PBS NewsHour full episode December 25, 2019

AMNA NAWAZ: Good evening. I’m Amna Nawaz. Judy Woodruff is away. On the “NewsHour” tonight: reviewing the year
in climate, the extraordinary impact environmental change has had on our planet in 2019. Then: the state of the world — a decade-long
look back at the trends around the globe and what they mean for the United States. Plus, on the “NewsHour” Bookshelf, “The Other
Americans.” Novelist Laila Lalami examines immigration
and identity through fiction. And united, we sing. Members of the United States armed forces
around the world perform “Carol of the Bells.” All that and more on tonight’s “PBS NewsHour.” (BREAK) AMNA NAWAZ: Yet another wave of anti-government
demonstrations paralyzed parts of Hong Kong on this Christmas Day. Black-clad protesters descended on the streets
of a busy shopping district. Riot police used tear gas to disperse crowds. Meanwhile, hundreds marched through malls
chanting pro-democracy slogans. The city has been upended by more than six
months of unrest against police use of force and mainland China’s influence. New protests erupted in India’s capital today
over a controversial new citizenship law. Students, writers and activists gathered at
a college campus in New Delhi to denounce the legislation. It grants expedited citizenship to migrants
illegally in the country, excluding Muslims. Protesters accused the government of violating
India’s secular constitution. MAN: India has been shaken. The idea of constitution has been shaken by
this government. And when the soul of constitution has been
targeted by Indian government, then it has changed in this regime. AMNA NAWAZ: Peaceful protests also continued
in India’s eastern state of Assam. We will take a broader look at the recent
wave of protests around the world later in the program. More than 200,000 Syrians have fled an onslaught
of violence in Idlib province in recent weeks. That’s according to the Syrian Response Coordination
Group, a relief group active in the area. The exodus continued today, as crammed trucks
headed north towards the Turkish border. Civilians are being pushed out by Syrian President
Bashar al-Assad’s forces working to regain control of Syria’s last rebel stronghold. There was temporary relief in Australia today,
as cooler weather slowed down the spread of devastating wildfires. But forecasters warned higher temperatures
are expected to return this weekend. About 2,000 firefighters spent this Christmas
holiday battling more than 70 fires still burning in New South Wales. IAN WEDGE, Firefighter: Fire doesn’t stop
just because it’s Christmas. So, some of the crews have to keep working
and monitor the fire. Luckily, today, we have got benign weather,
and not everybody has to be out here. AMNA NAWAZ: In his annual Christmas address
today, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison paid tribute to two firefighters who died
last week battling fires southwest of Sydney. And this Christmas Day brought a number of
celebrations, both solemn and festive, around the world. Christians in Bethlehem sang hymns of worship,
while, in Germany, brave swimmers dove into icy waters for their annual Christmas plunge. U.S. troops stationed in South Korea gathered
to enjoy a Christmas feast. Meanwhile, President Trump and first lady
Melania Trump, who are celebrating the holiday in Florida, sent this message to all Americans
serving abroad: DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
We say a special prayer for those military service members stationed far from home. And we renew our hope for peace among nations
and joy to the world. AMNA NAWAZ: Pope Francis also hoped for peace
during his annual Christmas Day message in St. Peter’s Square. He spoke to the plight of migrants and refugees,
and said the light of Christ was stronger than human suffering. The pope also issued a separate statement
with the head of the Anglican Church and the former moderator of the Church of Scotland
urging South Sudan’s rival leaders to form a coalition government early next year. Still to come on the “NewsHour”: the year
in climate change, what it means for the Earth’s future; recounting the major global events
of the decade and their impact on the world; concerns about the ability to repair Paris’
Notre Dame Cathedral; and much more. By almost any measure, 2019 was a year of
especially sobering news about climate change, not only because of new findings and grim
warnings about what could happen, but because some — of some extreme weather events happening
now. It was also a year where a movement grew from
the ground up to try and tackle the problem. But, as Miles O’Brien explains, the call for
action was often divorced from political reality. His report tonight is part of our regular
coverage of the Leading Edge of Science. MILES O’BRIEN: When Apollo astronauts looked
back at the tiny blue marble in the vast inky void that we call home, they were awestruck
by its beauty. That, you might have predicted. MIKE COLLINS, Former NASA Astronaut: But there
was a surprising aspect. Somehow, the Earth projected a feeling of
fragility. MILES O’BRIEN: Apollo 11 crew member Mike
Collins. MIKE COLLINS: If I had to describe just in
one word what the Earth looked like from the moon, I would say fragile. MILES O’BRIEN: Fifty years later, the collision
between that fragility and humanity’s indifference to it came closer to home, much closer. When the final numbers come in, scientists
predict 2019 will be the second or third hottest year on record. It means the past six years were the warmest
six since humans started keeping track. In Australia, they are feeling the heat like
never before. On December 18, the country logged its hottest
day on record, a national average high of 107.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Along with the heat came hundreds of wildfires
fueled by drought-parched brush. Wildfires once again ravaged California this
year. A quarter million acres burned. In September, the remnants of Tropical Storm
Imelda dumbed more than 43 inches of rain in Texas. The seventh wettest cyclone to hit the U.S.
left $2 billion in damage behind. And also in September, Category 5 Hurricane
Dorian slow-rolled the Bahamas. WAYNE NEELY, Bahamas Meteorological Office:
The waters are extremely warm. It’s warmer than normal. And so you have conditions for a perfectly
exploding storm. MILES O’BRIEN: Meteorologist watched Wayne
Neely the satellite images with equal parts disbelief and terror. WAYNE NEELY: I knew that, beneath that storm,
beneath that image, there was going to be great devastation. I knew that houses were going to be toppled. I know that buildings were going to be destroyed. Life was going to be impacted. I knew that there was going to be deaths. It had a pit in my stomach for that. MILES O’BRIEN: Dorian’s 20-foot storm surge
killed 67 and obliterated 13,000 homes, the impact made greater by rising sea levels,
which, in November, helped turn high tides in Venice into the worst flooding in more
than 50 years. And the threat of even greater sea level rise
looms, as the West Antarctic ice sheet faces further assault. The water captured of the ice here would raise
global sea levels by more than 10 feet. And scientists have concluded Thwaites Glacier,
which accounts for two feet of that, is more precarious than they once thought. Early in the year, a NASA airborne radar found
a 1,000-foot hole at the base of the glacier. New York University mathematician David Holland
is there now, a lead version with the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration. DAVID HOLLAND, International Thwaites Glacier
Collaboration: We are trying to head to that location now to carry out a field campaign
to investigate how warm ocean waters are currently causing it to change elevation and melt very
rapidly. MILES O’BRIEN: Our oceans, which absorb so
much of the heat humans are creating, are changing rapidly. Temperature-sensitive coral reefs continue
their precipitous decline. We have lost more than one-quarter of them
in the last 30 years. And scientists who study one of the fastest
warming bodies of seawater in the world, the Gulf of Maine, are making a grim forecast
for the next 30 years. ANDREW PERSHING, Gulf of Maine Research Institute:
If the planet continues to warm up at an accelerated rate because we haven’t taken care of the
carbon problem, that’s when Maine starts to have temperatures that feel more like you
would think of New Jersey. And we don’t really think of New Jersey as
a lobster state. As the planet steadily warms, the scientific
picture goes steadily clearer. In may, global dioxide levels surpassed 415
parts per million, an unprecedented high. In November, scientists gathered in Geneva
to deliver a stark warning: Global greenhouse gas emissions are still on the rise, and for
the world to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, we must reduce annual emissions
by 30 billion tons in the next decade. That is about half of what we emit now. INGER ANDERSEN, Executive Director, United
Nations Environmental Program: We would have to reduce our emissions. MILES O’BRIEN: Inger Andersen is executive
director of the United Nations Environmental Program. INGER ANDERSEN: Now, because of climate procrastination,
which we have essentially had during these 10 years, we are looking at a 7.6 percent
reduction every year. Is that possible? Absolutely. Will it take political will? Yes. Will we need to have the private sector lean
in? Yes. But the science tells us that we can do this. MILES O’BRIEN: But geopolitics tells us just
the opposite. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
The United States will withdraw in November. MILES O’BRIEN: The Trump administration began
withdrawal from the 2015 Paris agreement, under which 187 nations pledge to cut greenhouse
gas emissions enough to keep global temperatures from rising no more than two degrees Celsius
above pre-industrial levels. This set the stage for a failed United Nations
summit on climate in Madrid. The U.S., Brazil and Saudi Arabia successfully
blocked an agreement on how to implement the Paris goal. PATRICIA ESPINOSA, Executive Secretary, United
Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change: Thank you. Thank you, Madam President. Good morning to everyone. MILES O’BRIEN: Patricia Espinosa is executive
secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. PATRICIA ESPINOSA: We are not acting quickly
enough to enact the detransformation to our society that will save humanity’s future on
this planet. We are out of time. MILES O’BRIEN: Among those addressing the
summit, 16-year-old climate change activist Greta Thunberg, who this year mobilized a
global grassroots campaign to force politicians to recognize and respond to the realities
of climate science. In September, she sailed on a solar-powered
boat to the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. That’s where she sat down with the “NewsHour”s
William Brangham. GRETA THUNBERG, Climate Activist: We should
not underestimate ourselves, because, if — if lots of individuals go together, then we can
accomplish almost anything. So, that’s what I want people to take out
from this. MILES O’BRIEN: But are enough people ready? Turning the tide will require some hard choices
about how to power our future and pay the bill. But it does appear the public is at an inflection
point. This year, Gallup reported two-thirds of Americans
believe global warming is caused by pollution from human activities, rather than natural
changes in the environment. And yet only 44 percent say they worry a great
deal about it. But don’t count an intrepid Apollo astronaut
among them. MIKE COLLINS: I feel about the planet today
in a different way. Having gone out 240,000 miles and seeing it
gives me a much greater sense of fragility, a much greater urge to protect that fragility
as we go along. MILES O’BRIEN: In 2019, increasing numbers
of Earthlings got the same urge, not because they saw trouble from afar, but, rather, because
it came ever so close to home. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Miles O’Brien
on fragile planet Earth. AMNA NAWAZ: In foreign policy, the past 10
years have seen both transformation and inertia. In many countries, the leaders have changed,
but an authoritarian style of leadership hasn’t. New powers are emerging, but are as opaque
as ever. And evolving domestic politics could lead
to new relationships between the United States and its allies. “NewsHour”‘s chief foreign affairs correspondent,
Nick Schifrin, discusses this decade of discontent with three people who have shaped U.S. foreign
policy. NICK SCHIFRIN: As we close the 2010s, we look
back at this year and this decade in foreign affairs and global security. We will tackle a few main topics with an all-star
cast, Michele Flournoy, deputy secretary of defense under President Obama and co-founder
and managing partner of WestExec Advisors, a national security advisory firm, Rebeccah
Heinrichs, a former congressional security aide, now senior fellow at The Hudson Institute,
and, from London, Kori Schake, a National Security Council staff director under President
George W. Bush and soon to take over the Defense Policy Program at the American Enterprise
Institute. And thank you very much, and welcome all to
the “NewsHour.” I want to set up our first topic with a small
setup piece about the decade that began with the Arab Spring and that ends with worldwide
protests. From the streets of Cairo.. OMAR SULEIMAN, Former Egyptian Vice President
(through translator): President Hosni Mubarak has decided to step down. NICK SCHIFRIN: … and the demise of a dictator,
to Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution, protesters across the Middle East began the decade standing
up to U.S.-backed authoritarian leaders they considered corrupt. In Syria, young people called for a peaceful
transition of power, but the country descended into chaos and a civil and proxy war. The Arab Spring’s legacy is decidedly mixed. The decade is ending the way it began, across
the world, protesters objecting to what they call corruption, inequality, authoritarianism. From Bolivia and Chile, to Iran, Iraq and
Lebanon, popular protests are shaking established political systems, each fueled by local issues,
but united in frustration and fueled by optimism that a better life is within reach in this
decade of discontent. Rebeccah Heinrichs, when you think back to
the Arab Spring, when you think about the protests today, do you see stability replaced
with chaos? REBECCAH HEINRICHS, The Hudson Institute:
I do see stability replaced with chaos. I think, rather than the optimism that we
had at the beginning of the Arab Spring, it’s been replaced with, I think, realism and perhaps
mixed with pessimism that democracy can win the day simply by supporting the small groups
of people who would rightly wish to overthrow an authoritarian, even if that authoritarian
was more stable. So, now we had stable, authoritarian now replaced
with chaos. NICK SCHIFRIN: Kori Schake, that idea that
the stability that authoritarianism perhaps kept has been lost a little bit, when you
see U.S. policy going forward, do you believe that it should be more based on principle
than it has been? KORI SCHAKE, Former National Security Council
Staff Director: Absolutely it should be more based on principle. What people are protesting against in these
societies is terrible governance. They want the rule of law. They want predictability. They want representative governance. And the United States should always be on
the side of people demanding human dignity and individual rights. NICK SCHIFRIN: Michele Flournoy, is that realistic,
that the U.S. can always be on that side? MICHELE FLOURNOY, Former Defense Department
Official: Well, I do think we have to stand for democracy and freedom, better rights for
people. I mean, that is who we are. That’s our history. Those are our values. But the challenge is how to do that effectively. I think the best programs are the ones that
work long-term to invest in the foundations of civil society and sort of grow better governance
over time. NICK SCHIFRIN: Rebeccah Heinrichs, is that
realistic, long-term investment? Is the political appetite in the U.S. for
a long-term investment in these countries? REBECCAH HEINRICHS: I think long-term is the
only way it will work. I do not think that we have the political
appetite right now in the United States, especially after we see what’s happening in Afghanistan,
that our efforts there to create a democracy have not been met with fruit there that we
wish after 18 years. And so I think that this desire, which I think
is good, for the United States, that we want to see other countries share the freedoms
that we — that we have, that it almost cheapens democracy to think that we can simply, by
helping or assisting in toppling these authoritarian governments, that democracy will simply rise
and remain stable. That simply has not been proven out in reality. NICK SCHIFRIN: Kori Schake, is that how you
see it? And think about, for example, Saudi Arabia,
an example where U.S. policy has been controversial, especially because of human rights violations. KORI SCHAKE: So, I see it slightly different
than Rebeccah and Michele, in that I think the United States very often takes too much
responsibility for other people’s outcomes. And it’s certainly true that programs that
help build society and independent media and autonomous judiciaries, those are all good
long-term programs. But it’s not good enough to tell people, in
the next generation, you will have a government that supports individual — individual rights. And it seems to me that the craftsmanship
of governance is understanding when problems are ripe, that the amount of effort the United
States is willing to put to create change matches the moment. It’s our responsibility to judge when and
how we can help people create positive change for themselves. NICK SCHIFRIN: One of the places around the
world that people are creating their own opportunities certainly is Hong Kong. And we have seen major protests there. And so let’s take a little look at a setup
story about the state of China and U.S. affairs. In Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, the
people celebrate one man. After the removal of term limits, Xi Jinping
can be president for life. Under Xi, China has dramatically modernized
its military and created outposts in the South China Sea, ignoring international law and
U.S. objections. China has also expanded its influence abroad
with the most expensive infrastructure project in history and advanced technology. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
My administration has taken the toughest ever action to confront China’s trade abuses. NICK SCHIFRIN: But the Trump administration
has confronted China, both on trade and international influence, and has called China a revisionist
power whose goal is to displace U.S. preeminence. Michele Flournoy, are the U.S. and China destined
for conflict? MICHELE FLOURNOY: I certainly hope not, because
we’re both nuclear powers. But we are certainly destined for a period
of much greater competition, economically, technologically, for political influence around
the world, and also potentially in the military sphere. The best thing we can do is actually invest
in the drivers of our competitiveness here at home, whether it’s science and technology,
research and development, higher education, 21st century infrastructure. Why in the world do we not have a U.S. 5G
industry, for example? So, we are in for a longer competition. I — it would be a terrible failure of policy
if that necessarily ends in conflict. NICK SCHIFRIN: Kori Schake, part of confronting
China has — is the United States working with allies. Do you believe President Trump is working
with allies to confront China? KORI SCHAKE: No, I don’t. In fact, I think he’s squandering what is
America’s greatest strategic advantage in a competition with China, which is that we’re
historically pretty good at playing team sports. And China, because of its repression at home,
its intimidation abroad, its refusal to play by the existing rules of the international
order that have served the United States, other countries, including China, extraordinarily
well, China’s having a hard time getting anybody to support their view beyond Russia. And President Trump, because he seems unable
to prioritize which arguments he wants to have, he’s arguing with everybody all at once,
instead of making a common front with other countries who are nervous about China’s behavior
and who want American cooperation. NICK SCHIFRIN: Rebeccah Heinrichs, has President
Trump squandered an opportunity, as we just heard? REBECCAH HEINRICHS: I actually see it quite
differently. I think this is where President Trump has
the greatest strength in his administration, is that I really believe that, if it wasn’t
for this particular administration, the United States wouldn’t be talking about great power
competition with China in the way that we are, in the robust way that we are. You see — you see themes all the way from
senior administration officials talking about how China is not good at reciprocity, it’s
opaque, you can’t count on them. You have got businesses now taking a second
guess, looking — taking a second look at maybe they don’t want to invest so thoroughly
in China. So I’m optimistic about what the United States
is doing now to set us on a good track for the years to come. NICK SCHIFRIN: The U.S.’ oldest allies are
in Europe, and there are tensions between the United States and Europe and within Europe. So let’s take a look at a quick setup piece
about the state of Europe, NATO and the U.S. Beyond the traditional staged photos at the
NATO leaders meeting, the transatlantic alliance is facing a crisis of identity and confidence. President Trump questions the alliance’s foundation,
emphasizing shared spending, not shared values. French President Emmanuel Macron says Trump
has turned his back on NATO, and he recently called NATO brain-dead, in an attempt to shake
up its strategic assumptions. And Europe is facing its own shakeup. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) NICK SCHIFRIN: British Prime Minister Boris
Johnson just won a big political mandate based on his pledge to, in his words, get Brexit
done. Rebeccah Heinrichs, should the U.S. have a
tough conversation with Western Europe right now? REBECCAH HEINRICHS: I think that’s exactly
what we’re in the middle of. I think, you know, all of the things that
make so many people, I think, rightfully uncomfortable about President Trump, about his abrasive
approach and the way he talks to people, many of these things that President Trump has brought
up and raised are true, in fact. And, as a result, we do see NATO spending
more on defense, committing more on collective security. And then some of these other problems that
he’s raised, although they’re not fixed, it’s good that we’re now addressing these head
on. NICK SCHIFRIN: Kori Schake, NATO in a better
place after President Trump’s term or terms are done? KORI SCHAKE: No, I don’t think so. NATO has underlying problems that the president
has splashed a whole lot of attention to. But I think the question for the administration
is whether the president’s engagement with Europeans is going to solve those problems. And it doesn’t look to me like it is. It doesn’t look to me like it’s producing
greater European commitment. It does look to me like it is scaring Europeans
and encouraging our adversaries to question the Article 5 guarantee that NATO allies make
to each other, which is that an attack on one is an attack on all. So, the increased defense spending, including
by the United States, doesn’t compensate for the anxiety and the questioning of our fundamental
commitment. And that really is the result of the president’s
policies. NICK SCHIFRIN: Michele Flournoy, last word. This story isn’t only about the tensions within
the transatlantic alliance, but also when it comes to Turkey, who’s in NATO, obviously,
but also President Putin, who’s about to celebrate his 20th year in power. MICHELE FLOURNOY: Yes, but the two are related. So I think the fact that we have our European
allies questioning the U.S. commitment to NATO more fundamentally than they have since
NATO’s founding, that has created an opening. And it’s to the delight of Vladimir Putin
to be able to weaken NATO, to see dissension in NATO, and to start picking off allies like
Turkey, say, hey, if you know you can’t rely on the United States, you’re not sure of the
predictability of their policy, the reliability of their leadership, let me sell you some
air defenses for you. Sounds like a great deal, but that’s a wonderful
way to get in there and start dividing the alliance. NICK SCHIFRIN: Michele Flournoy, Rebeccah
Heinrichs, Kori Schake, thanks to you all. AMNA NAWAZ: And what a decade it’s been. Online, you can watch our in-depth series
on protest movements that broke out across the globe this year, with a deeper look tonight
at the unrest in Hong Kong. You can find that when you follow us on Instagram
@NewsHour. AMNA NAWAZ: Stay with us. Coming up on the “NewsHour”: breaking through
— Lilly Singh on becoming the first woman of color to host a network late-night show;
on the “NewsHour” Bookshelf, “The Other Americans,” immigrant stories immortalized in fiction;
and united, we sing — a version of the holiday classic “Carol of the Bells.” Today marked the first time since the French
Revolution that Notre Dame’s famed cathedral didn’t host a Christmas service. Instead, its congregation, clergy and choir
celebrated midnight mass at a church across from the Louvre Museum. Notre Dame’s monsignor warned there’s a 50
percent chance that the 12th century cathedral, damaged in a fire this year, cannot be fully
saved, that as French officials plan restoration and repair work for 2021. As Jeffrey Brown reported this fall, major
questions are being debated among the French about how best to save the cathedral. Here’s a reprise of that report. JEFFREY BROWN: They are the fallen angels,
once soaring high in the cathedral, now lying chipped, broken and contaminated in the Historical
Monument Research Laboratory in a suburb of Paris, where director Aline Magnien sums up
the daunting challenge of restoring Notre Dame. ALINE MAGNIEN, Historical Monument Research
Laboratory (through translator): It’s really a building site like no other. It’s quite an extraordinary project, which
is very difficult, very tough and very demanding at the same time. JEFFREY BROWN: From some angles today, you
can squint and imagine all is well at Notre Dame, but it is certainly not, and tourists
and locals alike still mourn. BEV WEISS, Tourist: Just devastated for the
world because of what a treasure it is. ARLINE MALLIMSON, Tourist: It’s the Eiffel
Tower and Notre Dame when you think of Paris. AURELIE CAPDEVIELLE, Paris Resident: A monument
burning is like the part of a piece of a story of humanity vanishing. JEFFREY BROWN: Visitors continue to come an
act of witness and just out of curiosity. But now they’re kept behind barriers, and
the entire site has been shut off to visitors. Inside, the cleanup work continues, and, all
around, the realization has grown of just how hard it will be to repair and restore
the great cathedral. JACKY BONNEMAINS, Robin Hood (through translator):
The dust is mainly concentrated in seals like this or on the banks of the Seine, between
cobbles or in inlays or in cracks like this. JEFFREY BROWN: An immediate and ongoing problem? Lead contamination. The fire melted hundreds of tons of lead in
the roof, and the smoke carried and spread it throughout the surrounding area. Jacky Bonnemains of the French environmental
group Robin Hood says the government was slow to respond to a public health threat, even
allowing visitors into the cathedral’s plaza for the first months. JACKY BONNEMAINS (through translator): From
around April 20 until August 20, it was open. There were thousands of people, tourists,
coming as families with children, who were lying on the ground to take photos and to
eat. JEFFREY BROWN: Nearby schools like this one
had to be decontaminated. The long-term health impact remains unclear. Also unclear, just how much of the lead found
here, in a city as old as Paris, is due to the fire. Government officials insist they are taking
it seriously, but Bonnemains’ group has filed a lawsuit demanding more accountability. JACKY BONNEMAINS (through translator): What
we really want — and this might surprise you, is that other cities in France, as a
lot of towns in Spain and in Italy, maybe even in the United States, that have beautiful
monuments like Notre Dame, learn something from this fire and the way it was handled. JEFFREY BROWN: Lead contamination inside the
cathedral has slowed the cleanup and forced workers to wear hazmat suits. In July, authorities offered several media
organizations a tour of the interior, but, not long after, issued a dramatic new warning,
that the entire structure is still in danger of collapse, and stabilizing the walls is
a priority, before turning to any restoration of the spire and roof. At the lab outside Paris, Aline Magnien explained
it this way: ALINE MAGNIEN (through translator): There’s
a risk that Notre Dame’s vault will become unstable, which would result in more stones
falling and would put the public in danger. So we have to establish to what extent the
stones are damaged, and whether they still have some resistance, and then which stones
we can keep and which ones need to be replaced. JEFFREY BROWN: Here, scientists study how
stones drenched with water in the aftermath of the fire expand or contract as they dry. VERONIQUE VERGES-BELMIN, Historical Monument
Research Laboratory: This is a vault element has been used to many, many little tests. JEFFREY BROWN: They’re also conducting tests
using lasers to clean the stones. So the test is to see if the lead can be removed
by this kind of method? VERONIQUE VERGES-BELMIN: Yes, on a small scale. And then they will go to the cathedral with
the machine and make tests on the wall and on the sculptures of the cathedral. JEFFREY BROWN: All of this will eventually
lead to the main event, actually rebuilding and restoring Notre Dame. And surrounding that are many more issues. Though the cathedral dates to medieval times,
the spire was actually a 19th-century design by architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc. Among the questions now, whether to restore
the wooden and lead roof, or use more modern materials, and whether to build an exact replica
of the spire. When authorities put out a public call for
new designs just days after the fire, Instagram lit up, including with some wild ideas. But the prevailing attitude seems to be, rebuild
it exactly as it was. Art historian Philippe Plagnieux: PHILIPPE PLAGNIEUX, Friends of Notre Dame
Society (through translator): I think our duty is to preserve the heritage we have inherited
for future generations. And if we can’t preserve it, then we should
recreate it, reconstructing the cathedral, the roof, the spire, as it was before. JEFFREY BROWN: Another question, how soon
can this be done? Immediately after the fire, French President
Macron promised to rebuild within five years, a target many saw as timed to France’s hosting
of the 2024 Olympic Games. This summer, France’s Parliament created a
new commission to oversee reconstruction, led by a former army chief. It’s yet to formally meet, but we talked with
one member, Monsignor Benoist de Sinety, who will represent the Catholic Church. MONSIGNOR BENOIST DE SINETY, Vicar General,
Paris Archdiocese (through translator): The most important thing is to remember that Notre
Dame is first and foremost a cathedral, a church, a place of worship. JEFFREY BROWN: That may sound obvious, but
debate had already swirled around Notre Dame for years, as it became an often overrun tourist
site. The monsignor wants to use this moment to
return to church values. MONSIGNOR BENOIST DE SINETY (through translator):
It is important to underline that when a bishop decided to build a cathedral in the Middle
Ages, it was also a project to help the poorest in society. Today, when rebuilding Notre Dame, we are
going to launch projects to help the most vulnerable in our society. JEFFREY BROWN: There are so many interests. There’s political and economic, and cultural,
of course, and the church. There could be a clash. MONSIGNOR BENOIST DE SINETY: Never in France. JEFFREY BROWN: Never in France? (LAUGHTER) JEFFREY BROWN: You mean always in France? (LAUGHTER) MONSIGNOR BENOIST DE SINETY: No. (through translator): Yes, of course, there
will be difficulties. There will be questions, big debates. In France, we like having big debates, asking
questions. We can go on and on. We love to speak. JEFFREY BROWN: But will the rebuilding go
on and on? Like others we spoke with, Monsignor de Sinety
wonders when the last stone will finally be put in place, the cathedral completely restored
and reopened. But he does hope to celebrate mass in Notre
Dame within the next five years. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Jeffrey Brown
in Paris. AMNA NAWAZ: A new face appeared in late-night
television this fall, and she has broken all sorts of ground to get there. “A Little Late With Lilly Singh” on NBC made
31-year-old Lilly Singh the only woman and the only person of color to get that slot
on a major network. We visited Lilly on her Los Angeles set just
before her debut. This encore report is part of our series Race
Matters. LILLY SINGH, Talk Show Host: The 10 stages
of diet grief. AMNA NAWAZ: She’s one of YouTube’s biggest
success stories ever. LILLY SINGH: What up, girl, Superwoman? AMNA NAWAZ: Lilly Singh, AKA Superwoman, first
dipped a toe into Internet waters 10 years ago with basic video blogs. LILLY SINGH: When it comes to a boyfriend,
we want all the attention we can get, which makes us, OK, a little bit of needy. AMNA NAWAZ: But she quickly dove deeper in,
developing her comedic skill. LILLY SINGH: No, girl, I’m wearing slats. Ain’t nobody got time for heels tonight. Wait, what? AMNA NAWAZ: And over the years, upping her
production game, translating both into four million subscribers and over three billion
video views. She’s now going where no YouTuber has gone
before, network television. Tonight, she will make her debut on NBC as
host of “A Little Late With Lilly Singh,” taking over the late-night time slot for Carson
Daly. Singh made the announcement in march, welcomed
by her fellow NBC late-night hosts Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers. LILLY SINGH: Indian Canadian woman also. JIMMY FALLON, Host, “Late Night With Jimmy
Fallon”: Breaking records. LILLY SINGH: So, I’m super honored and humbled. AMNA NAWAZ: She built her fame by standing
out online. And in her new role, Singh will definitely
stand apart. When your show premieres, you are going to
be the only woman on the major networks in late night in a sea of white male hosts. How are you thinking about that? LILLY SINGH: Honestly, it’s exciting and nerve-wracking
at the same time. I mean, it’s a huge honor. I’m so humbled to be part of creating that
path, because let’s be real, I wouldn’t be here without the women that paved the path
before me. But I think that’s — for the same reason,
it’s so important for me to bring that authentic point of view, you know? AMNA NAWAZ: She will also be the only woman
of color on late-night television and the first LGBTQ host of any network late-night
show ever. Singh came out as bisexual to her family last
year, and to her fans just six months ago. LILLY SINGH: It’s been tough, but, at the
end of the day, I always think there’s two ways that you can go. You can go the route that is scared. I’m scared. Or you can go the route of, I’m going to lead
with love. And I think the route of leading with love
is, even though this is scary, I’m going to share this about myself because it will help
people. And all I want to do is encourage more people
in our community, especially our South Asian community, to, even if something is scary,
and you’re not supposed to talk about it, talk about it. Talk about it. Lead with love. AMNA NAWAZ: That lesson was years in the making,
tracing back to 2010, when Singh posted her first video on YouTube, with no clear career
plans, struggling with depression, and living in her parents’ suburban Toronto home. But right away, Singh says, she knew this
was her path. And what was that conversation with your parents
like? What is the line you deliver? LILLY SINGH: OK. It was like, hey, I don’t want to go to grad
school. I would like to make videos on YouTube. AMNA NAWAZ: That sounds reasonable. LILLY SINGH: Yes. They had a lot of questions. (LAUGHTER) LILLY SINGH: But I think, in their mind, they
were like, this is a phase. She’s going to grow out of it, and next year
she’s going to do these essays, get into graduate school. I do not think they were expecting me to make
a career out of this. I don’t think anyone was, to be fair. AMNA NAWAZ: Branding herself as Superwoman,
Singh set herself part on a crowded Internet by leaning into her view of the world. LILLY SINGH: Why you the bloody hell you wake
up so late, huh? Good morning to you too, mom. AMNA NAWAZ: Posting campy impersonations of
her parents, writing and performing hip-hop parodies, and delivering a steady stream of
all observational humor in her signature over-the-top style. As her followers and her fame grew, Singh’s
reach extended far beyond the Internet. In just under 10 years, she ascended into
entertainment’s upper echelon, collaborating with Hollywood royalty like the Rock, pop
culture stars like Selena Gomez, even interviewing then first lady Michelle Obama. WOMAN: No, you hang up. AMNA NAWAZ: The Lilly Singh empire has now
unfurled across media platforms. In 2017, she published a self-help book called
“How to Be a Boss,” or, as she would say it: LILLY SINGH: How to be a boss. AMNA NAWAZ: The book went on to become a New
York Times bestseller. Her world tours sold out in dozens of countries. And her journey so far has even been documented
in a 2016 film, “A Trip to Unicorn Island.” LILLY SINGH: I’m going to take you all on
a trip to Unicorn Island. AMNA NAWAZ: Unicorns, by the way, are sort
of a thing for Singh. LILLY SINGH: I just like unicorns. Honestly, I am obsessed with them, because
I feel like any time I talk about unicorns, people are so fixated on if they’re real or
not, and I feel like that misses the whole point. I feel like, if I want to say I’m a unicorn,
then I’m a unicorn, and you can just believe and be. And, also, it’s because my synonym for a happy
place is Unicorn Island. AMNA NAWAZ: For her next chapter, Singh has
brought along the team from some of her biggest viral hits, hoping they can create the same
success for NBC. LILLY SINGH: Social media people are mine. The editor is mine. AMNA NAWAZ: Equally important, she says, is
the history she’s carrying forward. In 1986, Joan Rivers became the first woman
given a shot at the late-night chair, but she failed to gain traction and was quickly
taken off the air. It took decades before another woman was given
another chance, and since then, no woman has made it past a single season in late-night
on any major network. LILLY SINGH: And so it’s a lot to deal with. But I always just remind myself that it’s
part of chipping away that path. And so regardless of what the outcome is,
if I’m being super candid with you, it’s kind of not going to matter, because it’s going
to help continue pave that path. And that’s what my priority is. AMNA NAWAZ: You’re saying, regardless of how
this goes, the fact that you are here… LILLY SINGH: We want it to go well. There’s no doubt we want it to go well. What I’m saying is like, my actual presence
and everyone else being a part of this is already going to contribute to paving that
path. AMNA NAWAZ: In some ways, Singh is uniquely
qualified to succeed in the new world of late-night, one in which hosts are scrambling to turn
television segments into Internet sensations. LILLY SINGH: When I’m sitting with my writers,
and we’re going through the show format, I think, great, that’s a great show. And I think, by nature, my brain automatically
goes, that’s going to be the YouTube part of it, and this is what the title is going
to be, and that’s going to be great. AMNA NAWAZ: You can just see that? LILLY SINGH: So, it’s kind of just — it’s
already built in. Like, I’m already sitting with my writers
being like, perfect, and we will call it this, and we will frame the question like this,
it will be done. So, I think it’s just a different way of thinking. It’s about thinking about two formats, rather
than just one. Come on. We’re out here making statements, statements
on statements out here. I love it. AMNA NAWAZ: When her show premieres tonight,
Singh says she knows she will be speaking to a largely new television audience, one
she won’t have much time to win over. LILLY SINGH: I want to go out there and be
like, this is my point of view, this is what I’m going through, these are my thoughts and
feelings, this is the person I am, this is the person I want you to get to know, not
just talk show host, but, like, I want you to get to know Lilly. AMNA NAWAZ: Now a new entry on the “NewsHour”
Bookshelf. Jeffrey Brown caught up with the National
Book Award fiction finalist Laila Lalami at the Miami Book Festival. Her latest work of fiction, “The Other Americans,”
explores issues of immigration and identity, part of our ongoing arts and culture series,
Canvas. JEFFREY BROWN: Laila Lalami, nice to talk
to you. LAILA LALAMI, Author, “The Other Americans”:
Thank you for having me. JEFFREY BROWN: I don’t usually start this
way, but looking at the title itself, “The Other Americans,” what does that mean? What did you mean by that phrase? LAILA LALAMI: Well, the book starts off with
the death in a hit and run of a Moroccan immigrant, and basically is told from the perspective
of nine different characters, who, while they are all tied to this man in one way or another,
also have the shared experience of feeling as though they are on the outside, either
because they are immigrants, whether they are documented or undocumented or naturalized,
or have moved from one part of this country to another. So, for example, the detective who’s investigating
the hit and run has moved from Washington, D.C., to this small desert town where the
action takes place. And so all of the characters really share
this experience of feeling as though they are other in some sense, and that’s what tied
the book together. I think that’s why I picked the title. JEFFREY BROWN: But it begins as a kind of
murder mystery at its heart. LAILA LALAMI: Yes. JEFFREY BROWN: You have that style of writing,
a kind of whodunit. LAILA LALAMI: Yes. JEFFREY BROWN: But grafted on to that are
much bigger themes. LAILA LALAMI: I started working on this book
in 2014. And my dad had gotten really sick. And I had to travel to Morocco to — and I
really thought that he was near death. And, fortunately, he recovered, and he’s fine
now. But that experience really brought home for
me some of the longer-term consequences of immigrating to this country more than 25 years
ago. And I thought I might start the book really
exploring that and exploring the grief of loss, which was the thing that scared me. And in order to do that, I thought that framing
it as a mystery might keep me interested and keep me going in terms of writing the story
and having sort of the propulsive energy to the narrative. JEFFREY BROWN: In what ways does fiction work
or perhaps not work sometimes to explore big issues like this? LAILA LALAMI: I think it works really well
to explore these issues. I think one of the problems in writing about
issues like this in nonfiction is that it’s impossible to do it without taking sides. In fiction, when you write about themes such
as exclusion or racism or discrimination, there is the possibility of showing different
perspectives. And each perspective retains its own integrity
in a way. So, when the wife is recounting this event,
it’s a story of grief. When the detective is talking about it, it’s
a crime story. JEFFREY BROWN: Yes. LAILA LALAMI: When the daughter is talking
about it, it’s also a story of loss and missed opportunities. So it’s just a different way of looking at
story. And I really do believe that fiction allows
the possibility to tell the truth in a way that nonfiction doesn’t, because nonfiction
is more interested in facts. And I think that there is a difference between
facts and truth. JEFFREY BROWN: Mm-hmm. The main protagonist, the man who is killed
— and he gets to tell part of his story too — he really talks openly about the American
dream. And his daughter talks about him seeing — his
living the American dream. So you are really exploring that. You’re taking this head on. LAILA LALAMI: He’s an interesting character,
because he had not intended on immigrating to the United States. He was a graduate student, in philosophy of
all things, and got involved in… JEFFREY BROWN: In Morocco. (CROSSTALK) JEFFREY BROWN: Yes. LAILA LALAMI: In Morocco. And got involved in different political events
that caused him to want to leave. And he went from being somebody who’s very
much, I would say — I mean, he had, like, Marxist tendencies, to, when he arrived in
the U.S., starting a business and embracing fully the idea of the American dream. And, of course, the irony is that, on the
very first page of the book, when you open the book, he dies in this very mysterious
hit and run, and we’re not clear on what reasons there are behind it. JEFFREY BROWN: How much of this comes from
your own background, your own experience as an immigrant yourself? LAILA LALAMI: In my case, I became an immigrant
because I met an American, and we fell in love and we got married. And before I knew it, I was an immigrant and
then later a citizen. And I have really spent a lot of time really
reflecting on this experience and how it has changed my life. And I realized that this is something that
ties me to more than 40 million people in this country, to a great number of people
in this country. And each of them has a very different life
experience, a different reason for why they’re immigrating. And in the book, I tried to explore two or
three of these experiences. Most of the book is the work of the imagination,
but the nugget of what really got me started into it and the inspiration came from just
the experience of being an immigrant. JEFFREY BROWN: And how much of it is tied
to the politics of our time? Because I know you have — you also write
columns and essays. LAILA LALAMI: I do. JEFFREY BROWN: And you address these issues… LAILA LALAMI: Yes… JEFFREY BROWN: … in that way, too. LAILA LALAMI: Yes. So, to me, this is really a book that’s more
general about the experience of immigration in America. And I sort of leave my own political opinions
about the here and the now to other work. So, I’m — I have actually a book of nonfiction
coming out next year in which I talk a bit more about the experience of immigration from
a nonfiction perspective. So… JEFFREY BROWN: But, in the novel, you chose
to do something different. LAILA LALAMI: Yes. I mean, in the novel, it’s more about the
private experience of immigration, speak a foreign language, which is what I’m doing
right now, and especially when you first arrive in the country, and you mispronounce something,
and somebody laughs, or you don’t quite know the culture or some of the jokes that people
are laughing about. And so this experience of being on the outside
is an experience that I have had in my life, not just because I’m an immigrant, but also,
for example, after I finished my Ph.D., I worked in tech. And, oftentimes, I was the only woman in the
room. So, it’s just like this experience of being
on the outside is one that I have spent a lot of time thinking about. And I think — I think most of my fiction
really is about the act of crossing borders and the implications that it has. JEFFREY BROWN: Did you feel that you had to
wrap it up or tie it up in some way or resolve things, or… LAILA LALAMI: Well, the characters are very
much unresolved. And the book is really about the relationships
between them. JEFFREY BROWN: Right. LAILA LALAMI: It’s not as if they start out
in one point and they end up in another point, where everything is perfectly sorted out in
their lives. JEFFREY BROWN: Yes. Yes. LAILA LALAMI: It’s not quite like that. It’s really about how they relate to one another
in the aftermath of this — of this crime. JEFFREY BROWN: Yes. Yes. LAILA LALAMI: We do find out who is behind
all of it. But the book is really an opportunity to look
at their relationships to one another. JEFFREY BROWN: All right, the book is “The
Other Americans.” Laila Lalami, nice to talk to you. LAILA LALAMI: Nice talking to you, too. AMNA NAWAZ: And, finally, on this Christmas
night, we continue a tradition started a few years ago, when we asked the U.S. military
to share a holiday story or song. Tonight, musicians from the Air Force, Army,
Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard perform “Carol of the Bells.” This video was produced by the Defense Media
Activity Group, an agency within the Department of Defense. (MUSIC) AMNA NAWAZ: A little Christmas tradition that
the “NewsHour” continues. On the “NewsHour” online right now: As the
decade comes to a close, what’s changed? From smartphones, to the effects of climate
change, to the MeToo movement, we take a look at seven major shifts that have shaped our
world. That’s on our Web site, PBS.org/NewsHour. And that is the “NewsHour” for tonight. On tomorrow’s “NewsHour,” National Book Award
winner Sarah Broom on her memoir about life in New Orleans to get to visit — sorry. I apologize. “The Yellow House” is the name of the book. I’m Amna Nawaz. Join us online and again here tomorrow evening. For all of us at the “PBS NewsHour,” thank
you for spending your Christmas Day with us. We will see you soon.

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