenge is going to be, if they do get home can, they stay? is the fighting really over? the second thing is, they need a lot of support. they need at least six months' support, because otherwise if they don't get that, they're going home to fail. >> but judge by the numbers that you just gave there, there's still the majority of people who had not returned. so what struck you most by what you saw when you were there? >> well, you know, the interesting thing about this emergency is that it hasn't been that physical. and i think part of the reason is because 90% of the population you know didn't end up in large refugee centers or tents, 200,000, 300,000 did. the majority of them went into homes. homes of friends or homes of relatives. now i met a man -- and you think well, maybe that's good. well, i met a man, a teacher and his wife. they weren't well off. they have a two-bedroom house. and they had taken in 54 people. most of them friends and relatives. that's 64 people living in a two-bedroom house with one bathroom. and he had already used up all of his savings in the first month to try to support these people because these are
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tradition, pashtun. they are basically guests. and this was repeated house after house after house. it was an enormous, enormous overwhelming problem on the community. >> what's been the international response here to this refugee crisis? >> i think insufficient is really the word. the u.n. had an appeal out for $540 million, and that's really just to cover the basics. we are not talking about plastic sheeting, we're talking about pots and pans. not talking about anything luxurious here and only 50% is funded. when i there was i was deciding we had 500 blankets. there are 5,000 people there, who do we give them do? we ran out of funding and that's why we are forced to make those decisions and those are not good decisions to be making. >> i don't want to run out of time before i ask you for people who are listening, what can they do if they want >> i think that people need to stay informed. this is not over and this is not going to be over for some time, and i think that we absolutely have to stay informed. and we are dependent as everybody is on -- from the
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contributions and that needs to start, otherwise we're leaving these people in the lerch. >> dominic macsorley, thank you very much for speaking with us and for your work. >> thank you very much, martin. tens of thousands of filipinos turned out today in manila for the funeral of what they call the mother of democracy, cafrazon aquino. aquino led the people democracy in the 1980s and was president of the philippines for six years. al jazeera english reporter veronica pedrosa has the story of the funerals. and what the future holds for politics in the philippines. >> of the father and of the sign and of the holy spirit. >> reporter: requiem for the woman who personified in the philippines.
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former president corazon aquino. her family refused to stake funeral but this was afar from private affair. how could it be be otherwise for the unassuming widow who ended up leading a nonviolent 20th century version of the storming of the bastile, now known as people power. aquino had a very personal appeal. everyone calls her tita or aunt corrie. but truth is that the funeral and wake are also exposing heat risk within the political elite and society itself. this wake is the backdrop for a political drama because aquino was also the matron of a political dynasty. battle lines are being drawn. the philippine's only months away from elections so it's made news that the aquino family were apparently hostile to the current president or royal attending the proceedings.
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muslims in manila are joining in the capital's grief. this lady says she thinks aquino did many good things, the christians and muslims alike and in uniting them. >> i believe in god, the father -- >> reporter: in her later years, mrs. aquino carved out a role for herself as guardian of the spirit of people power. she spoke out against attempts by two presidents including a royal to extend their terms through constitutional change. together, with the catholic church, she once again tried to organize mass demonstrations. now that she's gone, it's not likely that anyone else will be able to legitimize anymore surprisings on manilla treats. aquino's funeral has revived memories of the philippine's shining moment and it could also set the tone for a potentially divisive political future. veronica pedrosa, al jazeera, manila. >> the aquino funeral drew comments from bloggers throughout the world today. in our "blogwatch" tonight a
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personal view from aileen siroy in the philippines. "i cried buckets when corrie died and while watching the requiem mass i was sad of the passing of an amazing woman who sacrificed a lot to bring back democracy and freedom to this country. she has given us these amazing gifts which we are enjoying now and i feel like i've lost someone very close to me." around the world economies now fall and rise almost in unison, and just as recession spread from country to country, as things begin to improve, solutions are now spreading. we've first brought you the story of cash for clunkers, rebates for buyers of new fuel-efficient cars who turned in their old models from germany and britain. the program's now wildly successful here in the united
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states. tonight we have word that the australians are catching clunker fever. nicole chettle of abc australia has the story. >> deals on wheels, cash for clunkers has buyers racing to showrooms -- >> reporter: it's the billion-dollar program that's revived the ailing u.s. car industry. unprecedented demand has set the cash registers ringing. >> it's worth preserving as businesses in a stimulus like that would work wonders for this country. >> reporter: the idea is to pay buyers to trade in their old car for a more fuel-efficient model. >> they will recycle your ride and get you a rebate of up to $4,500. >> reporter: ford says the offer's turned around its sales decline. supporters say it means less pollution, better on road safety, and puts a new car republican reach of low-income earners. similar programs have driven up car sales in europe. but the federal government says the big wheel is there where the
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makers with imported cars, not locally-made models, and it's not convinced that a cash for clunkers-style program here is the best way to support local manufacturers. the government's already offering generous rebates for businesses buying new cars, but the motor traders association says that's mainly fleet sales generating precious little profit. it says, dealers deserve a better deal. >> the dealers in profitable terms are still in a very, very difficult situation. and those jobs in that industry are very fragile. >> reporter: recyclers would also benefit as old clunkers go to the grave. and the industry says it'll not only boost scrap metal exports but give australia the chance to kick-start production at home. >> we need make sure that we salvage them, we get the best value out of those salvages and that we reuse those materials whenever possible in our own nation. >> reporter: the u.s., at least,
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is riding the wave. it's asked for another incentive of $2 billion to keep the scheme on the road. nicole chettle, abc news. >> and that's "worldfocus" for a wednesday night. a reminder, visit our website at i'm martin savidge in new york. as always, thank you very much for joining us. we'll look for you back here again tomorrow and anytime on the web. until then, have a good night. "worldfocus" is made possible, in part, by the following funders -- -- captions by vitac --
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