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Analysis, background reports and updates from the PBS NewsHour putting today's news in context.

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    WASHINGTON — Building suspense about America’s role in the world, President Donald Trump planned to announce Thursday whether the U.S. would stay in a global climate pact. The White House signaled a withdrawal was likely, but Trump has been known to change his mind at the last minute on such major decisions.

    Trump will make an announcement about the Paris climate agreement at 3 p.m. EST. Watch live in the player above

    Withdrawing from the pact was one of Trump’s principal campaign pledges, but America’s allies have expressed alarm about the likely consequences of the U.S. abandoning the pact. Top White House aides were divided and Trump’s decision may not be entirely clear-cut. Aides were deliberating on “caveats in the language,” one official said.

    READ MORE: What will the world look like if the U.S. bails on the Paris climate deal?

    Trump said Wednesday he was still listening to “a lot of people both ways.” The former reality TV star with a flair for drama later promoted his Rose Garden announcement in a tweet.

    Everyone cautioned that no decision was final until Trump announced it. The president tends to seek counsel from both inside and outside advisers, many with differing agendas.

    Abandoning the pact would isolate the U.S. from a raft of international allies who spent years negotiating the 2015 agreement to fight global warming and pollution by reducing carbon emissions in nearly 200 nations. While traveling abroad last week, Trump was repeatedly pressed to stay in the deal by European leaders and the pope. Withdrawing would leave the United States aligned only with Russia among the world’s industrialized economies.

    READ MORE: U.S. withdrawal from Paris climate deal would be a ‘disaster,’ Sen. Franken says

    PBS NewsHour will update this story as it develops.

    The post WATCH LIVE: Trump to announce decision on Paris climate agreement appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Dust storm covers Chandler, Arizona on August 11, 2011. A new study shows an uptick in Southwestern dust storms spurred by rising sea temperatures. Photo by

    Dust storm covers Chandler, Arizona on August 11, 2011. A new study shows an uptick in Southwestern dust storms spurred by rising sea temperatures. Photo by NOAA/NWS/Christopher Scragg

    Giant dust storms are sweeping the southwestern United States more frequently. Why? Rising sea temperatures, according to a study published in the journal of Geophysical Research Letters.

    The study also links the rise in dust storms with an 800 percent increase in cases of Valley fever, a rare fungal lung infection.

    This cascade of events “could be just a part of a natural variation and nothing to be afraid of, but it also could be something bigger and more permanent,” said Daniel Tong, an atmospheric scientist at George Mason University who led the project.

    The scientists found the frequency of dust storms more than doubled in recent years — 20 storms per year in 1990s to 48 storms per year in the 2000s.

    To draw these connections, Tong’s team developed a new way to analyze dust. They relied on the IMPROVE network of air quality monitoring sites, instituted by the Clean Air Act. These scientific sites were originally developed to monitor aerosols and visibility in national parks by collecting information about air particles, including their size, concentration and chemical composition. The team pulled measurements from 29 of the nation’s 187 sites; for the sake of consistency, they focused on the sites that had collected data for the longest period of time.

    Tong and his colleagues from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration were able to distinguish windblown dust from man-made particles, which allowed them to more precisely measure dust storm activity over the last 20 years. The scientists found the frequency of dust storms more than doubled; they counted 20 storms per year in 1990s, compared with 48 storms per year in the 2000s.

    Tong and his associates, based on data from Arizona health agencies and the Centers for Disease Control, found that dust correlated with cases of
    Valley fever, a disease caused by inhaling the soil-dwelling fungus Coccidioides. It can trigger flu-like symptoms including fatigue, coughing and shortness of breath.

    Overall, from 2000 to 2011, the infection rate of Valley fever in the Southwest has increased more than 800 percent, the study found.

    Despite what the name suggests, it’s not just “dust” that gets blown around in these storms, said William Sprigg, the director of the Pan American Center for the World Meteorological Organization’s Sand and Dust Storm Warning Advisory and Assessment System.

    This map shows in red circles that the nation’s largest number of dust storms from 1988 to 2011 are concentrated in the Southwest states. These same states are reporting the nation's highest numbers of Valley fever cases, an infectious disease caught by inhaling a soil-dwelling fungus found primarily in the Southwest. The Valley fever data is for 2011. Chart by NOAA

    This map shows in red circles that the nation’s largest number of dust storms from 1988 to 2011 are concentrated in the Southwest states. These same states are reporting the nation’s highest numbers of Valley fever cases, an infectious disease caught by inhaling a soil-dwelling fungus found primarily in the Southwest. The Valley fever data is for 2011. Chart by NOAA

    “Whatever is of the right size, in the right place, at the right time, can be part of the ‘dust’ available to be inhaled by someone as remnants of the storm continue on upper air currents,” said Sprigg, who wasn’t involved in the study. That can include potentially hazardous materials such as fungi, pollen, heavy metals, bacteria, stockyard fecal matter, fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides.

    What does this have to do with ocean temperature?

    Here’s how ocean temperature comes into play. Dust storms typically occur when winds exceeding 25 miles per hour meet barren landscapes covered in loose, dry particles. Hotter temperatures on the ocean’s surface, specifically in the North Pacific, can draw cool, dry northerly winds into the Southwestern United States. Those winds sap moisture from the soil, making the already arid region more susceptible to dust storms. The winds are also blocking the Pacific tropical winds that once helped bring moisture to the region.

    “This huge ocean impacts everything including wind speed and precipitation. We found that the changing of the sea surface temperatures in the North Pacific created climate conditions in the Southwest that favor more dust storms,” Tong said.

    Sacaton, Arizona blanketed by a dust storm on July 5, 2011. Photo by Grace Watson

    Sacaton, Arizona blanketed by a dust storm on July 5, 2011. Photo by Photo by NOAA/NWS/Grace Watson

    The study found the biggest uptick in dust storms correlated with the hottest periods of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation — a warm and cool cycle in the Pacific akin to El Niño and La Niña. As ocean temperatures continue to rise as a result of global warming, Tong said the peak oscillations could be more severe, leading to more of those northerly, dry, cool winds into the Southwest. Those winds are also key factors in how wildfires and droughts — also on the rise thanks to global warming — spread.

    The relationship between the ocean and dust storms isn’t new. But the partnership changing in regions around the world. In the Sahara desert, increased rainfall — which has also been linked to higher sea surface temperatures — has dampened dust storms in the Northern Atlantic. Similar climate change-related declines in dust storms have occurred in northern China and South America. The Southwest has seen an opposite trend because of the ocean dynamics outlined by Tong’s crew.

    What happens now?

    From 2002 to 2006, Sprigg spearheaded a NASA-sponsored effort at the University of Arizona and the University of New Mexico to develop a way to improve dust storm forecasts. The collaborative effort helped improve “dust storm resolution accuracy” — which, among other things, helps predict how dense the storm is and how it will move — from 30 to 45 miles in 1999 to just more than 2 miles in 2014. Sprigg hopes to get that number down to half of a mile.

    “The more specific the forecast in time, space and dust concentration the better for epidemiology, health services and public alerts,” Sprigg said. “Detail in forecasts allows greater range and more specific actions for avoiding or protecting against invading windblown dusts.”

    Dust storm in Gilbert, Arizona on July 21, 2012. Photo by Joseph Plotz

    Dust storm in Gilbert, Arizona on July 21, 2012. Photo by Photo by NOAA/NWS/Joseph Plotz

    There are also ways to stave off dust storms by improving land management, Jasper Kok, an atmospheric physicist at the University of California-Los Angeles, said.

    “Land use decisions can really affect dust storm frequency. Great examples of this in the U.S. are Owens Lake and the Salton Sea in California,” said Kok, who was not involved in the study. “Irrigation can affect the size of lakes in different ways. If the net effect is drying up the lake, then the exposed soil, which is unvegetated and usually contains fine material (as well as toxic fertilizer run-off, in the case of the Salton Sea), can produce substantial amounts of dust. Owens lake was the largest dust source in the U.S. at one point.”

    Dust storms can be dangerous over long distances, especially once caught in air streams.

    “At least one case has been documented where Valley fever spores from California infected people in Oregon,” Sprigg said.

    Dust storm in Goodyear, Arizona on July 21, 2012. Photo by Lauri Mlejnek

    Dust storm in Goodyear, Arizona on July 21, 2012. Photo by Photo by NOAA/NWS/Lauri Mlejnek

    All of this said, dust storms can beneficial in certain ways, too. They can spread important nutrients like iron to phytoplankton in the ocean, fertilize ecosystems and potentially help cool a region’s climate. But in general, when it comes to humans, dust storms do more harm than good. Fine machinery, manufacturers, highways, air traffic controllers, farmers, solar generation companies and freshwater resources would all be negatively affected by a continuing trend of increasing dust storm activity in the Southwest.

    In order to gauge their full consequences, Tong said longer term data sets are needed.

    “We hope to collect more data from the ground and from satellites to figure this out,” Tong said.

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    We'll explore the wide worlds of science, health and technology with content from our science squad and other places we're finding news.

    The post Why more dust storms and Valley fever are blanketing the Southwest appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Photo by Adobe

    Today, the United States is a world leader in incarceration, but this has not always been the case.

    For most of the 20th century, the U.S. incarcerated about 100 people per 100,000 residents – below the current world average. However, starting in 1972, our incarceration rate began to increase steadily. By 2008, we reached a peak rate of 760 incarcerated persons per 100,000 residents.

    The increase in incarceration cannot be explained by a rise in crime, as crime rates fluctuate independently of incarceration rates. Incarceration rates soared because laws changed, making a wider variety of crimes punishable by incarceration and lengthening sentences.

    This sharp increase was driven in part by the implementation of mandatory minimums for drug offenses, starting in the 1980s. These laws demand strict penalties for all offenders in federal courts, no matter the extenuating circumstances.

    The Obama administration took some measures to roll back these mandatory minimums. In 2013, Attorney General Eric Holder issued a memo asking prosecutors to prosecute crimes with mandatory minimum sentences only for the worst offenders.

    Earlier this month, however, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded that memo and issued his own, which requires prosecutors to “charge and pursue the most serious” offense. The punitive sentiment behind Sessions’ memo is a throwback to our failed experiment in mass incarceration in the 1980s and 1990s.

    <strong>Our growing prison population.</strong>The number of prisoners in U.S. federal and state institutions has sharply increased over the past three decades. Data source: U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Chart by The Conversation

    Our growing prison population.The number of prisoners in U.S. federal and state institutions has sharply increased over the past three decades. Data source: U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Chart by The Conversation

    The rise of mass incarceration

    According to political scientist Marie Gottschalk, mass incarceration took off in three waves.

    First, in the mid-1970s, Congress began to lengthen sentences. This culminated in the 1984 Comprehensive Crime Control Act, which established mandatory minimum sentences and eliminated federal parole.

    Then, from 1985 to 1992, city, state and federal legislators began to lengthen drug sentences. This was the heyday of the war on drugs. It included the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, which imposed even more mandatory minimum sentences. Most significantly, it set a five-year mandatory minimum sentence for offenses involving 100 grams of heroin, 500 grams of cocaine or 5 grams of crack cocaine.

    Two years later, new legislation added a five-year mandatory minimum sentence for simple possession of crack cocaine, with no evidence of intent to sell. Before then, one year of imprisonment had been the maximum federal penalty for possession of any amount of any drug.

    The third wave hit in the early 1990s. This involved not only longer sentences, but “three strikes laws” that sentenced any person with two prior convictions to life without parole. “Truth in sentencing” policies also demanded that people serve their full sentences. This culminated in the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which included a three strikes provision at the federal level.

    Notably, these laws were passed during a time when crime rates had begun a precipitous decline. Today, more than half of U.S. states have a three strikes provision.

    By the end of the 20th century, there were an unprecedented over two million inmates in the U.S. That’s more than 10 times the number of U.S. inmates at any time prior to the 1970s, and far more than most other countries.

    Worldwide incarceration rates. At 698 people in prison for every 100,000 adults, the US is a world leader in incarceration.

    Worldwide incarceration rates. At 698 people in prison for every 100,000 adults, the US is a world leader in incarceration. Data as of 2015. Data source: World Prison Brief. Chart by The Conversation

    The beginning of the end

    Although the current incarceration rate is still high – about 1 in 37 adults – it is at its lowest since 1998.

    Imprisonment has decreased over the past decade for two reasons. First, policymakers have started to realize that punitive laws do not work. Second, states are no longer able to continue financing this massive carceral system.

    The Great Recession in 2007 gave elected leaders the political will to make cuts to the prison system. After three decades of prison building, many states found themselves with massive systems they were no longer able to finance, and began to release some prisoners to cut costs. This was the first time in 37 years that the number of prisoners went down. By 2011, one-fourth of states had closed or planned to close a prison.

    The cost of incarceration. In 2012, a total $265.2 billion was spent on local, state and federal incarceration in the U.S. Data source: Justice Expenditure and Employment Extracts Program. Chart by The Conversation

    The cost of incarceration. In 2012, a total $265.2 billion was spent on local, state and federal incarceration in the U.S. Data source: Justice Expenditure and Employment Extracts Program. Chart by The Conversation

    In 2010, Obama signed the Fair Sentencing Act, repealing the five-year mandatory sentence for first-time offenders and for repeat offenders with less than 28 grams of cocaine.

    This change reduced the 100-to-1 sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine down to 18-to-1. Activists had been demanding this reduction for decades, as the only difference between the two drugs is that crack is made by adding baking soda and heat to powder cocaine. Despite similar rates of crack usage in black and white communities, in 2010 – the last year of the 100-to-1 disparity – 85 percent of the 30,000 people sentenced for crack cocaine offenses were black.

    In 2012, after years of steadily increasing prison admission rates, the number of new admissions to federal prisons began to decline. In 2015, just 46,912 people were admitted to federal prison – the lowest number in 15 years.

    Crime falls, but public opinion stays the same

    When mass incarceration first started ramping up in the 1970s, violent and property crime rates were high. However, even after crime rates began to decline, legislators continued passing punitive laws. In fact, some of the most draconian laws were passed in the mid-1990s, long after crime rates had gone down.

    Falling crime rates. The rates of violent and property victimization in the U.S. have decreased over the past several decades. Data source: Bureau of Justice Statistics. Chart by The Conversation

    Falling crime rates. The rates of violent and property victimization in the U.S. have decreased over the past several decades. Data source: Bureau of Justice Statistics. Chart by The Conversation

    Incarceration has had a limited impact on crime rates. First of all, it is just one of many factors that influence crime rates. Changes in the economy, fluctuations in the drug market and community-level responses often have more pronounced effects.

    Second, there are diminishing returns from incarceration. Incarcerating repeat violent offenders takes them off the streets and thus reduces crime. But incarcerating nonviolent offenders has a minimal effect on crime rates.

    But incarceration continued to rise even as crime fell, in part because of the public’s demand for a punitive response to crime. Although there is less crime today than there has been in the past, most people are not aware of this drop.

    Thus, the fear of crime persists. This often translates into punitive public policies – regardless of declining crime rates and the inefficacy of these laws at preventing crime.

    Public opinion on crime. Public opinion has not followed the recent decline in crime rates. This chart tracks responses to a Gallup poll that asked Americans: "Is there more crime in the US than there was a year ago, or less?" Data source: Gallup. Chart by The Conversation

    Public opinion on crime. Public opinion has not followed the recent decline in crime rates. This chart tracks responses to a Gallup poll that asked Americans: “Is there more crime in the US than there was a year ago, or less?” Data source: Gallup. Chart by The Conversation

    Since the election of Richard Nixon, politicians on the left and right have learned that fear-mongering around crime is a surefire way to get elected. Today, when crime rates are at a historic low, politicians continue to stoke the flames of fear. These strategies may win elections, but the evidence shows they will not make our communities safer.The Conversation

    Tanya Golash-Boza is a sociology professor at the University of California, Merced. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

    The post Column: 5 charts show why mandatory minimum sentences don’t work appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    EpiPen auto-injection epinephrine pens manufactured by Mylan NV pharmaceutical company are seen in Washington

    EpiPen auto-injection epinephrine pens manufactured by Mylan NV pharmaceutical company for use by severe allergy sufferers. Photo by Jim Bourg/Reuters

    Mylan may have overcharged taxpayers as much as $1.27 billion over 10 years for its signature EpiPens, according to an analysis released Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services’s watchdog.

    The pharmaceutical company has been in hot water for potentially misclassifying its signature epinephrine auto-injector in a way that enabled it to charge a higher price to Medicaid. Because the pens were classified as generic, rather than brand-name products, Mylan paid Medicaid a 13 percent instead of a 23 percent rebate — despite the company being told its classification was incorrect. That allegation came to light in the fall.

    In October, it was reported that Mylan agreed to a $465 million settlement over these accusations, although the status of this settlement remains unclear.

    The new calculation of unpaid rebates underscores earlier concerns that taxpayers may get shortchanged by the proposed settlement. As Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) noted in a statement, the $465 million settlement is much less than the $1.27 billion Mylan allegedly overcharged.

    Now the first hard estimate of the overcharging, from the Office of the Inspector General for HHS, reveals that taxpayers may have paid as much as $444 million from 2006 to 2014, and $826 million from 2015 and 2016 — amounting to $1.27 billion in all. Letters from the inspector general stress that these estimates are limited because they do not take into account “supplemental rebates” that individual states may have received.

    The Department of Justice declined on comment on the settlement Wednesday, saying that “there is no settlement to report.”

    This article is reproduced with permission from STAT. It was first published on May 31, 2017. Find the original story here.

    The post Mylan may have overcharged taxpayers by $1.27 billion for EpiPens, HHS says appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    FBI Director Comey testifies before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on "Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation" on Capitol Hill in Washington

    FBI Director James Comey testifies before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on “Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation” on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 28, 2016. Photo by Joshua Roberts/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Former FBI director James Comey is set to testify June 8 before the Senate intelligence committee investigating Russian activities during last year’s election.

    The committee said Thursday that Comey will testify in an open session, which will be followed by a closed session.

    The committee’s Republican chairman and senior Democrat have said members want to hear from Comey on his role in the development of the U.S. intelligence agencies’ assessment that Russia interfered in last year’s election.

    They say they also hope Comey’s testimony will answer questions that have arisen since Comey’s sudden firing by President Donald Trump.

    The post Comey set to testify June 8 on Russia appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Artist's conception shows two merging black holes similar to those detected by LIGO. The black holes are spinning in a non-aligned fashion, which means they have different orientations relative to the overall orbital motion of the pair. LIGO found hints that at least one black hole in the system called GW170104 was non-aligned with its orbital motion before it merged with its partner. Image by LIGO/Caltech/MIT/Sonoma State (Aurore Simonnet)

    Artist’s conception shows two merging black holes similar to those detected by LIGO. The black holes are spinning in a non-aligned fashion, which means they have different orientations relative to the overall orbital motion of the pair. LIGO found hints that at least one black hole in the system called GW170104 was non-aligned with its orbital motion before it merged with its partner. Image by LIGO/Caltech/MIT/Sonoma State (Aurore Simonnet)

    LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, has done it again. Astronomers announced they have detected another gravitational wave tearing through spacetime. The occasion marks the third direct confirmation of Einstein’s theory of general relativity — and changes our understanding of black holes and other stellar phenomena.

    Gravitational waves occur when extremely massive objects interact with the universe around them, such as when orbiting black holes merge with each other. This stellar dance produces tiny vibrations in the curvature of spacetime that travel at the speed of light and ripple throughout the cosmos.

    The latest wave happened after two black holes collided with each other, resulting in one enormous black hole with the mass of 49 suns. This new stellar object is located approximately 3 billion light years from Earth, the farthest ever detected.

    “Imagine two tornadoes that are going about each other,” said Laura Cadonati, a Georgia Tech physicist and LIGO deputy spokesperson, during a press conference Wednesday. Cadonati explained that while the two tornadoes may be rotating around each other, their individual spins may not be in the same direction. Like the tornadoes, LIGO’s observations suggest at least one of the black holes appeared to be spinning in the opposite direction of the collective twirl of the two black holes, which is something that scientists had hypothesized in the past but could not confirm.

    Simulation of a black-hole merger consistent with LIGO's third observation. The strength of the gravitational wave is indicated by the elevation of the bands, as well as color, with blue indicating weak fields and yellow, strong fields. The amplitude of the gravitational wave is rescaled during the simulation to show the signal during the entire animation. The sizes of the black holes are increased by a factor of two. Photo by S. Ossokine/A. Buonanno/T. Dietrich (MPI for Gravitational Physics)/R. Haas (NCSA)/SXS project

    Simulation of a black-hole merger consistent with LIGO’s third observation. The strength of the gravitational wave is indicated by the elevation of the bands, as well as color, with blue indicating weak fields and yellow, strong fields. The amplitude of the gravitational wave is rescaled during the simulation to show the signal during the entire animation. The sizes of the black holes are increased by a factor of two. Photo by S. Ossokine/A. Buonanno/T. Dietrich (MPI for Gravitational Physics)/R. Haas (NCSA)/SXS project

    “With the third confirmed detection of gravitational waves from the collision of two black holes, LIGO is establishing itself as a powerful observatory for revealing the dark side of the universe,” said David Reitze of Caltech, executive director of the LIGO Laboratory.

    LIGO picked up its first couple of gravitational waves two years ago, though they didn’t announce them until February and June 2016, respectively. The observatory works by comparing measurements from a facility in Hanford, Washington, to another based in Livingston, Louisiana. The great distances between the laboratories assures local interference does not throw off the laser-based detectors, and possibly create a false positive.

    Despite this distance, “glitches” can happen, and to cope, LIGO has crowdsourced a solution. Using a program called Gravity Spy, citizen scientists can help to locate these glitches by sifting through noise in the data and determining which stellar signals are flukes and which are real.

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    “Humans are really good at spotting discrepancies, so our project fits naturally into this crowdsourcing idea,” Mike Zevin, an Astrophysics student at Northwestern University who helped to develop Gravity Spy, said in a statement.

    LIGO is primarily funded through the National Science Foundation, and at a cost of $30 million per year, is one of the most expensive experiments bankrolled by the organization.

    “This is exactly what we hoped for from NSF’s investment in LIGO: taking us deeper into time and space in ways we couldn’t do before the detection of gravitational waves,” said NSF director France Córdova in a statement. “Each detection has offered much more than just a ‘sighting.’ Slowly, we are collecting data that unveil the origin and characteristics of these objects, further informing our understanding of the universe.”

    Concrete and stainless steel tubes house and protect the four-kilometer long laser apparatuses at the LIGO Hanford Observatory in Hanford, Washington. Photo by Anthony P. Bolante/Reuters

    Concrete and stainless steel tubes house and protect the four-kilometer
    long laser apparatuses at the LIGO Hanford Observatory in Hanford, Washington. Photo by Anthony P. Bolante/Reuters

    While LIGO made its latest groundbreaking detection on Jan. 4, the Virgo interferometer in the European Union confirmed the data, showing a similar observation from their lab in Italy. Because of this international collaboration, dozens of researchers co-authored the findings, published Thursday in the journal Physical Review Letters.

    “We have further confirmation of the existence of stellar-mass black holes that are larger than 20 solar masses—these are objects we didn’t know existed before LIGO detected them,” David Shoemaker, a physicist at MIT and spokesperson for the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, said in a statement. “It is remarkable that humans can put together a story, and test it, for such strange and extreme events that took place billions of years ago and billions of light-years distant from us.

    The post ‘Dancing’ black holes yield stellar object as massive as 49 suns appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Ousted FBI Director James Comey will testify June 8 before the Senate intelligence committee as part of its ongoing investigation into Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 elections.

    Comey’s testimony is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. EST June 8. Watch live in the player above.

    Comey, who was fired May 9 by President Donald Trump, is expected to speak about how his agency assessed Russia’s role in November’s election.

    Trump drew criticism for removing Comey from his position while Comey was leading an active investigation into Russia’s role in the elections as well as possible ties to members of Trump’s campaign.

    READ MORE: Comey ‘disgusted’ by Trump hug, considered White House ‘not honorable,’ friend says

    Senators will also likely ask Comey about his relationship with the president in the weeks leading up to his firing.

    The former FBI director was cleared to testify this week by Robert Mueller, the special counsel now overseeing the agency’s investigation.

    Senate intelligence chair Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., along with vice chair Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va, said in a statement that Comey’s public testimony will be followed by a closed session with the committee later that day.

    Meanwhile, the House intelligence committee has issued more subpoenas in its own probe into Russia, including for Trump’s personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz.

    PBS NewsHour will update this story as it develops.

    The post WATCH LIVE: James Comey to testify in Senate hearing on Russia appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    sgt peppers

    At 1 p.m. EDT on Friday, the PBS NewsHour (@newshour) will host a Twitter chat to discuss the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 50 years since its release. Photo courtesy of Universal Music Group

    Inspired by acid trips, beautiful women, an old circus poster and more, The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” shattered genre norms when it first came on the music scene on June 1, 1967, a full half-century ago. Today, after being certified 11x multi-platinum, The Beatles’ eighth studio album is one of the best-selling records in history.

    Aside from topping charts, “Sgt. Pepper’s” introduced a new era in Beatles history — one where the Fab Four stepped away from their overwhelming fame and refused to tour, at least as themselves. As part of the concept album, The Beatles performed as a fictionalized Edwardian military brigade led by the character Sgt. Pepper. The album’s whimsy, both in concept and sound, made it a pioneer in the progressive and psychedelic rock genres as well as an anthem for the counterculture revolution.

    But, after all this time, why are we still listening to songs like “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”? What does this album say about our musical and political past, and will it still hold up 100 years after its release? To answer those questions, Jordan Runtagh (@JordanRuntagh), the music editor at People Magazine and a contributor at Rolling Stone who recently went through “Sgt. Pepper’s” track by track — will join us for a Twitter chat on Friday, June 2, at 1 p.m. EDT.

    Have questions for Runtagh? Tweet them using #NewsHourChats.

    The post Twitter Chat: ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ at 50 appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Demonstrators hold up a sign and a picture of journalist killed Javier Valdez during a demonstration against the murder of journalists in Mexico, at Plaza de los Heroes square in Monterrey, Mexico, May 20, 2017.

    Demonstrators hold up a sign and a picture of journalist killed Javier Valdez during a demonstration against the murder of journalists in Mexico on May 20, 2017. The sign reads: “#No to silence”. Photo by REUTERS/Daniel Becerril

    In 2017, Mexico became the deadliest country in the world for journalists, despite efforts by the government to crack down on violence against members of the press.

    Five journalists have been killed in Mexico this year, according to an analysis by the Committee to Protect Journalists. In four cases, the motive for their slayings was confirmed to be directly tied to their work.

    The latest victim was veteran reporter Javier Valdez Cardenas, who was shot and killed by masked gunmen on May 15 near the offices of Riodoce, the publication he had co-founded in 2003. Valdez, an award-winning crime reporter and author, told CPJ weeks before his death that he was concerned for his safety.

    Another journalist, Miroslava Breach Velducea, was shot on the morning of March 23 as she was leaving her home. La Jornada newspaper reported that a note was found at the scene of the crime that read, “For being a loudmouth.” Breach was a crime reporter who covered connections between organized crime and local officials.

    READ MORE: By murder, prison and rhetoric, here’s how the global free press is being suppressed

    Crimes against journalists are not a new phenomenon in Mexico. By CPJ’s count, nearly 100 journalists have been slain in the country since the group started keeping track in 1992 – many for reasons related to their work. But the killings have been more frequent in recent years. Since 2010, roughly 50 journalists have been killed, with only a handful of cases leading to convictions.

    To address the issue, the Mexican government has implemented several programs and laws over the past few years designed to keep journalists safe and punish those who commit the crimes. The problem is that very few of these programs actually get results, said Artur Romeu, communication coordinator for the press freedom group Reporters Without Borders.

    In 2012, the federal government launched a program called the Federal Mechanism for Protecting Human Rights Defenders and Journalists to offer protection to journalists whose lives are believed to be at risk. These services include equipping journalists with surveillance cameras, police escorts, patrols and portable panic buttons that notify authorities in the event of an attack.

    But Romeu told the NewsHour that some of these services have been ineffective and insufficient. Many of the panic buttons don’t work, he said, and the police patrols and escorts can be burdensome.

    “I didn’t want my home to be watched by escorts,” said journalist Carlos Omar Barranco, who had been offered protection under the program. “What journalist can move that way? Much of our job has to be done in discretion,” he said in Spanish.

    Journalists protest against the murder of the Mexican journalist Miroslava Breach, outside the Attorney General's Office (PGR) in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico March 25, 2017. Pictures of Miroslava reads "Justice" REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

    Journalists protest against the murder of the Mexican journalist Miroslava Breach in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico in March. Photo by REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

    In addition to the Federal Mechanism, the government created the Special Prosecutor’s Office for Crimes against Freedom of Expression (FEADLE) in 2006 to investigate crimes against journalists and bring those cases to court.

    The issue, according to a recent Reporters Without Borders investigation, is that the program doesn’t have the necessary resources to fully ensure the safety of journalists.

    The investigation found that FEADLE lacks the personnel, funding and “political will” to deal effectively with the cases it investigates. When it ultimately does take those cases to court, the organization said, “they are only too often rejected by the judge on the grounds of being legally flawed.”

    Additionally, the Reporters Without Borders investigation determined that very few cases of crimes against journalists lead to convictions. In fact, the number is only about 10 percent, according to Edgar Corzo Sosa, the inspector general of Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission.

    “The countless cases of corruption and collusion between police and judicial officials, which are especially visible at the local level, fuel the vicious cycle of impunity,” the investigation read.

    In a meeting in early May with CPJ, Mexico’s Attorney General Raul Cervantes Andrade was quoted as saying that authorities were “looking to replace” then-prosecutor Ricardo Najera in response to the organization’s concerns that the federal prosecutor’s office was not successfully investigating crimes against press freedom.

    The following week, the Mexican Attorney General’s Office said in a statement that attorney Ricardo Sanchez Perez del Pozo would be the new head of FEADLE.

    “He will review each case currently under investigation, maintain permanent contact with all organizations of civil society and journalists, propitiating a permanent and transparent dialogue with society and reinforce coordination with authorities from the three levels of government,” the statement read.

    FEADLE and the Federal Mechanism did not respond the NewsHour’s requests for comment.

    The current conditions in Mexico also caused the recent death, metaphorically speaking, of an entire news organization. The Juarez news outlet Norte halted production after it announced last month that the crimes against journalists have made it too dangerous to continue to publish the news.

    El Norte newspaper is pictured after the paper announced its closure.

    El Norte announced its closure due to violence against journalists in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, in April. Photo by REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

    In a farewell address on Norte’s website and final newspaper, editor Oscar Cantu Murguia wrote that he decided to end production because “there are neither the guarantees nor the security to exercise critical, counterbalanced journalism.”

    Tania Montalvo, the general editor of the news website Animal Politico, says it’s common practice in Mexico for authorities to pay news outlets large sums of money for advertising space. These payments can affect the independence of media groups since they’re often used to bribe news organizations and manipulate their editorial decision-making process, she said. For example, if officials dislike a story, they can threaten to stop buying ad space.

    Montalvo said all major Mexican media organizations depend on government advertising.

    “If they don’t receive funds from the government, basically they can’t operate,” she said. “So this has turned into a form of censorship.”

    Her publication announced in 2013 that it would no longer accept the government’s payments for ad space. Animal Politico president Daniel Eilemberg told the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas that the organization had opted to no longer accept payments from the government because “financial independence is the only way to obtain editorial independence.” The news organization now relies on other means for revenue, including advertising from the private sector.

    With slayings and censorship on the rise in Mexico, some journalists have also decided to take action on their own to defend press freedom and themselves. According to Montalvo, some news organizations have implemented their own security measures to protect reporters from kidnappings and slayings, including traveling in groups when they go out on assignment.

    Maintaining constant communication with fellow editors and reporters has become a necessary routine. If reporters are out in the field, they’re required to call their colleagues regularly to let them know they’re safe. If a journalist doesn’t call the newsroom at a time previously agreed upon, that’s usually cause for concern.

    Journalists are also protesting censorship more publicly, through demonstrations and through social media.

    “Being a journalist in Mexico is living in fear.”

    “What we’re doing is denouncing the crimes and we’re organizing as a group,” said Jorge Carrasco, a reporter for the magazine Proceso. “We’re letting the world know what’s happening in Mexico. What happened with Javier Valdez, for example, it was a culmination of the rage and pain and terror we have in Mexico. Being a journalist in Mexico is living in fear.”

    Journalists and activist paint on news papers with fake blood during a protest against the murder of the Mexican journalist Miroslava Breach

    Journalists and activists paint on newspapers with fake blood during a protest against the murder of the Mexican journalist Miroslava Breach in Mexico City in March. Photo by REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

    To quell some of the concerns of journalists, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto announced on May 4 a series of measures designed to improve the current conditions in the country, including efforts to combat impunity.

    CPJ’s senior program coordinator for the Americas Carlos Lauria said he welcomed the president’s commitment to press freedom, but advised the government to follow through on the president’s promises.

    “Any reforms that Mexico decides to carry out is going to be impossible if journalists continue to be killed with total impunity,” he told the NewsHour, suggesting that the Mexican government needs to put its full political weight toward the protection of journalists.

    The post What Mexico is and isn’t doing to prevent violent crimes against journalists appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    President Trump cited protecting American business interests as a key reason for exiting the accord. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

    President Trump cited protecting American business interests as a key reason for exiting the accord. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declared Thursday he was withdrawing the U.S. from the landmark Paris climate agreement, striking a major blow to worldwide efforts to combat climate change and distancing the country from many allies abroad. He said the U.S. would try to re-enter but only if it can get more favorable terms.

    Framing his decision as “a reassertion of America’s sovereignty,” he said, “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.”

    Ending weeks of speculation, some of it fueled by Trump himself and his Cabinet members, he said, “As of today, the United States will cease all implementation of the nonbinding Paris accord.”

    Under former President Barack Obama, the U.S. had agreed under the accord to reduce polluting emissions by about 1.6 billion tons by 2025. But the targets were voluntary, meaning the U.S. and the nearly 200 other nations in the agreement could alter their commitments.

    Trump said that he would begin negotiations to re-enter the agreement or establish “an entirely new transaction” to get a better deal for the U.S.
    Trump said that he would begin negotiations to re-enter the agreement or establish “an entirely new transaction” to get a better deal for the U.S. But he suggested re-entry was hardly a priority. “If we can, great. If we can’t, that’s fine,” he said.

    By abandoning the world’s chief effort to slow the tide of planetary warming, Trump was fulfilling a top campaign pledge. But he was also breaking from many of America’s staunchest allies, who have expressed alarm about the decision. Several of his top aides have opposed the action, too, as has his daughter and adviser, Ivanka Trump.

    READ THIS: What leaving the Paris accord means for the U.S. and the world

    Scientists say Earth is likely to reach more dangerous levels of warming sooner as a result of the president’s decision because America contributes so much to rising temperatures. Calculations suggest withdrawal could result in emissions of up to 3 billion tons of additional carbon dioxide in the air a year — enough to melt ice sheets faster, raise seas higher and trigger more extreme weather.

    Trump’s decision marked “a sad day for the global community,” said Miguel Arias Canete, climate action commissioner for the European Union. German Chancellor Angela Merkel. …

    There should be an embedded item here. Please visit the original post to view it.

    At home in America, the U.S. Conference of Mayors said it strongly opposed the decision and said mayors will continue efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming. The group’s vice president, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said the action “is shortsighted and will be devastating to Americans in the long run.” In fact, he said, sea level rise caused by unchecked climate change could mean that cities like his “will cease to exist.”

    Trump, however, argued the agreement had disadvantaged the U.S. “to the exclusive benefit of other countries,” leaving American businesses and taxpayers to absorb the cost.

    “This agreement is less about the climate and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the United States,” he said, claiming that other countries have laughed at the U.S. for agreeing to the terms.”

    As Trump announced his plans, it was 83 degrees Fahrenheit (28 Celsius) in Washington, a bit higher than the 80-degree average high for the day but well below the 2011 record of 98. Business investors seemed pleased, with stock prices, already up for the day, bumping higher as he spoke. The Dow Jones industrial average rising 135 points for the day.

    As for the mechanics of withdrawal, international treaties have a four-year cooling off period from the time they go into effect. That means it could take another three-and-half years for the U.S. to formally withdraw, though Trump promised to stop implementation immediately.

    Major U.S. allies, business leaders and even the Pope had urged the U.S. to remain in the deal. The decision drew immediately backlash from climate activists and many business leaders.

    The U.S. is the world’s second-largest emitter of carbon, following only China. Beijing, however, has reaffirmed its commitment to meeting its targets under the Paris accord, recently canceling construction of about 100 coal-fired power plants and investing billions in massive wind and solar projects.

    White House aides have been divided on the question of staying or leaving the accord and had been deliberating on “caveats in the language” as late as Wednesday, one official said. But Trump’s statement was clear and direct.

    So was opposition from environmental groups, as expected.

    “Generations from now, Americans will look back at Donald Trump’s decision to leave the Paris Agreement as one of the most ignorant and dangerous actions ever taken by any President,” Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune said in a statement.

    ___

    Associated Press writers Ken Thomas, Erica Werner, Vivian Salama, Michael Biesecker and Seth Borenstein in Washington contributed to this report.

    The post President Trump pulls U.S. out of Paris climate accord, sparking global criticism appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Wonder Woman has been saving the world for more than 75 years since debuting in 1941. Still from “Justice League Unlimited”/Warner Bros.

    As “Wonder Woman” hits theaters June 2, there’s a lot for the comic book superheroine to celebrate. The film marks the first time Wonder Woman will be the headliner of a major motion picture. It also comes a few months after the character, created by psychologist William Moulton Marston in 1941, marked her milestone 75th anniversary.

    Wonder Women: Voice actress Susan Eisenberg with “Wonder Woman” film actress Gal Gadot. Photo courtesy Susan Eisenberg

    While actress Gal Gadot will wield the golden lasso on the silver screen this Friday, she’s not the only one to slip into the tiara of Princess Diana of Themyscira. One of the longest-running voices of Wonder Woman is actress Susan Eisenberg, who was first heard as the superhero in the 2001 animated series “Justice League” and sequel series “Justice League Unlimited.” She has continued to perform the role for more than 15 years across a range of projects — including direct-to-DVD animated films “Superman/Batman: Apocalypse” and “Justice League: Doom,” as well as video games “DC Universe Online,” “Injustice: Gods Among Us” and “Injustice 2.”

    Eisenberg shared her thoughts on Wonder Woman with the PBS NewsHour ahead of the film’s release.

    Still from “Justice League Unlimited”/Warner Bros.

    PBS NEWSHOUR: Was Wonder Woman a character that you knew before getting the role on “Justice League”?

    SUSAN EISENBERG: I knew her, of course, just because I had grown up with Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman, so I knew her from the TV show. But I wasn’t a comic book nerd, and I learned more about her since voicing her than I knew going in. [“Justice League” series creator] Bruce [Timm] had an idea who she was going to be, and then it was my job to bring her to life through my voice.

    So I’ve since gotten to know her a whole lot better than I did when I was growing up.

    How did you go about creating your take on Wonder Woman?

    Still from “Justice League”/Warner Bros.

    SUSAN EISENBERG: [Bruce Timm and voice director Andrea Romano] were pretty clear about wanting her to sound like a princess, and also like a warrior. So those two pieces of her had to exist and coexist. And so there was a regal quality and a toughness to her voice. I tried to keep that in mind.

    We know that she’s strong and she’s a warrior, so that’s a given. Those are aspects to her personality, where she’s a daughter, a warrior, a sister — and all of that just makes her a more complex character to voice. So that’s what you look for in any part, right? It’s joyful to be able to play those aspects of her.

    How did your take on Wonder Woman evolve as you continued to perform her?

    SUSAN EISENBERG: In the series, there was definitely a sense of getting comfortable with the character. I started on the show really green, and I’d done some animation, but not too much. And Diana, luckily enough for me, was also new to the League.

    And she was an outsider, so she wasn’t quite as confident as she became. So I could play that vulnerability a little bit, and especially in the first year of the show, and it was real, because, I was trying to figure out my way through the whole thing. And then as the show continued, I got more and more comfortable. Diana also got more and more comfortable with the League and with these people. So that actually paralleled pretty sweetly.


    A scene from the first episode of 2001’s series “Justice League,” where Wonder Woman (voiced by Eisenberg) is a newcomer to the team.

    What are your thoughts on Wonder Woman’s legacy after more than 75 years?

    SUSAN EISENBERG: I think she’s so many things. I think she’s extraordinary. I think that she completed a trinity and she’s this standalone character that sets the standard not only for women — though certainly for women — but for everyone, because there’s such a fair-mindedness to her. And there’s such a sense of justice and compassion, and she’s beautiful but she’s always strong and compassionate as well. I think she’s bigger than life, and yet, again, one of the things that I loved about voicing her so far is that I get to play the moments of life. It’s just everyday, and then there’s something mythic, and it’s both.

    Gal Gadot stars as the titular heroine in the feature film “Wonder Woman” — the first live action solo film for the character since her creation. Photo courtesy Warner Bros.

    I have to say, going forward with the movie about to come out, the Wonder Woman film, is long overdue for her. For as popular as she is, I don’t think she’s gotten her due.

    You’ve seen so many Batman movies, we’ve seen so many Superman movies, and that’s great. But now the spotlight is on her, and it’s long overdue.

    I think women are more in the consciousness, and that makes a difference. People are recognizing that women have bought the books and there’s money in those wallets, and they have choices that they make, and they’ll show up at these movies. And obviously not just women. I have the privilege of being told what fans love about her, and there are men that come up to me, there are women that come up to me.

    It’s incredible, and it’s a large fan base for her. It would make you cry knowing what a beacon of hope she is to so many people.

    Do you see Wonder Woman as a role you’d like to continue to play in the future?

    SUSAN EISENBERG: You know, there’s not even a question. I would be honored to voice her for the rest of my career. I pinch myself every time I get to do it. That doesn’t happen often in the business, that you get to play a character for as long as I’ve been able to play her. And I never lose sight of the fact that that’s a gift.

    Having the opportunity to meet people like Christie Marston, and become friends with Christie — her grandfather William Moulton Marston created the character of Wonder Woman. And being able to talk to Christie about her grandfather and her grandmother, on whom much of the character is based — that has really been a tremendous joy and perk of this gig. Not only do you get to meet these extraordinary artists who draw her and who have drawn her through the years, but you get to meet people who are connected to people who created her, or who have portrayed her, who have drawn her, who have illustrated her, who have written for her. That’s really something special. When you do a panel and you’re on the stage with the writers, the artists, the creator’s family — I’m just so filled with gratitude that that’s been part of this journey.

    This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

    The post The longtime voice of Wonder Woman speaks appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    President Donald Trump announced Thursday he would withdraw from the Paris climate accord, sparking a storm of reactions from lawmakers, foreign leaders and industry executives who largely feared what the exit would mean for the worldwide fight against climate change and America’s relationship with its allies.

    WATCH: Trump announces withdrawal from Paris climate agreement

    Trump had promised to withdraw from the deal — a pledge between nearly 200 countries to reduce carbon emissions worldwide — during his campaign for president. But in recent weeks, the president received conflicting advice from his advisers on whether he should follow through.

    Here’s a look at how leaders around the world are reacting.

    MEMBERS OF CONGRESS

    Republicans

    House Speaker Paul Ryan

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

    Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine

    Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla.

    Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas
    “This is great news for the Texas economy and for hardworking Americans all across our country,” Cruz wrote.

    Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah
    “I look forward to working with the President to rein in the overregulation of the Obama administration and help America’s businesses compete globally,” Hatch wrote in a statement.

    Rep. Ilena Ros- Lehtinen, R-Fla.

    Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C.

    Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

    Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo.

    House Science Committee
    Members wrote on Twitter that “Obama went around Congress and the American people.” Trump’s decision was “returning power to the people:

    Democrats

    Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

    Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va.

    Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

    “President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement is an abdication of American leadership and an international disgrace,” the 2016 presidential candidate wrote in a statement.

    Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va.

    Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

    Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.
    “We can all agree that all people should be able to breathe clean air and live in a safe and healthy environment. Pulling out of the Paris Agreement is an irrational decision that is a disastrous step backward, threatens the future viability of our planet for future generations, and abdicates our role of leadership,” Harris wrote in a statement. “The United States has an obligation to combat this global threat to public health and safety here at home, and abroad.”

    Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del.
    Withdrawing from Paris puts the U.S. government “at odds with US businesses, our closest allies and millions of Americans,” Coons wrote in a series of tweets after Trump’s announcement.

    Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.
    The “U.S. can’t remain an energy leader if we aren’t even at the negotiating table,” Heitkamp wrote in a series of tweets.

    Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md.

    Sen. Kathleen Cortez-Masto, D-Nev.

    Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio

    Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va.
    “Trump’s decision will be a self-inflicted wound on our allies’ trust in American leadership,” Beyer wrote in a statement.

    House Science Committee Democrats

    FORMER LEADERS

    Barack Obama
    The former president tweeted Wednesday that Trump’s decision put the U.S. with “a small handful of nations that reject the future.” https://twitter.com/NewsHour/status/870364758020632579

    Former EPA administrator Gina McCarthy
    “It’s a disappointing and embarrassing day” for the U.S., McCarthy wrote in a statement.

    Former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz

    Former Vice President Al Gore

    “President Trump’s decision is profoundly in conflict with what the majority of Americans want in our president,” Gore wrote in a statement.

    Former Vice President Joe Biden

    MAYORS

    New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio

    Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto

    Boston Mayor Marty Walsh

    BUSINESSES

    General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt

    Elon Musk
    The man behind Tesla, SpaceX and chairman of SolarCity said he would abandon membership on presidential councils in light of Trump’s decision.

    Amazon.com

    “Amazon continues to support the Paris climate agreement and action on climate change. We believe that robust clean energy and climate policies can support American competitiveness, innovation, and job growth,” the company said.

    IBM

    IBM Statement on United States Withdrawal from the Paris Agreement

    “This agreement requires all participating countries to put forward their best efforts on climate change as determined by each country. IBM believes that it is easier to lead outcomes by being at the table, as a participant in the agreement, rather than from outside it.”

    FOREIGN LEADERS

    France, Germany, Italy
    “We deem the momentum generated in Paris in December 2015 irreversible and we firmly believe that the Paris Agreement cannot be renegotiated, since it is a vital instrument for our planet, societies and economies,” the leaders of the three countries said in a statement.

    The European Commission

    “Today is a sad day for the global community, as a key partner turns its back on the fight against climate change. The EU deeply regrets the unilateral decision by the Trump administration to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement.”

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel

    Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau

    Prime Minister of Belgium Charles Michel

    Prime Minister of Sweden Stefan Löfven

    French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs
    tweeted before Trump’s official announcement

    UN Secretary-general António Guterres
    tweeted before Trump’s official announcement

    David O’Sullivan, the European Union’s ambassador to the U.S.

    Miguel Arias Cañete, the EU Commissioner for Climate Action & Energy

    OTHER DIGNITARIES

    Astronaut Scott Kelly

    U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
    The church has looked to the agreement as an “important international mechanism to promote environmental stewardship and encourage climate change migration,” it said in a statement, calling Trump’s decision “deeply troubling.” https://twitter.com/USCCB/status/870374150937886720

    RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel

    READ MORE: President Trump pulls U.S. out of Paris climate accord, sparking global criticism

    The post Here’s how leaders are reacting to Trump’s withdrawal from Paris climate agreement appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks to U.S. troops at the Naval Air Station Sigonella before returning to Washington D.C. at Sigonella Air Force Base in Sigonella, Sicily, Italy, May 27, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - RTX37VNR

    President Donald Trump delivers remarks May 27 to U.S. troops at the Naval Air Station Sigonella in Italy. Trump kept a campaign promise by announcing Thursday that he is immediately withdrawing the U.S. from a global climate pact. Photo by REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst.

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump kept a campaign promise by announcing Thursday that he is immediately withdrawing the U.S. from a global climate pact. Trump had said as a candidate that the Paris climate accord, signed by nearly 200 countries in 2015, would cause job losses in the U.S.

    READ MORE: President Trump pulls U.S. out of Paris climate accord, sparking global criticism

    “One by one we are keeping the promises I made to the American people during my campaign for president,” Trump said during a celebratory announcement in the White House Rose Garden.

    A look at how Trump has handled some of his other top campaign pledges:

    U.S. EMBASSY in ISRAEL:

    Trump’s pledge to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem remains unfulfilled, at least for now. Hours before he was to reveal his decision on the climate pact, Trump decided to temporarily leave the embassy in Tel Aviv. He signed a waiver delaying such a move for at least six months, something his predecessors from both political parties have done routinely for decades.

    READ MORE: Trump declines to move U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, for now

    The White House said Trump made the decision to “maximize” the chances of negotiating a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians, a decades-old diplomatic stalemate that Trump wants to help resolve. Moving the embassy risked infuriating Palestinians, who claim east Jerusalem as the capital of a future state, and inflaming regional tensions. Trump hasn’t abandoned his pledge to move the embassy, the White House said, adding that “the question is not if that move happens, but only when.”

    NORTH AMERICAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT:

    Trump in late April informed Mexico and Canada’s leaders that he will not pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement and would instead seek changes. During the campaign, Trump slammed NAFTA as one of the worst deals in U.S. history and pledged to renegotiate it if elected. Trump’s decision came hours after administration officials said he was considering pulling the U.S. out of NAFTA altogether. Trump has cited a telephone call from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as a driver behind his decision.

    TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP:

    Within days of taking office on Jan. 20, Trump kept his promise to withdraw the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-nation agreement finalized during the Obama administration that would have reduced prices and boosted sales abroad for automakers, farmers and tech companies. Trump also criticized this deal during the campaign, saying it would be a “disaster” for American jobs. He has stated a preference for one-on-one agreements with countries, instead of sweeping, multinational arrangements.

    IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL:

    Trump criticized the Iran nuclear deal during the campaign, saying its terms were better for Iran than for the U.S. and vowing to pull out of or renegotiate the agreement. The deal, negotiated by the U.S. and other world powers, eased economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program. The Trump administration recently notified Congress that Iran is complying with the deal. Trump has stopped promising he will gut the agreement, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said a decision on how to proceed will be part of an Iran policy review currently under way.

    READ MORE: Here’s how leaders are reacting to Trump’s withdrawal from Paris climate agreement

    The post Trump just kept his promise to exit the Paris accord. Here’s how he’s handled other international pledges. appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now to another in our Brief But Spectacular series, where we ask people to describe their passions.

    Five-and-a-half million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, and another 15 million serve as their unpaid caregivers.

    Tonight, two individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Chris Hannafan and Pam Montana, share their experiences.

    CHRIS HANNAFAN: I am 66. I was diagnosed when I was 65.

    PAM MONTANA: I was diagnosed initially in November of 2015. And I think I’m getting the dates right. Part of my issue is my dates sometimes mush together.

    CHRIS HANNAFAN: Yes, I know exactly what we’re doing. I know you’re Steve. I know you’re Zack. We’re here in Pine Street, finally.

    (LAUGHTER)

    PAM MONTANA: On July 20 of last year, I received the official diagnosis, with 17 research physicians and doctors in the room, myself, my husband and my two children, with the diagnosis of early-onset, early-stage Alzheimer’s.

    QUESTION: You can take a minute or two.

    PAM MONTANA: Every time I say it.

    CHRIS HANNAFAN: The way I explain it to people is, I am in a new life. My former life no longer exists, and it’s up to me to create a new life.

    PAM MONTANA: I knew something was wrong. It’s not normal to not be able to calculate a tip anymore. It’s not normal to not do math in your head and to be able to subtract or add numbers. It’s not normal to not remember conversations or to attend a training class and not remember what was taught.

    CHRIS HANNAFAN: More and more words are going away. And there are a number of words that, no matter how I remember them, they are not there.

    I could say, OK, now I have got it, and, two minutes later, I won’t have it.

    PAM MONTANA: With Alzheimer’s, you don’t have an option. You just — it’s just not there. The information is just gone.

    CHRIS HANNAFAN: It seems to be particularly difficult for those of us with Alzheimer’s early-onset to have — sorry — I got a little bit. OK, where was I?

    PAM MONTANA: Frustrating is the word that comes to mind. I am frustrated with the fact that I don’t know what 32 minus seven is without a pen and paper.

    It frustrates me that I have no idea what today is, but I do know it’s Friday.

    CHRIS HANNAFAN: The first thing I lost was my car. So, I was no longer able to use my car for various reasons. I got a bicycle. And I have had two crashes with that. And I think part of that is spatial.

    PAM MONTANA: Now I have a new job. And that job is to be loud and proud about my disease, to share my symptoms with everyone and anyone who will listen to me.

    CHRIS HANNAFAN: I’m able to be useful. I’m able to have — to surround myself with a lot of people, which is absolutely the most important thing you can do with Alzheimer’s.

    PAM MONTANA: Everyone always tells me I look good. Well, what does that have to do with anything?

    I keep saying to people, I’m going to walk around in a bathrobe with a towel on my head, you know, no makeup, just an old hag, and then maybe then they will think I have Alzheimer’s.

    But this is what Alzheimer’s looks like. It looks like me.

    CHRIS HANNAFAN: My name is Chris Hannafan.

    PAM MONTANA: My name is Pam Montana.

    And this is my Brief But Spectacular take …

    CHRIS HANNAFAN: Brief But Spectacular take.

    PAM MONTANA: … on living with Alzheimer’s.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Thank you, Chris and Pam, for sharing with all of us what you’re going through. Wow.

    The post This is what Alzheimer’s looks like: ‘It looks like me’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    JUDY WOODRUFF: We turn our focus to politics now, from tensions inside the White House to pulling out of the Paris accord.

    And we break it all down with Matt Schlapp. He is chair of the American Conservative Union. And Karine Jean-Pierre, a senior adviser to MoveOn.org.

    And welcome back to both of you.

    So, let’s be crassly political here. We talked earlier, Matt, in the program about the substance of the president’s decision.

    MATT SCHLAPP, The American Conservative Union: Right.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And the pushback on it.

    What was the political calculus behind this, do you think?

    MATT SCHLAPP: You look at all these polls. Most polls will tell you that Americans supported the idea of fighting climate change. But that’s really not right the question. It’s digging down deeper.

    The real question about climate change is, are they willing to pay more to fill their tank with gas? Are they willing to pay more for their utility bills? Are they willing to take some of this American energy — we’re now the world’s leading supplier of energy — and take it offline, which has a big impact on U.S. jobs?

    That’s the real question. By the way, it cuts across party lines. Most Americans think that what they’re asking them to pay for, for this crusade on climate is simply not worth losing jobs or paying more for energy.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: It makes it sound like a winning decision today, Karine.

    KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, MoveOn.org: I think what happened today, what we saw today, what Donald Trump did was — it was a political play. That’s all it was. It wasn’t about the economy. It wasn’t about the environment. It wasn’t about businesses.

    It was purely about that small, shrinking base that he has that he needs to placate with — when it comes to every tweet, every action, every message that he puts out, it’s all about them. He continues to give them the red meat that he feels that they need, and that’s what we saw.

    And, if anything, we really saw Steve Bannon winning the day with that speech as well.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, is there any risk, political risk, in what the president did, Matt?

    MATT SCHLAPP: Sure. Sure.

    I think, if it is about politics, people will see through that. I actually think it’s something deeper. It’s a campaign promise he made to the working men and women across this country who have not seen their economic prospects improve. You see that in poll after poll.

    I think it’s the number one reason Donald Trump is president, and that his number one gauge of his success is if the economy can get chugging and we can make these folks feel and actually know that their economic prospects are improving.

    If he can’t do that, I think he’s going to have political trouble.

    KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: Can I just add, Judy, there is a poll — speaking of a poll, there’s a poll that shows 70 percent of Americans actually agreed with the Paris accord; 55 percent were Republicans. So, there were Americans who were behind, behind this.

    MATT SCHLAPP: But if you dig deeper, the real political question is, are you willing to pay the higher taxes, the credits and all the things that you have to do to make carbon more expensive to take it off the grid? And that’s where it gets dicey for your side.

    KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: Well, I think the bigger question is our planet and what are we going to leave our children with — you have five kids, I have a kid — and our grandchildren with, if we don’t take actually responsibility to what this country, our country is doing to the climate?

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Let’s also talk about what has been happening inside the White House now.

    A lot of suspense built up today over what the president was going to this, at a time when there’s been a lot of reporting about unsettled — the unsettled nature of how things are going now with the staff.

    MATT SCHLAPP: I haven’t read any of that.

    (LAUGHTER)

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, it’s been in a couple of news organizations. Let me put it that way.

    You talk to people in the White House.

    MATT SCHLAPP: Sure.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Is that overblown?

    MATT SCHLAPP: No.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Are people feeling — OK, what is going on?

    MATT SCHLAPP: No, it’s not overblown. And my belief is that the president is impatient over the fact that there’s been some bungling on some of these rollouts and some of these decisions. There’s been way too much leaking.

    There is always leaking in White Houses, but this is a journalist’s dream come true, because you have 18, 20, 22 people talking for stories. It’s out of control. And I think he knows it needs to tighten up.

    And I believe that he’s communicated internally that he expects it to tighten up. And if it doesn’t get better — and he has got to up his game, too. If it doesn’t get better, I think he’s going to make a lot more changes.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Karine, what is — I mean, is this just all an upside for Democrats, if the president continues to have these kinds of issues, or are Democrats basically just watching from the sideline?

    KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: I think we just watch on the sideline. I think he’s his worst enemy.

    I mean, look, when it comes to situations like this — and you know. You have worked for a president. I have worked for the president. The fish really rots at its head. This is Donald Trump’s responsibility. There is no one else to blame but himself.

    He’s the one that tweets off-message, not his staff. He’s the one that says things that doesn’t make sense that really angers a lot of people, including, you know, people who even voted for him are a little concerned about what he’s doing. And we see that in focus groups.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: When you say he needs to up his game, your words, what did you mean?

    MATT SCHLAPP: Yes.

    Well, look, there’s an independent counsel. There’s an investigation going on. He’s got to be careful about how he talks about that. My advice is for the White House is simply go along with the investigation. Do not comment on the investigation. Don’t do anything that makes it look like you’re putting any pressure on the investigation.

    I understand the president and his team are frustrated because they don’t see any there there. But I think they need to do that.

    I think, as far as the staff is concerned, I think it was absurd that the Russian delegation was able to go into the Oval Office with recording devices and cameras. They didn’t know who was going to get the photos. The Keystone Cops part of this must end.

    With an outsider president and an investigation going on, the staff has to be twice as good, and they can’t afford to make these kind of mistakes.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Karine, no matter what is going on in the White House, if Donald Trump’s base, the people who voted for him, like the basics of what he’s doing, whether it’s the climate decision or, I don’t know, his attempts to set up a travel ban, even though that hasn’t happened yet, does it really matter politically whether the White House is — quote — “dysfunctional” or not?

    KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: I think it will at some point.

    I mean, there’s 2018 coming right around the corner. And that’s going to hurt Republicans, what we see Donald Trump doing, because it’s not just Republicans. It’s not that small base that got him to the White House. It was also Democrats and independents that got him into the White House.

    MATT SCHLAPP: That’s true.

    (CROSSTALK)

    MATT SCHLAPP: And, by the way, he has a lot of them on his staff at the White House, too.

    KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: Right.

    But here’s the thing. If you look at the House in some of these suburbs that they have to win, the Republicans have to win, you need support outside of your Republican base. So, it is going to hurt them when it comes to 2018.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: I have a feeling this may not be the last time we have a chance to talk about this.

    (LAUGHTER)

    MATT SCHLAPP: Let’s hope not.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Karine Jean-Pierre, Matt Schlapp, thank you both.

    MATT SCHLAPP: Thank you.

    KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: Thanks, Judy.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: As we reported earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin seemed to hint today at Russian involvement in hacking during last year’s presidential campaign, not by government agents, but by what he called patriotically-minded individuals.

    Meantime, the fallout from the Trump campaign’s alleged contacts with Russia, and the ongoing tensions between Washington and Moscow, continue on several fronts.

    John Yang has more.

    JOHN YANG: Late last year, in response to the Russian campaign meddling, the Obama administration expelled 35 suspected Russian intelligence operatives from the United States, and seized two long-held Russian diplomatic compounds, one on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, the other on the North Shore of Long Island.

    Today, the Washington Post reports that the Trump White House is now considering returning those properties, which are widely considered intelligence-gathering hubs.

    What’s more, Politico reports that alleged Russian spies have been turning up in odd places around the United States, often near parts of the nation’s critical telecommunications network.

    It’s one part of what U.S. intelligence officials see as intensifying Russian espionage and counterespionage measures both here and in Russia.

    With me now for more on these stories are Karen DeYoung of The Washington Post and Ali Watkins of Politico.

    Thanks to you both.

    These two stories are different enough, I want to handle them one at a time.

    So, apologies to you, Ali.

    I want the turn first to Karen DeYoung.

    Karen, walk us through how this is coming about. The Obama administration took away these compounds to punish the Russians, and now the Trump White House is talking about giving them back?

    KAREN DEYOUNG, The Washington Post: Well, they were not — although the Russians charged that they were expropriated, they’re still the property of the Russian government.

    What the Americans did in the Obama administration was to ban the Russians from having access to them. They told them they all had to leave in 24 hours, and they couldn’t come back. And then the FBI and other agencies went in and proved to their own satisfaction that what they thought was happening there was actually happening.

    The Trump administration in a meeting with — between Secretary Tillerson, Secretary of State Tillerson and the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, last month said that they would drop what had been a linkage between the two, what the Trump administration had said was linkage between letting the Russians go back into the buildings and have access to them again and the Russians giving up a situation that had been going on for several years in St. Petersburg, where, in response to previous U.S. sanctions against Russia over Ukraine, the Russians had refused to allow the Americans to build a new consulate in St. Petersburg.

    And so the administration had said, well, let’s — you give us our consulate, and we will give you back your building. The Russians said, no, you’re in the wrong and we’re not. This was an illegal expropriation. And a couple days later, when Foreign Minister Lavrov was here, the Americans said, OK, we won’t link them anymore.

    And since then, the Americans have been working on specific proposals to give the Russians about the conditions under which they will give them back. The Russians said today in Moscow that — that Tillerson had told them that they would send them specific proposals, but they haven’t gotten anything yet, but they’re still confident that they’re going to get their compounds back.

    JOHN YANG: And, Ali, talking about sort of Russian activities, let’s turn to you.

    Your reporting found that U.S. intelligence officials were finding Russian diplomats turning up in odd places around the country, right?

    ALI WATKINS, POLITICO: This has been kind of a growing concern of what my understanding is the FBI over the last year-and-a-half of Russian diplomats within the U.S. who are supposed to follow pretty stringent travel rules. They’re supposed to notify the State Department when they travel anywhere outside of their posting.

    The Russian diplomats effectively disregarding those travel rules and turning up in places that they shouldn’t have been or that they never told the State Department they were going.

    JOHN YANG: And what do they think they were up to?

    ALI WATKINS: Yes.

    As U.S. intelligence officials started kind of looking at where these guys were turning up, they would turn up over where a fiber-optics cable ran underground, or these strange locations that when, taken as a whole, it was — became clear that they were on some kind of mission to kind of map the infrastructure. The intel part went to this infrastructure mapping of some of the telecommunications networks in the country.

    JOHN YANG: And was this — is this a change from previous behavior? Does it seem like the Russians are emboldened somehow?

    ALI WATKINS: You know, there is an element of this that’s kind of par for the course. There is natural intelligence gathering. The whole art of espionage is trying to do things that a host country doesn’t want you to do.

    But what’s different about this is that there’s been kind of a burgeoning debate, particularly over the last year with this election operation, of the U.S., particularly under the Obama administration, being unwilling to fight back on this, and not cracking down as much as they could, when they know that these Russian diplomats who are presumed intelligence operatives are doing these things, brazenly disregarding these rules that they’re supposed to follow.

    JOHN YANG: Ali and Karen, let me ask you both — and I will start with you, Ali — earlier today, Vladimir Putin again denied that the Russian state was involved in the meddling with the election, but suggested it could be patriots in Russia.

    What do you make of that statement, Ali?

    ALI WATKINS: I mean, there are some very — it’s a lot of kind of wordplay going on there, I think.

    Putin is not stupid. He knows what he’s saying, in that Russian intelligence is fundamentally different from U.S. intelligence, in that there are a lot more gray zones in the world of Russia. And when Putin says this could have been private sector patriotic actors, but we didn’t know anything about it on a state level, from a U.S. perspective, that might make sense.

    An American intelligence operation isn’t necessarily set up to use private sector hackers. But Putin is kind of exploiting that gray zone and that disconnect. So it’s not surprising that he’d say something like that, but it no doubt comes with a bit of a wink-wink.

    JOHN YANG: Karen, what do you think of it? You have been watching the Russians for a long time. What do you take of that?

    KAREN DEYOUNG: Well, I think that the allegation has always been that the Russians worked through individuals, non-governmental individuals, in order to do this hacking, and that they were guided by and turned the information over to Russian intelligence.

    So, I think what Putin is doing is basically acknowledging that they did it in a very indirect way. And he’s kind of thumbing his nose at the Americans and saying, you know, you can’t pin this on us, even though I think that he’s not really fooling anybody.

    JOHN YANG: Very good.

    Karen DeYoung, Ali Watkins, thanks for being with us.

    KAREN DEYOUNG: You’re welcome.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: But first: the double-edged sword of urban revival.

    Even as some cities are becoming ever more popular and desirable, they’re also becoming places where the middle-class and lower-income residents are getting priced out of the market.

    Economics correspondent Paul Solman has the story. It’s part of his weekly series, Making Sense.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Looking down on Manhattan’s old meatpacking district, the High Line, a mecca for more than seven million eager tourists a year, astride a once-derelict spur of the New York Central.

    RICHARD FLORIDA, Author, “The New Urban Crisis”: This was an old, broken-down, abandoned rail line, elevated rail line.

    PAUL SOLMAN: A rail line shrouding the buildings beneath. As a result, rents were cheap and the cutting-edge marginalized moved in.

    RICHARD FLORIDA: Much of this area of Chelsea was historically a gay neighborhood. And they were gay men and wanted to do something which celebrated the history of the old gay neighborhood.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Noted urbanologist Richard Florida:

    RICHARD FLORIDA: There’s one of the old buildings still with the rainbow flag.

    PAUL SOLMAN: A remnant of a past that proved a harbinger of gentrification to come.

    RICHARD FLORIDA: Once they built the park, it became a draw, not of people, but for real estate developers. And they never anticipated that. No one anticipated the High Line would be a place that luxury towers would grow up around.

    PAUL SOLMAN: But have they ever. For nearly a mile-and-a-half, the elevated walkway now winds through towers full of luxury condos, over-the-top testimony to the urban revitalization that Florida famously championed in his 2002 book, “The Creative Class.”

    RICHARD FLORIDA: We’re going through, I think, one of the greatest economic transformations in history, from an old industrially, corporate-based vertical economy to a new knowledge economy. But the twist I try to add is, it’s also urban. It’s city-based. It’s clustered in cities.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Florida’s twist became gospel. Attract members of the creative class, and they, in turn, will create jobs, which will, in turn, renew and rebuild. And it happened. Just look at the High Line.

    But what Florida now sees is the double edge of the advice he gave, and that so many followed.

    RICHARD FLORIDA: A bigger, denser city in general increases the rate of innovation, increases the rate of start-up, increases the rate of productivity. At the same time, the bigger, the denser, the more knowledge-intensive increases the rate of inequality, increases the rate of economic segregation, makes housing less affordable. So it’s a two-sided monster.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Those unintended consequences of urban revival are the real-world twist Florida wrestles with in his latest book, “The New Urban Crisis.”

    RICHARD FLORIDA: People want to park money in real estate, artists, the best art galleries in the world, commercial companies, real estate development firms, financial headquarters, tech companies, start-ups and companies like Google.

    So, the second dimension is, I kind of call it a crisis of success. These places now become terribly unaffordable for anyone who’s not either a knowledge worker or a techie or a member of the super rich.

    PAUL SOLMAN: As a result, pressure on most of the city’s residents, now facing apartment rents and prices soaring as high as the buildings that house them, many actually unoccupied, because they’re assets for foreigners, parking their money, as Florida puts it, in real estate.

    RICHARD FLORIDA: You used to have stocks, you used to have bonds. Now owning real estate in a superstar city becomes another class of asset.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Rents in this building? Roughly $3,500 a month for a one-room studio apartment, $4,700 for a one-bedroom, $7,000 for two bedrooms.

    SARA HOCHRAD: I could not live in a decent Manhattan apartment by myself. I might be able to live in Queens or maybe outer skirts of Brooklyn these days, because it’s gotten very expensive there, too.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Sara Hochrad, a 31-year-old speech therapist who works nearby, lives across town with roommates, was hoping to move somewhere close with her boyfriend.

    How much would you and he have to earn, just a guess, to be able to afford a $4,700-a-month apartment?

    SARA HOCHRAD: Maybe $150,000, $170,000. Like, and that’s to really cut down into the bare bones of what — how you live.

    PAUL SOLMAN: At least $150,000 a year. It was testimony like this that triggered Florida’s aha moment: the gradual displacement of all but the most successful types he’d long urged cities to attract.

    RICHARD FLORIDA: We did an analysis which looked at the amount of money in these three groups, the knowledge creative class, the working blue-collar class, and the service workers, had left over after paying for housing. The creatives had like $80,000 or $90,000 left over. The blue-collars had $30,000, and the service workers had like $15,000.

    I realized that this urbanism, winner-take-all urbanism, it was benefiting one group much more disproportionately than the other two.

    PAUL SOLMAN: And, with ballooning rents, low-income workers are being squeezed out entirely, banished to the once-desirable suburbs.

    RICHARD FLORIDA: It’s a crisis that’s metastasizing of poverty, concentrated poverty, economic distress in our suburbs.

    PAUL SOLMAN: It’s been happening for decades, of course: the inexorable pinching of America’s middle class, the move towards what’s been called an hourglass economy, with the prosperous in the top half, the less well-off in the bottom, and fewer and fewer Americans in between.

    RICHARD FLORIDA: If the old urban crisis was about the middle-class flight from the city to the suburbs, the new urban crisis is about really the disappearance of middle-class neighborhoods from our society.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Yes.

    RICHARD FLORIDA: What’s tragic about that is, the middle-class neighborhoods were really our launch pads for upward mobility and the American dream.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Thus Florida’s first epiphany: the growing divide within cities between the rich and rest, who are being forced out of town, though he also had a second insight, the divide between cities, winner-take-all urbanism, the winners, San Francisco, New York, the losers, cities like Detroit, Milwaukee, Memphis.

    And even in these stressed cities, creative class clustering is beginning to segregate the rich from the rest. But wait a second. The winning cities simply followed Florida’s own advice, suggesting a pointed question about what he calls the new urban crisis. Did he help cause it?

    RICHARD FLORIDA: I think I really wanted to help cities understand that urban revival, but that urban revival, according to the data we now have, it’s 2000 to now where that urban revival goes into full-bore.

    And I think I was not only surprised, shocked by the speed of it, and shocked by the way it put pressure on cities.

    PAUL SOLMAN: But then what, if anything, can be done to close the gap?

    Well, one answer, building public transit to connect the lagging outskirts to jobs in the booming urban core. And, hey, the 34th Street and Hudson Yards subway station just opened in 2015.

    RICHARD FLORIDA: It’s spectacular, but if you look at most of the subway stops and transit hubs, Penn Station, they’re falling apart.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Penn Station, New York’s key commuter hub, is ever more haunted by delays and cancellations, the result of aging infrastructure.

    But if you really modernize a city’s transit system, you run back into the double-edged sword of Florida’s advice: The better the transit, the denser and more productive the city, the less its lower-end workers will be able to able to afford to live in it, the more of a rich enclave it becomes.

    Well, yes, that may be true, Florida acknowledges, and so he says that today’s cities have to start insisting:

    RICHARD FLORIDA: If you want to build a tower like that, if you want to get the rights to create height and density, we’re going to make a trade. And the trade we’re going to make, in order for you to go up like that, you’re going to make affordable housing.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Affordable housing, the only real way to try to close the gap, says Florida. So, why not muscle developers to offer workers in their projects cheap rents, good wages?

    RICHARD FLORIDA: Why not have your tenants be the ones that are creating better, higher-paying service jobs, that are creating a family-supporting job, so we can have an inclusionary prosperity, and cities can say, we will trade density for good things that developers will do?

    In order to get the density they want and the height they want, they have got to build affordable housing, and they have got to build a more inclusive community.

    PAUL SOLMAN: But, if they don’t, we’re left with the two faces of Florida’s prescient creative class advice.

    RICHARD FLORIDA: That’s the great contradiction of today’s urbanized capitalism. You know, if we want to have a productive city, an innovative city, a country that innovates and creates good jobs, we need them, but, at the same time, that the very thing that is driving our economy forward is creating these divides.

    PAUL SOLMAN: For the PBS NewsHour, this is economics correspondent Paul Solman, reporting from and below the High Line in New York City.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Brutal wars in the Middle East, Africa and Asia have forced the world’s populations of refugees and displaced persons to near record highs.

    Meanwhile, the Trump administration has signaled its intention to substantially change U.S. refugee policy.

    Filippo Grandi, who is the United Nations’ top official leading the response to the refugee crisis, is in Washington this week for meetings at the White House and Pentagon.

    Our William Brangham sat down with him earlier this evening.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Hi, Commissioner Filippo Grandi. Welcome.

    FILIPPO GRANDI, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees: Thank you.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: You’re here in Washington, D.C., obviously this week to meet with some members of the Trump administration.

    I’m curious, what message are you here to convey to them?

    FILIPPO GRANDI: A message that I have already conveyed in previous visits.

    U.S. leadership in humanitarian matters and specifically in matters concerning responses to refugee crisis is very important, continues to be very important. And the response I get is quite good.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: What is that response? What do you hear back from them?

    FILIPPO GRANDI: Well, I think we all watched Ambassador Haley, the U.S. ambassador to United Nations …

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Nikki Haley, yes.

    FILIPPO GRANDI: … visit recently refugee programs in Turkey and in Georgia. We’re talking about Syrian refugees, the biggest refugee crisis in the world.

    And her message was very clear and very strong. United States’ generosity and United States’ support for refugees continues to be strong and constant. And I greatly appreciated this message on her part.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: I know Ambassador Haley has said that on several occasions.

    But we have also seen President Trump try to pass through an executive order that, in effect, says, we’re not taking any refugees in the U.S. And the president has conflated refugees with the fear of terrorism, saying, we can’t know who these people are.

    Is this something that you bring up with administration officials? Do you talk with them about those concerns that they have shared?

    FILIPPO GRANDI: A great deal.

    In fact, I don’t think there was ever any statement saying that no more refugees should come to the United States. There were decisions to increase the vetting of those selected to come here and to limit certain nationalities. All this, as you know, is now being discussed in the judicial sphere. So we have to wait for that discussion, which is an American, a U.S. discussion to finish.

    Our message is, resettlement programs — this is what we’re talking about — are a very important tool to protect the most vulnerable refugees. And vetting is already quite strong for those refugees that enter that program. Of course, this is a sovereign decision of the United States, but I think and I hope that, after all this is done, after conclusions are made, that program will be preserved.

    I think it may be reduced to previous higher levels, but I hope that, with the passage of time and once these controls — once the administration confident that the controls are there, will we continue to see robust resettlement to the United States.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The reason I ask about this is, this is not just a concern expressed by President Trump, but even Chancellor Angela Merkel in Germany has seen a good deal of resistance to her very open embrace of refugees.

    There still is a very strong fear, a conflation of refugees with the fear of terrorism. And I’m just curious what you — what do you say to world leaders when they express this, that we don’t have the political appetite to take refugees onto our shores?

    FILIPPO GRANDI: The fear of insecurity is a very understandable one, especially in a world in which terrorism has created so much damage and killed so many people.

    And we are, of course, with states in saying controls, checks, vetting have to be carried out in the most — in the strongest possible way. This is absolutely true.

    But I also pass another message. In fact, it’s very rare, if ever, that refuges coming from situations of war, of violence, of violations of human rights perpetrate crimes of terrorism. It is not they who do that. It is other people. In fact, those people do not bring terror. Refugees flee from terror.

    I think it’s very important not to conflate refugees and terrorists in this sense. It’s very important to control, it’s very important to check, but it’s also very important to make that distinction, and never forget where these people come from.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Lastly, a quick question on funding.

    I know this is obviously an enormous challenge for the U.N. Do you have enough money to do the work you need to do?

    FILIPPO GRANDI: Certainly not.

    Our budget last year was calculated at 7 billion U.S. dollars, 2016. We got billion U.S. dollars. So about 55 percent of our needs the covered. This means that we do a lot of prioritization. And we prioritize, evidently. With so many refugee crises, with 65 million refugees and displaced people around the world, we have to prioritize lifesaving activities.

    What suffers? What suffers what is not immediately vital and necessary, but which is equally important, like education, livelihoods. That’s why we’re looking at other ways to meet those needs with other sources of funding, because they’re equally important in the long run to sustain assistance to millions of refugees.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Filippo Grandi, thank you very much for being here.

    FILIPPO GRANDI: Thank you.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now for an opposing view, we turn to Senator Mike Lee of Utah. He was one of 22 Republican senators who signed a letter to President Trump last week urging him to withdraw from the Paris agreement.

    Senator Lee, welcome to the program.

    I believe you just heard the response of California Governor Jerry Brown, who argues this is a fundamentally wrong decision. He said it’s going to set back the cause of fighting climate change.

    SEN. MIKE LEE, R-Utah: Yes, I think he’s wrong. I think I disagree with every word, every syllable he uttered, including the words but and the.

    Look, this was a right decision. This was the right thing to do. When President Obama entered into this agreement a couple years ago, he didn’t submit it to the United States Senate for ratification as a treaty.

    He didn’t do that because he knew there was absolutely no way he could get the two-thirds supermajority vote necessary in order to get this ratified, in order to make it the law of the land as a governing treaty. He didn’t do that. And, consequently, it was entirely foreseeable that when a different president from a different party with a different point of view came along, he wouldn’t move forward with it.

    President Trump did that today because he decided this wasn’t in the interest of the United States of America. He did the right thing.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Senator, one of the arguments that we heard Governor Brown and others making today is that President Trump and those who are pushing this decision today don’t understand the way the climate and jobs, the economy interact, that, in fact, when you do less to fight climate change, as this — as what the president, in effect, is doing, he’s missing a chance for the United States to move ahead with clean energy technology, so, in other words, that what he’s done is going to cost jobs, rather than increase them.

    SEN. MIKE LEE: You know, I would flip it on them.

    I would point out, quite to the contrary, what has brought down emissions both from stationary sources like power plants and from mobile sources like automobiles is innovation, improvements in technology that have occurred as a result of free market forces, and in the absence, I would add, of anything like a treaty comparing to the Paris agreement.

    So, this has happened through innovation, through free market forces. I think quite the opposite of what Governor Brown was saying, that when the government gets involved, it tends to squelch innovation. And that innovation is needed for us to control emissions.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Let me quote something that your predecessor, the former EPA administrator, Gina — not your predecessor — I’m sorry — the former EPA administrator, Gina McCarthy, said today.

    She said: “This is an embarrassing day for the United States.” She went on to say: “Make no mistake. Because of this reckless decision, our businesses will lose investment opportunities. We will cede technology breakthroughs to countries that will take over our leadership role, and the rest of the world will question whether the U.S. can be trusted.”

    SEN. MIKE LEE: Yes, that’s pretty apocalyptic.

    And I think that’s apocalyptic to the point of straining credulity. But, look, these are smart people, but they are not omniscient. And I think their prophesies of doom and gloom are entirely unwarranted. And, in fact, I think they’re inappropriate.

    Again, we have to get back to the fact that this power, the power to enter into binding international agreements, this is a shared power. This is something that was decided, should be a shared power, at the Constitutional Convention some 230 years ago.

    As I explain in my new book that came out this week called “Written Out Of History,” these powers that are vested in the federal government have to be clearly enumerated. They have to be limited.

    And we can’t give excessive, unfettered power to a president to act alone, to bind an entire country to a set of principles, a set of rules that the president, him or herself, makes. That’s what we would be allowing presidents to do if we said any time a president, like President Obama, wants to subject an entire country to a new set of rules, that president can do so without submitting that international agreement to the Senate for treaty ratification.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, Senator, maybe this is alone those lines, but I’m now reading comments even from some Republicans who have a problem with this decision.

    A Republican congressman from Florida, Carlos Curbelo, was interviewed, I heard, just within the hour. He is saying this is a mistake. He said: I’m already seeing the impact of climate change on my part of the state. And we need to move forward with technology to address it.

    And I want to quickly quote the former Republican Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who said he’s dismayed and disappointed. He said: “By moving ourselves to the sidelines of an evolving global conversation,” he said, “we have left a void for others to fill. Regrettably, this undermines U.S. credibility, weakens our ability to lead in other areas.”

    SEN. MIKE LEE: Yes, look, I completely disagree.

    The fact that you can point to some people who call themselves Republicans who disagree with this decision doesn’t change this analysis. And I notice there wasn’t a corresponding pushback to the person who preceded me. You didn’t push back like this to Governor Brown. I understand that you might disagree personally with what the president did today.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Senator — Senator …

    SEN. MIKE LEE: But that doesn’t make it — I’m sorry. I would like to answer your question.

    That doesn’t mean that this was wrong. This was the right thing to do. The president put people before this Paris agreement. He put Pittsburgh before Paris. He did the right thing.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Senator, just to set the record straight, I quoted President Trump several times back to Governor Brown in my interview with him, just as I have quoted some who criticized the president’s decision in my interview with you.

    Finally, Senator, let me …

    SEN. MIKE LEE: Yes. But I want to be clear.

    The reason I made that point is, you didn’t try to identify some Democrats who might have supported this. You quoted the president himself.

    And what I’m saying is, you are pushing back on me in a way you didn’t push back on him. That’s fine. That’s your right to do that as a reporter.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, let me finally ask you, Senator, the president said he’s open to renegotiation. We’re already hearing from European officials that it’s — that this is an accord not open for renegotiation.

    So, how do you foresee moving ahead in that direction?

    SEN. MIKE LEE: Well, if they’re saying this is not open for renegotiation, and this negotiation was itself something that couldn’t get through the United States Senate, and that’s why President Obama never submitted it to the Senate for treaty ratification, then we’re at an impasse, and we will proceed.

    We will proceed, by the way, I should add, as a global leader in environmental regulation. We are a global leader in the rule of law. We have brought down emissions in this country through our legal system and through technological innovation.

    We can do this on our own. We don’t have to have the permission of countries all over the world to do that. We have done it pretty well. We have done it much better than a lot of our would-be partners in this agreement.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Senator Mike Lee of Utah, thank you very much for talking with us.

    SEN. MIKE LEE: Thank you.

    The post Sen. Mike Lee: President Trump put people before Paris agreement appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    JUDY WOODRUFF: We zero in now on the big story of this day, the president’s decision to withdraw from a global accord aimed at slowing the impact of climate change.

    We explore the consequences of all this, and how it may play out in coming years in the United States and around the world.

    We begin with California Governor Jerry Brown, a Democrat. His state is battling efforts by the Trump administration to roll back some emissions regulations. And he’s flying to China tomorrow to discuss what more can be done on climate change.

    I spoke with him just a short time ago.

    Governor Jerry Brown, thank you for joining us.

    Your office put out a statement a short time ago saying, this is an insane course of action. Do you mean that?

    GOV. JERRY BROWN, D-Calif.: I certainly do mean that. If anything, it’s understated.

    Climate change is an existential threat to all of humanity, to the natural systems on which all life depends. Not tomorrow, but starting very quickly, we’re seeing changes. California has lost 100 million trees from the drought. Sea level is rising. the Antarctica is seeing ice melting at an ever rapid rate, some say in an irreversible way.

    This is a profoundly serious problem. The Paris agreement was an agreement of nations saying what they could do voluntarily. Here’s the commitment. President Obama made something I thought was doable, was reasonable.

    In fact, California is doing that very thing now, and our economy has grown in terms of GDP 40 percent faster than the nation as a whole. We have created over two million jobs.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Yes.

    GOV. JERRY BROWN: So, climate action and jobs go together. So, that’s why I say this move by Trump makes no sense, and it’s going to hurt America, and it’s going to cost jobs, not the reverse.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, as you know, he makes a different argument. He says this — he said, I’m in favor of doing something to help the environment, but he said this accord is going to cost millions of jobs and cost the American people trillions in lost economic output.

    GOV. JERRY BROWN: That’s just — that’s a lie. That’s completely unwarranted.

    Yes, jobs are always declining all the time, the creative destruction of capitalism. But jobs are being created. California has lost jobs, but, net, we have added 2.4 million jobs in the last eight years, since the recession.

    That is a remarkable outcome, and it’s consistent, in fact, I would say driven by the clean tech investments and the climate action strategies that we have embarked upon. So, President Trump is completely wrong. He’s doing this for his own base, highly ideological. He’s wrong on the science. He’s wrong on the facts.

    (CROSSTALK)

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, he also — another argument he makes, Governor, he says, this puts restrictions on the United States, while the United States is reducing its emissions, while it lets other countries like China, that continue to pollute more and more, get away with doing that for years to come with no penalties.

    GOV. JERRY BROWN: He really distorts the record. He has a record of that, and he’s doing it again.

    China is exceeding its commitment, and it’s turning a big machine around, to the point where it’s stopping the growth of emissions in a few years. And it’s the leader in wind and solar power. And, yes, they’re building some coal pants. They have to go faster. They’re not perfect.

    But this is an agreement of the willing that have said in Paris, here’s what we will do. And it’s reasonable, what China is doing, reasonable, what America is doing. In fact, I would say both have to do a lot more.

    So, Trump is taking this in the exact wrong direction, which will cost us more money. When the New York, the subway is underwater, or New Orleans or President Trump’s hotel down there in Florida are devastated by rising sea levels, that will cost hundreds of billions. Aggregate, over decades, we’re talking trillions. So, the economics is all to the opposite of what President Trump is saying.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Governor, among other things, as you know, the president is talking to his base, people who voted for him. There’s an indication they’re going to like what he did today.

    Has your side of this argument missed an opportunity to explain to the American people how protecting the environment can also be good for the economy?

    GOV. JERRY BROWN: Well, I don’t think that message is clear enough. And certainly people can be more articulate.

    California, obviously, it’s clear. Orange County for the first time in decades voted against a Republican, Mr. Trump. And I think part of that is our environmental policies working, as well as our job creation running at full speed.

    So, yes, this is a message that has to be made more persuasively, more simply, and made more extensively across the country.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: You mentioned California, and I think you said in your statement today California can continue to cut its own deals with other countries, continue to move forward with technology.

    How does that work? I mean, the president said he’s willing to renegotiate the Paris accord. Is that realistic at the same time you’re talking about California and other states going forward on their own?

    GOV. JERRY BROWN: Already, European nations have said Paris is not negotiable. The president of France said that and others.

    What’s he going to renegotiate? This is a modest commitment on the part of President Obama. And we have to do more, not less.

    I’m going to China tomorrow. I will meet with high officials. We will agree on standardizing various clean technologies that will make it possible to invest and produce even more. We’re going to work, California and China. We’re working with New York and Washington. Canada and Mexico have joined with over 170 states, provinces and nations committed to this Paris agreement.

    So, the world is not waiting for Donald Trump. He has given a body blow to the cause of environmental sustainability, but we will take it and we will respond. We’re on the field of battle, and we’re going to overcome. That, I can promise you.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Governor Jerry Brown of California, thank you very much.

    GOV. JERRY BROWN: Thank you.

     

    The post Gov. Jerry Brown: Trump’s move to reject Paris agreement hurts America and will cost jobs appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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