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

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, take a moment now to check that label inside the collar of your cotton shirt. Chances are, it doesn’t say Made in the U.S.A., even though the cotton it’s made from was probably grown in the U.S.A.

    Cotton farmers in North Carolina are trying to change that, teaming up with local textile mills to produce garments that are truly homegrown. Now around a dozen companies are selling clothing that can be traced back to local cotton fields.

    From PBS station WTVI in Charlotte, Jeff Sonier shows us how Carolina textile towns are bouncing back after years of mills closing down and jobs moving out.

    JEFF SONIER: Inside this North Carolina textile factory, it’s the sound of survival, or maybe revival.

    ERIC HENRY, Textile Factory Owner: When NAFTA hit, they basically said textiles in this country are dead. You either go overseas, or you go out of business.

    JEFF SONIER: That was the hard choice facing textile factory owner Eric Henry, the same hard choice that killed these other Carolina textile mills, along with the textile jobs they provided for generations.

    NARRATOR: Time was when cotton was king of the coastal plain.

    ERIC HENRY: There would be over 100 people working in here. Our customers were Tommy, Nike, Gap, Polo, Adidas, high-level branded companies. Within two years, we laid off 80 percent of our staff.

    The brands could not get overseas quick enough. And that’s when I realized there’s more to business than a bottom line. That’s when we realized we wanted to be a different business.

    JEFF SONIER: And for Henry’s business, being different means not just made in the USA, but what he calls dirt-to-shirt, products sewn here in the Carolinas from cotton that’s grown here in the Carolinas.

    Yes, you know, with all the struggles that Carolina cotton mills have been through over the past couple of years, you would figure Carolina cotton farmers would be struggling, too. But, actually, it’s just the opposite. In fact, the farmers say, just like this field we’re standing in right now, that their business is actually growing.

    BUTCH BROOKS, Cotton Farmer: Well, I think it’s great. Just we’re blessed to be able to grow a crop like this.

    JEFF SONIER: Butch Brooks grows his cotton on a 100-year-old family farm, picking it from behind the wheel of a half-million-dollar harvester. Cotton experts say the crop itself is high-quality, which translates into high demand.

    MAN: This is the cotton that textile companies want, absolutely. Textiles want this quality cotton for expensive garments, for high-quality clothing.

    JEFF SONIER: Problem is, after it’s cleaned and baled and bar coded for sale, most of this local cotton winds up in the same place those local jobs went, overseas.

    WES MORGAN, Cotton Gin Owner: This area of North Carolina was the center of cotton in the world at one time. People wanted to be able to go to the store and buy a shirt made in the United States. Well, right now, there’s almost none of that. Could we get that again? Could we have something completely made in the Carolinas?

    ERIC HENRY: We just believe there’s more to a T-shirt than just the cost of a T-shirt, where it’s made, how it’s made, the impact it has on the people, the impact it has on the planet. We grow cotton here. We can make apparel here.

    JEFF SONIER: In fact, the homegrown, home-sewn shirts here at Henry’s factory even have special color-coded threads in the hem and the sleeves, so you can track back your shirt to the very beginning.

    ERIC HENRY: If you take those two colors, and go to a Web site, Where — W-H-E-R-E — yourclothing.com, you put in these two colors, a map pops up, and from that map, I will introduce you to the farmer, the ginner, the spinner, the knitter, the finisher, the cut-sew, and T.S. designs.

    We make our supply chain completely transparent all the way back to the farmer.

    JEFF SONIER: Henry admits his dirt-to-shirt concept isn’t all that different from those popular farm-to-fork restaurants, and that’s no coincidence.

    ERIC HENRY: Offering people alternatives if they’re looking for something how they can support their community and have a better product, and know where it comes from.

    We have had great cotton in this state for a long time. And all we’re doing is reconnecting that cotton to jobs and textiles back in our state.

    JEFF SONIER: With a goal of not putting the cheap overseas shirt-makers out of business, but maybe growing and sewing a whole new business.

    For the PBS NewsHour, I’m Jeff Sonier in Stanly County, North Carolina.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And what a promising story.

    The post ‘Dirt to Shirt’ movement hopes to regrow local textile industry appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: We return now to the top story of the day, Donald Trump Jr.’s release of e-mails showing he met with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 presidential campaign, in hopes of gaining damaging information about Hillary Clinton.

    For a closer look at the political fallout from all this, we turn to Karine Jean-Pierre, a senior adviser to MoveOn.org and a veteran of the Obama administration. And Matt Schlapp, he’s the chairman of the American Conservative Union and the former deputy political director for President George W. Bush.

    And it’s great to have you both back on the program. Thank you for being here.

    So, Karine, to you first.

    How damaging is all this information about the Donald Trump Jr. meeting?

    KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, MoveOn.org: I think it’s pretty damaging.

    We finally have evidence, e-mails, that were not fake news, because it was actually delivered, released by Don Jr., that shows that a foreign — he met — he and Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner met with a foreign agent in the sole, sole purpose of trying to get information given by a foreign adversary, intelligence from a foreign adversary.

    And I think that’s pretty damaging. I think, for a long time, Republicans have been moving that goalpost, right? They have been saying, oh, there’s no meeting. Oh, well, if there’s no meeting, there’s no proof of collusion. Nobody on the campaign knows any — or have any Russian connections.

    Well, now we’re at a point where, yes, there’s a meeting. It looks like there potentially could have been collusion. And now what? Now what do Republicans do?

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Matt, how do you see the damage, or not?

    MATT SCHLAPP, American Conservative Union: Well, you know, my — what I have said continually is, is that my guess is, in the presidential campaign, they will have e-mails or phone conversations or meetings with people that were trying to be helpful to the campaign.

    So, this doesn’t come as a big shock to me. I think the big mistake they have made is whenever you’re involved in one of these investigations — and I was in a White House that had a special counsel — you search your e-mails immediately. You go through — if you have phone logs, and you look through all your information, and you just fully comply, you’re as completely as transparent as you possibly can be.

    Actually, the reason we know this is because Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort updated the disclosure to the government, and they were much more fulsome in the information they gave, which was the right thing to do. It just would have been better if that could have done as soon as possible.

    It’s the drip, drip, drip that gives the press the ability to write another story and another story.

    But the underlying facts still prove absolutely no criminality.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Absolutely no criminality? We had a discussion about this a few minutes ago with two lawyers.


    Well, we don’t know that for sure. I mean, look, to me, it looks like textbook collusion. It looks like campaign finance violation, at least for me, someone who worked on campaigns and, just like yourself, worked in the White House.


    MATT SCHLAPP: Yes, but you guys were never under investigation.

    KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: Right. We were never under investigation. Thanks goodness, Obama, no investigation.

    MATT SCHLAPP: Because we were pretty nice. We were pretty nice.


    KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: But, look — but I think this is the problem.

    If they want true transparency — this is they, the Trump administration — why don’t just they put it all out there?


    MATT SCHLAPP: That’s why Donald Trump Jr. did this, because it’s the right thing to do.

    KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: Yes, but the only reason they do it is because you have The Washington Post out there and The New York Times doing the work and putting out the information in piecemeal. Then the drip, drip, drip stuff happens.

    MATT SCHLAPP: Or maybe they’re being leaked inside the White House or inside the apparatus.

    KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: Well, then that’s Donald Trump’s problem.

    MATT SCHLAPP: Can I go, Judy, to this question of an FEC violation?


    MATT SCHLAPP: Because I saw the conversation in the show as well.

    And the FEC has put on their Web site …

    JUDY WOODRUFF: This is the Federal Elections Commission.

    MATT SCHLAPP: Right. You can go on their Web site and check it out.

    But they already said that the idea that you could prove criminality unless there was cash that went directly to a candidate is almost impossible to prove. So I think the FEC violations here are absurd.

    The idea that this is treason, that this was taking up arms against your own country, I think, is absurd. Then you have this question of collusion, which isn’t really a legal term. And then I love this, potential collusion, and I don’t even know where you go on that.

    Look, the bottom line is, we want to know this. Did anybody on team Trump do anything illegal with the Putin government that somehow subverted the elections?

    That’s a pretty big charge, but an easy charge to eventually answer. And I think we all just want to get that answer and close the books on this. The American people are fair, and let’s move on.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Is the standard of legality, Karine, going to be the only standard that matters here?

    KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: So, I think that matters as well.

    But we do have — we cannot forget that Russians actually attacked our country. They tried to undermine our democracy. And that is actually still happening. There was a Washington Post recent reporting that showed that Russians were currently trying to hack into our infrastructure.

    And so this is what I’m not understanding why Republicans aren’t just standing up and saying something and keeping Trump administration and his associates accountable.

    MATT SCHLAPP: I agree with this.

    I think what Russia has tried to do in this most recent election and previous elections is wrong. I think it’s wrong what the DNC was doing with the government of Ukraine to try to help Hillary Clinton. I think these things really should be…

    KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: Not the same. Not the same.

    MATT SCHLAPP: Well, but it is — if you shouldn’t deal with a foreign national, then you shouldn’t deal with a foreign national.

    KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: Russia is a foreign adversary. It’s not the same.

    The DNC denied it. But Russia is not — is a foreign adversary.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: I want to come to something, because there …


    JUDY WOODRUFF: What has struck me, Matt Schlapp, is the comments from conservative commentators in the last day or so about what’s happening, Charles Krauthammer, who said last night: I have been defending this White House, this administration for months. Now I find out what they were doing, and I’m left basically hanging out to dry.

    Are you seeing some Republicans, some conservatives feeling as if the administration hasn’t been straight with them?

    MATT SCHLAPP: Of course.

    What you’re seeing from Republicans and conservatives, when you see the drip, drip, drip, and with this revelation that there was a meeting, it does get people concerned. They say, well, I didn’t think there was going to be a meeting. I thought I would have learned this by now.

    That’s why getting all the information out is awfully important. Get it all out. My advice is to anybody listening on the Trump team, get the e-mails out, get the calendar items out. Get everything out.

    If you have nothing to hide, just put it all out there. I think that’s what now they have done with the refiling of their disclosures, which is why we know about this meeting. So, it was their disclosure that is the reason we know this.

    Donald Jr., yes, he put out his e-mails, but it was also true that the media had gotten them. So, having full disclosure will calm people down, because all really conservatives care about at the end, Judy, is, was there wrongdoing?

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Karine, we are seeing, in poll after poll — I haven’t seen polls since this latest information came out — but the conservative — Donald Trump’s voting base, they are sticking with him. They’re saying, we don’t care about Russia, for the most part.


    JUDY WOODRUFF: I’m making a bit of a blanket statement here.

    But they’re saying, what we want to see is, we want to see something done about health care, we want to see jobs.

    KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: I think that’s exactly right.

    But here’s the thing. Voters didn’t care about Watergate, until they did. And the issue that I have with that is, these elected officials on the Hill have a duty, they have a responsibility, regardless if voters care or not. They took an oath to protect the Constitution, to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign or domestic.

    And so, therefore, they should care that there was an attack on our country. So, I think that is what is really kind of getting under my skin, is, this is truly, truly important.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And you do have the committees doing the investigation.

    MATT SCHLAPP: Yes, the only thing I would say to that is, is that what Russia tries to do with our cyber-security in our society on a daily basis with espionage is a big problem. I agree with you on that.

    I actually the Obama administration — he was in charge during this period of time — he actually left us vulnerable. He left our potentially — if you’re making the charge that they had something to do with our election system, he was the sheriff in town.

    The DNC was hacked. I think that what we need to do is make sure that we work in a bipartisan way to make sure that they can’t affect our society this way.

    KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: But Republicans are making this a partisan issue. They’re not being bipartisan.

    MATT SCHLAPP: I think there is a little bit of that to go around.

    KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: Mitch McConnell hasn’t stood up basic rhetoric, not real conversation about it, and Paul Ryan. They need to stand up and speak louder.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: All right.

    We may have another chance to talk about this again. It may not be the last chance.


    KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: Sorry, Judy.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Karine Jean-Pierre.

    It’s all right.

    Matt Schlapp.

    Thank you both for being here.

    MATT SCHLAPP: I’m hopeful for a new topic.


    JUDY WOODRUFF: I bet you are.

    KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: Thanks, Judy.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Thank you.

    The post How are Trump Jr. revelations resonating politically? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Color processed photo of the great red spot taken by the JunoCam. Photo by Carlos Galeano -Cosmonautika

    Color processed photo of the great red spot taken by the JunoCam. Photo by Carlos Galeano -Cosmonautika

    Less than 48 hours ago, NASA’s Juno spacecraft got its first up-close-and-personal view with Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, and today, the space agency has released photos from the flyby, offering a rare glimpse of the planet’s giant storm.

    The images add to the wonder of this 10,000-mile-wide storm, at which star gazers have marveled for more than a century. Monday’s flyby marked only the seventh time that Juno has made a close sweep — known as a perijove pass — of Jupiter since the spacecraft began orbiting the solar system’s biggest planet last summer. This perijove pass brought the spacecraft about 5,600 miles above the Great Red Spot’s churning clouds.

    During these close-ups, the spacecraft’s color camera — called JunoCam — snaps pictures, while its seven scientific instruments gather as much insight as possible about the gas giant’s magnetic fields and atmospheric composition.

    Most of the new photos were processed into gorgeous art-like images by members of the public (NASA encourages citizen scientists to play with the raw photos from JunoCam) but Glenn Orton — a senior research scientist at JPL-Cal Tech — told NewsHour the images also reveal many tantalizing details about the what’s happening in this giant storm. Here’s what he sees in three of the photos. (Editor’s note: These descriptions were edited for brevity and clarity).

    Calm in the center

    The colors in this photo are enhanced, so it looks pastel, but that’s not the case.

    Great Red Spot. Photo by NASA / SwRI / MSSS / Gerald Eichstädt / Seán Doran

    Great Red Spot. Photo by NASA / SwRI / MSSS / Gerald Eichstädt / Seán Doran

    There’s a deep red here — the core of the red spot. We don’t have all the details yet from Juno, but based on Earth-based observations, we suspect those are much higher clouds. Whatever chemistry is taking place in these clouds makes things turn red, due to UV radiation. We think it’s happening there because the clouds are higher in the atmosphere.

    Surrounding the core, there’s a lot of mottled structures. There are swirls, typically associated with a counterclockwise motion. We know from past observations the wind currents at the center of the Great Red Spot are quite still. Everything around it increases in angular velocity, until you reach a maximum velocity at the edge of the Great Red Spot.

    If you download the image and blow it up, in the upper right — the 1 o’clock position — there’s a whole bunch of brighter regions and a couple of streaks. Those look like white puffy clouds. I can’t call them thunderstorms, because thunder implies lightning, which we haven’t seen in the red spot, but they’re likely local upwellings.

    The areas in the photo that look black aren’t really black. They’re just slightly less red than everything else. The regions that look darkest are likely deeper clouds in the atmosphere.

    In the white region that’s south of the red spot, at the bottom of the image, you can see similar mottles of upwellings — tiny bright clouds, where you are beginning to see hints of shadows. We call that the South White Belt region. Those are high clouds, though they are not as high as the Great Red Spot.

    No one knows yet how deep the clouds in the red spot are, but we’re hopefully getting an answer soon.

    The stovepipe

    This photo is inverted, so the Great Red Spot is toward the bottom of the strip. The red levels are also adjusted, so the spot appears blue. The blue-white curls is a flow of gases exiting the Great Red Spot. Photo by NASA / SwRI / MSSS /O.Sli

    This photo is inverted, so the Great Red Spot is toward the bottom of the strip. The red levels are also adjusted, so the spot appears blue. The blue-white curls is a flow of gases exiting the Great Red Spot. Photo by NASA / SwRI / MSSS /O.Sli

    The processing is doing some artsy work in this one. But it’s interesting because what looks like a stovepipe feature — the curly cue going toward the upper right — is actually the flow of gas going out of the red spot.

    Juno’s microwave radiometer should be able to look deep into the atmosphere, where we expect to see an enhancement in ammonia levels over the Great Red Spot. We’re hoping to answer the question of how deep the ammonia is, which could be an indication of how deep the general wind circulation of Jupiter goes.

    There are competing theories about the winds of Jupiter. Some say all the action happens toward the outside of the planet, the outer few kilometers or so. Others argue the winds actually go really deep, and create columns from one latitude in the north to the same latitude in the south, like big cylinders.

    Microwave radiometer measurements from the previous flybys have had mixed answers to that question so far. At the equator and just north of the equator, the turbulence goes immensely deep. There’s this huge plume, with a very concentrated ammonia level, coming from very deep in the atmosphere. But at higher latitudes toward the north and south poles, this turbulence doesn’t go as deep. What we see at the Great Red Spot will tell us what camp the mid-latitudes fall into and that’s really interesting.

    The anti-cyclone

    An anti-cyclone called NN-LRS-1 (upper left) swirls in the northern reaches of Jupiter. Photo by NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/SwRI/Kevin M. Gill

    An anti-cyclone called NN-LRS-1 (upper left) swirls in the northern reaches of Jupiter. Photo by NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/SwRI/Kevin M. Gill

    This photo isn’t taken from the Great Red Spot. It’s much higher in latitude in the north. But in the upper left, you can see a small anti-cyclone that has been changing colors recently. It’s typically white, but it’s been turning pink, then red and then back again. We’re trying to track this color change with readings in other wavelengths to determine how high things are in the atmosphere and whether these shifts are due to elevation.

    To the right, there’s another cyclone or anti-cyclone. Here, there are darker circles, with relatively light stuff on the outside. We don’t know what that is. On the far right, you can see really turbulent and chaotic stuff. It’s an upwelling that’s been going on for sometime in the north. These types of turbulence happen from time to time, and we’re not quite sure why.

    The post Here are Juno’s first closeup photos of the Great Red Spot appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Find all of the stories in our series, Inside Putin’s Russia

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now we continue our series Inside Putin’s Russia, and travel to the country’s southernmost border.

    The Republic of Dagestan is in the North Caucasus, near the Caspian Sea. Over the past two decades, a brutal separatist insurgency has fought the Russian state, and violence has spilled over from neighboring Chechnya, where Russia fought two wars.

    Many Americans may recall Dagestan as the original home of the Boston Marathon bombers, but now a new problem. By one estimate, as many as 5,000 Dagestanis are fighting for ISIS.

    Again, in partnership with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, special correspondent Nick Schifrin and producer Zach Fannin examine why.

    KAZIM NURMAGOMETOV, Father of ISIS Fighter: It is no accident that the youth are tempted to go to Syria, because, today, there is a revival of Islam.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Kazim Nurmagometov is 62 years old, and his son fought for ISIS. He was never tempted to go to Syria, but he and his wife, Rashida, understand why their son, Marat, was.

    KAZIM NURMAGOMETOV (through interpreter): The Islamic call I was talking about, the one in every Muslim’s soul, is hidden deep down. It’s like a light in someone’s heart.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Nurmagometov lives deep in the Caucasus Mountains, where nearly dried-up rivers meander through 1,000-foot-high cliffs, and beyond ancient rock formations, isolated dirt roads connect secluded villages.

    One of those villages is Karata. Official population is 4,000, but residents say it’s half that size. This area is nearly 100 percent Muslim. Before Friday prayers, men greet each other in the small town center. There are few young people, in part because this small village sent as many as two dozen to ISIS, al-Qaida, and the wars in Syria and Iraq.

    That’s her? That’s your daughter.

    AMINA KONDAKOVA, Mother of ISIS Fighter (through interpreter): Yes.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Amina Kondakova is a Muslim convert. She shows me photos from a happier time.

    That’s very cute.

    She says they grew up traditional and comfortable. And then, two years ago, her daughter Miryam and her son Ali Askhat told her they were going on vacation. Instead, they traveled with Miriam’s husband to Mosul, Iraq, to join ISIS.

    AMINA KONDAKOVA (through interpreter): They lied to me about going there. I was so disappointed. And then I became afraid about what could happen to them.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: She says this town is pious, but wasn’t religious enough for her daughter.

    Did she feel judged by people in this society?

    AMINA KONDAKOVA (through interpreter): Yes, they gave her looks. They didn’t like how she was dressing. They wanted her to dress like everyone else. She wanted to dress to way it’s written for a Muslim woman to dress.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Kondakova believes that judgment drove her daughter away. She reluctantly admits that, in Mosul, her daughter is happy raising her first grandson.

    AMINA KONDAKOVA (through interpreter): “Mom, I feel like I was reborn here. I regret all those years I spent in Dagestan. Don’t you want to come here too? I want to live with you, want you to see my boy growing up.”

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Nurmagometov gets to see his grandson. When his son Marat left for Syria, he abandoned a pregnant wife. Alexey is now 3 years old. They look at photos of Marat as a boy, and a young Marat clowning around with his older brother, Shamil.

    When you look at these, does it make you wish that your sons could all be here with you together?

    KAZIM NURMAGOMETOV (through interpreter): I am a realist. I know there’s no return. Life isn’t a book where you can tear out the pages if you didn’t like what you wrote, and write new ones.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: The Dagestanis who fought for ISIS continue a decades-old legacy here of radicalism and militancy.

    There’s been a local insurgency here in the capital of Dagestan, Makhachkala, for years, targeting both local authorities and symbols of the national government. Their most prominent attacks targeted civilians in larger cities.

    In Moscow in 2010, militants allied with al-Qaida blew up the subway. In 2013 in Volgograd, they blew up a bus station, and then a commuter bus, as seen on Russian media.

    HABIB MAGOMEDOV, Former Anti-terror Official (through interpreter): There was no social or physical protection. Every day, there were bombings, terror attacks that cost people’s lives.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Habib Magomedov is a former police lieutenant colonel and member of Dagestan’s anti-terrorism committee. He says conservative Islam, combined with high rates of unemployment and poverty, to radicalize.

    HABIB MAGOMEDOV (through interpreter): It’s the living conditions, absence of possibilities, absence of social mobility, which creates waves of anger and distress. There has to be some sort of history that sets the person on a certain track, where you only need to light a match for the fire to start.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: That match is often a brutal security crackdown. In January 2013, Russian special forces flooded into Dagestani villages. Locals say security services have practiced collective punishment against entire families, torture, even extrajudicial executions.

    Magomedov admits they went too far, but he tries to explain their motivation.

    HABIB MAGOMEDOV (through interpreter): If keeping people safe requires limiting rights and freedoms of certain individuals, it’s probably worth it. My brother died in 1998 when someone threw a grenade in his house. You know, the freedom of one man ends where the freedom of another starts.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Today, the violence has diminished. But it’s still religious Muslims whose freedoms are most often restricted.

    This mosque practices an austere and aggressive form of Islam. It also rails against government policy, and that makes it a police target. After prayers, police set up a checkpoint. Officers must meet a monthly quota of arrests, leading to what many call indiscriminate detentions, including of journalists trying to tell the mosque’s story.

    We were filming that scene from across the street, just standing on the sidewalk for only about 90 seconds, when police came up and arrested us. They threw us into their car. They drove us to the precinct. They refused to tell us why they were arresting us.

    Why is he being arrested?

    And when we were in the station, we saw dozens of men who had been in that mosque before also arrested. That is simply how people here act.

    Thirty-three-year-old Mogamet Mogametov is the mosque’s spokesman.

    MOGAMET MOGAMETOV, Mosque Spokesman (through interpreter): As you saw yourself, they arrest people not because they’re suspicious, but only because they came to a mosque.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Do you think that the tactics that the police use can help to radicalize young people here?

    MOGAMET MOGAMETOV (through interpreter): Of course. This is the thing that provokes people. Since literally everyone can be arrested, not on the basis of actual cause, but something totally subjective, then of course that irritates.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: And that helped lead so many to ISIS. The group exploits the abuse. Russian language propaganda says Russia oppresses Muslims, and presents Syria and Iraq as a pious paradise fit for families.

    And as ISIS recruited Dagestanis, Russian security services showed some the door, exporting extremism by facilitating their travel to Syria.

    HABIB MAGOMEDOV (through interpreter): It was the right thing to do. Since the moment these people left Dagestan for Syria, local terrorism dropped dramatically. If they had stayed, there would have been terror attacks. There would have been human casualties.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Who helped you leave? Who facilitated your departure?

    One of those who was pushed is this 27-year-old Dagestani who now lives in Turkey. We agreed to hide his face and alter his voice.

    MAN (through translator): People who were on the federal wanted list could somehow get a passport and leave the country. Some security officers said to them, we will either kill you or you can leave the country.

    The way I was helped was that every time I went to my local government office, I was taken by the police and interrogated. But when I went to get a passport, nobody stopped me.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: And after the Dagestanis left, Russia made sure they never came back.

    MAN (through interpreter): They simply said that, if I come back, they will do bad things to me. So I won’t ever go back.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Many Dagestanis who fought for ISIS have died in Syria, and they’re celebrated by ISIS propaganda. But some managed to escape, often to the port city of Odessa, Ukraine.

    Former ISIS fighter Marat agreed to talk to us if we didn’t show his face.

    MARAT, Former ISIS Fighter (through interpreter): The majority went to Syria with the notion of jihad, that Assad was repressing Muslims and we needed to help them.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: We have actually already met Marat. He’s the son of Kazim Nurmagometov. Kazim is often in Odessa to visit.

    KAZIM NURMAGOMETOV (through interpreter): We consider our family lucky. He is back, alive and healthy, and realized that where he ended up wasn’t what he thought it was.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: When his son left for Syria, Kazim didn’t sit back and let him die. He traveled to the outskirts of Aleppo and saw the destruction. He helped convince Marat he made a mistake. Marat finally left when he thought about his own son.

    MARAT (through interpreter): I was thinking about him constantly, hoping that I could leave and see my child. I was always thinking about what a big mistake I made. Thank God I was able to leave there alive, because practically everyone I knew there, no one is left alive. They all died there.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Marat will never return here, to Dagestan. And that’s what has inspired Kazim to speak on camera for the first time.

    KAZIM NURMAGOMETOV (through interpreter): There are thousands of ISIS fighters in Syria who want to leave. I feel it. Maybe my story will be a lesson, how to do it, what obstacles to expect. I feel some sort of responsibility to use my experience to help get others out.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: People like Kazim’s neighbor, Amina. She fears her daughter is dead. She hasn’t heard from her in four months.

    What would you say to that mother in America who’s listening to your story?

    AMINA KONDAKOVA (through interpreter): Don’t let your children go anywhere. Look after them. Look after their every step, but don’t let them leave you, ever.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: But their children have left this place. And most will never return.

    For the PBS NewsHour, I’m Nick Schifrin in Karata, Dagestan.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Our week-long series Inside Putin’s Russia continues tomorrow with a look at what happens to those who dare to stand up to the Kremlin.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: But first: Researchers have been watching for months, waiting for a huge iceberg to break away from an ice shelf in Antarctica. That break was confirmed today.

    And just to give you a sense of the size, the volume of the iceberg is said to be twice as large as Lake Erie.

    Miles O’Brien has been watching all this and digging into the larger questions about the ice shelf.

    Here’s an update to an earlier report. It’s part of our weekly segment on the Leading Edge of science.

    MILES O’BRIEN: This fast-growing rift in the Antarctica ice just created one of the largest icebergs ever recorded, about the size of Delaware, weighing more than one trillion tons.

    The event had been anticipated for months. Finally, some time between Monday and today, the Larsen Sea Ice Shelf became 12 percent smaller.

    So, we have known about this for quite a while, right?

    KELLY BRUNT, University of Maryland: We have certainly known about the bulk of this rift for a while.

    MILES O’BRIEN: Kelly Brunt is a glaciologist at the University of Maryland and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

    She used a wall of monitors there to show me the growing rift, fueled in part by rising air and sea temperatures. If the glaciers in West Antarctica all dropped into the water, global sea level would rise by more than 15 feet.

    Brunt showed me the big picture, a composite of images from several satellites. This is how the glacier ice flows here.

    KELLY BRUNT: Ice flows from the center of the continent out to the edges, much like syrup on the center of your pancake flowing towards the edges. And you can see there are areas where it’s moving pretty slowly, and then there are areas where it’s moving very quickly. And those quick places are generally in our areas of ice shelves.

    MILES O’BRIEN: So, when we think about ice, we think about something static. It’s not static, is it?

    KELLY BRUNT: Not at all. Actually, it’s highly dynamic. You can see from this image it looks to me a lot like a river system.

    MILES O’BRIEN: Ice shelves are connected to the glaciers that sit on land, but they are also floating, like ice cubes in a glass of water.

    KELLY BRUNT: If you had a drink with ice cubes in it, as those ice cube melts, they don’t add to the height of the water in the glass. So when ice shelves break down and collapse, they do not have a direct impact on mean sea level rise.

    However, they have an indirect effect. These ice shelves buttress the flow of the ice upstream, the ice that’s flowing into the system. And when you lose that buttressing force, you allow the upstream glaciers to flow faster. So that’s similar to putting more ice cubes into the glass and letting those melt.

    MILES O’BRIEN: Ice falls off the edge of glaciers all the time. It is part of a natural process called calving. Kelly Brunt says it is important to judge the size of the piece that breaks off relative to the size of the glacier that is behind it.

    She says your fingernails offer a handy model.

    KELLY BRUNT: If you break your fingernail inside the white part of your fingernail, you probably don’t think much of it. If you break it below the white part, you put a Band-Aid on it, you think about it and you keep an eye on it.

    If you lose your whole fingernail, I don’t know what happens. It’s pretty catastrophic. This represents losing the whole fingernail.

    MILES O’BRIEN: Like so many features in Antarctica, the Larsen Ice Shelf is named for a famous 19th century explorer. And it is disappearing, section by section, identified by letters.

    Larsen A disintegrated in 1995. And, in 2002, a series of satellite images captured the end of Larsen B in dramatic fashion over the course of six weeks. The piece that broke off was the size of Rhode Island.

    KELLY BRUNT: Losing this much ice, losing ice that represents roughly the state of Rhode Island in a month-and-a-half, just far exceeded anybody’s expectations of what could happen in the time scale that it could happen.

    MILES O’BRIEN: So, it was kind of like, we have to rethink things here a little bit. I mean, this is a wakeup call.

    KELLY BRUNT: This was absolutely a wakeup call.

    MILES O’BRIEN: Scientists track the ice using a half-dozen U.S. and European satellites, including Landsat, which gathered these images. But some of their best data came from a satellite called ICESat. Launched in 2003, it ceased operation in 2009. It precisely measured the glaciers using laser beams.

    KELLY BRUNT: This is quite a few years of ICESat data merged together to get a sense in meters per year how our ice sheet is changing.

    And you can see, the big picture here is that our ice sheets are changing where they are in contact with both our warming atmosphere and a warming ocean. So, it’s basically along the fringe of the continent.

    MILES O’BRIEN: When ICESat failed, NASA started tracking the ice using radar and lasers on board low-flying aircraft.

    The IceBridge program is NASA’s largest air campaign ever, but it still could not match the eye above the sky.

    It goes without saying that you would view these satellites, the capability to look at this, as essential?

    KELLY BRUNT: What we’re talking about is a calving of an iceberg that’s a size of a state. To get that, you really need a satellite to be able to see all of it in one shot.

    It’s a function of scale and repeatability to go back and look at that area again with the satellite that makes these the perfect tools for looking at the large-scale change that we’re seeing in this region.

    MILES O’BRIEN: And that’s precisely what Kelly Brunt and her colleagues will be doing now, using satellite data, data from the scant weather stations that are on the surface there, and additionally with buoys which are in the water itself.

    They will be poring over this data over the course of actually years to try to make some sort of definitive statement — and I put definitive in quotes because it’s science, after all — as to whether this particular calving event is linked to climate change — Judy.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, is there a definitive answer to that at this point? It sounds like you’re saying no.

    MILES O’BRIEN: Not just yet.

    Here’s what we know. Larsen B, the previous big calving event, scientists say there is a very strong pile of evidence indicating it is linked to climate change. Larsen A, they have practically no data at all.

    So, it’s one of these things that, as Kelly Brunt put it, this is where it gets exciting for scientists. They will try to determine if it’s climate change that actually caused this to happen, and also they will be looking at the stability of the ice shelf behind it.

    Does the flow increase? What about the glacier behind the ice shelf itself? Looking at all that will give them a lot of clues about what this is going to mean ultimately for sea level rise.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And speaking of that, do they know the effect this is going to have on sea levels in the area and around the world?

    MILES O’BRIEN: Yes, that’s the big question.

    Larsen C, even though it’s called a shelf, it’s kind of misleading. It was already in the water. And so like an ice cube in a glass of water, it had already done its bit of displacement and already had made its impact on sea level rise.

    If it had fallen off, scientists estimate it would have increased sea level across the world by three millimeters. That the gives you the idea of the size of this.

    So, now the situation here is to see whether the increased rate, if there’s an increased rate in the flow of that ice shelf into the water, what impact that might have on sea level rise in coming years.

    But, again, Judy, this is long-term science, and we will just have to watch it for years to come.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, finally, Miles, what happens to this gigantic piece of ice now that it’s broken off?

    MILES O’BRIEN: Well, it will probably not stay intact the size of Delaware. It will break up over time.

    Fortunately, where it is, it’s not going to be in the way of any shipping channels. So it shouldn’t be a hazard to navigation, but that’s a big part of what is going to happen along with the other research. They will be tracking to see how this iceberg breaks up. But it will be a big iceberg to start, and over time it will get smaller.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: All right, our iceberg man, Miles O’Brien, thank you very much.

    MILES O’BRIEN: You’re welcome, Judy.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: As we noted earlier, the issue of Russian meddling figured into the Senate confirmation hearing today for Christopher Wray, the nominee to be the next FBI director.

    But it was not the only topic of note. Senators were also trying to get a sense for whether Wray was the right person to lead the bureau through the political crosswinds of the day.

    Lisa Desjardins takes it from there.

    READ MORE: Who is Christopher Wray, Trump’s pick for FBI director

    LISA DESJARDINS: He’s worked 25 years as both as a top federal a prosecutor and as defense attorney.

    SEN. CHARLES GRASSLEY,  R-Iowa: Do you affirm that the testimony you’re about to give before the committee will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you, God?

    CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI Director Nominee: I do.

    LISA DESJARDINS: But Christopher Wray faced few questions about his experience, and instead a long list of them about his independence as a potential FBI chief.

    SEN. PATRICK LEAHY, D-Vt.: If the president asked you to do something unlawful or unethical, what do you say?

    CHRISTOPHER WRAY: First, I would try to talk him out of it. And if that failed, I would resign.

    LISA DESJARDINS: It was one of many references to the last FBI director, James Comey, fired by President Trump. Comey claimed the president asked him to let go of investigating former aide Michael Flynn, and demanded a loyalty oath. The White House disputes all of that. But Wray, as the FBI nominee, was asked about his allegiance.

    CHRISTOPHER WRAY: My loyalty is to the Constitution, to the rule of law, and to the mission of the FBI. And no one asked me for any kind of loyalty oath at any point during this process, and I sure as heck didn’t offer one.

    LISA DESJARDINS: And about his conviction.

    CHRISTOPHER WRAY: I believe to my core that there’s only one right way to do this job, and that is with strict independence, by the book, playing it straight, faithful to the Constitution.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Wray spoke about his 2004 pledge to leave the Justice Department over the Bush administration’s use of warrantless wiretaps, which he believed were illegal. He was following the lead of Comey, then the deputy attorney general, and Robert Mueller, then the FBI director, and now the man in charge of the special Russia investigation.

    READ MORE: Read FBI director nominee Chris Wray’s opening statement

    CHRISTOPHER WRAY: I view him as the consummate straight-shooter, and somebody I have enormous respect for. And I would be pleased to do what I can to support him in his mission.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Wray also worked on counterterrorism at the Justice Department, and was asked today about torture.

    CHRISTOPHER WRAY: My view is that torture is wrong. It’s unacceptable, it’s illegal, and I think it’s ineffective.

    LISA DESJARDINS: And about protecting Muslim Americans from backlash.

    CHRISTOPHER WRAY: I think the FBI director and the FBI needs to be — the FBI and the FBI director for all Americans, including Muslim Americans. And my experience in terrorism investigations has been that some of the best leads we ever got were from members of that community.

    LISA DESJARDINS: He stressed the need to fight terrorism, including cyber-terrorism, and protect classified information. In the end, senators of both parties seemed assured.

    SEN. AL FRANKEN, D-Minn.: Looking around, I’m feeling that you have had a good hearing today. And best of luck to you, sir.

    CHRISTOPHER WRAY: Thank you, Senator. That means a lot.

    LISA DESJARDINS: If approved, Wray would be the eighth FBI director confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

    For the PBS NewsHour, I’m Lisa Desjardins.

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    Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) speaks about immigration reform during his weekly press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 29, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts - RTS195CW

    Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) and House Republicans on Wednesday unveiled legislation slashing $10 billion from foreign aid, a sharp reduction but not as deep a cut as President Donald Trump wants. File photo by REUTERS/Joshua Roberts.

    WASHINGTON — House Republicans on Wednesday unveiled legislation slashing $10 billion from foreign aid, a sharp reduction but not as deep a cut as President Donald Trump wants.

    In a flurry of summertime activity, congressional panels in the House and Senate released various spending bills to fund government agencies and departments in 2018. The GOP-led panels concurred with some of Trump’s request, such as his down payment on a U.S.-Mexico border wall, while rejecting others such as a significant reduction in medical research.

    At issue are the 12 annual spending bills to funding annual agency operations. Republicans controlling Congress have announced plans to rejected Trump’s proposal to cut non-defense programs by more than $50 billion and they’re adding about $30 billion to his request for defense.

    Democrats strongly oppose the wall and funding for Trump proposals such as 1,000 additional immigration agents and say additional funding is needed for domestic programs and foreign aid.

    “It is targeting people who have lived, work, and pay taxes in this country for years or even decades with no criminal infractions,” said Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif. “The trauma that is being inflicted on entire communities throughout our country cannot be overstated.”

    READ MORE: Who are the winners and losers in the $1.1 trillion spending bill?

    Trump wanted to cut almost $17 billion from foreign aid. House Republicans proposed a reduction of $10 billion.

    The House foreign aid cuts spared Israel and Egypt and exempted the budget for protecting U.S. embassies overseas. But it slashed U.S. payments to the United Nations by $600 million and cut funding for multilateral organizations focused on topics such as climate change and debt relief by more than 60 percent. Direct U.S. economic aid to poor and unstable nations absorbed a $4.2 billion cut to $22.7 billion.

    House Republicans made good on promises to reject Trump’s proposal to slash medical research at the National Institutes of Health by more than $7 billion.

    Meanwhile, the House Homeland Security funding subcommittee also approved a $1.6 billion down payment to construct Trump’s long promised wall along the U.S-Mexico border, including funding for three segments of wall and fence in Texas and the city of San Diego.

    House measures funding the departments of Energy, Agriculture, and Interior also advanced, while the counterpart Senate Appropriations Committee unveiled a $6 billion increase for the Department of Veterans Affairs and construction projects at military facilities.

    Conflicts were largely avoided this past spring during action on last year’s leftover appropriations business as Congress came together on a $1.1 trillion-plus catchall funding bill for the current fiscal year.

    READ MORE: What Trump’s budget proposal means for science, health and tech

    But the appropriations process is ripe for a showdown this fall and a partial shutdown of the government is a real possibility. Ultimately, it is almost certain to require an agreement with Democrats to wrap up the appropriations process, but talks on a bipartisan solution have yet to start in earnest.

    For now, the work is grinding on in the House and Senate Appropriations committees. Plans for floor votes have not been set by House leaders, who invariably have difficulty passing most of the nondefense spending bills without Democratic help.

    Senate action is even further behind schedule and the principal item of business in September will be to pass a stopgap spending measure to prevent a government shutdown.

    Republicans have also cut education, labor, and health programs by $5 billion in releasing a $156 billion measure on Wednesday. In that measure, lawmakers rejected cuts to public broadcasting sought by Trump, though a handful of programs were “zeroed out” in line with Trump’s budget release. Health research at the NIH would receive a $1.1 billion increase however, and special education funding would receive an almost 2 percent increase.

    The appropriations process is ripe for a showdown this fall and a partial shutdown of the government is a real possibility.

    Also Wednesday, the panel in charge of funding the Environmental Protection Agency approved a $528 million cut to the agency’s $8 billion budget for the current year. The cuts, while slammed by Democrats, were far less severe than sought by Trump, who wanted to cut $1.9 billion more.

    Support for Trump’s border wall is far from universal even among Republicans from conservative districts. Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., emphasized he supports border security but a wall along the whole border is not practical or realistic.

    “The rhetoric coming from those pro-wall people, I get the rhetoric game, but what those folks are talking about doing — listen you don’t even own all the land,” Amodei said.

    “It’s like ‘Build that Wall’ — OK I get that. But building that wall the reality,” Amodei said, is much more complicated.

    Associated Press writer Erica Werner contributed to this report.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now back to the controversies swirling around Donald Trump Jr. and the president’s top campaign aides.

    The e-mail exchange published by Donald Trump Jr. on Tuesday reignited a legal debate about whether members of the Trump campaign engaged in unlawful activity.

    We get two perspectives now, from Bob Bauer. He served as White House counsel to President Obama from 2009 to 2011. He is now a lawyer in private practice in Washington. And Jed Shugerman, He’s a professor at Fordham University Law School.

    Gentlemen, we thank you both for being with us.

    Bob Bauer, to you first.

    We know the president’s son was told that the Russian government had incriminating information on Hillary Clinton that it wanted to share with him. Did he break a law by pursuing that?

    BOB BAUER, Former White House Counsel: In my view, we have some evidence. We don’t have all the evidence. I would suspect the congressional investigating committee and the special counsel will continue to dig into questions raised by the facts disclosed by The New York Times and by Donald Trump Jr. himself.

    But this is highly suggestive of a potential violation of the law on two counts. Number one, it demonstrates that the campaign as a whole had the intent to court support, receive support, solicit support from a foreign national source, in this case, the Russia government.

    Second, in my view, the meeting itself could constitute illegal solicitation of support from a foreign national under campaign finance law. So, it both has broad legal significance, and on that one specific issue of liability, has a more concrete significance.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, you’re tying it to campaign finance, is that right?

    BOB BAUER: Yes. I’m talking here about a statute that has been on the books for many years that Congress tightened in 2002 that prohibits receiving and soliciting contributions from a foreign national or providing the foreign national with substantial assistance in trying to influence a U.S. election.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Jed Shugerman, listening to this, and I know you have been looking at the laws with regard to this today, does this sound like something that fits under that legal definition?

    JED SHUGERMAN, Fordham University Law School: Yes, I have been looking at this quite a bit and I have been reading Bob’s work. And Bob is — generally, he’s a terrific expert on this.

    I think I disagree with him and how far to apply campaign finance law. I’m very sympathetic to his perspective here. However, I think we’re getting into some dangerous territory with applying federal election law too broadly at this stage.

    News keeps breaking every day, so I’m just saying, what we know now, to argue that this meeting itself is a violation of the campaign finance law raises a couple of questions. First of all, it raises the danger of applying and criminalizing contacts between anyone in a campaign with a foreign national.

    Let me give you a hypothetical. Imagine if there was a Web site that published what purported to be the birth certificate of President Obama from Kenya, and an Obama staffer went and met with Kenyan nationals to find out about the veracity of that document.

    Under this interpretation, that would still be a thing of value, but would we criminalize the Obama campaign for checking? And, similarly, would we say of the Romney campaign, you can’t do opposition research by investigating?


    JED SHUGERMAN: Yes, go ahead.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: I was just going to say, let me just stop you there on that point.

    What about that, Bob Bauer, that there’s a danger here in making this cover any kind of information that is shared with a campaign by a foreign entity?

    BOB BAUER: Well, that’s not the case at all here. We’re not talking about a casual conversation with some information that the campaign is looking for it sort of acquires by talking to a foreign national.

    We’re talking about an operational link between a foreign government and a campaign, one in which the foreign government is stating its intention to provide ongoing support, dispatches one of its emissaries, if we’re to understand the facts as so far presented in the news, dispatches one of its emissaries from Moscow to Washington, D.C.

    And on top of all that, not only does the campaign indicate that it’s anxious for the help, but, as you recall, Donald Trump Jr. even suggests in one of his e-mails that he would like to discuss timing, that if the information is as good as advertised, he would like to see it released later in the summer.

    The campaign finance laws clearly distinguish between the kind of speech that I think that Professor Shugerman is legitimately concerned about from this kind of operational relationship by a strong supporter for a campaign engaged in very specific activities on its behalf.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Jed Shugerman, it is the case that the e-mail to Donald Trump Jr. said the Russian government wants to help your campaign.

    JED SHUGERMAN: All of this is indicative or suggestive of what we might find out later.

    I think if we carefully read the e-mails, I think it’s hard to make the leap that this is like a coordination. There’s indications there. I understand where Bob Bauer is coming from.

    So, I think we have to be careful, though, because if you read the e-mail from a little bit of perspective of how could this be applied in the future and can we have line-drawing here, it’s hard to see where this e-mail doesn’t lead to some effect of applying this to any kind of contact between a government …

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Let me now ask both of you.

    And I will come to you, Jed Shugerman first.

    The word collusion, colluding has been thrown around a lot in the last few weeks about whether the Trump campaign was colluding with Russian officials. Is there some legal connection there? Is that an issue?

    JED SHUGERMAN: Well, the word collusion is more of a political word than a legal word. There is no statute against collusion.

    And — but I think the word we might turn to in the law is conspiracy. This is where we’re headed. I think there is a lot of other information that is coming out day by day that points to this conspiracy.

    And we may have conspiracy. I think what we’re getting closer towards is a violation of 1986 law of computer hacking, because I think, if you look at the timing, there are just too many coincidences about what the Trump campaign was doing before and after this June 3 e-mail about President Trump himself.

    I just — my point here is, I think we need to be careful in analyzing each step.


    JED SHUGERMAN: I think there is evidence that’s pointing towards crimes, but I think we need to be careful when we make interpretations of these statutes.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, we certainly want to be careful here. And we know we’re speculating, but we do think it’s important to ask these questions.

    Bob Bauer, just quickly on the conspiracy question?

    BOB BAUER: Well, I think there is a basis here.

    And I don’t disagree with Professor Shugerman. This is going to be an ongoing investigation. This is not the only evidence that will be taken into account. And certainly, if, in fact, there is apparently a violation of the campaign finance laws, and the evidence is beginning to point in that direction, then, yes, the prosecutors could certainly develop a conspiracy charge or an aiding and abetting charge based on that.

    If I could just add one more point, this is not a statute that is subject to the same free speech considerations that Professor Shugerman outlines that apply in the domestic U.S. context.

    Today, for example, it was very clear from the testimony of FBI director nominee Chris Wray, who was asked about this, that, in his view, this sort of communication between the Russian government and a campaign is a national security matter.

    And he said any meeting like that shouldn’t have been taken unless the campaign had consulted with what he called its legal advisers. So, I think it was clear from the FBI director’s remarks here this is a national security issue, the free speech considerations are different, and the implications are legal.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: All right, gentlemen, we are going to have to leave it there.

    Bob Bauer, Jed Shugerman, we thank you both.

    BOB BAUER: Thanks for having us.

    JED SHUGERMAN: Thank you very much.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news: Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen affirmed that short-term interest rates are likely to rise again in the coming months. But she also left the door open to changing those plans. Yellen told a congressional hearing that a recent slowdown in inflation might make the Central Bank recalculate.

    JANET YELLEN, Federal Reserve Chair: Monetary policy is not on a preset course. We’re watching this very closely, and stand ready to adjust our policy if it appears that the inflation undershoot will be persistent.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Separately, Yellen said the Fed could begin to unload its massive bond holdings this year. It bought government bonds during and after the recession in order to lower long-term interest rates and to boost economic activity.

    Wall Street took heart from Yellen’s talk of going slow on rate hikes. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 123 points to close at 21532. That’s a new record. The Nasdaq rose nearly 68 points, and the S&P 500 added 17.

    One of Brazil’s former presidents, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, was convicted today in a sweeping corruption probe. A judge sentenced him to 9.5 years in prison, but for now he remains free, pending his appeal. Silva served as president from 2003 to 2010, and is still widely admired in Brazil.

    In Saudi Arabia today, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held talks, but made no apparent progress in ending a boycott of another Persian Gulf nation, Qatar. Tillerson met with King Salman, and later the Saudi crown prince, in the city of Jiddah. Later, he flew to Kuwait, and returns to Qatar tomorrow. The Saudis and other Arab states have accused Qatar of financing terrorism.

    In Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has rejected any talk of lifting a state of emergency. He imposed it last July after rogue soldiers tried to overthrow the government, killing more than 240 people. Erdogan visited graves of the victims yesterday, and he told international investors meeting in Ankara today that disloyal elements are still at large.

    PRESIDENT RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, Turkey (through interpreter): What are we supposed to do with all this happening? They say lift the state of emergency. This won’t happen. I had an interview with an international media organization. They asked if the state of emergency will finish. It will finish when this business is completely out of the way.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Erdogan’s opponents say that he has used emergency rule to quash dissent.

    There is word that Chinese political dissident and Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo is now in critical condition. A hospital in Shenyang, reported today he is suffering multiple organ failure. Liu has late-stage liver cancer. He was released from prison on medical leave just last month.

    Back in this country, the Royal Bank of Scotland has agreed on a settlement with U.S. regulators, and will pay $5.5 billion. It involves claims that the bank sold billions of dollars of toxic mortgage-backed securities before the 2008 financial meltdown.

    And President Trump lost his nominee today to lead the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. James Clinger cited family-related obligations that had prompted him to leave government service earlier this year. He said that they have grown more challenging in the interim.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: President Trump is heading back to Europe tonight, this time to France, for its independence, or Bastille Day, celebrations.

    But he leaves behind a swirl over his son’s efforts to get damaging information about Hillary Clinton, provided by the Russian government.

    John Yang begins our coverage.

    JOHN YANG: Across Capitol Hill, the big question was what the bombshell revelations in Donald Trump Jr.’s e-mails do to the Russia investigation. At his weekly news conference, House Speaker Paul Ryan did his best to avoid commenting directly.

    REP. PAUL RYAN, R-Wis., Speaker of the House: We have a special counsel that’s doing an investigation over at the Justice Department. We have an investigation here in the House. We have an investigation in the Senate.

    I think it’s very important that these professionals in these committees do their jobs, so that we can get to the bottom of all this.

    QUESTION: Mike Conaway, the Texas Republican leading the House investigation, didn’t say much either.

    Do you have any concerns about what you’re seeing now, the press reports about these meetings that he took with the Russian lawyer?

    REP. MIKE CONAWAY, R-Texas: Yes, we’re going to pursue every lead that needs to pursue and every clue that needs to be pursued.

    QUESTION: Does this lead need to be pursued?

    REP. MIKE CONAWAY: We’re going to pursue every lead that makes sense to pursue.

    JOHN YANG: In an interview to be broadcast tomorrow on CBN, President Trump said Russian President Vladimir Putin wouldn’t have wanted to help him in the first place.

    PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: If Hillary had won, our military would be decimated. Our energy would be much more expensive. That’s what Putin doesn’t like about me, and that’s why I say, why would he want me?

    JOHN YANG: Last night, Donald Trump Jr. offered his first public defense to FOX News Channel’s Sean Hannity.

    DONALD TRUMP JR., Son of Donald Trump: In retrospect, I probably would have done things a little differently. Again, this was before Russia mania. This was before they were building it up in the press. For me, this was opposition research.

    JOHN YANG: This morning, Mr. Trump gave his eldest son a rave review: “He was open, transparent and innocent. This is the greatest witch-hunt in political history.”

    At his confirmation hearing to be FBI director, Christopher Wray was pressed on that point. He had a different view of the investigations, including special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, than the man who nominated him.

    SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.: I’m asking you, as the future FBI director, do you consider this endeavor a witch-hunt?

    CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI Director Nominee: I do not consider Director Mueller to be on a witch-hunt.

    JOHN YANG: Meanwhile, the president’s legal team tried to distance their client from his namesake.

    JAY SEKULOW, Attorney For Donald Trump: The president wasn’t aware of the meeting, didn’t participate in the meeting, didn’t attend the meeting and was only made aware of the e-mails — actually, reading the e-mails, seeing the e-mails, was yesterday when they were released.

    JOHN YANG: For Mr. Trump, the Russia story has become a burden he cannot escape, no matter how hard he tries. Every time he appears to be moving in a different direction, another disclosure puts it right back front and center.

    Today, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov seemed to sympathize.

    SERGEI LAVROV, Foreign Minister, Russia (through interpreter): Today, I turned on the TV again, and all the Western channels are discussing only this. It is amazing how serious people can make a mountain when there might not even be a molehill.

    JOHN YANG: There’s sure to be more discussion next week, when the Senate Judiciary Committee wants former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort to testify about his role.

    For the PBS NewsHour, I’m John Yang.

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    Manager of Brooklyn Vape store Mohammed Isa smokes an e-cigarette in Brooklyn, New York, U.S., January 18, 2017. REUTERS/Joe Penney - RTSW548

    Manager of Brooklyn Vape store Mohammed Isa smokes an e-cigarette in Brooklyn, New York, U.S., January 18, 2017. A House panel is again trying to exempt increasingly popular e-cigarettes from new Food and Drug Administration rules. Photo by REUTERS/Joe Penney.

    WASHINGTON – A House panel is again trying to exempt increasingly popular e-cigarettes from new Food and Drug Administration rules.

    The legislation approved Wednesday by the Republican-controlled Appropriations Committee would prevent the FDA from requiring retroactive safety reviews of e-cigarettes already on the market. It would exempt some premium and large cigars from those same regulations. E-cigarette products introduced in the future would face the safety reviews.

    The development comes as the Trump administration has delayed enforcement of the new FDA rule and the e-cigarette industry is hopeful that efforts to roll back the Obama regulations will advance both as legislation and through several pending lawsuits.

    Supporters say that “vaping” is far safer than smoking tobacco cigarettes and that the products, which generally heat a liquid nicotine solution into vapor, can help tobacco smokers quit. They say FDA rules would lead small companies that produce the products to go out of business rather than undergo expensive regulatory reviews.

    “E-vapor products are 95 percent less harmful than combustible cigarettes,” said Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., a co-sponsor of the plan. “I want to help people in our country, America, to cycle off of cigarettes.”

    READ MORE: Does vaping save smokers or create new nicotine addicts?

    But most panel Democrats said the products are dangerous and are targeted at children.

    “While we do not know what is in e-cigarettes, study after study finds that most show high levels of formaldehyde and other cancer-causing chemicals,” said Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., who said the products are geared toward getting children hooked on nicotine with flavors such as Fruit Loops and Gummy Bears.

    “The FDA would never be able to put the genie back in the bottle, unable to regulate or even know what is in these products, forever,” Lowey said. A move by Lowey to defend the FDA rules was blocked by a 30-22 vote.

    The provision to undercut the FDA rules was attached to legislation funding the agency’s budget for the fiscal year starting in October.

    Democrats succeeded earlier this year in blocking the move to exempt existing products on an earlier spending bill.

    Public health groups say the regulations could allow many newer tobacco products to escape scrutiny just as more people, including teenagers, are using them. Cigarette smoking has decreased in recent years, but vaping and cigar smoking have risen. The nicotine-infused vapor of e-cigarettes looks like smoke but doesn’t contain all the chemicals, tar or odor of regular cigarettes.

    “There is no public health justification for these provisions, and our kids will pay the price if they are approved,” said Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “These provisions are part of the tobacco industry’s multi-front attack on the FDA’s 2016 rule.”

    The FDA rules will require e-cigarette brands marketed since February 2007 to undergo premarket reviews retroactively. The FDA will then ensure the product is “appropriate for the protection of the public health.” If not, the agency could take it off the market.

    The post Should e-cigarettes be exempt from FDA rules? A House panel says yes appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    People walk past the office building of health insurer Anthem in Los Angeles, California February 5, 2015. Connecticut and New York prosecutors reached out to No. 2 U.S. health insurer Anthem Inc on Thursday, a day after the firm said it was a victim of a cyberattack that compromised data of tens of millions of people. REUTERS/Gus Ruelas (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS CRIME LAW HEALTH) - RTR4OEOV

    An odd dictum that likens us to insurance companies may serve us well as we struggle to find the best path forward in the health insurance debate, writes Mihir Desai, author of “The Wisdom of Finance.” Photo by Gus Ruelas/Reuters

    Editor’s Note: The famous insurance-philosophy nexus. Okay, you’ve never heard of it. Well, neither had I. But then along came Harvard Business School professor Mihir Desai and his new book, “The Wisdom of Finance,” from which I learned that Charles Peirce, the 19th-century founder of “pragmatism,” was a statistics maven who formulated his philosophy on the basis of probability and risk.

    Desai’s book chronicles a host of other links between high-brow culture and low-down finance  — Lizzie Bennett rolling the dice by spurning Mr. Collins’ economic security marriage pitch in “Pride and Prejudice”; the principal-agent problem as illustrated by Mel Brooks’ “The Producers.” To the accompaniment of movie clips, Desai runs through many such links in tonight’s NewsHour Making Sen$e segment as he tries to rescue the reputation of finance, so vividly tarnished by based-on-real life characters like Jordan Belfort in “The Wolf of Wall Street,”who also makes a cameo appearance in tonight’s piece.

    But back to Peirce and insurance. It’s where Desai begins his book. And where he begins his day with us here at Making Sen$e.

    — Paul Solman, Economics Correspondent

    “We are all insurance companies.”

    What? How could our humanity be compared to something as mundane as insurance? Can our lives meaningfully be defined by a concept from finance? This odd dictum, from the famous American philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce, that likens us to insurance companies may serve us well as we struggle to find the best path forward in the health insurance debate. With the American Health Care Act passing the House, the Senate struggling to pass their own bill and the Affordable Care Act seeming more and more fragile, politicians and citizens are struggling to find the right way to think about the role of insurance in our society. The usefulness of Peirce’s linkage between a financial concept and our humanity is also representative of how finance can be considerably more humane than usually assumed.

    READ MORE: CBO: 22 million people would lose insurance under Senate health care bill

    Peirce, a remarkable polymath, is acknowledged as a founder of semiotics (the theory of signs that undergirds much of modern literary theory), pragmatism (the philosophical tradition that emphasizes practical application) and the randomized trial (the practice of ensuring unbiased test results through the use of randomization). But throughout his career he was preoccupied with the idea of insurance. In a lecture series that William James sponsored at Harvard in 1903, he alienated his audience and his sponsor by using calculus in his first lecture to demonstrate how insurance is priced. James, never a fan of math, regretted making the invitation and concluded that Peirce was a “desultory intellect.”

    But Peirce was on to something. According to historian of probability Ian Hacking, Peirce was a critical figure as he brought together two seemingly contradictory ideas. Chance and randomness were everywhere — any one coin toss was uncertain — but so were patterns — flip enough coins and you can tell if a coin is fair. Indeed, Peirce is also credited with naming the bell-shaped distribution of outcomes that is remarkably prevalent in nature as the “normal” distribution. Others who had noticed the dominance of the bell-shaped distribution had concluded that outcomes were deterministic because of how prevalent that distribution was. It’s just how things were; nothing you could do about it. For Peirce, however, randomness didn’t mean utter chaos and the normal distribution didn’t mean determinism. There was a subtle middle ground — randomness and patterns could coexist, and patterns could be used to navigate the randomness. But how could one figure out those patterns?  How could one manage in the chaos? That’s where insurance came into the picture and, therefore, the field of finance.

    READ MORE: Column: For older Americans, the GOP health bills would be nothing short of devastating

    Peirce gravitated toward insurance, because he understood the parallels between the problems facing insurance companies and humans. Patterns are critical to insurers as they enable them to price their policies correctly and stay in business. For example, only by figuring out average mortality could an life insurer stay in business.  And the only way to grasp those patterns was to gather data and “sample” from the experience of the world. That’s why sampling the world was precisely what Peirce recommended as the foundation of pragmatism. Introspection should give way to experiential learning, he thought. Just as insurers can’t divine your expected lifespan, but instead must consult actuarial tables based on data, so too must individuals experience the world to arrive at the appropriate decisions.

    Pierce took the parallel even further. As with insurers, Peirce viewed the experience of others as just as valid as one’s own experience. Cigna doesn’t conclude that the mortality patterns of Aetna customers are any less valid than the experience of their own customers. In a remarkable turn, Peirce used the imperative of experience-gathering and our own mortality to create an imperative of empathy. He wrote:

    Death makes the number of our risks, of our inferences, finite, and so makes their mean result uncertain. The very idea of probability and of reasoning rests on the assumption that this number is indefinitely great. We are thus landed in the same difficulty as before, and I can see but one solution of it . . . logicality inexorably requires that our interests shall not be limited. They must not stop at our own fate, but must embrace the whole community. This community, again, must not be limited, but must extend to all races of beings with whom we can come into immediate or mediate intellectual relation. It must reach, however vaguely, beyond this geological epoch, beyond all bounds … Logic is rooted in the social principle. To be logical, men should not be selfish.

    In other words, empathy was the logical extension of the importance of experience gathering.

    Peirce was reacting against the spread of social Darwinism, which used scientific ideas to conclude precisely the opposite: the “survival of the fittest.” Today’s battle over insurance similarly pits those with Darwinistic impulses against those with communal impulses. As Congressman Mo Brooks, Republican of Alabama, put it:

    [The AHCA] will allow insurance companies to require people who have higher health care costs to contribute more to the insurance pool that helps offset all these costs, thereby reducing the cost to those people who lead good lives, they’re healthy, they’ve done the things to keep their bodies health. And right now, those are the people who have done things the right way that are seeing their costs skyrocketing.

    In other words, people shouldn’t be saddled with the costs of insuring those less fit than themselves. One could hardly express social Darwinism applied to insurance any better.

    Ultimately, Peirce is closer to the true spirit of insurance than Representative Brooks. Socializing risk is the most central aspect of insurance — the only question is amongst whom should the risk be socialized. And it has always been so. Roman burial societies socialized risks of funeral costs amongst veterans, tontine bonds socialized longevity risks amongst French citizens in the 18th century, and the early forms of disability insurance were created by fraternal organizations. Insurance demands the pooling of risks, and pooling implies sharing that risk. When we begin to partition populations and suggest that risk shouldn’t be pooled, we as a society are saying that those people we exclude are not similar enough to us to pool risks with. And, that statement goes to the core of who we as a people are.

    The health care debate is fraught with meaning both because of our personal experiences with the health care system and because it calls into question who we are as a people. Amongst whom should these risks be shared? How should we incorporate the experiences of others into our lives? Hopefully, we will conclude that the imperatives of experience gathering and empathy that Peirce saw embodied in insurance will guide us as we make these decisions. Because, ultimately, “we are all insurance companies.”

    The post Column: Why we are all insurance companies appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Finance and the humanities can seem like distant worlds. The cold calculus and material emphasis of finance seems about as far removed as one can imagine from the inquiring, open-ended approach of the humanities and its emphasis on meaning. As I researched my book, “The Wisdom of Finance,” I was surprised to uncover a close correspondence between the central ideas of finance and the questions that preoccupy many humanists.

    I was also struck by how many great writers and artists were tied to finance vocationally. The following quiz is designed to see if you can uncover those same connections. The prize? If you get more than seven of these correct, you qualify as someone capable of seeing beyond the caricature of finance that most people espouse. Good luck!

    For more on the topic, tune in to tonight’s Making Sen$e report, which airs every Thursday on the PBS NewsHour.

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    Participants in Narrative 4's empathy program met in Limerick, Ireland, in June to discuss their experiences. Photo by Larisa Epatko/PBS NewsHour

    Participants in Narrative 4’s empathy program met in Limerick, Ireland, in June to discuss their experiences. Photo by Larisa Epatko/PBS NewsHour

    As 16-year-old Malak Lahham was passing through Israel’s international airport, security personnel pulled her aside and told her she would have to answer some questions.

    “I was creeped out,” Lahham, an Arab, later admitted. “What was going to happen? Have I done anything wrong?” She was traveling with no family members, only her teacher.

    She was body-searched and all of her belongings unpacked and checked. The guards looked through her phone. Where was she going? What program was she participating in, they asked.

    Lahham was heading to an annual summit of Narrative 4, a New York- and Limerick, Ireland-based organization aimed at building empathy in people through storytelling.

    During the previous year, her school — Nazareth Baptist School — had twinned with a Jewish-Israeli school in Narrative 4’s program to help foster a better understanding of each other, and now she was flying to the organization’s global summit in Limerick.

    She answered their questions, wondering why, even though the body-scanning machine hadn’t made a peep, she was still subjected to the extra screening and questioning. “I was searched only because of my identity as an Arab,” she thought.

    “I had two choices, either fight this stereotype with hatred and make it worse, or fight it with love and kindness to break those stereotypes and show them who you are as a human simply by saying : ‘Thank you, have a nice day,’ which I chose to do. You can’t judge a whole group because of a small part of it,” she said.

    “I remember how they reacted … they said: ‘Thank you, enjoy your flight.’”

    Lahham told her story at the summit, which Lee Keylock, programs director for Narrative 4, called “very powerful. … She can be humiliated on a monthly or weekly basis by these things that happen in her community, but she can turn around and say, we have to hear the stories of the security guards. She was very generous.”

    Narrative 4’s executive director Lisa Consiglio talks about how storytelling and listening can be a remedy in an era of constant noise.

    Narrative 4 formed in 2012 by a group of writers and activists who recognized that learning each other’s stories and retelling them in the first person is a powerful way to gain understanding. The program evolved from Lisa Consiglio, Narrative 4’s executive director, who started a literary organization in Colorado and later a story-swap program in English classes in Colorado’s Roaring Fork Valley.

    In the process, she met novelist Colum McCann, who became a strong proponent and later president of Narrative 4.

    A major donor — Jackie Bezos, president of the Bezos Family Foundation — asked if they wanted to make the program international and pair people around the world. “This was five weeks after the earthquake in Haiti and we found ourselves on the ground, running an exchange between kids in New Orleans and kids in Port-au-Prince,” connecting them through a videoconference, said Consiglio.

    Their next stop was the Middle East, where they paired Arab-Israeli and Jewish-Israeli students. “These kids were 20 minutes apart and natural born enemies,” she said. Through telling each other’s stories, they were able to see each other with new eyes.

    “We change the world when we walk in one another’s shoes: this idea of radical empathy,” said McCann. “We don’t do direct conflict resolution. People understand one another by walking inside the language and inside the story of somebody else’s experience.”

    The organization has authors and artists visit the schools and lend their creativity to the program. Working with the students is gratifying for the authors as well. “Sometimes [the students] are surprised that you’re actually alive. They’ve never really met a living author,” said McCann. “Then they realize their own story is alive, and then they realize perhaps it has significance.”

    The practice of learning someone else’s story well enough to retell it as your own builds an intimacy between the participants, and might spark a desire to do something more within the community. “Elementally, it centers around the power of stories, the power of empathy, the power of trying to understand what it means to be someone other than yourself, and how that then translates into action on the ground,” he said.

    Novelist Colum McCann talks about how he gained strength from a personal ordeal.

    Narrative 4 trains teachers in how story exchanges can enhance their curriculum and help their students learn leadership and communication skills, along with becoming more civic-minded. Guide materials suggest journal and art activities to get the students warmed up, but ultimately the teachers decide how they will run the program. Schools across the country or around the world can connect with each other through a growing network on the group’s Facebook page.

    Through the network, Maru Castaneda, a Spanish teacher at the American School of Tampico in Mexico, connected with English teacher Faisal Mohyuddin at Highland Park High School, located in a suburb of Chicago.

    Tampico, a port city on the Gulf of Mexico, suffers from gang violence and frequent shootings, which makes residents afraid to be out at night, said Castaneda. “The American kids don’t know this is happening, they think it is a normal city. It’s not a normal city,” she said.

    Her high school kids told their stories, and the students in Illinois talked about their personal troubles such as their parents’ divorce. Learning about the problems of others helped put their own lives in perspective, she said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re in the United States or Mexico, we are human and we are here to be better.”

    Likhaya Rooi, a 19-year-old from South Africa’s Port Elizabeth, is a veteran story-swapper, having participated in Narrative 4’s programs for four years. “It gives me a chance to take all the pain that I have and all the good things that I have kept in my heart for a long time.”

    His pain came from the experience of having his father leave his mother and start another family in the same town. “I was a boy who didn’t want to talk to people about his thoughts. I thought maybe people would make fun of me. But when you share your story, it’s more like you become free.”

    Sometimes things don’t work out as planned. Like the time Narrative 4 collaborated with Generation Global, another organization that promotes diversity through dialogue between schools.

    They set the ambitious goal of supporting a story exchange among four schools in Indonesia, Italy and Ukraine. Between the time differences, language barriers and technical glitches, “it was carnage,” said Narrative 4’s Ruth Gilligan, a Dublin-born novelist and professor of creative writing at the University of Birmingham in England, who assisted with the project.

    But amidst the chaos there were special moments, like the Ukrainian girl who brought in a musical instrument and talked about how it reminded her of her grandfather who had passed away, Gilligan recalled.

    It was a learning experience for all involved, she said, and took the pressure off those who wanted to experiment with Narrative 4’s techniques. “I think it’s OK to go into these with good intentions, but we can’t control it. It’s way better to have a go and learn, rather than saying I’m only going to do it if it’s going to be perfect.”

    Students model a portion of the story exchange.

    The program also helped unite members of the community ordinarily at odds. In one Narrative 4-supported project, Sheri Parks, co-program director of Baltimore Stories and associate dean at the College for Arts and Humanities at the University of Maryland, brought high school students and Baltimore police officers together in a room.

    “These are groups that actively shoot at each other,” she said. They swapped stories about their teenage years and let down their guard. When one student described getting caught while trying to sneak out of the house, a police officer actually told the teen what he was doing wrong.

    “In one day, we went from fear and hatred to taking selfies and exchanging names and addresses,” she said.

    View more profiles of social entrepreneurs in our Agents for Change series.

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    WASHINGTON — U.S. prosecutors announced Thursday that they have charged more than 400 people with taking part in health care fraud and opioid scams that totaled $1.3 billion in false billing.

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions called the collective action the “largest health care fraud takedown operation in American history” and said it indicates that some doctors, nurses and pharmacists “have chosen to violate their oaths and put greed ahead of their patients.”

    Among those charged are six Michigan doctors accused of a scheme to prescribe unnecessary opioids. A Florida rehab facility is alleged to have recruited addicts with gift cards and visits to strip clubs, leading to $58 million in false treatments and tests.

    Officials said those charged in the schemes include more than 120 people involved in prescribing and distributing narcotics.

    “They seem oblivious to the disastrous consequences of their greed. Their actions not only enrich themselves, often at the expense of taxpayers, but also feed addictions and cause addictions to start,” Sessions said in prepared remarks.

    Sessions said in his remarks that nearly 300 health care providers are being suspended or banned from participating in federal health care programs.

    The Justice Department said the people charged were illegally billing Medicare, Medicaid, and the health insurance program that serves members of the armed forces, retired service members and their families. The allegations include claims that those charged billed the programs for unnecessary drugs that were never purchased or never given to the patients.

    WATCH: What to expect as Senate health care battle goes into overtime

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    The State Department is expected to announce progress Thursday in the global coalition against the Islamic State.

    Brett McGurk, U.S. envoy to the coalition against Islamic State, will hold a news conference today at 9:30 a.m. ET. Watch his remarks in the player above.

    The department’s announcement comes after Mosul was officially declared liberated earlier this week. The Iraqi city had been under ISIS control since 2014.

    WATCH: With Mosul liberated, how does Iraq make sure ISIS can’t make a comeback?

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    Members of Afghan robotics girls team which was denied entry into the U.S. for a competition, work on their robots in Herat province, Afghanistan. Photo by Mohammad Shoib/Reuters

    Members of Afghan robotics girls team which was denied entry into the U.S. for a competition, work on their robots in Herat province, Afghanistan. Photo by Mohammad Shoib/Reuters

    KABUL, Afghanistan — The third time’s the charm for Afghanistan’s all girl robotics team, who will be allowed entry into the U.S. to compete in a competition after President Donald Trump personally intervened to reverse a decision twice denying them enter into the country.

    The six girls will now be able to participate next week against entrants from 157 countries. The Afghan girls have devised a ball-sorting robot, which has the ability to recognize orange and blue colors, and can move objects to put them in their correct places.

    “I am very happy. This is such an important trip for us,” said 15-year-old team member Lida Azizi, who was excited at the prospect of being able to compete.

    The White House on Wednesday said President Trump intervened to allow the team to come to the U.S. After looking at several options, the National Security Council eventually settled on “paroling” the girls, according to a senior administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.

    Parole is a temporary status that allows a person who is otherwise ineligible to enter the United States temporarily because of an emergency or humanitarian purpose, or because it’s considered in the public good.

    “It’s a happy moment for our team,” team manager Alireza Mehraban told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “We are going from a war-torn country and the purpose is to show the capability of Afghan women. It’s an important step for Afghan women.”

    Members of Afghan robotics girls team chat with each others as they arrive to receive their visas from the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. Photo by Mohammad Ismail/Reuters

    Members of Afghan robotics girls team chat with each others as they arrive to receive their visas from the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. Photo by Mohammad Ismail/Reuters

    Homeland Security Department spokesman David Lapan said Wednesday the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services approved a State Department request for six girls from the war-torn country to be allowed in, along with their chaperone, so they can participate in the competition.

    The team had twice traveled from their home in war-torn Afghanistan’s western Herat to the capital of Kabul to apply for visas. Much of the 800-kilometer (480-mile) territory between the two cities is controlled by the Taliban, who when they ruled Afghanistan denied girls the right to an education and women the right to work. The Taliban were ousted by the U.S.-led coalition in 2001.

    After being refused visas a second time, the robotics team had resigned themselves to participating in the competition via a Skype video link.

    The U.S. State Department had declined to comment on why the Afghan team’s visa applications were denied, saying that “all visa applications are adjudicated on a case-by-case basis in accordance with U.S. law.”

    But on Thursday, all six girls packed into a small taxicab to head to the U.S. Embassy with their passports in hand to get their documentation for entry into the U.S.

    The girls wanted to show the world that Afghans could also construct a hand-made robot and they had been deeply disappointed by the initial rejections.

    Mehraban said the team’s participation will send a message to other Afghan women about the possibilities open to them.

    Afghanistan remains a deeply conservative nation and while girls are in school today, gaining rights for women and girls is still a struggle for many.

    The nonprofit organizing the competition celebrated the reversal in a jubilant statement Wednesday.

    “I truly believe our greatest power is the power to convene nations, to bring people together in the pursuit of a common goal and prove that our similarities greatly outweigh our differences,” said Joe Sestak, president of First Global. He credited “the professional leadership of the U.S. State Department” for ensuring that all 163 teams from 157 countries, including a team of Syrian refugees, would be able to participate.

    The six member team arrived at the Kabul Airport on Thursday to a media storm. Airport workers and passengers wondered at the attention the girls were receiving, unaware of their identities.

    Afghanistan is not part of Trump’s order to temporarily ban travel from six Muslim-majority countries. Teams from Syria, Iran and Sudan — which are on that list — were granted visas to compete. Members of the team from Gambia were also granted visas after initially being denied.

    Team member Fatima Qadiryan, 14, was overjoyed to be going to the U.S. for the competition.

    “It’s my dream to develop robots,” she said. “I want to say thank you to the U.S. officials and to the U.S. president who helped us.”

    Colvin reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Josh Lederman contributed to this report.

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    Forget iTunes or your old zipper case of DVDs. How about storing movies in a Petri dish of E. coli?

    Researchers at Harvard Medical School and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have stored a short video in the DNA of bacteria and then retrieved it. It’s the first time a video has been recorded into living cells, and the development could have environmental applications.

    “DNA is a great place to store information. Biology uses it quite effectively,” said Seth Shipman, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School and first author of the study. “It’s compact, and it’s incredibly stable.”

    Shipman and his colleagues encoded Eadweard Muybridge’s “Sallie Gardner at a Gallop,” otherwise known as “The Horse in Motion,” one of the earliest series of moving images ever created.

    Their study was published in Nature on Wednesday.

    READ MORE: CRISPR pioneer Doudna envisions a world of woolly mammoths and unicorns

    To get the DNA stored into the bacterial genome, researchers used the CRISPR-Cas system, a powerful gene-editing tool. The researchers chopped up each frame into single-colored pixels. They then created DNA codes that corresponded to each color and strung several codes together.

    To the left is an image of a human hand, which was encoded into nucleotides and captured by the CRISPR-Cas adaptation system in living bacteria. To the right is the image after multiple generations of bacterial growth, recovered by sequencing bacterial genomes. Photo by Seth Shipman

    To the left is an image of a human hand, which was encoded into nucleotides and captured by the CRISPR-Cas adaptation system in living bacteria. To the right is the image after multiple generations of bacterial growth, recovered by sequencing bacterial genomes. Photo by Seth Shipman

    Each bacterium took in snippets of the video and stored it in their DNA. Taken together, the researchers were able to put the pieces back and play the video.

    With this work, Shipman said they eventually want to create “molecular recorders,” which are living cells that could sense things in the environment, like toxins or heavy metals, and record and store that information within their DNA.

    This article is reproduced with permission from STAT. It was first published on July 12, 2017. Find the original story here.

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    It was a glorious, packed and binge-worthy season of television, from the chilling dystopian thriller “The Handmaid’s Tale” to the provocative series about teen suicide “13 Reasons Why“; from the ensemble family drama “This is Us” to the breakout web comedy series “Insecure.”

    Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, HBO and iTunes all vied for the top shows, along with competitors from network and cable. Now, they’re vying for the Emmy Awards, which honor the best programs in television. Actors Anna Chlumsky, who stars in the comedy favorite “Veep” and Shemar Moore, of the police drama “Criminal Minds,” will announce the nominations at 8:30 a.m. PT /11:30 a.m. ET Thursday.

    Emmy Award nominations will be announced at 8:30 a.m. PT/11:30 a.m. Thursday. Watch live in the player above.

    The 2017 Emmy Awards will be televised Sept. 17.

    PBS NewsHour will update this story as it develops.

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    PARIS — With major differences between them, President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron were meeting Thursday in Paris to focus on issues where they think they can take U.S.-French relations forward, with security and defense matters being chief among them.

    President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron will hold a joint news conference at 12:25 p.m. ET. Watch their remarks in the player above.

    Shortly before Trump was to sit down with Macron, France’s recently elected leader said it is “obvious and indispensable” to have exchanges with Trump, whose “America First” brand of politics has unnerved some stalwart European allies.

    Macron spoke at a news conference Thursday following a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel who, like Macron, was deeply disappointed in Trump’s recent decision to withdraw the U.S. from a global agreement to combat climate change.

    Merkel said differences with the U.S. are “regrettable” but that communication continues.

    Trump arrived in the French capital after an overnight flight from Washington for a whirlwind, 36-hour visit to meet with Macron and tackle potential solutions to the crisis in Syria and discuss broader counterterrorism strategies. The president and first lady Melania Trump were greeted by Macron and his wife, Brigitte Macron, at Les Invalides, site of Napoleon’s tomb.

    Trump planned Friday to participate in Bastille Day celebrations and commemorate the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entry into World War I before returning to Washington.

    The president’s decision last month to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord sparked outrage across Europe, and anti-Trump protests are planned while he is in Paris. Macron, a staunch advocate of research to combat global warming, has beckoned “all responsible citizens,” including American scientists and researchers, to bring their fight against climate change to France.

    Trump, Merkel, Macron and other leaders huddled last week in Hamburg, Germany, during a summit of the world’s leading rich and developing nations. Merkel and Macron met again Thursday in Paris, before Macron’s meeting with Trump. Trump and Merkel were not expected to meet.

    Merkel said during a joint appearance with Macron that it’s important to keep talking with Trump even where the differences are clear. She said last week’s summit showed that common ground exists, for example, on fighting terrorism, but that “we also had to name clear differences, for instance regrettably the difference on whether we need the Paris climate accord or not.”

    She added: “We did not paper over these differences, but nevertheless contact, the ability to speak is of course important.”

    Macron said Germany and France agree on the importance of close ties with the United States, despite the differences.

    Trump and Macron also planned a joint news conference Thursday after their talks, and Trump may be asked to respond to Merkel in addition to fielding questions about emails showing that his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., welcomed the prospect of receiving Russian government support in last year’s presidential campaign against Hillary Clinton.

    Trump defended his son Wednesday, praising his performance in a Fox News Channel interview. Trump tweeted: “He was open, transparent and innocent. This is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history. Sad!”

    The visit to Paris could offer Trump a brief distraction from the controversy. He will mark the 100th anniversary of America’s entry into World War I by visiting U.S. troops. He’ll also be the guest of honor at Friday’s Bastille Day events — a celebration of French national pride. White House officials are casting it as a celebration of the U.S.-French military alliance — both then and now.

    The leaders and their wives will cap Thursday with a lavish dinner at Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower.

    Trump is visiting a city he has repeatedly disparaged. When he announced his decision on the climate agreement, Trump said he was “elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.” And he’s repeatedly said the city has been ruined by the threat of terrorism, which he ties to immigrants.

    “Paris isn’t Paris any longer,” he said in February.

    But counterterrorism issues give Macron and Trump the potential for a strong working relationship.

    Macron’s national security pitch hasn’t differed drastically from Trump’s. On Syria, he argues for intervention, saying that President Bashar Assad is a threat to Syria and the Islamic State group is a threat to France. France has been plagued in recent years by extremist attacks. During last year’s Bastille Day celebrations, a 19-ton cargo truck deliberately plowed into crowds in Nice, killing more than 80 people.

    Macron supports intervention against Syria’s government in response to its use of chemical weapons and could prove an important ally as the Trump administration seeks to increase pressure against Assad. But in doing so, they’ll need to tackle the issue of Russia’s support for Assad, something Trump has only passively acknowledged.

    Associated Press writers Darlene Superville and Ken Thomas in Washington contributed to this report.

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