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October 26, 2016 at 6:26 pm

Dealing with big oil, poachers and gunfire is nothing new to animal rescue missions in Africa. But while much attention has been paid to the real possibility that elephants and rhinos could be extinct within two decades, wildlife experts may have let giraffes slip through the cracks to suffer their own “silent extinction.” One particularly committed giraffe researcher, however, has not ignored their plight, and with his family and extended rescue team, has committed himself to relocating and protecting these long-necked-leaf-eaters before it’s too late. PBS Nature’s executive producer, Fred Kaufman joins us with a look at the series’ new documentary Giraffes: Africa’s Gentle Giants which shines a light on the efforts to protect these threatened animals.

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Episode
October 19, 2016 at 5:30 am

Tonight, between the leaked tape of Donald Trump’s lewd remarks about women and the accusers who have surfaced alleging harassment, thousands of hacked e-mails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, and Twitter wars, this year’s presidential race appears to be built on incivility, mudslinging, and vulgarity. And there’s still one more presidential debate to go. If the candidates don’t plan to address the issues, is the third and final debate even necessary? Some Americans don’t think so. After the performances of both Trump and Clinton at the first two presidential debates this month, public opinion is that there is no ground to be won for either candidate and nothing for viewers at home to gain from another match-up. Among those sharing that opinion is an author and former ABC News correspondent Lynn Scherr who recently made the case to scrap the third debate on Bill Moyers’ website. She joins us tonight to explain why a third presidential debate would be overkill.

Then, in 2015, separate attacks in Paris against the Charlie Hebdo magazine and the Bataclan Concert Hall left close to 150 people dead. That was followed by suicide bombs in Brussels and the Bastille Day attack in Nice, on crowds gathered to watch fireworks and celebrate the independence of France on July 14th. Though more than 100 people died in those incidents, questions remain about this unprecedented wave of terror. Were the warning signs left unchecked and are intelligence forces ill-prepared for these more frequent attacks? A new FRONTLINE documentary investigated these questions in their documentary Terror in Europe, and the answer to both is chilling. Pro Publica reporter Sebastian Rotella led this investigation for FRONTLINE, and he joins us tonight to share his perspective on terror on the European continent.

Next, for cinematographer Vianet D’Jenguet, coming home to the Republic of Congo meant more than reliving childhood memories, it was a chance to film his homeland for the first time in his career and share the beautifully diverse landscapes, wildlife, and people. D’Jenguet’s journey home is documented in the new Nature film My Congo. Series Editor for Nature Janet Hess joins us to talk more about the breath-taking documentary that showcases the unique beauty of Congolese Africa.

Finally, Carole Bayer Sager is a lyricist, singer, and songwriter for some of music’s biggest hits, such as the 1977 title song for the James Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me and “That’s What Friends are For.” The brilliant wordsmith has collaborated with stars from Carly Simon to Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra, and Céline Dion. Now, Carole is pouring her words into a new project: her memoir, They’re Playing Our Song, which goes on sale today. She joins us to discuss her life and decade-spanning career as a music pioneer, all chronicled in her memoir, which critics are calling “honest, heartfelt, and humorous.”

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October 18, 2016 at 6:27 pm

For cinematographer Vianet D’Jenguet, coming home to the Republic of Congo meant more than reliving childhood memories, it was a chance to film his homeland for the first time in his career and share the beautifully diverse landscapes, wildlife, and people. D’Jenguet’s journey home is documented in the new Nature film My Congo. Series Editor for Nature Janet Hess joins us to talk more about the breath-taking documentary that showcases the unique beauty of Congolese Africa.

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Episode
October 18, 2016 at 5:30 am

Tonight, last Friday, we brought you the story of Jon Girodes, the Republican candidate running to represent Harlem in the State Senate. To the disgust of many, Girodes told NBC 4 I-Team’s Investigative Reporter Sarah Wallace that he wanted to hand out “Kool-Aid, KFC, and Watermelons” at a campaign event. The predominately black community did not react well to Girodes’ attempt to win votes, and his comments were met with public outrage. But by nightfall on Friday, Girodes was arrested. Why was this Republican politician cuffed and put in the back of a squad car? Tonight, we have the rest of the story, and you won’t want to miss it.

Then, nearly 60,000 people are sleeping in New York City shelters every night, according to the most recent statistics from City Hall. That number is up 18 percent since Mayor de Blasio took office two years ago, but city officials say congestion in shelters would be much worse if not for large investments in homeless programs. For many people on the streets, part of the problem is that they don’t know where their families are or how to contact them. That’s where Miracle Messages steps in. The organization uses videos and social media to track down and reunite the homeless with their families. The group’s founder, Kevin Adler, joins us tonight to talk more about the city’s homeless problem and the miracles his organization is facilitating every day.

Next, becoming a ballerina is no small task, but becoming the first African American Female Principal Dancer with the American Ballet Theatre was all but impossible. Misty Copeland’s rise in ballet was the result of breaking through years of physical and psychological barriers, including the racism that is still prevalent in the dance today. Over the years, Misty has become a voice in the dance world; an inspiration for those who she says inspired her. “The little brown girls. I just feel like every performance, every time I’m given an opportunity to be seen and given a voice, it’s them I’m representing, it’s them I’m speaking for.” And Misty encourages them to chase their dreams of dancing en pointe, no matter their shape, size, or color. MetroFocus’ William Jones sits down with Misty Copeland to discuss her work with the American Ballet Theatre and how she uses that opportunity as a platform to encourage young girls to keep dancing, no matter what the rest of the world says.

Finally, there was once a time in China when government officials could get away with rape by claiming their victims were prostitutes. Those victims were not just adult women but included underage girls and those times, are no more. when six elementary school girls were allegedly sexually abused by their principal in southern China, activist Ye Haiyan, known as Hooligan Sparrow, started a protest that gained international attention and inspired a documentary that followed her advocacy for women’s rights and sex workers. Filmmaker Nanfu Wang joins us to talk about her POV documentary Hooligan Sparrow and shares how the film transcended its original intentions when the Chinese government got involved and tried to stop production. What began as a personal plight against China’s sex industry became a scorching expose of China’s surveillance state; a state that preyed on its underage girls.

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Episode
October 15, 2016 at 5:02 am

Tonight, New Yorkers in Harlem are furious with Jon Girodes, the Republican candidate running to represent their district in the New York State Senate. These feelings ignited after the candidate made promises to serve racially stereotypical food at a local campaign event. Residents of New York’s 30th District, a primarily Black community, are making it completely clear that they don’t approve of the Girodes’ comments to serve “Kool-Aid, KFC and Watermelons.” NBC 4 I-Team Investigative Reporter, Sarah Wallace broke the story and tonight, joins us to tell us more.

Then, what once was a place for New Yorkers to enjoy the simple pleasures of nature in the middle of a bustling Manhattan has now become the dangerous backdrop for a number of robberies, assaults, and gang violence. Cell phone robbery and brutal assaults by roaming gangs have been on the rise in Central Park, with multiple incidents reported in the past month. This week, a woman in the park was robbed and assaulted before she managed to get away during an attempted rape. Her alleged assailant was arrested two days later after authorities tracked him down by using the victim’s “Find My iPhone” app. Luckily, that story has a better ending than most, but the public still remains on edge as these crimes become a trend, despite the fact that police say crime is down for the year in Central Park by about 35 percent. New York City Park Advocates’ Geoffrey Croft joins us to make sense of the statistics and share how the police plan to ensure the public’s safety.

Finally, tensions are hitting an all-time high in police forces across the country as countless videos come to light showing police shootings of unarmed black men. As Americans grow more irate over daily headlines, the debate over the use of force has come to the forefront of policing. Some veteran cops are even admitting to feeling uneasy when they don their badges, but what is the next generation of this occupation thinking? Tonight, MetroFocus’ William Jones heads to Monroe College in the Bronx where their criminal justice program is moving away from textbook learning in favor of putting their students on the virtual front lines.

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October 14, 2016 at 6:28 pm

What once was a place for New Yorkers to enjoy the simple pleasures of nature in the middle of a bustling Manhattan has now become the dangerous backdrop for a number of robberies, assaults, and gang violence. Cell phone robbery and brutal assaults by roaming gangs have been on the rise in Central Park, with multiple incidents reported in the past month. This week, a woman in the park was robbed and assaulted before she managed to get away during an attempted rape. Her alleged assailant was arrested two days later after authorities tracked him down by using the victim’s “Find My iPhone” app. Luckily, that story has a better ending than most, but the public still remains on edge as these crimes become a trend, despite the fact that police say crime is down for the year in Central Park by about 35 percent. New York City Park Advocates’ Geoffrey Croft joins us to make sense of the statistics and share how the police plan to ensure the public’s safety.

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Episode
October 13, 2016 at 5:31 am

Tonight, 2017 is quickly approaching, and for Mayor Bill De Blasio, that means having to choose between running for re-election or passing the torch on to someone else. In 2013, De Blasio won the election by a landslide, with nearly 75% of the overall vote and 96% of the Black American vote. Nearly four years later, the polls may show very different results. In fact, an influential group of Black church leaders is so disappointed with the mayor and some of his economic policies that it’s trying to ensure he doesn’t get a second term. Reverend Dr. Johnnie Green, Pastor of Mount Neboh Baptist Church in Harlem, is the President of Mobilizing Preachers and Communities, the group that is trying to oust De Blasio. Reverend Dr. Green tells us why the mayor would have to “make a very sharp U-turn, and he would have to do it quick” in order to get the support of his organization back.

Next, Hispanic Heritage Month ends on October 15th, and MetroFocus is celebrating this vibrant community by sitting down with the legendary Gloria Estefan! This multi-talented and award-winning singer is part of the inspiration behind the hit Broadway musical On Your Feet!, but tonight, Gloria opens up about growing up Cuban and whether she and her husband, Emilio, will ever perform in their homeland. This Hispanic Heritage Month, PBS is honoring the people, ideas, and moments that inspire you by giving you the chance to share and be a part of a national conversation on what it means to be Hispanic! Share what you love by uploading a photo, video, or stories on social media using #MiHistoria.

Then, cases like the O.J. Simpson trial concerning the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown-Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman, changed the way our country approached the issue of domestic violence. Today, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will be victims of domestic violence or abuse in their lifetime, and despite the new visibility of this issue, there is still much to be done. New York was one of the states to address domestic violence head on with the help of current New York State Supreme Court Associate Justice John Leventhal, who presided over the nation’s first felony domestic violence court in Brooklyn when it was founded in 1996. Judge Leventhal details his experience behind the bench and what needs to be done to end what he sees as the “epidemic” of domestic violence in his book My Partner, My Enemy: An Unflinching View of Domestic Violence and New Ways to Protect Victims.

Finally, Hummingbirds: they may be little, but they are some of Mother Nature’s most amazing fliers. Their unique ability to fly up, down, left, right, backward, and even upside down is a trait seen in no other species of bird on Earth. Super Hummingbirds, a new Nature documentary airing tonight at 8 p.m. on PBS, gives us a never before seen look into the lives of these amazing little birds. We sit down with producer and cinematographer, Ann Johnson Prum for a preview.

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Clip
October 12, 2016 at 6:26 pm

Hummingbirds: they may be little, but they are some of Mother Nature’s most amazing fliers. Their unique ability to fly up, down, left, right, backward, and even upside down is a trait seen in no other species of bird on Earth. Super Hummingbirds, a new Nature documentary airing tonight at 8 p.m. on PBS, gives us a never before seen look into the lives of these amazing little birds. We sit down with producer and cinematographer, Ann Johnson Prum for a preview.

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Episode
October 11, 2016 at 5:30 am

If you’re from New Jersey, expect an unpleasant surprise when you go to fill up your gas tank. The price per gallon for gas is going to hike up 23 cents, a price that Governor Chris Christie has agreed on with the state’s Democratic leaders. Where will the added nickels and dimes go? The state’s depleted transportation fund, which foots […]

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MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, the Anderson Family Fund, Judy and Josh Weston, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, The Dorothy Schiff Endowment for News and Public Affairs Programming, Jody and John Arnhold, Rosalind P. Walter, the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation, Laura and Jim Ross, and Shailaja and Umesh Nagarkatte.

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