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- 06/16/17--14:40: _Trump discloses fin...
- 06/16/17--15:17: _Petraeus: Afghan wa...
- 06/16/17--15:20: _I ignored advice an...
- 06/16/17--15:25: _Shields and Brooks ...
- 06/16/17--15:30: _Why a stay in the I...
- 06/16/17--15:35: _Acquittal of office...
- 06/16/17--15:40: _Average Cubans like...
- 06/16/17--15:45: _Petraeus: We went t...
- 06/16/17--15:49: _What the first blac...
- 06/16/17--15:50: _News Wrap: Trump ac...
- 06/17/17--06:35: _Seven Navy crew mis...
- 06/17/17--08:02: _Judge declares mist...
- 06/17/17--08:30: _Border Patrol arres...
- 06/17/17--08:56: _Trump’s Washington ...
- 06/17/17--09:47: _Tired of taking pil...
- 06/17/17--10:47: _Thousands protest a...
- 06/17/17--11:29: _Voyaging canoe retu...
- 06/17/17--12:26: _Lead detected in 20...
- 06/17/17--13:17: _Alabama residents l...
- 06/17/17--13:32: _Cosby ‘not out of t...
- 06/16/17--14:40: Trump discloses financial information detailing trust
- 06/16/17--15:30: Why a stay in the ICU can leave patients worse off
- 06/16/17--15:40: Average Cubans likely hurt by Trump’s return to stricter rules
- 06/16/17--15:45: Petraeus: We went to Afghanistan for a reason, and we need to stay
- 06/16/17--15:50: News Wrap: Trump acknowledges obstruction of justice probe in tweet
- 06/17/17--06:35: Seven Navy crew missing, skipper hurt after collision off Japan
- 06/17/17--08:02: Judge declares mistrial in Cosby case
- 06/17/17--08:30: Border Patrol arrests 4 men at medical camp run by aid group
- 06/17/17--08:56: Trump’s Washington hotel saw almost $20 million in revenue
- 06/17/17--09:47: Tired of taking pills for diabetes? How about a shot of broccoli?
- 06/17/17--10:47: Thousands protest acquittal of officer who killed Philando Castile
- 06/17/17--12:26: Lead detected in 20 percent of baby food samples
- 06/17/17--13:17: Alabama residents left with one insurance option under ACA
- 06/17/17--13:32: Cosby ‘not out of the woods’ after mistrial
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is outlining the financial health of the business assets he placed into a trust when he took office.
The information comes in a new financial disclosure he voluntarily made Friday to the Office of Government Ethics. The documents cover January 2016 through this spring.
The report shows Trump resigned from more than 500 positions, many of them a day before his inauguration as president. Trump listed at least $315 million in liabilities, about the same as in a report he filed last year.
The documents have added importance because Trump isn’t following the long tradition of presidential candidates and office-holding of making public his tax returns. Those returns provide more complete financial information than the personal financial disclosures, which only include broad ranges for income and debts.
The post Trump discloses financial information detailing trust appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
The 16-year war in Afghanistan is not going to end any time soon, former CIA Director David Petraeus said Friday in an interview with PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff.
“This is a generational struggle. This is not something that is going to be won in a few years. We’re not going to take a hill, plant a flag and go home to a victory parade,” said Petraeus, who also oversaw U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Iraq during his military career. He is now a partner at KKR global investment firm.
“You know, we’ve been in Korea for 65-plus years, because there’s an important national interest for that. We were in Europe for a very long period of time,” he said. “We’re still there, of course, and actually with a renewed interest now given Russia’s aggressive actions.”
When Woodruff asked if he thought if the U.S. would need to stay in Afghanistan for 60 more years, he said he doesn’t think the U.S. involvement will last that long. But “I think we should not approach this as a year-on-year mission,” he said, noting that kind of instability gives Afghan leaders “the jitters.”
The current U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Nicholson, has recommended sending 3,000 to 5,000 more troops to the 8,400 already there. Petraeus called the possible increase in forces “heartening” and “sustainable.”
Watch Woodruff’s full interview with David Petraeus on Friday’s broadcast of PBS NewsHour.
The post Petraeus: Afghan war a ‘generational struggle’ that will not end soon appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: New college graduates are making their way out into the world with new rules, social circles and morning alarms.
Caroline Kitchener is the author of “Post Grad: Five Women and Their First Year Out of College.”
In tonight’s In My Humble Opinion, she offers some advice that counters what she and her peers were raised to believe.
CAROLINE KITCHENER, Author, “Post Grad: Five Women and Their First Year Out of College”: When I was a kid, Dr. Barbie was the only Barbie in my closet, and Disney princess movies always prompted the same conversation with my mother: Happy endings absolutely do not require a Prince Charming.
All the adult women in my life had to fight against the same expectations: Get married, have kids, let someone else make money.
And so they were intent on creating a new set of expectations for me.
Over the years, I became more and more convinced: Marriage, even a serious relationship, was a kind of weakness. Strong women didn’t need anyone.
While I was in college, my female friends and I were pressured to lean in and strive for one particular kind of success: the best, most fulfilling career possible.
For high-achieving women my age, romantic relationships were supposed to be far less important, put on the back burner until we were well on our way to a corner office.
This was where my values started to clash with real life. After graduation, I was going to write a book, and all of my writing contacts were in New York. There, I would have a much stronger professional network than I would living in any other city.
But my boyfriend got a job in D.C. When I started telling people that I was moving to D.C. to be with Robert, they all gave me this sort of sad, pitying look. They said things like: “Really? But you’re so young.”
I spent my first year after graduation shadowing four of my female classmates and writing about their transition from college to real life. It was a rough year.
Our entire lives, we’d been surrounded by this big, supportive community, parents, teachers, a group of friends our own age. When all that went away, we felt more alone than we ever had before. We wanted to lean on a partner. And that made us feel intensely guilty.
Sometimes, though, relationships can help us find our footing in an entirely new world. My point isn’t that all women should prioritize relationships after graduation, just that those of us who do shouldn’t be demonized for it.
Guys who follow their girlfriends don’t get the same judgment. Instead, they’re often celebrated for being progressive or modern. People say, that’s so sweet, or, wow, he really loves her.
And we should ask ourselves why those different reactions exist, and why young women continue to be judged for making the same decisions as men.
JUDY WOODRUFF: A lesson for all of us.
The post I ignored advice and followed my boyfriend to a new city after college. Here’s why appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And to the analysis of Shields and Brooks. That’s syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.
So, gentlemen, it’s been another tumultuous week, on top of several others. We have had the attorney general of the United States testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee. And then we learned, I guess in the last 48 hours, Mark, that the investigation by the special counsel into the Russia meddling in the election has been expanded to include whether or not the president committed obstruction of justice.
Is this a one-alarm crisis, two-alarm? Are we making too big a deal of this?
MARK SHIELDS, Syndicated Columnist: Well, based on what the president — how the president’s reacting, Judy, I don’t think we’re making too big a deal of it.
I mean, the president, having acted briefly presidential after the tragedy of the shooting of Steve Scalise and the others at the baseball field, has reverted to form and gone back to, as you reported at the outset, now the man who told me to fire the FBI director is after me because — is investigating me because of firing of the FBI director, which is totally contradictory to what the president said to Lester Holt on NBC, that the recommendation of Rod Rosenstein had nothing to do with his decision to fire James Comey as FBI director, that it was based solely on Donald Trump’s desire, as he expressed to the Russians the next day in the Oval Office, to get the Russian investigation behind him.
And so I just think that he is behaving like a man who really wants to fire Robert Mueller and, you know, who didn’t live through October 20, 1973, when President Nixon ordered Elliot Richardson to fire Archibald Cox and the independent counsel, and he refused and resigned. And William Rucklehaus, his deputy, resigned.
And we had a constitutional crisis. And it led to impeachment hearings.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The president is calling it a witch-hunt, David.
The White House is saying he didn’t — isn’t going to fire the special counsel. But it isn’t clear. There have been reports out about that.
DAVID BROOKS, The New York Times: Yes, it may be a witch-hunt, but he’s acting like a witch.
DAVID BROOKS: To me, we have had this — the idea that there has been collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign has been investigated for a long time. And so far, we have had no really serious evidence that they did collude, and everything else seems to be leaking out.
So, I begin to be a little suspicious — and maybe I’m wrong — we will see over the long term — whether there was any actual act of collusion. There were certainly conversations maybe about some building and some investment, but so far, no evidence of an underlying crime.
But this, to me, is not a criminal story. It is a psychological story. And it’s a story about a president who seems to be under more pressure, under more threat, lashing out in ways that are painfully self-destructive, but also extremely disturbing to anybody around him.
And so whether it’s the North Korean Cabinet hearing that he held recently, where they all had to praise him, or the tweets as late as this morning, this is not a president who is projecting mental stability.
And the idea that he will fire somebody, whether it’s Mueller or anybody else, seems very plausible. And so, to me, if there is something really damaging here, it’s something that has not yet happened caused by the psychological pressure that he apparently feels.
JUDY WOODRUFF: It is. People are referring, are reflecting back, Mark, to the Whitewater investigation, the Watergate investigation, that what happened after the original alleged crime made whatever happened in the first place much worse.
MARK SHIELDS: Well, the two iron rules of Washington scandals, Judy, is, it’s never the act itself. Rule one, it’s always the cover-up. And rule two is, everybody always forgets rule one.
And that’s — but I think we have got — I’m not ready for the clean bill of health yet. We have got the transition to go through and The New York Times’ Matt Apuzzo and Michael Schmidt’s story this week that suggested that Robert Mueller was looking at money laundering, that this would have been the way, through the Russians, that had been — the beneficiaries had received their payments through offshore banks.
This kind of opened up a new avenue that’s reported in The New York Times. And so I just think that, Judy, the abject lack, absence of curiosity on the part of the president in his nine conversations with the FBI correct or any other — anybody else, and with the attorney general before the Senate Intelligence Committee, abject lack of curiosity in how the Russians did it.
I mean, you would come in and you say 17 intelligence agencies have concluded the Russians tried to sabotage the American electoral process, and there’s not a single question about, what did they do, how did they do it, how can we avoid it, what can we do in the future?
Geez, no, let’s go, let’s find the three million people who were illegally voting in California instead. We will appoint a commission for that.
JUDY WOODRUFF: I mean, Mark does have a point, David, that when the attorney general was asked about the — a number of things, one of the things he said was that he had not been briefed at all on the Russia meddling.
DAVID BROOKS: Yes. And that’s in part why it’s a psychological issue.
Every contact we know where Donald Trump had conversations about the Russia thing, he saw through the prism of his own victory and would he get credit for the victory. And it’s perfectly plausible for a normal human being to think, well, I won the presidency, but the Russians also did seriously endanger interests, the American political system, and, therefore, I’m going to go after that.
And so he — but he’s incapable of seeing that second part. It’s just, am I getting full credit for what I think I achieved? And so it’s the intellectual insecurity that I think is overshadowing all else.
And that, by definition, can spill — this is why it’s a little different than Whitewater and Watergate. Nixon has his own psychological complexities, but he was someone who acted at least maybe in Machiavellian ways, but in straightforward, linear ways. And, certainly, that was true of Clinton.
With this team, no. And then the second thing to be said is, Clinton had very competent people around him, and so did Richard Nixon. That’s not the case here.
And you talked to the people in the Clinton White House, it was hell to be in that White House. They tried to build these Chinese walls, so they could do their jobs while the investigation was going on, and it was super tough for them.
I imagine, especially when you have got tweetstorms coming out, it’s near impossible to do your job right now in any corner of the Trump administration.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Tweetstorms from the president.
MARK SHIELDS: Just two quick points, Judy.
And that is, Richard Nixon was no Donald Trump. I mean, Richard Nixon had served four years in the United States Navy as an officer, 14 years in the House and the Senate, eight years as vice president, and was a constant reader of history and biography, may have been the best-prepared president in terms of experience in the history of the nation, and has a record of achievement that — amply documented character defects and criminal activity, but a historic record of achievement, whether it’s OSHA or EPA or whatever else.
The two things that David’s mentioned, of that Cabinet meeting, it was the most awkward event I have seen in 50 years.
JUDY WOODRUFF: This is when he went around the table and asked each Cabinet member…
MARK SHIELDS: To tell how wonderful you were, not what I did — not only what I did on my vacation, but how wonderful you are.
And there wasn’t a single member of that Cabinet, with the exception of Jim Mattis, the secretary of defense, who escaped with his or her self-respect intact.
I mean, it was: You’re wonderful. They love you in Mississippi. You’re doing a great job. Everybody’s better. The economy is better. Everything is terrific.
I mean, this was just — this was scary. And the final thing was, yesterday, he goes after Hillary Clinton again, crooked Hillary. I mean, he’s trying to rerun that 2016 election.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, all this takes place, David, in a week when, as you both have mentioned, the shooting happened. Republicans are practicing for their annual baseball game against the Democrats in Congress, and this man comes into town from Illinois.
He ends up being killed, grievously wounds Congressman Steve Scalise, still in the hospital in critical condition. After this, we see a coming together of the parties. I wanted to show a picture. This is from the baseball game last night, where you had — or two nights ago — where you had the four leaders of Congress there for once — I don’t think we have ever seen a picture like this — coming together looking like they at least can tolerate each other.
DAVID BROOKS: Yes.
And the thing that’s symptomatic of me — for me is, I used to think polarization was a Washington phenomenon, that the people on Capitol Hill were polarized, but the country was sort of still a moderate nation.
But I think there is little evidence to support that now. This is a polarized country. And most of the politicians I know, members of Congress, hate the system they’re in. They’re stuck in a much more polarized world than they wish they were in.
And it’s out of the country. And that doesn’t say the shooter is any way symptomatic. If anything, he’s an atypical nutcase. But it is a sign on the fringes.
We have seen a ratcheting up of violence. We saw it, I thought, at the conventions on both sides. We saw it at the Trump rallies on both sides. And the people on the fringes of society, we have just seen a ratcheting up in their feeling of justification that they can resort to violent means.
And this guy apparently had a list of people, according to what’s being reported this afternoon, of people he wanted to shoot. And so that’s weaponizing mentally disordered people through the process of political extremism.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Is this coming together at all, Mark? Do you see any enduring — any endurance of that, or is that just — is it just going to be a blip?
MARK SHIELDS: You hope, Judy, but to David’s point, both parties — according to Pew Research, in both parties, what drives the most activist wing is not support and energy and advocacy of their own side. It’s loathing of the other side.
That’s the gauge as to whether you’re going to be politically involved, you’re going to vote, and whether you’re going to contribute, how much do you loathe the other party, how much do you hate them.
And there was a time, I will be very blunt, when I came to Washington, when the legitimacy of your opponent was never questioned. You questioned their judgment. You questioned their opinions or their arguments, but you never their legitimacy.
And that changed. And it changed. And one of the reasons it changed is that a man was elected from the state of Georgia who ran on the book, and the book was, you use these words. You use sick. You refer pathetic, traitor, liar, corrupt, shame, enemy of normal Americans.
This was Newt Gingrich’s bible. It wasn’t an idea of a policy. It wasn’t a program. He used it and he became successful. He became speaker of the House.
Donald Trump is a clone of Newt Gingrich. Donald Trump used, Donald Trump, lying Ted, and lightweight Bobby Jindal, and Mitt Romney choked like a dog, and used that language.
And you’re right. The left has used similar language and there has been a response and almost a premium on going after Trump in the same sort of language. But there’s been no punishment. There’s no political downside for this tactic.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Just 45 seconds.
Is one side more responsible than another? And are we going to see any of this coming together last, or is it…
DAVID BROOKS: Yes, to me, in 1970, people were asked, would you mind it if your son or daughter married someone of the opposing party? And 5 percent would mind.
Now 40 percent mind, because people think your political affiliation is a sign of your worth, your values, your philosophy, your culture, your lifestyle. It’s everything. All of a sudden, we have been reduced to politics and we have made politics into the ultimate source of our souls.
And that’s — it’s just — that’s not what it should be about. It’s just about arguments about tax rates. It’s not everything.
MARK SHIELDS: That’s a good point.
JUDY WOODRUFF: David Brooks, Mark Shields, thank you both.
MARK SHIELDS: Thank you.
The post Shields and Brooks on Trump’s response to Russia probe, Scalise shooting appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: More than five million Americans are admitted into hospital intensive care units, or ICUs, each year. Undoubtedly, they are a crucial component of the health care system for treating seriously ill patients and preventing deaths.
But some patients also eventually leave the ICU with new complications and problems.
Special correspondent Jackie Judd looks at those concerns and an effort to make sure patients are getting the right interventions.
WOMAN: Well, as soon as we get this ultrasound done, we are going to get your lights on and your windows open, OK?
JACKIE JUDD: Every year, almost six million patients land in an intensive care unit, and, through often heroic efforts, lives are saved.
For many of those survivors, that period of time becomes a bright line in their lives of before and after.
PAUL TURPIN, Was Admitted to ICU: I am very aware that I am not the same person who went into the hospital with sepsis. I am just not.
JACKIE JUDD: In what ways?
PAUL TURPIN: Well, my personality. I’m shorter-tempered, mood change, mild depression.
JACKIE JUDD: Paul Turpin, an endocrinologist who lives outside of Nashville with his wife, Mary Lou, spent a month in an ICU. That was two-and-a-half years ago.
Richard Langford’s first ICU stay was a decade ago, and he has not lived on his own since.
RICHARD LANGFORD: Mom is the one who takes care of me. Now, my mother is 88 years old.
JACKIE JUDD: Psychologist Jim Jackson leads this support group, and is part of a team at Vanderbilt University Medical Center that helped identify a constellation of symptoms mimicking PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder. They call it post-intensive care syndrome, or PICS.
JIM JACKSON, Vanderbilt University Medical Center: They don’t have a traumatic experience in the way that a combat veteran or a rape survivor would, so they’re not referred to a mental health professional. They really fall through the cracks. With all of these gaps, there just is a lack of awareness.
How do you feel?
JACKIE JUDD: Dr. Wes Ely has studied this phenomenon for almost 20 years. He says the risk factors are clear: powerful sedatives and prolonged use of ventilators, which can trigger delirium. Some ICU patients need those interventions, but not all of them do.
DR. WES ELY, Vanderbilt University Medical Center: We had to tie people down, so they wouldn’t pull lines and tubes out, but we also chemically restrained them with these deep sedatives. So we got comfortable pummeling people’s brains with gargantuan amounts of benzodiazepines, propofol, and other types of sedation.
We put them in this cocoon, but it wasn’t a safe one. And when we started measuring delirium, and then started measuring physical immobility, it unveiled this issue of PICS.
WOMAN: Hi, sweetie. Can you open your eyes?
JACKIE JUDD: A substantial number of patients leave the ICU with newly-acquired problems, ranging from dementia, to depression, to muscle and nerve disease.
Dr. Ely has been following some of them for six years, and will soon release a study. Preliminary data show one-third of patients improve and get back to normal cognitive and functioning levels. One-third remain the same as the day they left the hospital. And one-third decline even further.
WOMAN: We should talk about whether we should move the tube to the neck, OK, because that will allow us to decrease the amount of sedation that you’re on.
JACKIE JUDD: So, leaders in acute care developed a different ICU treatment. When possible, they keep patients out of the cocoon by reducing the use of drugs and ventilators, and by getting patients moving.
WES ELY: Turning off of sedation every day and turning off the ventilator every day gets people out of the hospital sooner, it decreases cost of care and it helps improve survival.
JACKIE JUDD: Hospitals across the country have been slow to adopt the practices in use here at Vanderbilt. It’s been more than four years since the Society of Critical Care Medicine issued new treatment guidelines for controlling pain and delirium in the ICU, and, yet today, the organization describes compliance as mediocre.
MAN: We’re going to get you every day up as much as we can, OK?
JACKIE JUDD: Coaxing patients out of bed to exercise takes a lot more staff time than sedating them. And getting doctors to change what has long been done is hard.
WES ELY: A lot of it has to do with people in long white coats, the doctors. The doctors are used to how they do things. They don’t want to be told to do it a different way, and they’re late adopters.
We have early adopters in life, and we have late adopters, and the doctors think, well, this is an invisible problem. I don’t see it. I don’t see it as an issue anyway. They can’t even necessarily envision what it is that could happen so much better.
JACKIE JUDD: Vanderbilt used to release patients from the ICU with no follow-up. Now it is one of a handful of hospitals with post-ICU clinics. It’s a way station for patients at risk.
The goal is to be a bridge to a medical world with little awareness of the syndrome.
Dr. Carla Sevin is one of the founders.
DR. CARLA SEVIN, Vanderbilt University Medical Center: The main purpose of the clinic is to sort of bridge this million-dollar intensive care time to this outpatient status, which is not set up to take care of the multipronged problems that people experience after the ICU.
RICHARD LANGFORD: That might be permanent.
JACKIE JUDD: The clinic also organizes the support group where Richard Langford is a regular.
RICHARD LANGFORD: It helps give me a structure for why I’m feeling the way I do, and that I’m not going crazy. This anxiety, it is — is not something that will kill me. It’s not something that I have to worry about, and keep worrying about worrying about worrying.
PAUL TURPIN: Thank you, lord, for this nice day.
JACKIE JUDD: As for Paul Turpin, he is happily back practicing medicine, and still managing emotional ups and downs, including a lingering sense of terror, which is common among ICU patients.
PAUL TURPIN: Fear of ever being in an ICU.
JACKIE JUDD: What is that fear rooted in?
PAUL TURPIN: Being back in those circumstances, being out of control, being wrapped up in that cocoon.
JACKIE JUDD: Is it what you fear the most in your life at the moment?
PAUL TURPIN: Probably.
WES ELY: You know, you’re an inspiration to us.
JACKIE JUDD: Dr. Ely, who travels worldwide to spread the word about PICS, says he senses a momentum to shift ICU care in order to reduce the harm it can cause.
WES ELY: People were built to be vertical and moving around, not lying in a bed 24/7. So we’re trying to get back to the humanness of critical care.
JACKIE JUDD: Even so, he predicts it will be at least five years before what happens in this ICU becomes the norm for patients being treated at the most vulnerable and frightening time of their lives.
For the PBS NewsHour, I’m Jackie Judd in Nashville, Tennessee.
The post Why a stay in the ICU can leave patients worse off appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But first: It was a shooting that captured the nation’s attention last summer, at the same time it was already grappling with tensions over police shootings. And, today, the jury reached a verdict in the trial of the officer.
Hari Sreenivasan has the latest.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Philando Castile was shot when his car was pulled over for a traffic stop last July. His girlfriend was in the car, and live-streamed the aftermath on Facebook moments later.
Officer Jeronimo Yanez said at the time that he believed Castile was reaching for a gun. Castile’s family and girlfriend disputed that. Yanez had been charged with second-degree manslaughter and endangering safety. This afternoon, a jury acquitted him of all charges after five days of deliberations.
Soon after, his mother and sister came out and spoke to reporters.
VALERIE CASTILE, Mother of Philando Castile: My son was murdered, and I will continue to say murdered, because where in this planet do you tell the truth, and you be honest, and you still be murdered by the police of Minnesota, while you have your seat belt on and you’re in the company with a woman and a child? My son would never jeopardize anyone else’s life.
ALLYSZA CASTILE, Sister of Philando Castile: The system really is wrong, and they really failed us. They really failed us, once again, because my brother was a good man. You never even heard him raise his voice. You never even heard him yell. And for that man to get on the stand and lie, he got caught in three, four, five different lies.
HARI SREENIVASAN: It was the most recent example of an officer being acquitted in a high-profile shooting. The jury had been deadlocked in recent days.
Tim Nelson of Minnesota Public Radio has been covering the trial and joins me now.
Tim, first, you were in the courtroom. The reaction?
TIM NELSON, Minnesota Public Radio: It was swift and shocking.
The Castile family was sitting in the courtroom. The judge had asked people to be quiet while the verdicts were read, but as soon as the not-guilty verdict for the manslaughter account was returned, Valerie Castile — that’s Philando’s mother — got up and started shouting profanity in the courtroom.
She had been — the people in the court had been told to wait until all the verdicts were read before they left, and she pushed her way out, was joined by many of her friends and family, visibly upset, very, very angry about the verdict here today.
On the other side, the friends and family, some of the fellow officers of Jeronimo Yanez were weeping as well, clearly relieved that this ordeal is over. It’s been going on almost a year now. He was charged in November. So, a lot of angst initially in the courtroom.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Tim, the county attorney when he was bringing these charges said no reasonable officer would have used deadly force in this situation. Why wasn’t he able to convince a jury?
TIM NELSON: Well, I think there were three real factors here.
One of them was, we saw for the first time the squad car video, the perspective of the officer, or at least from his dash-cam. And what we saw was, this happened very quickly. And you could feel the emotion, you could feel the tension in this situation as it happened.
And it’s confounding. You can’t see what was actually going on in the car. And I think that that left some doubt there. The other thing is, the defense continued to return to the THC found in Mr. Castile’s blood after he died.
They continued to suggest that he had been smoking marijuana, and that may have clouded his judgment when he told the officer that pulled him over that he had a gun, that he may not have done it in a way that lessened the risk that they both faced in this case.
And I think the third thing in this case was Officer Yanez actually taking the stand last Friday. He was near tears as he talked about the fear he felt, the tension he felt, the thoughts of his family running through his mind as he encountered Philando Castile for those first few seconds of this incident.
So, it, I think, may have left some doubt in the jury’s mind. And, you know, there are some Supreme Court cases, Graham vs. Connor, that give the benefit of the doubt in a lot of these cases to a police officer. They urge the jury to think about it from the officer’s perspective in the moment, not in perfect 20/20 hindsight.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Tim, we learned in this process that Mr. Castile had a permit for that weapon.
But what’s the level of concern or anger in your community? I remember, right after this incident, there were protests on your streets for days and weeks.
TIM NELSON: Not just on our streets. They closed an interstate between the two cities in what authorities later called a riot. There were police officers injured in that incident.
The protesters occupied the front of the governor’s mansion for weeks here. And, you know, you remember, this happened just after the shooting in Louisiana and had been — it sort of added to the tension there.
We haven’t seen those kinds of protests lately, but as soon as I walked out of the courtroom today, as soon as I walked out of the courthouse, there were people with hand-lettered signs shouting, making their voices, their unhappiness about this verdict.
So it’s clear there are some people who are very angry about this, and we may see some more of that coming up soon.
HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Tim Nelson of Minnesota Public Radio, thanks so much.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: As we reported earlier, President Trump took steps to roll back some parts of the Obama administration’s opening to Cuba, which began two-and-a-half years ago.
John Yang reports now on what’s out and what stays in effect.
JOHN YANG: President Trump made the announcement in Miami’s Little Havana before an enthusiastic crowd in a packed auditorium.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Effective immediately, I am canceling the last administration’s completely one-sided deal with Cuba.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
JOHN YANG: While the president’s action falls short of canceling, he said it fulfills a campaign promise to undo President Obama’s re-engagement with Cuba.
FORMER PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Today, the United States of America is changing its relationship with the people of Cuba.
JOHN YANG: In December 2014, Mr. Obama restored diplomatic ties with the island nation, after more than 50 years of hostility. In March 2016, he became the first U.S. president to visit Cuba in nearly a century.
President Trump says his focus is halting the flow of U.S. dollars to the communist government.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Our policy will seek a much better deal for the Cuban people and for the United States of America. We do not want U.S. dollars to prop up a military monopoly that exploits and abuses the citizens of Cuba.
JOHN YANG: The new policy bans transactions with enterprises, including hotels and other tourist-related businesses, ultimately owned by the Cuban military.
Mr. Trump is also reinstating a rule that restricts individual travel, and requires most visits to Cuba to be in group tours organized by American companies. But the policy continues direct commercial flights between the two countries.
The administration will also maintain the U.S. Embassy in Havana, but still with no ambassador.
In Havana today, Cubans reacted.
MAN (through interpreter): Trump’s words simply seem a bit ambiguous. If the governments want the best for both the Cuban and American people, they have to look out for the common things that exist between the two.
WOMAN (through interpreter): If definitely feels like a huge setback in the relationship between Cuba and the United States. We will see what happens, but, right now, I think it’s like going back to the Cold War.
JOHN YANG: None of the changes will take effect until the U.S. Treasury and Commerce Departments issue new regulations, which could take months.
For more on the revised policy, and how it’s being understood in Cuba, we turn to Alan Gomez of USA Today, who joins us from Havana.
Alan, thanks for being with us.
We heard in the tape piece a little smattering of some reaction from the streets of Havana, but I know you have been out reporting today. What are you hearing from average Cubans in Havana about this change?
ALAN GOMEZ, USA Today: I mean, it’s been a level of confusion, of sadness, of disgust, of anger.
You know, just imagine. These people have lived here for decades without any interaction with the United States, with the U.S. just treating them as an enemy and closing off to them. Then, two-and-a-half years ago, they get this opening, and they talk about this period, already in the past tense, as this glorious period where they were able to have more Americans down here, interact with them more, and visit the U.S. more.
And now Trump has taken it not all away, but has really cut that back significantly. So, yes, there’s a lot of anger here right now and a lot of confusion over why it’s being done.
JOHN YANG: How have they talked about how their lives have changed, what difference this past two years has been to them?
ALAN GOMEZ: Well, understand, Cuba, the state-run economy, you only get a certain salary from the government. You only get certain benefits from the government.
So what they rely on so heavily across the board is tourism. And what it’s done is infused a whole lot of Americans down here over these past two-and-a-half years. So you think about everybody from private restaurant owners, to private taxies, to tour guides, all these people that interact with Americans, they’re all the ones that are getting that benefit directly.
President Trump talked a lot today about how all of the money that’s been going down over these last couple of years is going straight to the Cuban government. But I can tell you, from being down here quite a bit over the last couple of years and talking to folks today, that they are saying that, no, they get a lot of it.
Yes, of course some of it goes to the government, but they’re upset that, to punish the Cuban government, they’re the ones that are getting hurt as well.
JOHN YANG: How will they get hurt? How will life change for them under these changed rules?
ALAN GOMEZ: Well, it’s a combination of things.
It’s, quite simply, fewer American tourists are going to be able to make the trip because of the way that the Trump administration is going to change the visa system. It is going to be a lot harder for American tourists now to get to the U.S.
Right now, if you’re an American and want to come down to Cuba, hop online, you can figure out your trip, and you can pretty much get your visa at the airport counter on your way down here.
Now they are going to go back to the old way, where you have to apply beforehand to the federal government, get approval to go down. And so the people down here in Cuba are just expecting that that torrent of American visitors is going to dry up.
And then there’s another aspect. There are just all these private business owners that have had a lot of interaction in the last few years, going to the United States, working with U.S. businesspeople, getting training in the United States and bringing those lessons back to Cuba. And so they’re worried that that is going to be limited as well.
JOHN YANG: Alan, in the less than a minute we have left, I want to ask you about a development on your regular beat, which is immigration.
The Trump administration announced last night that they were going to keep the program that protects from deportation undocumented immigrants who came as children. The president during the campaign said he was going do away with that, he was going to change that Obama policy.
What do you make of this, deciding to keep this?
ALAN GOMEZ: What the president did was pretty much eliminate a program that would have protected their parents from deportation.
That program, there’s no immediate effect of that, because all — that program had been on hold in the courts for some time now. But what it does is, it means that those parents are never going to get any sort of legal status under this president.
And, more than that, it means that those children that have been protected from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, now they are worried that they are going to have that taken away from them.
JOHN YANG: Although, in the president’s announcement, or the administration announcement last night, they specifically said that that program would remain, would remain in place.
Alan Gomez of USA Today from Havana, Cuba, thanks for joining us.
ALAN GOMEZ: Thank you.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Wars in Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq, tensions within the Gulf states, and a new administration trying to manage an exploding region, all topics for retired General David Petraeus.
He commanded American and coalition forces in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and served as overall commander of U.S. military operations in the Middle East. He later served as director of the CIA in 2011 and 2012. He’s now with a global investment firm.
We spoke a short time ago.
And I started by asking him about reports that the Trump administration will soon send 4,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan, and whether he thinks it is a smart move.
GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS (RET.), Former Commander, Multi-National Force Iraq: I think it is, and it’s heartening.
I think what we need to get to in Afghanistan is a sustainable, measuring the expenditure of blood and treasure, a sustainable, sustained commitment. We need to recognize that we went there for a reason and we stayed for a reason, to ensure that Afghanistan is not once again a sanctuary for al-Qaida or other transnational extremists, the way it was when the 9/11 attacks were planned there.
That’s why we need to stay. We also have a very useful platform there for the regional counterterrorist effort. And, of course, we have greatly reduced the capabilities of al-Qaida’s senior leaders in that region, including, of course, taking out Osama bin Laden.
But this is a generational struggle. This is not something that is going to be won in a few years. We’re not going to take a hill, plant a flag, go home to a victory parade. And we need to be there for the long haul, but in a way that is, again, sustainable.
We have been in Korea for 65-plus years because there is an important national interest for that. We were in Europe for a very long period of time, still there, of course, and actually with a renewed emphasis now, given Russia’s aggressive actions.
And I think that’s the way we need to approach this. Now, to be sure, the forces …
JUDY WOODRUFF: Are you saying we may need to stay in Afghanistan 60, 70, 80 years?
GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS: I wouldn’t say 60, but I think we shouldn’t approach this as a year-on-year mission.
I think that was actually harmful. I think it gave all of the Afghan leaders and so forth were — basically get the jitters. Those who are investing money consider every year whether to keep it there or whether to go to Dubai.
I think this is an important interest, and I think we ought to have a sustained commitment, but at a level that is sustainable. And I think a few more, 3,000 to 5,000 more troops, are very sustainable, but also we should relax the remaining restrictions on the use of our airpower to support our Afghan partners who have shown that they are willing to fight and die for their country against al-Qaida, the insurgents of various types and so forth.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But, of course, the reason I’m asking, as Americans look at Afghanistan, you say we may need to stay decades and decades. We have been there, the United States, 15 years. At times, we have had over 100,000 U.S. troops there. That didn’t turn back the Taliban. Why should 3,000 or 4,000?
GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS: It did actually turn back the Taliban.
You will remember I was the commander.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But not permanently.
GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS: Not permanently.
As I said, we are not going to permanently win this. Keep in mind, there’s a huge difference between Afghanistan and even Iraq when we did the surge there. You can’t pressure the leaders of the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and even some of the other insurgent groups, because they’re out of our reach. They’re in sanctuaries inside Pakistan.
And, indeed, there should be a regional effort there to try to get our Pakistani partners to do more to deny this sanctuary to those elements that are making life so difficult for Afghans and the Afghan government.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The other comment being made, General Petraeus, though, is that the administration has not laid out what its strategy is for Afghanistan. General Mattis himself said this week, we’re still working on it.
GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS: They are.
And, indeed, I understand there have been a number of meetings at the principals level and so forth. The national security team is working on that. I do think you can anticipate an integrated strategy.
Again, the troops are just a part of this. They’re an important part, because, without them, without halting the erosion of security that has characterized Afghanistan over the last year or more, then you’re going to have a serious problem on your hands.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Let’s talk about ISIS in Syria — you mentioned Syria — and in Iraq. We are told progress is being made against ISIS on the battlefield, but the coalition airstrikes, we are now told, these Strikes are resulting in hundreds and hundreds of civilian deaths.
Is that the price that Americans should be prepared to pay to get ahead of ISIS?
GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS: We should absolutely minimize the civilian deaths, and there’s no question that there will be more of these. This does happen in wartime.
There will be far fewer than certainly what the extremists, these very barbaric Islamic State forces, have done. But this is an enemy that’s literally sheltering among the civilians. That’s what’s making it so difficult to take this last remnant of the Islamic State in Mosul.
This is now old Mosul, the Old City. And, remember, I spent a year there as a two-star when we were in charge of Northern Iraq with the 101st Airborne. It’s a rabbits warren. It’s very tight. It’s very difficult.
And the enemy has literally just — literally barricaded itself in there with snipers, with suicide bombers, with explosives, rooms and houses rigged, surrounding themselves with civilians. And this is the most diabolically difficult challenge, even for the very skilled counterterrorism forces of the Iraqi army.
That’s what’s really slowed this down. We can expect some of that in Raqqa. That operation has now began in Syria. That was until recently presumably the Islamic State headquarters. There are reports that some of these leaders have already led and moved town the Euphrates River Valley further to Deir el-Zour.
That’s going to be a tough fight, but it’s a much smaller city compared to the two million, let’s say, of probably a quarter or less the size of Mosul.
JUDY WOODRUFF: I’m moving us through some very difficult areas very quickly, but I now want to turn now to Saudi Arabia, the Gulf nations.
President Trump was there just very recently trying to put — present a united front with the Saudis and these other countries, mainly against Iran, but it turns out they are — they have turned against Qatar, and the president has signaled that he has problems with Qatar’s support for terrorist activities.
At the same time, his administration has said, we hope these countries can work together.
What is the strategy, the approach that the United — that we should expect, that we should understand as Americans about the administration’s policy there?
GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS: Well, Secretary of State Tillerson is taking charge of this now. He’s trying to get the temperature down some.
Clearly, there’s been a frustration that boiled over with the Emiratis, our close partners the Emiratis and the Saudis, against our other close partners the Qataris. Of course, it’s the Central Command forward headquarters. My forward headquarters is inside — outside Doha at Al Udeid Air Base.
They gave us $100 million for that. But I have to say, at times, I went there and said, look, you’re giving us all this money for our forward headquarters, and then Al-Jazeera is hammering us every day in the news. There is something not right here.
And similar frustrations have, again, just boiled over, also, the allegations of support of political Islam. You have to understand that, for the Emiratis especially, there is more worry about Muslim Brotherhood kind of activity than there actually is with Iran or even the Islamic State.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed will explain, we can see the extremists, we can see the Iranians. The insidious creep of political Islam is more difficult. And Qatar has allowed the heads of Hamas, Muslim Brothers, other political Islam organizations in the region to locate there.
These are all three our friends, our partners. I hope would be that, in this case, Secretary of State Tillerson can indeed get the temperatures down, get talking going on behind closed doors, rather than out as visibly as it has been, because that makes it very difficult, and you start to back different friends into corners.
But it’s hard. The United States, in some respects, needs to avoid being engaged in a beauty contest, where we have to say which is the fairest of them all. That’s not fair to us and it’s not fair to them. And I think that this is resolvable, but it’s not going to be easy.
JUDY WOODRUFF: General David Petraeus, thank you very much for stopping by.
GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS: Pleasure, as always.
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A University of Michigan tennis player recently became the first black woman to win a NCAA Division I singles title.
In a major upset, Brienne Minor, 19, won her May 29 championship match against Belinda Woolcock of University of Florida.
That victory made Minor, who was unseeded, the first black tennis player — man or woman — to win a Division I singles title since 1965. She also became the first female tennis player from University of Michigan to win a national championship.
Minor didn’t realize the historic nature of her win until a few days later when her sister broke the news.
Minor’s win is a feat in itself, but it’s also noteworthy because few minorities play tennis, a sport that is dominated by white athletes.
While Serena and Venus Williams have become sports superstars in tennis, black female athletes in a Division I sport have only increased one-tenth of a percentage point, reaching 12.6 percent between 2015 to 2016. According to the 2016 NCAA College Sport Racial and Gender Report, black female athletes represented 9.3 percent in all NCAA Division sports in that same time frame, while white females made up 72.6 percent.
During last year’s Rio Olympics, four black women — the Williams sisters, Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens — were on the U.S. tennis team.
Black athletes were banned from playing tennis in the United States Lawn Tennis Association, now known as the USTA, until the 1950’s.
— USTA (@usta) May 29, 2017
Althea Gibson was the first black tennis player to compete at the U.S. National Championships in 1950. The following year, she broke the color line again at the 1951 Wimbledon. In 1952, Reginald Weir and George Stewart became the first black men to play in a USLTA competition.
According to a Washington Post profile, Minor started playing tennis competitively at age five and said she inherited the passion for the sport from her maternal grandfather.
Her mother encouraged all three of her daughters, including her youngest Brienne, to play the sport. Growing up, Minor said the sisters would joke about who would play against each other — a similar story the Williams’ sisters tell about their own childhood.
Minor said she was always aware that she was playing a sport that lacked minorities, but she did not let it affect her performance.
“And I am pretty young, but I hope one day that I can be a role model just for younger girls, younger players looking up to somebody,” Minor told the Post. “I hope I can send that message that anyone can do it, it doesn’t matter what race you are. It does mean a lot to me.”
Since she is a college champion, there is a possibility Minor could receive a wild card entry for the U.S. Open this August in New York.
“It’s going to be fun, it’s going to be exciting and it’s going to be great to have this opportunity,” Minor told The Undefeated.
Minor is a sophomore studying sports management at the University of Michigan. She says she wants to play professionally when she graduates.
PBS NewsHour reached out to the family as well as Brienne’s representatives. However they were not immediately available for comment.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: President Trump is now apparently acknowledging he is under investigation for possible obstruction of justice. He tweeted today about news reports that special counsel Robert Mueller has expanded his probe of Russian meddling in the election.
The president said: “I am being investigated for firing the FBI director by the man who told me to fire the FBI director.” That would be Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. He authored a memo criticizing James Comey before Comey was fired last month. Rosenstein now oversees Mueller, but several news outlets reported today that he, Rosenstein, may yet recuse himself.
Late today, the president released his most recent financial disclosure. It covers January 2016 through this spring. But it does not list exact income. It does say that he resigned from more than 500 business positions, many of them one day before the inauguration. He listed at least $315 million in liabilities, about the same as last year.
Mr. Trump spent much of this day in Miami rolling back some of President Obama’s opening to Cuba. The new policy seeks to reduce the flow of U.S. dollars to businesses controlled by the Cuban military. We will have a full report later in the program.
In London, anger over an apartment tower fire boiled over today, as officials raised the death toll to 30, with dozens still missing.
Jackie Long of Independent Television News filed this report.
JACKIE LONG: As the days pass, the anger grows. It is raw and it is visceral.
MAN: Shame on you! Shame on you!
JACKIE LONG: This afternoon, family and friends of the victims and others from across London took that anger to the local council, storming the town hall.
Earlier, a more subdued response as the queen and duke of Cambridge visited one of the makeshift relief centers set up in a local sports center. They met residents and volunteers. The queen praised the bravery of firefighters, with a desperate father in the crowd holding a picture of his children.
MAN: Please. Come here. Come here, please.
JACKIE LONG: The duke promised, “I will come back.”
MAN: I will be back. I will come back. I will come back.
JACKIE LONG: The prime minister today announced a five million-pound emergency relief fund, but it wasn’t enough to assuage the anger of some.
Criticized yesterday for visiting, but failing to talk to residents, she came back today and was met with this.
WOMAN: Murderer! Murderer! Murderer!
JACKIE LONG: Also today, in a recent statement, the prime minister assured residents that the government is there for all the victims of this tragedy.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Jackie Long of Independent Television News.
The Guardian newspaper reported today that renovations to the apartment tower used a cheaper exterior paneling, instead of a flame-resistant version that’s more expensive.
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is charging that new sanctions approved by the U.S. Senate violate the 2015 nuclear deal. The sanctions are aimed at Tehran’s missile program. Today, a senior adviser to Khamenei said they are unquestionably a breach of both the spirit and the letter of the nuclear agreement. The spokesman promised that Iran will respond.
Russia’s military says that it may have killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Islamic State’s leader, in an airstrike. The Defense Ministry in Moscow said today the strike happened late last month in Syria. It said it is still verifying the claim. U.S. officials say they have seen no evidence that it’s true.
The U.N. Refugee Agency warned today that 100,000 Iraqi civilians remain trapped behind Islamic State lines in Western Mosul. The officials say that ISIS militants are using the civilians as human shields, as they continue to lose ground. The announcement came in Geneva.
BRUNO GEDDO, U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees: If you put yourself in their situation, you know, when you may have a fighter on top of your roof, attracting the artillery fire, you can imagine in which condition of penury and panic they live, being unable to flee and knowing that, if they try to flee, if they are caught, they will be killed.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Iraqi government forces have been fighting to retake Mosul since October.
Back in this country, a Massachusetts woman was convicted today of involuntary manslaughter for urging her boyfriend to commit suicide. Michelle Carter sent hundreds of text messages to Conrad Roy. In July of 2014, Roy filled his truck with deadly carbon monoxide, then got out, contacted Carter, and told her he was scared. She responded: “Get back in.”
She could get as much as 20 years in prison.
Doctors in Washington now say that Representative Steve Scalise can hope to make a full recovery after being shot this week. He was gravely wounded when a gunman opened fire at a congressional Republican baseball practice. Scalise is still in critical condition, and is expected to have additional surgery.
On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 24 points to close at 21384. The Nasdaq fell 13 points, and the S&P 500 added a fraction. For the week, the Dow and the S&P rose a fraction of a percent. The Nasdaq fell nearly 1 percent.
The man who brought about Germany’s reunification, Helmut Kohl, died today. He became chancellor of West Germany in 1982 and guided the rejoining with East Germany after the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Bloc collapsed. Helmut Kohl ultimately served as chancellor for 16 years. He was 87 years old.
And Los Angeles temporarily turned into Gotham City last night in memory of Adam West, who played Batman on the 1960s TV show. Hundreds of fans gathered to watch as officials flipped a switch and flashed the iconic Bat Signal on city hall. Adam West died this week at the age of 88.
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TOKYO — Seven Navy sailors were missing and the captain and at least two others were injured after a U.S. destroyer and a container ship collided off the coast of Japan before dawn Saturday, the U.S. Navy and Japanese coast guard reported.
Rescuers were searching for the seven sailors who were thought to have been thrown into the sea or possibly trapped inside damaged sections of the destroyer, said Japanese coast guard spokesman Yoshihito Nakamura. None of the crew of the container ship was reported injured.
Footage from the Japanese TV network NHK showed Navy crew members working to pump water from flooded sections of the mid-right side of the USS Fitzgerald. The Navy’s 7th Fleet said flooding was stabilized and sailors from the USS Dewey came aboard to assist in damage control.
The ship’s captain, Cmdr. Bryce Benson, was airlifted to the U.S. Naval Hospital in Yokosuka and was in stable condition, the 7th Fleet said in a statement. Two other crew suffered cuts and bruises and were evacuated, it said. It was unclear how many others may have been hurt.
The Fitzgerald had limited propulsion after suffering damage on the right side below the water line and a U.S. defense official said there was flooding in three compartments. It wasn’t clear yet what caused the nighttime collision between the destroyer and the container ship four times its size. Most of the more than 200 sailors aboard would have been asleep in their berths, some of which were reportedly flooded.
The area is particularly busy with sea traffic, said Yutaka Saito of the coast guard.
The Navy, Japanese maritime defense vessels and the coast guard were working to stabilize the destroyer as it headed to shore, said Navy chief Adm. John Richardson. The Navy said that the collision occurred 56 nautical miles (103 kilometers) southwest of Yokosuka, which is home to the 7th Fleet.
“Right now we are focused on two things: the safety of the ship and the well-being of the sailors,” said Adm. Scott Swift, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.
The Japan coast guard said it received an emergency call from a Philippine-registered container ship ACX Crystal around 2:20 a.m. (1720 GMT Friday) that it had collided with the Fitzgerald southwest of Yokusuka, Japan.
Relatives of crew members were awaiting news of their loved ones.
“Just heard the sweetest voice and saw a wonderful face. He’s okay. Thank you all for the prayers,” Rita Schrimsher of Athens, Alabama, tweeted after speaking with her 23-year-old grandson Jackson Schrimsher via Facetime.
“It could have been worse so we’re grateful,” she said by phone.
The Philippine ship is 29,060 tons and is 222 meters (730 feet) long, the coast guard said, much larger than the 8,315-ton naval destroyer. Aerial television news footage showed its bow on the left side was dented and scraped, but it did not appear to have suffered any major structural damage.
The fleet said the USS Dewey, medical assistance, Navy tugs and naval aircraft were dispatched. The Japan coast guard dispatched five patrol ships and an aircraft carrying medics to the site for search and rescue operations.
The Navy’s Pacific Fleet said the extent of damage to the Fitzgerald was being determined and the incident was under investigation.
Associated Press writers Mari Yamaguchi and Elaine Kurtenbach in Tokyo and Cathy Bussewitz and Jennifer Kelleher in Honolulu contributed to this report.
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A Pennsylvania judge declared a mistrial on Saturday in the sexual assault trial of Bill Cosby after more than 52 hours of deliberation ended in a hung jury.
The 12 jurors in the case told Judge Steven T. O’Neill they were “hopelessly deadlocked” on a verdict after deliberating for six days. Prosecutors say they will move toward a retrial this year.
Cosby, who did not testify during the nearly two-week trial, was accused of drugging and assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004. At the time, she was a 30-year-old employee of Temple University, while Cosby, 66, was a university trustee.
Constand said in a deposition that on a visit to Cosby’s home outside Philadelphia, the comedian had given her three pills that rendered her paralyzed and nearly unconscious before he sexually assaulted her.
“In my head, I was trying to get my hands to move or my legs to move, but I was frozen,” she said during courtroom testimony last week. “I wasn’t able to fight in any way.”
Cosby faced three felony charges of “penetration with lack of consent, penetration while unconscious, and penetration after administering an intoxicant without the subject’s knowledge,” The New York Times reported. Cosby, now 79 and legally blind, has said the encounter was consensual.
More than 60 women have alleged that Cosby sexually assaulted them at various points during the last four decades, though Constand’s case was the first to be tried in criminal court, in part because many of the previous allegations had exceeded the statute of limitations.
Cosby, an actor and comedian best known for his role on the “The Cosby Show,” has denied all allegations of sexual assault. However, he admitted during sworn testimony that was made public in 2015 that he had obtained quaaludes for women with whom he wanted to have sex. Cosby also continues to face at least four civil lawsuits from at least 10 other women who have accused him of sexual assault, according to Reuters.
Attorney Angela Agrusa, who is representing Cosby, said after the court’s decision that there wasn’t enough evidence in find her client guilty of the charges.
“We have worked very hard to present a case to this court, to this jury to these 12 people who worked tirelessly to listen,” she said. “This is what happens, juries are stuck when a prosecutor seeks to put someone in prison for things that are simply not presented in the courtroom. And the jury stuck to what they were asked to do and that is to review the evidence before them. And there simply wasn’t enough.”
Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele said during a press conference immediately following the judge’s ruling that he would move for a retrial.
“The judge made some indications in court that he was looking to put this on within the next 120 days,” he said. “Legally I think we have 365 days to try the case. We’re going to push it along. ”
Civil rights attorney Gloria Allred, who represents 33 other women who have said that Cosby assaulted them, encouraged survivors of sexual assault to report their experiences and “stay strong” in a statement outside the courthouse Saturday.
“It’s too early to celebrate, Mr. Cosby,” she said.
Corinne Segal contributed reporting.
PHOENIX — Border Patrol agents swept into a medical camp in the Arizona desert to capture four immigrants, an operation that volunteers on Friday called a “staged military siege” as the U.S. government has vowed a crackdown along the border with Mexico.
As a helicopter circled overhead, 15 trucks and about 30 agents, some armed with long rifles, swarmed into the camp run by No More Deaths/No Mas Muertes, the organization said. The group provides refuge and water for migrants, said Catherine Gaffney, a longtime volunteer who was present during the arrests.
“The type of operation they are doing, for me, is unprecedented and there’s nothing routine about what they did. It wasn’t part of their day-to-day operation. It was a staged military siege on our camp,” Gaffney said.
Gaffney said a camp doctor asked the agency late Thursday morning for more time to treat the men, who had suffered from heat-related illnesses and needed an additional 24 hours of supervised care.
The Border Patrol said talks between agents and camp representatives on gaining access to question the men about their citizenship and legal status failed. The agency said in a news release Friday evening that it had no recourse but to obtain a search warrant.
Authorities said they had been monitoring the men since Tuesday, when they walked into the camp after spending several days in the desert in the scorching heat. Agents then stationed themselves outside, where they remained for the next two days, Gaffney said.[Watch Video]
The enforcement action comes as President Donald Trump has made securing the border a top priority of his administration, including a signature campaign promise to build a wall along the border with Mexico.
His presidency has coincided with a big drop off in immigrants crossing the border from Mexico, but immigration authorities have been arresting more people in the country illegally, and doing so in places where they had previously avoided, like courthouses.
Gaffney said volunteers were escorted to a different part of the camp as a helicopter circled overhead and the agents arrested the four men, all Mexican nationals. Gaffney said the men were between the ages of 19 and 40.
“They didn’t need 30 agents to apprehend four sick people,” Gaffney said, adding that the agency’s public relations team filmed the encounter.
The Border Patrol says agents assessed the men on scene and found they were in good health but took them to a local hospital as a precautionary measure. It says one of the men, identified as Lucindo Diaz-Hernandez, was a convicted drug felon and had previously been deported.
The agency’s Tucson Sector, which covers most of Arizona, says it has launched a campaign to warn migrants about the dangers of crossing the border in the summer. The sector has 34 strategically-placed rescue beacons that migrants can activate for rescue. Over 200 agents in the Tucson Sector are emergency medical technicians and about 25 are paramedics, the agency said.
Agents in that area conducted over 1,400 rescues and reported 84 deaths last fiscal year, according to agency statistics. So far this year through April, agents in the Tucson Sector have rescued 160 people and reported 14 deaths.
“Our primary mission is to conduct law enforcement operations along the border and in the course of our duties we’re often the first responders to emergency situations,” Border Patrol spokesman Vicente Paco said. “We are one the largest agencies that have resources in the desert where we respond.”
Paco said that the agency understands the mission of No More Deaths but doesn’t condone its actions because it encourages illegal immigration.
Alicia Dinsmore, a No More Deaths spokeswoman, said the aid camp is composed of medically-trained volunteers who have first-responder certification and provide care, food and water. The group has been providing aid for 13 years and has a verbal agreement with the Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector to operate there. The camp is open most of the year.
Seven volunteers were at the camp Thursday when agents arrested the four people.
“This incident was a targeted attack on humanitarian aid,” Dinsmore said.
She said agents have arrested migrants who received aid several times in the past but that the large-scale operation on Thursday was unprecedented. The group was most troubled by the fact that agents apparently had tracked the migrants for 18 or so miles (29 or so kilometers) but waited until they were at the camp to make arrests, Dinsmore said.
The Border Patrol said a similar incident occurred a month ago and that negotiations resulted in the surrender of eight people who were taken into custody. Those included two individuals with “prior significant criminal records in the United States” and two needing medical care at a hospital, the agency said.
“We do believe in saving lives and we have multiple resources such as the rescue beacon towers,” Paco said. “Regardless of their immigration status, we render aid.”
Dinsmore said the group has noticed more surveillance from agents since the new administration took over.
Gaffney, the volunteer, said the camp would carry on with normal operations.
“We’re not able to stop our work and we’re not gonna let the government create a trap for people seeking help. I think that’s what Border Patrol’s intention is, to deter people from seeking help when they need it and to entrap anybody who does,” Gaffney said.
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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s Washington hotel saw almost $20 million in revenue during its first few months of operation — a period that coincided with his election and inauguration as the 45th president. His Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, which he’s visited seven times as president, pulled in millions of dollars more than it had previously.
The new details were included in a financial disclosure that Trump voluntarily submitted Friday to the Office of Government Ethics, the first snapshot of the Trump Organization’s finances since its longtime leader became president.
When he took office in January, Trump turned over the reins of his global real estate, property management and marketing empire to his two adult sons and a senior executive. But Trump did not divest, instead placing his enormous portfolio of financial assets in a trust controlled by the executive and Donald Trump Jr. He can take back control of the trust at any time, and he’s free to withdraw cash from it as he pleases.
On paper, at least, the billionaire president’s finances don’t appear to have been upended by the time-consuming campaign and transition to power.
He has at least $1.4 billion in assets and reported at least $594 million in income from January 2016 through this spring. Those top-line numbers were largely the same as he had reported in his previous filing, which included all of 2015 and part of 2016.
Trump’s financial disclosures have added importance because he isn’t following the long tradition of presidential candidates and office-holders making public their tax returns. Those returns provide more precise financial information than the disclosure forms that have broad ranges for income, assets and debts.
The latest report shows Trump resigned from more than 500 positions, stepping down from many on the day before his inauguration. He listed at least $315 million in liabilities, about the same as in the previous report.
The president still owes more than $100 million to Deutsche Bank and a similar amount to Ladder Capital Finance, a New York-based real estate investment trust.
What is unclear from the disclosure is whether Trump added to his debt in any significant way to help pay for his presidential campaign. Because the ranges required for disclosure under federal ethics laws are so wide — Trump’s documents list five separate liabilities each at “over $50,000,000” — it is impossible to tell whether his debt load has changed appreciably.
Some of Trump’s ventures appear to be making more money than they had a year earlier.
His book “The Art of the Deal” is having a comeback of its own. Royalties from the 1987 autobiography ranged between $100,000 and $1 million, according to the new report. The 2016 report listed royalties as being between $50,000 and $100,000, and the 2015 report put them at $15,000 to $50,000.
Trump’s management fees from Indonesian companies tied to two planned resorts there more than doubled. The latest disclosure puts the fees $380,000, up from $167,000 he reported in 2016. Trump is partnering with a billionaire Indonesian, Hary Tanoesoedibjo, on the two ventures. One is planned for the tourist island of Bali, the other near Jakarta.
Mar-a-Lago, where Trump played host to several foreign dignitaries during his seven weekends there this winter, has improved its finances. Trump listed the resort’s income as about $37 million, up from about $30 million it had taken in prior to his 2016 financial report.
His golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, on the other hand, produced almost $20 million in revenue, about what it had during the previous reporting period. Trump recently began decamping to that property some weekends.
The documentation of revenue from each of those properties doesn’t account for expenses, meaning those figures are not pure profit.
The Trump International Hotel, housed in the Old Post Office building down the street from the White House, has seen a burst of activity since opening its doors last fall. In addition to serving as a hub during inauguration festivities, it has hosted numerous events for foreign diplomatic and business interests.
The hotel is cited in three separate lawsuits arguing that Trump is violating the Constitution’s “emoluments” clause, a ban on foreign gifts and payments. Trump and the Justice Department have called those claims baseless.
Associated Press writers Chad Day, Bernard Condon, Josh Boak and Marcy Gordon contributed to this report.
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Pills, pills, pills. It seems every ailment — from headaches to high blood pressure — needs them. But, what if you could swap the medication for vegetables?
An international group of researchers envision such a future for type-2 diabetics based on new results published Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine. Their findings show how a compound found in broccoli improves diabetic outcomes to an extent that rivals the go-to drug treatment, with fewer severe side effects.
“To many patients, it might be more attractive to take a broccoli shot or drink than having to take another pill,” said Anders Rosengren, at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and the study’s senior author.
Diabetes afflicts more than 400 million people worldwide, four times as many people as in 1980. Part of the problem is the disease can progress unnoticed for years, even decades, until severe complications like compromised kidney function arise.
“It’s why we need to be so active with this disease so we have the proper treatment at early stages,” Rosengren said.
Their project wants to find an alternative for metformin, a gold-standard drug that tackles a hallmark of diabetes: runaway production of glucose in the liver. Insulin normally keeps glucose on a tight leash, but becomes dysregulated in diabetes. Although metformin works well, it has a few problems.
“One problem is that it cannot be taken by people with poor kidney function,” Rosengren said, yet poor kidney function is one of the most common complications of type-2 diabetes. And metformin can cause side effects — including stomach pain, bloating and diarrhea — in some patients.
Diabetes is not attributable to one gene, but rather a collection. So Rosengren and his colleagues wanted a drug that could modify a network of diabetes-related genes. A preliminary test, associating a set of 50 liver genes involved in type-2 diabetes and 3,800 drugs, landed on a compound called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane is found in cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, and has improved insulin responses in diabetic rats in previous studies.
To determine if sulforaphane modifies blood sugar levels, the researchers completed a series of investigations before conducting a human trial.
Early tests showed that sulforaphane could prevent glucose overproduction in liver cells grown in petri dishes. Next, the team tried their luck in rodent models of diabetes. There, they found sulforaphane both prevented the development of glucose intolerance, a hallmark of diabetes, and lowered blood glucose levels as much as metformin did.
Emboldened by these positive results, the researchers recruited 97 type-2 diabetics from Sweden to take daily doses of sulforaphane — in the form of a highly concentrated, liquid broccoli sprout extract — or a placebo for 12 weeks.
Only the patients who took broccoli extract showed a clear reduction in blood sugar levels.The broccoli extract was most effective for overweight patients with unmanaged type-2 diabetes. Plus, no patients on the broccoli regimen reported severe or lasting side effects during the three-month study.
“Alongside the other lifestyle things like physical activity and not eating a whole lot of refined sugars, this could be a promising therapy,” said Chris D’Adamo, an epidemiologist and healthy lifestyle expert at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, who was not involved in the study. “It needs to be replicated, [but] I was positively surprised by the degree of efficacy that it showed and the lack of noticeable side effects.”
But before you rush to the grocery store, know that the amount of sulforaphane taken by the patients was approximately 100 times that found naturally in broccoli — or the equivalent of consuming 11 pounds of broccoli per day.
Rosengren is encouraged by the results, but advises that people should wait for drug regulators to approve broccoli sprout extract for type-2 diabetes before they rush to try the treatment.
“It has the potential to become an important complement to existing treatment options for type-2 diabetes,” Rosengren said.
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Thousands of protesters filled the streets of St. Paul on Friday night and 18 were arrested after a jury acquitted the police officer who killed Philando Castile, a black man shot seven times on dash cam video during a traffic stop for a broken taillight.
St. Paul police said approximately 2,000 people marched peacefully to the Minnesota State Capitol. A large canvas of Castile wearing a crown that read “Long Live the King” was surrounded by signs that read “Justice is dead” and “On Trial: The System. Verdict: Guilty!” the Star Tribune reported. Chants of “No justice, no peace” filled the air.
Some of the protesters dispersed after the march, but a smaller group converged on Interstate 94, blocking traffic in both directions. By 12:30 a.m. local time, only several hundred remained. Eighteen marchers were arrested after a 90-minute standoff with Minnesota State Patrol officers for failing to comply with orders to disperse, an agency spokesperson said.
Crowd yells "who do you serve? Who do you serve? Black lives, they matter here! Black lives, they matter here!" pic.twitter.com/amhVSaMP3E
— FredMelo, Reporter (@FrederickMelo) June 17, 2017
— Mara Gottfried (@MaraGottfried) June 17, 2017
The fatal July encounter between Castile and Jeronimo Yanez was broadcast by Castile’s partner, Diamond Reynolds, on Facebook Live. Activists working to end police violence said they were shocked that the gruesome visibility of his death, which sparked weeks of nationwide protests, did not result in a different outcome for the officer.
Valerie Castile spoke about her son outside the courthouse following the verdict.
“The system continues to fail black people, and it will continue to fail you all,” she said. “My son loved this city. And this city killed my son.”
On Friday evening, protest organizers told the crowd that their resistance had not failed.
“Some people will tell you protest don’t work … They wouldn’t have tried to put on the show trial if we hadn’t protested,” activist Mel Reeves said, referring to the protests that took place last summer, the Star Tribune reported.
It was the first time in the history of the state that a police officer was charged in a fatal shooting that happened on duty.
Marches opposing the verdict are planned for Saturday, in New York, Oakland and several other cities.
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The double-hulled voyaging canoe Hōkūle‘a returned to Hawaii Saturday after completing a three-year sailing journey across the world.
Guided by the elements, Hōkūle‘a crew members utilized traditional Polynesian navigation methods to traverse about 40,300 nautical miles across 23 countries and territories and more than 150 ports.
“It’s the largest cultural event of our lifetime,” Miki Tomita, director of the Learning Center at the Polynesian Voyaging Society, told the NewsHour Weekend.
Several voyaging canoes from the Hawaiian islands and the Pacific docked at the Magic Island Marina before the arrival of Hōkūle‘a and an official homecoming ceremony.
Crew members descending from Hōkūle‘a received hugs and some were adorned with lei as they walked onto the Hawaiian shore. They formed a circle together with others gathered on the shore for Hawaiian prayers and chants. The subsequent ceremony included a procession and Kāli’i Rite, an indigenous spear-throwing ceremony.
Thousands of people converged at Magic Island, a peninsula in Honolulu, for a day-long celebration of the canoe’s homecoming. Hawaiians have closely followed the voyage of Hōkūle‘a, Hawaii’s first state treasure and a symbol of Hawaiian culture and peace.
On a 19-leg Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, the canoe stopped in Brazil, South Africa and Australia, among others. A total of 245 crew members sailed in groups of 12 to 13 people, alternating members at port stops.
With “hope, inspiration, and a sense of renewal,” voyagers aimed to spread their Mālama Honua — the practice of caring for their land, oceans, culture and people — and to learn how people across the world do the same, Tomita said.
Built in honor of canoes that Polynesians first sailed to Hawaii, Hōkūle‘a launched in 1975 as the first voyaging canoe in over 600 years. Tomita said the idea to sail Hōkūle‘a beyond the Pacific arose in 2008, beginning nearly 10 years of preparation and training for the voyage.
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has encouraged people to greet Hōkūle‘a at Magic Island with traditional Hawaiian songs and chants upon completion of the voyage, according to Hawaii News Now.
“I think that part of the largest hope that was shown to us through the voyage is that everyone is voyaging in their own communities and their own lives to lead toward a better future,” Tomita said. “And we hope to help build and keep that momentum going for generations to come.”
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Pediatricians and public health researchers know they have to be on the lookout for lead exposure from paint chips and contaminated drinking water. A new report suggests food — particularly baby food — could be a problem, too.
The Environmental Defense Fund, in an analysis of 11 years of federal data, found detectable levels of lead in 20 percent of 2,164 baby food samples. The toxic metal was most commonly found in fruit juices such as grape and apple, root vegetables such as sweet potatoes and carrots, and cookies such as teething biscuits.
The organization’s primary focus was on the baby foods because of how detrimental lead can be to child development.
“Lead can have a number of effects on children and it’s especially harmful during critical windows of development,” said Dr. Aparna Bole, pediatrician at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, who was not involved with the report. “The largest burden that we often think about is neurocognitive that can occur even at low levels of lead exposure.”
Lead can cause problems with attention and behavior, cognitive development, the cardiovascular system and immune system, Bole said.
The samples studied were not identified by brand, and the levels of lead are thought to be relatively low. Still, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, no safe blood lead level in children has been identified.
In a draft report released earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency estimated that over 5 percent of children consume more than 6 micrograms per day of lead — the maximum daily intake level set by the Food and Drug Administration in 1993 — in their diet.
This surprised Tom Neltner, Environmental Defense Fund’s chemicals policy director, who has spent 20 years researching and working to reduce lead exposures. His further analysis of the EPA report was that food is the major source of lead exposure in two-thirds of toddlers.
This spurred the organization to examine data from the FDA’s Total Diet Study for specific sources of exposure for kids.
In the resulting report, released Thursday, Neltner found that the baby food versions of apple juice, grape juice and carrots had detectable lead more often than the regular versions. Researchers could determine how frequently contamination occurred, but not at what levels.
According to the FDA, lead makes its way into food through contaminated soil, but Neltner suspects that processing may also play a role.
“I can’t explain it other than I assume baby food is processed more,” Neltner said.
The Environmental Defense Fund report notes that more research on the sources of contamination is needed.
FDA has set guidance levels of 100 parts per billion (ppb) for candy and dried fruit and 50 ppb for fruit juices. The allowable level for lead in bottled water is 5 ppb.
Concern over fruit juices flared up in 2012 when Consumer Reports found that 1 in 4 samples of apple and grape juices had lead levels higher than the FDA’s bottled-water limit of 5 ppb.
“The FDA is continuing to work with industry to further limit the amount of lead in foods to the greatest extent feasible, especially in foods frequently consumed by children,” read an agency statement in response to the report. “The agency is in the process of reevaluating the analytical methods it uses for determining when it should take action with respect to measured levels of lead in particular foods, including those consumed by infants and toddlers.”
Neltner said he’s glad the FDA is working on the issue but wants them to “get it done. Move quicker.”
The Environmental Defense Fund isn’t recommending that parents avoid certain foods or brands for their children but does advise that they consult their pediatrician about all means of lead exposure.
“In many American communities, the most significant route of lead exposure is from paint and soil,” Bole said. “Avoiding all sources of exposure of lead poisoning is incredibly important … but the last thing I would want is for a parent to restrict their child’s diet or limit their intake of healthy food groups.”
She added that pediatricians recommend limiting or eliminating fruit juices from children’s diets, anyway, for nutritional reasons. “There are good reasons to limit juice other than this particular report,” Bole said.
But she said she wouldn’t want parents to avoid root vegetables altogether. “The benefits of those nutritious foods far outweigh any risk,” she said, especially in the context of where kids are most exposed to lead.
In response to a request for comment, Gerber said that samples of its baby foods and juices “consistently fall well within the available guidance levels and meet our own strict standards.” And samples of Gerber juices were all below the EPA standard for drinking water.
“We know parents may be concerned about a recent report on lead in foods and want to reassure them that Gerber foods and juices are safe,” the statement read.
The Environmental Defense Fund report was ultimately directed at the food industry and FDA in the hopes of getting limits and standards updated.
But lead in paint and drinking water shouldn’t fall by the wayside, Neltner said. “You’ve got to deal with this issue on multiple fronts.”
CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Of all the things sisters Caitlin Lyon and Michelle Novosel had to consider before they opened their chocolate store in Huntsville, Alabama, healthcare carried particular weight. Caitlin would be giving up a full-time government contracting job with good benefits.
CAITLIN LYON: That was one of the huge considerations in leaving that job, was not only, you know, was I gonna make less money. But suddenly the whole landscape for insurance was changing. I have to have insurance. I have several chronic illnesses that I have to have lab work every couple of months. And I see, like, three different specialists every three to six months.
CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: As their store, “Pizzelle’s Confections,” opened in 2013, Obamacare became an option. They shopped for a plan on the federal insurance marketplace established as part of the Affordable Care Act.
The sisters were among the 98,000 people in Alabama who signed up. Caitlin opted to enroll with Blue Cross Blue Shield, Michelle with Humana.
MICHELLE NOVOSEL: It was, you know, a little bit of a headache to begin with. But I got a good subsidy. It turned out to be really good at the beginning.
CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Like 81 percent of Obamacare enrollees nationwide, the cost of their plans was offset by federal government subsides determined by their income.
As recently as last year, Alabama residents enrolled in Obamacare had three providers to choose from – Humana, UnitedHealthcare and Blue Cross Blue Shield. But this year only Blue Cross remained, and it already controlled more than 90 percent of Alabama’s private insurance market.
Both UnitedHealthcare and Humana, cited the high costs of individuals enrolled in the marketplace as the reason for their departure.
MICHELLE NOVOSEL: That’s when everyone saw that huge jump in premiums, and that’s when everyone kinda got scared as to are we gonna have health insurance are we not?
CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Blue Cross Blue Shield declined our request for an interview, but in a previous statement said rising premium costs are in response to the greater use of medical services and diminished health of Obamacare enrollees.
This year premiums increased by an average of 39 percent.
For Michelle, who had been with Humana, having to switch to a Blue Cross plan, meant her monthly premium rose slightly from $157 to $167 a month.
Caitlin, who was already on Blue Cross, was facing a much steeper increase. She says plan that covers her and her husband went from about $800 to $1200 a month.
CAITLIN LYON: It was more than our mortgage payment and there was no way to fit that into our budget. I don’t know a lot of people who have an extra 1200 dollars a month to spend on just the premium. That doesn’t even count any of the copays and the rest of it that you’re gonna pay when you see the doctor.
CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Alabama is one of five states now with a single insurance provider through Obamacare. And like Alabama, that provider is Blue Cross Blue Shield, which was already each state’s largest insurer before Obamacare.
Since the beginning of the Affordable Care Act, subsidies from the federal government have played a role in the cost of insurance plans.
Determined by individual or household income, it helps offset monthly premiums.
So, as Caitlin and Michelle’s income rose, the level of their subsidy declined.
Alabama Hospital Association president Don Williamson led the state’s department of public health as the Affordable Care Act took effect.
CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: What does healthcare look like in Alabama within the public exchange market?
DON WILLIAMSON: Blue Cross has been our dominant insurance for a long time. Where it really comes into play is when you look at what the premiums and what the subsidies are. For Alabama, we now have 178,000 people on our exchange. Of those 178,000, 90 plus percent of them get a subsidy in the marketplace, and that’s extraordinarily important
CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Williamson says the Obamacare subsidies have kept pace with the rise in premiums. The average out of pocket cost per enrollee in Alabama is now is $111 a month.
DON WILLIAMSON: For the 90 percent that are getting a subsidy, the fact that our premium cost is higher is really not a particular issue. Where it becomes an issue is for that 10 percent that don’t get a subsidy.
CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Leaving people like Caitlin lyon feeling the squeeze.
The subsidy is the only way peach farmer Hank Adcock can afford Obamacare.
We visited Adcock one evening on his Birmingham area farm started by his grandfather. The 62-year-old, had never had health insurance before Obamacare.
HANK ADCOCK: We couldn’t afford it. For me and my wife, it was like $1,600 a month.
CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: But with the government subsidy, insurance for him and his wife costs them under $200 a month.
HANK ADCOCK: It’s this wonderful thing that, to know that if something major happen to me, I can go to the hospital, they can work on me and fix, you know, try to fix me.
CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Something major did happen to Adcock a few months after enrolling. His hand got stuck in a hay baler, cutting off two of his fingers. The medivac helicopter and hospital bill was $111,000. But his insurance plan covered it.
HANK ADCOCK: I was insured. If I hadn’t, I mean, I’d’ve lost the farm. I couldn’t’ve paid the bills, you know. I don’t know what they would’ve done. I can’t complain about Blue Cross Blue shield. You can’t beat it.
CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Adcock also represents another complicated piece of alabama’s insurance puzzle. The state’s decision to not expand Medicaid during the adoption of the Affordable Care Act.
Alabama is one of 19 states that rejected the Medicaid expansion.
How much do think Alabama’s decision to not expand Medicaid has influenced the current playing field?
DON WILLIAMSON: What you’ve done is you’ve now put people on the exchange in Alabama who in a state that expanded Medicaid would not be on the exchange. And to the extent that because they have a lower income and they may have higher underlying conditions, you’ve created a less healthy pool over which you have to spread risk, which may contribute to some of the higher premiums.
CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: And those that have neither Obamacare nor Medicaid directly affect Alabama’s hospitals.
David Spillers is CEO of the Huntsville Hospital Health System, which runs several different hospitals across northern Alabama.
From the hospital’s perspective, were you distressed when Alabama decided not to expand Medicaid?
DAVID SPILLERS: Clearly, I was disappointed. The block of people who would have qualified for some type of insurance under the expansion is a large number of people in the state of Alabama. Those people having insurance would significantly help providers like us who are providing healthcare but not getting paid for it.
CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: How much of a hit was that for the hospital?
DAVID SPILLERS: Well, it, the hit was, last year, our cost of free care was about $65 million. Now, not all of that would’ve been covered had we expanded Medicaid. But a portion of that would’ve been covered. I mean, every, every bit helps.
CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: There’s long been a discussion that if the number of insurers were to increase, costs could come down. Do you think that’s a fair assessment?
DAVID SPILLERS: I don’t think that having two or three more insurance companies in the state alabama is immediately gonna change the landscape. And the reason is Blue Cross of Alabama is so large, and they negotiate rates so low with us, it’s hard for us to go give those rates to somebody else.
CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Sonja Smith helps residents sign up for Obamacare as a project coordinator for “Enroll Alabama.” She agrees with Spillers that having a single insurer on the public exchange has not drastically changed the insurance marketplace.
SONJA SMITH: I never heard anyone say, “oh, I wish I had more options.” Having a limited number of plans, we actually found it easier, because we were better able to do a side by side comparison for people for them to really see, “okay, well, this is what works for me and this is what doesn’t.”
CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Do you think that if there were more options, if there were more plans, because there were more insurers, that the prices would, would come down?
SONJA SMITH: I can’t necessarily say that it would make that much of a difference.
CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: In the end, Caitlin and Michelle found work arounds. Michelle, a newlywed as of this past month, is now on her husband’s plan offered through his employer, while Caitlin, purchased a group plan with two employees bringing her and her husband’s monthly premium down to $645 a month.
CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: I feel like your story encapsulates healthcare in America. You’ve got a growing small business. And this headwind that Affordable Care and insurance has put on you is tremendous.
CAITLIN LYON: Healthcare seems overly complicated in the United States right now. It’s not okay that people should have to make decisions about jobs, or their business, or these big decisions based on whether or not they’re going to be able to afford to go to the doctor. Many of our employees, most of them get subsidies through the marketplace, because it’s a better deal even than getting a group rate through our business. And these are real people with real problems who have to think about insurance, like, every day.
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